Need itinerary advice for one month trip

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Jul 19th, 2015, 11:40 AM
  #1
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Join Date: Apr 2013
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Need itinerary advice for one month trip

Hi! My girlfriend and I are starting to plan our South America trip at the end of the year.
We would like to travel for 4 - 5 weeks in December/January.
Our plan is to fly out of Baltimore via NYC, and return to Los Angeles.
We will be flying American Airlines since I have miles to redeem.

The countries we want to visit are: Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina.

I understand that we would only see certain cities in this amount of time, but just wanted to get some advice on itineraries.

Some of our must-dos right now are Machu Picchu and Rio De Janeiro.
In Argentina we are interested in Mendoza/Wine Country, Salta, and maybe Buenos Aires.
Would like to get quality beach time in Brazil.

Thanks for your help!
molocono is offline  
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Jul 19th, 2015, 12:06 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: May 2003
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A month sounds like a long time, and it is, but I think four countries is pushing it. This is not Europe, remember, where countries are small. Distances are huge in South America, and you'll almost have to take some flights between countries and maybe even within countries. Are you budgeting for that?

Have you booked flights? Do you know that award flights are available for the dates you want?

Three of those four countries have hefty entry fees for Americans: Argentina ($160 reciprocity fee); Bolivia ($135 visa fee); Brazil ($160 visa fee).
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
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Jul 19th, 2015, 12:17 PM
  #3
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Yes, I can fly in and out of Buenos Aires, Rio, or Lima with reward points.

My initial thoughts were to fly to Rio and do a U-shaped route, eventually ending up in Lima to fly back to LA.

I haven't booked anything yet, just started planning.
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Jul 19th, 2015, 03:29 PM
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In ARG since you want to visit Salta I would spend more time in the NW as its a beautiful area with much to see. Cachi is interesting and Cafyate is lovely. In the other direction Tilicara & Puramaraca and the salt mines are great. You can rent a car and do some fabulous driving in the area. Whether to visit BA or not really depends upon you interst in big cities. BA is fantastic with much to do and see, but you gotta love big cities. Also if you like waterfalls Iguazu Falls is not to be missed. It has both an Argentine and Brazilian side. Here's our trip report from our visit to NW ARG. Its been awhile since we were there, but I'm guessing not much has changed.
http://www.fodors.com/community/sout...of-arg-pt1.cfm

In Peru take some time to explore the scared valley before or after visiting MP.
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Jul 19th, 2015, 03:36 PM
  #5
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I still don't know if I want to visit Buenos Aires.
I have already been there (my girlfriend hasn't) and since we are coming from New York City, I think we would be fine skipping another big city.
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Jul 19th, 2015, 05:29 PM
  #6
 
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Lots of ways you could do this but I do agree with Jeff that four countries is pushing it. Travel in SA always take longer than expected. Flying is going to be your only option in some cases but you should also consider long distance buses in Argentina and Peru as these can save on your "concious" travel time and accommodation costs as many are scheduled overnight. They are generally of a very high quality but stick with the well known companies. Buses in Bolivia are basic and flying is probably a better option

I have only been to Brazil briefly so can't really comment on that portion of your trip but I do suspect that transiting through BA may be unavoidable. Alternatively, look into entering Brazil via Iguazu, worth a couple of nights in any event. There are flights to Iguazu from Salta.

Yestravel suggestion of a drive trip around the NW is excellent. We have done this twice and loved it. There are effectively two circuits which can be combined one would take 3-4 days, both, 5-6 days.

Personally I wasn't particularly enamoured of Mendoza, but if you really like wine then there a some great vineyards there (also some excellent ones in Cafayate in Salta Province.

There is a well worn gringo trail from Lima - Cuzco - Puno in Peru and then into Bolivia via Copacabana to La Paz. From La Paz you could head down to probably the greatest place in Soulth America, Salar de Uyuni and from there head into NW Argentina via the Villazon - El Quiaca border ( possibly including a side trip to San Pedro de Atacama - although probably not enough time)
We Spent 6 months in SA a couple of years ago and covered all of these places more info on our blog @ http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog...ai/6/tpod.html it may provide some ideas on other places to visit

One piece of advice, as you want to cover so much, you really do need to plan it to the Nth degree but do leave some "wiggle room" as travel plans have a way of going astray in South America!
crellston is offline  
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Jul 19th, 2015, 06:43 PM
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"Yes, I can fly in and out of Buenos Aires, Rio, or Lima with reward points."

That wasn't my question. I can fly anywhere with miles too. That doesn't mean that seats are available. Have you looked into actual availability?
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Jul 19th, 2015, 06:44 PM
  #8
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I like that plan, but I would probably do it the opposite way.

I could skip Mendoza and Buenos Aires.
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Jul 20th, 2015, 02:47 AM
  #9
 
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"At the end of the year" might get you into holiday time in Brazil. Note: Hotel prices in Rio get more expensive around NYE and are sold in pre-booked multi-night packages, with demand such that compromises are almost unheard of.
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Jul 22nd, 2015, 05:38 PM
  #10
 
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Jeff_Costa_Rica makes an excellent point.
American Airlines requires a huge number of miles for award tickets to South America in December/January.
United has a minimal amount of reduced mileage awards during these months.
Buenos Aires is very difficult to book with miles this time of year.

We booked several weeks ago. To visit Buenos Aires we have to fly into Santiago and home from Montevideo in order to use miles on United.

You might check flights before you go further. Based on travel articles that I read, American Airlines does this every year.

Good luck and have a fun trip.
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Jul 23rd, 2015, 10:37 AM
  #11
 
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You might be able to fly into Lima if you leave early enough in December and return mid-January.
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