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Help with planning a 2.5 week trip to South America in Sept 2014

Help with planning a 2.5 week trip to South America in Sept 2014

Oct 21st, 2013, 01:27 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 104
Help with planning a 2.5 week trip to South America in Sept 2014

Hi, My husband and I are just starting to think about our holidays for 2014. We will have 3 weeks holidays in September and would like to spend 2.5 weeks touring the highlights of Peru, Argentina and possibly popping into Chile or Uruguay or Brazil. We are not bothered about water sports or horse riding. We like scenery, meeting locals (but not homestays or hostels - we like a bit of comfort), walking (light trekking), good food and wine. We don't have a very big budget as we expect that our flights from Ireland will be expensive. We don't mind the odd overnight bus or train journey. Not that bothered about markets.
We definitely want to see Machu Picchu and Igazu Falls. Then perhaps places like Ollantaytambo and Cusco or Arequipa in Peru, Salta, Buenos Aires, Bariloche or others in Argentina. Recommendations for Chile or Uruguay or Brazil would be appreciated or maybe day trips from Buenos Aires to somewhere in Uruguay or from Mendoza across the border into Chile.
Also, what kind of weather should we expect at that time of year?
I would appreciate any help you can give me in trying to organise this trip. Is it too much for 18-19 days. What should I definitely leave out? We would like to see as much as we can while we are there. I haven't priced any flights yet but expect that flying between Peru and Argentina would be quite costly. Also would you recommend going to Peru or Argentina first or would it make any difference. If it works out too expensive, we may have to concentrate on either Peru OR Argentina.
Thank you in advance for your help!
martina is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2013, 06:07 AM
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 72
"Recommendations for .... Brazil would be appreciated"
Save Brazil for another trip dedicated solely to that rather expensive, vast country and its large variety of places to visit. 2.5 weeks is not enough to do all that you mention; stick to one or maybe two of the countries you mentioned.
IsabelaS is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2013, 07:34 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,334
I agree that 2.5 weeks is just nowhere near enough time to see all that. Distances in South America are huge. Bus from the Peruvian border with Chile to Santiago takes 30 hours.
Huentetu is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2013, 10:40 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 104
Thanks IsabelaS and Huentetu, There is a possibility that we may be able to take another week's unpaid leave, so that it might mean 3.5 weeks instead of 2.5. If that were the case, do you think it might be doable, concentrating on Peru and Argentina and just popping into one or 2 others just for day trips?
martina is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2013, 11:30 AM
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 72
"just popping into one or 2 others just for day trips?"
I don't think you have a realistic understanding of the distances involved. Better to see fewer places well, IMO.
IsabelaS is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2013, 12:06 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 7,549
Peru and Argentina both have an abundance of attractions which could keep anyone occupied for a long time. The problem in linking the two countries is that they try are not adjacent and so necessitate a flight between say Lima and BA which could easily work out almost as expensive as your international flight. You may be able to get a better deal booking well in advance but it was certainly very expensive when I was looking at similar flights last month ( we are in Peru at the moment). There are a few buses now between Lima and BA but they seemed to take about 3 days!!!

With 18-19 days to play with I would really be inclined to stick to one country. For Peru there is a. Well trodden "gringo trail" which usually involves a program something like:

Lima 2 days
Cuzco, Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley 7 days ( could easily be longer!)
Bus or train to Puno for Lake Titicaca - 2 days
Bus to Arequipa 2 days ( 4 if including. Colca Canyon)
bus back to Lima stopping off at Nazca, Ica - maybe 2-3 days

There are other places in Peru that warrant serious consideration Trujillo, Chachapoyas in the north and if jungle is your thing then Iquitos or Manu. Loads to see!

Argentina is much more European in feel and culture than other SA countries and is not so much of a culture shock. The distances are vast and the airline system is not always the most efficient. Buses are great, very comfortable, efficient and inexpensive. But journey times can easily hit 20 hours between regions. Iguazu is fantastic as is Salta. Really wished we had spent more time in Patagonia. We travelled there for three months and still missed loads!

September is generally a good time to visit both. Peru and Argentine we have spent time in both at that time of year and the weather was pretty kind to us.
Here is a link to our blog page giving details of our current trip in South America and our trip from five years ago when we spent much more time in Argentina

Lots of photos and detail which may help a little in your decisions.

As far as budget is concerned, if going to Argentina, do check out the posts here re the "blue dollar" which will save you a lot there. Argentina is definitely the more expensive of the two countries although costs do vary a lot in. Peru ( we were surprised at how expensive Cuzco had got, although still cheap by European standards.
crellston is offline  
Oct 25th, 2013, 12:36 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 104
Thanks to crellston and IsabelaS,
Sorry iv'e been away for a few days. Yes, IsabelaS i think i'm going to have to have a rethink. I guess i'm not really being realistic with the geography!
crellston, I've just printed off your blog page and will have a read of that over the weekend. Thank you, I'll post again as soon as I get a 'quieter time', it's a bit mad at the moment!!
martina is offline  
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