Advise on first trip to South America

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Dec 11th, 2017, 06:50 PM
  #1
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Advise on first trip to South America

We are a couple traveling from Asia to South America for the first time but we only have 18 days. We will be flying into Santiago (Chile). Would you recommend for a first trip to do 1. Santiago, Atacama and Patagonia (about 11 days?) or 2. Santiago, Peru, Bolivia, Atacama?

Rather torn between the 2 choices as we would love to see as much as possible, after a long flight there! but we do know it might be a little rushed as well. We are not really good hikers/ campers but we are happy to do some day hikes.

thanks in advance!
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Dec 12th, 2017, 03:35 AM
  #2
 
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A lot depends on the time of year you wish to travel. The best time of year for Patagonia is summer here but it is the wrong time of year for the highlands of Peru and Bolivia. Distances are huge in SA and I wonder what route you had thought of for option #2.
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Dec 12th, 2017, 04:28 PM
  #3
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Hey huentetu. Thanks for the response ! Will be there end of feb to march for 18 days. Guess there's better weather at patagonia ?
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Dec 12th, 2017, 05:25 PM
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If you are thinking February 2018 I think you will find most of Patagonia, both sides of the Andes, booked up months ago. It is a very popular destination. February is the busiest month in Chile as it is when most locals take summer holidays. You need to book everything if planning to come in February. March is easier as kids are back in school.

February is still rainy season in the high Andes, so Peru and Bolivia are not the best destination at that time.

You might consider central and northern Chile, possibly doing a 3 day excursion into the Bolivian salt flats. Or going to Salta in northern Argentina from San Pedro.
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Dec 12th, 2017, 11:23 PM
  #5
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we could plan to get to Patagonia in March then! Would you suggest to get a self guide tour or is it easy to drive around in Patagonia and book day tours? Would you suggest to visit Torres Del Paine (4 days),El Calafate(4 days), Perito Moreno (Glacirer) for a 10 days trip?

Any other places of interest that we should see?
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Dec 13th, 2017, 07:40 AM
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You should check what lodging is available in Torres del Paine before you book a flight. It is not a park to drive around, although there are roads, because the best of it is seen doing a multi-day trek staying in the "refugios", mountain lodges (shared accommodation). Other options are very expensive hotels.

Four days is too long for El Calafate unless it includes time in El Chalten as well. Again, lodging options are limited.
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Dec 13th, 2017, 03:18 PM
  #7
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Ok thanks! Will check on accomodation before deciding the trip. What is the best way to get around? Would you recommend driving from one place to another?
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Dec 14th, 2017, 07:25 AM
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It depends on where you want to drive. Inside the TdP park, no because the best views are seen on treks far from any road. You could use a car to go to various points to start treks, which would save time.

A car can be useful going from Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales and from there to the park.
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