Backpacking Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia --> advice please

Old Feb 11th, 2009, 04:10 PM
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Backpacking Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia --> advice please


Two friends and I are going to be volunteering in a village a couple hours outside Quito for the month of May. Afterwards we plan on backpacking around ecuador, peru, and bolivia until about mid-July (roughly 6 weeks). We are determined to visit the Galapagos and Machu Picchu, but other than that we are very open.

We are one guy and two girls all around 25 years old, and all pretty adventurous and in good shape. Friends have recommended a visit to the jungle and salt flats in bolivia; can anyone offer some feedback on those? Any other ideas/recommendations/your favorites from these three countries would be highly appreciated.

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Old Feb 11th, 2009, 05:24 PM
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We are old foagies but can still keep up and outdo some young'uns . . . we went to Bolivia independently a couple of years ago and had a fantastic time. I typed up my journal from that trip and would be happy to email it to you if you want, just email me at [email protected]. We're budget travelers BTW.

We've also been to Peru but too long ago to be of use and I've been to the Galapagos and have that trip report also.

Good luck with your planning and you will have a terrific time when you go!

Sandy (in Denton)
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Old Feb 12th, 2009, 12:00 AM
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We spent 5 months in South America last year visiting Peru, Chile and Argentina (had planned to visit Bolivia but ran out of time as we got cught up doing some voluntary work in Peru).
Here is a link to our blog which gives info on the places we visited in SA and elsewhere.

Favourites in Peru were Pisac, Ollantaytambo (and the whole of the sacred valley), Arequipa and Puno (for Titicaca).

We didn't visit the salt flats in Brazil but some smaller flats (still 60 miles long) in Argentina and they were amazing). If you are there for a long time I strongly recommend you join as they have great access to trip reports (mostly people your age) and offer discounts on restaurants, tours etc. and it is a great place to meet felow travellers.
Other good resources for accomodation are:

Have fun!
crellston is offline  
Old Feb 12th, 2009, 06:45 AM
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Do Galapagos then head for Peru.

You will need Visa for Bolivia best bus

Lima Paracas Nasca Arequipa/Colca



Puerto Moldonado for jungle time

Fly back to Lima

Cheap hostels everywhere

cheaper to just show up...

cheap internal flights...

Have fun,

qwovadis is offline  
Old Feb 18th, 2009, 02:40 PM
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great, thanks, I'm getting really excited!

Wondering if anyone can offer some more insight about travelling within and between these countries. What is the best way to get down into Peru? Between Peru and Cuzco? I've heard their roads are rough and buses are dreadfully slow. any insight?

thanks again
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Old Feb 22nd, 2009, 10:12 AM
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Six weeks is not a lot of time to cover all three countries. Will you have a couple days off from your volunteer work while you are in Quito? If so, you can spend that time making weekend trips to places like Otavalo, Mitad del Mundo, Banos and Cotopaxi.

I fell in love with Ecuador and spent 6 weeks there, just returned on Jan. 6th. Banos is one of my favorite towns in the world now! Lots of hiking and biking opportunities and plenty of night life. It is also quite cheap compared to Quito. A must stay hostal is Hostal Chimenea. Great place, friendly owners, roof top place to chill out, very nice rooms with private bath and balcony for only $8.50. The price was $7.50 when I was there but I think the beautiful pool is now open.

The Quilotoa Loop in Ecuador is fantastic and less travelled. It tends to draw the more adventurous traveller. Beautiful mountains with great hiking, cool hostals and some very early bus rides to get to certain places. I am talking 3 a.m.! There is also a milk truck that runs between Chugchilan and Sigchos.

If you go, I highly recommend Hostal Mama Hilda in Chugchilan. Very nice rooms, friendly owners and GREAT food included in the price!

As you travel south down to Peru, you could spend a couple of days in Cuenca and then make your way down to Vilcabamba. Vilcabamba has lots of activities such as hiking, horseback riding and biking. A fantastic place to stay is

From Vilcabamba you can head further south and cross over the border near San Ignacio and visit Chachapoyas, then Cajamarca before dropping down to the Peruvian coast.

From Lima it is best to fly to Cusco as the road is windy and mountainous and it takes about 23 hours via bus. Flights are inexpensive and you don't have a lot of time.

Cusco is great and the Sacred Valley is stunning! A great place to stay in Aguas Calientes (which is where you can stay the night before you visit Machu Picchu) is Hostal Chaska. It is a new place so it doesn't have a website but it is clean, comfortable and very reasonably priced for AC. We paid less than $30 USD for a double and they also have triple rooms.

From Cusco you may want to head down to Lake Titicaca and then cut over to Bolivia. I didn't visit Bolivia so can't help you there.

If you would like to see photos of my Peru and Ecuador trip, you can view them at

Keep in mind that these countries are quite large, the roads are often windy and passing through mountains and bus travel times will be longer than you expect if you are just looking at a map. Personally, I would spend the 6 weeks just in Peru and Ecuador, especially if you are planning a week in The Galapagos.

Enjoy your trip!

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Old May 9th, 2009, 12:38 PM
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Some friends are I are going in Mid-July to Atacama Desert, then the salt plains in Bolivia, Machu Pichu and Hopefully we finish in Ecuador. We are very excited to visit these places as well.
It seems that they are not dangerous and tourist are welcome. However, something i was told by many Americans is that you might need antibiotics because the food might cause you some stomach problems.
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Old May 16th, 2009, 03:57 PM
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I am currently in Puno and I wanted to share my experience with Inka Fest Travel, a travel agency in Arequipa. I recommend you to do the Colca Canyon trekk (they are operators in souht Peru) with them, its a great way to see the Canyon.

I traveled with Inka Fest Travel , they have a website if you want, and its a very good agency and the owners are very nice and helpful.

They also offer other tours you can visit
Good Luck
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Old Mar 24th, 2010, 09:59 AM
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I agree with charlie about the loop, Cotopaxi, and Vilcabamba.. I would try and get to the coast after the Galapagos.. Canoa is a sweet spot and I have a ton of friends headed that way this weekend for thier break from school..Let me know when you are in Quito and we can grab a beer or you can come to one of the bars I work for!
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