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3 Months South America: Argentina - Bolivia - Peru. Ideas?

3 Months South America: Argentina - Bolivia - Peru. Ideas?

Jul 22nd, 2014, 12:24 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 1
3 Months South America: Argentina - Bolivia - Peru. Ideas?

Hi All!

Like many on here I am trying to gather some more information before I head off on a 3 and a half month adventure to South America.

I will be travelling with my partner from the beginning of September, starting in Buenos Aires and gradually working our way up to our final destination of Lima, where our return flight (to the UK) is from.

Although we have a rough plan, I was hoping for a bit more help. If anyone could impart some wisdom that'd be great!

I think our budget in total will be between £3500-£4000 each for the duration of the trip. Is this enough? Do couples tend to spend less than travelling alone?

Our basic itinerary will start us off in Argentina:
Buenos Aires, 3-4 days, then working down and then up to places like
Iguazu Falls
and then into Bolivia

We were thinking maybe 3-4 weeks in total. Do you think All of this is doable in that time?

Bolivia would be our next destination. I havent really looked into much yet about it. But both myself and my boyfriend love hiking/trekking and would like to start heading into the Amazon as much as possible. We also love history/culture so any sites people think are great for us?
Anyone have any ideas of how to spend 3-4 weeks in Bolivia? We were contemplating helping on a farm or doing volunteer work for a week. If anyone could recommend somewhere in Bolivia, awesome!

Finally, Peru. Here we are wanting to spend most of our time. Places which are a must are Puno, Arequipa, Machu Picchu, Iquitos, and Lima. We could be spending anything from 5-7 weeks in Peru. So which places do you think deserve the most attention?

We intend on doing a Salkantay 5 day trek to Machu Picchu which solves one week. (We will be hopefully going with Loki Travel, can anyone vet them, how long in advance should we book?)

In terms of travel between all these places, how cheap/easy will it be? We will be travelling between September-December. Will things be running as it isn't high season?

Basically, help me!
This is one of my first big travels, so I am excitedly nervous!

LOCS is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2014, 04:06 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 7,562
Hi LOCS and welcome to Fodors.

I will try to answer some of your questions.


Yours seems entirely reasonable. When travelling in SA it can help to get into the mindset of thinking in US $. As some things will be quoted and/ or priced in that currency. By my calculations that equates to $13k for the two of you or, $130 per day for your trip. To put this into perspective, our target budget on a six month trip last year in South America was $100 per day for the two of us which we more or less achieved. This covered everything from food and accomodation, tours and entrance fees to travel and incidentals. We didn't skimp on anything and stayed mostly in private rooms with ensuite facilities. You could spend a lot yeas if staying in dorms or even rom with shared baths.

Argentina was the most expensive country. Bolivia the cheapest. You can save a lot of Mahoney in Argentina but taking USD and exchanging at the Blue Dollar rate.


SA ahas diverse weather patterns which means, as you already seem to appreciate, that there is not really an single best time to go so do check on the weather in each place you want to visit an plan your route accordingly. Maybe work out which are THE most important things to do and give those priority,As an example, the weather may be great in Patagonia but not so good in the. Andes. The rainy season in Bolivia tends to run from. Nov to March and travel can be difficult.

Time for lunch now but I will come back with some other thoughts. In the meantime, here is a link to my blog of our SA trip last year which may provide some ideas on routes

We didn't spend much time in Argentina on that trip, but we did on this one

Entries 70 onwards

crellston is offline  
Jul 24th, 2014, 08:52 AM
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 5

It sounds like you are off to a great start in planning your South American excursion!

To respond to one part of your inquiry, I believe 3-4 weeks is plenty of time to see the places you listed for Argentina. These places (BA, Bariloche, Mendoza, Salta, Iguazu) are all located relatively close (when considering the size of Argentina) and with 3-4 weeks you should have no problem seeing all of them, and traveling between them by bus, if you choose that route. However, if you are still open to changing your destinations in Argentina, you should check out Patagonia. While Bariloche is sometimes considered to be a part of Patagonia, it is much different than places like Calafate, Puerto Madryn and Ushuaia. If you are open to the possibilty of flying between destinations, then I would highly recommend visiting Patagonia on your trip. (Domestic flights can usually be booked for around $300 with either LAN or Aerolineas Argentinas.) However, if you prefer to travel by bus, you might be better off sticking to what you have now as Argentina is a huge country and will require a lot of time to get to and from Patagonia by bus.
Good luck with the rest of your planning. Hope you have an amazing trip!


Say Hueque
SayHueque is offline  
Jul 24th, 2014, 09:12 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 18,147
Bolivia trip report from a few years ago. I had two weeks but didn't include an Amazon excursion. I believe the road all the way from Sucre to Potosi to Uyuni is now paved.

For the Peru portion, take the bus to Copacabana from La Paz. There are several "tourist" buses (none of them great) but at least they travel during the day. The road is paved but is still a bit dangerous due to the bad driving habits of all involved. Sept-Dec can be rainy and I would recommend never taking a night bus in the Andes if the roads are wet.

You can visit Sun Island on the Bolivian side from Copacabana (there are public ferries twice a day). Tourist buses from Copacabana to Puno depart midday, all from the same street.

All Ways (www.titicacaperu.com) is a good community-based agent for tours around the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca. It's possible to do the tours independently, but I don't think All Ways has an obscene markup and it's probably one of the worthwhile times to use a a tour (I tend to avoid travel agencies).

From Cusco, there is now an option to take a tourist bus (4-M Express) directly to Colca Canyon. They also run from Chivay to Arequipa.

From Arequipa you can either fly back to Lima or go down to the coast visiting Nazca, Huacachina, and the Ballestas Islands.

Iquitos is not inexpensive (you need to fly round trip from Lima for starters) and you'll probably want at least 3 or 4 nights to make the travel time worthwhile. But it is on the real "Amazon Amazon".

I would not do a jungle trip in Bolivia if you are also doing Iquitos.
mlgb is offline  
Jul 24th, 2014, 09:15 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 18,147
I forgot to mention this Bolivian agency in La Paz, they often work with backpackers and don't mark transportation prices up by much, if anything. They now have a blog on their website.


Don't miss the Uyuni/high lakes tour, whatever you do.
mlgb is offline  
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