Our 2016 South America Trip

Old Apr 18th, 2016, 05:15 AM
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Our 2016 South America Trip

For those that are interested, here is our outline itinerary for our trip staring in early May. I will do my best to post and blog along the way ( although according to our current blog it is September and we are still in New Zealand!)


Huaraz - 1 week
Cross border at Macara to:


Loja or maybe Vilcabamba
Latacunga / Cotopaxi
Maybe Quito but more likely straight to Otavalo and possibly Ibarra for a few days hiking before heading into Colombia via Ipiales.


San Augustin
Valle de Cocora
Parque Nacional Natural Los Nevados
Manizales - Murrillo
San Andres/ Providencia - for Scuba
Santa Marta
San Gil - Bucaramanga - Pamplona
Villa de Leyva
Fly Bogota to Lima 09 August to meet from friends who will be joining us for our last 5,weeks


Bus to Arequipa
Colca Canyon
Puno & Titicaca
Fly to La Paz
Salar de Uyuni


Bus to Salta ( just for a couple of nights)
Fly to Iguazu (both sides)
Fly to Buenos Aires for our last 5 days (maybe an overnight to Colonia)
Fly back to London

Never having been to Colombia before any suggestions/opinions for that country would be particularly welcome, especially accomodation and places to eat, places not to miss. Have read an will be rereading on the road the various excellent trip reports here.

By the Colombia stage of our trip we will probably be looking for a place to rest up for a week now and again -is Villa de Leyva an appropriate place or other suggestions? We will more than likely take a week on Provendencia island for some diving.

Any thoughts or suggestions for other memorable places along the way would be much appreciated.
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Old Apr 18th, 2016, 06:04 AM
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OH Boy ! Another wonderful Crellston(s) South American Adventure to follow. Really looking forward to it.
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Old Apr 18th, 2016, 09:35 AM
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Villa de Leyva is lovely, although I didn't spend time in any of the nearby towns.

There is a Moon Handbook, don't know if you've tried to procure it. There is also driving tour book (Movil) that you can procure inside Colombia but maybe not til Cali.

If you can't find my trip report:

I stayed in Hotel El Solar on Calle 10a in Villa de Leyva. It's a pleasant enough basic small inn, although if I remember the beds were typically South American hard and some noise carries up the courtyard to the rooms, but it was clean and friendly with a pleasant courtyard for included continental breakfast (They are on booking.com). There several hostals/hostels on the same street which is near the plaza, but does not get through traffic so is relatively quiet. If it is not high season you can probably just shop around and negotiate. But I was pleased with the value there.

Renacer is way out of town so for me, it would be in convenient unless you have a car.

There are tours from Chiclayo out into the countryside to the various archaeological sites, if you won't have a car for that part. I've also twice used the taxi driver German who works for Gran Hotel Chiclayo. He knows everyone. If he isn't busy he is usually stationed outside. Let me know if you want his cellphone number, I can probably dig it up.

In Chiclayo I stayed at Hotel Mochiks, small rooms but modern, a/c and telly. Near the bus stations. Chiclayo has some excellent restaurants. Romana is traditional and gets mixed reviews but I had a delicious ceviche mixto there that I still remember.

A great place to visit if you have time, near Chiclayo, is Chaparri, a reserve with rescued spectacled bears (Paddington!) There are day trips or you can overnight (recommended). It was as much a highlight for me as Chachapoyas.


Chiclayo and Trujillo both have reputations for crime, so watch your stuff. Recommended to use a taxi between the sites around Trujillo, don't walk.

Have a great time, I will be following your blog. Haven't yet decided when I will go back to Colombia, but it will happen.
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Old Apr 18th, 2016, 02:45 PM
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Looking forward to reading about it!

Lol about the blog! I just posted the last piece on Barcelona to my blog, from last October...
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Old Apr 19th, 2016, 12:26 AM
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Thanks mlgb, that info is just what I am looking for. We just passed through Chiclayo in the middle of the night so it sound as though I need to factor in a few days there.

Interesting to hear your comments re safety in Trujillo. We had lots of warning prior to visiting and spent a few days there but it seemed perfectly safe, at least in the areas we went to.

Thurs, I have been following your blog and guessed it wasn't being posted in real time! I really need to keep on top of it this time and try and do some catchup before we leave.
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Old Apr 19th, 2016, 03:14 PM
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Sounds fantastic! I look forward to following along.

Our recs are in our TR which I know you have read. Also if you haven't already be sure to check out welltraveledbrits TR & blog for Colombia. Barichara is pretty dead/empty mid week. Restaurants and apparently even some hostals etc close down. If you do their Camino REal be sure to go early and take a ton of water. The owner of our hotel tells people to go at 5 am. Unfortunately he told us that after we went late morning--big mistake. A couple we met had a book on hikes in the area, so there are some that you can access via bus. I think they headed toward San Gil for some of them.

VdL is a bit more active mid week and got rather crowded on the weekend. There is definitely more going on in VdL once you master walking on the stones! (soft soles shoes worked for us as they gripped the stones as you walked.) Salento was my favorite of all the places we went in Colombia and I would enjoy a week there. Its ~ 30 minutes from Valle de Cocora.

Maybe we're unique in screwing up in the BOG airport, but my advice is pay careful attention. First time we ever missed a plane and were there with plenty of time. Along with 5 or so spanish speaking folks we went the wrong way and ended up back at the proper gate too late to get on our flight.

Not sure how the GBP is doing against he peso, but Colombia this year was the least expensive place I have ever travelled.

When we were in Peru one couple took the bus tour out to the canyon, spent several days hiking and then got picked up by the same tour company for the return to Arequipa. They loved it.

In Peru not on your itn, we stayed in Pisac a couple days (on non market days) and really enjoyed just kicking back and watching the locals. Also if you haven't already seen them, I thought the ruins there fantastic...second to MP.

Cotopaxi was partially closed when we were there, hopefully it will have opened up by the time you get there. Havent finished our TR for Otavalo, I will see if I can dig up where we ate in Latagunga that we liked. Slim food pickings there.

Have a great time!
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Old Apr 20th, 2016, 09:02 AM
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Thanks yestravel. Your TR, like that of welltravelledbrits' have been exceedingly useful to me.

Pisac is on the list for when our friends join us. I actually preferred it to MP (sacrilege to many I know). Just read on TA that parts of it have apparently been closed to visitors!

Your warnings re flights are well noted! Most times we have been to SA we have taken the bus most places but that doesn't seem practical in Colombia. Only one flight booked so far and that is from Bogata to Lima on Viva Colombia - I didn't realise until after I had booked that it is an offshoot of Ireland's Ryanair which doesn't have the best of reputations here in Europe! We will see!

Good to hear that Colombia is cheap as the £ is not doing well of the FX markets at the moment due to our impending referendum on staying in the EU.
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Old Apr 20th, 2016, 09:43 AM
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funny you say that about Pisac - I had a similar feeling! MP wowed me at first glance though.

A local in Medellin said he thought Colombia might always stay lmited to tourists because of the difficulty of getting around.
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Old Apr 20th, 2016, 10:59 AM
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I read somewhere that the problems of getting around Colombia are compounded by the fact that the Andes splits into three ranges there rather than the one range elsewhere in SA making bus travel even more problematic.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2016, 02:21 PM
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FYI - from the NYTimes - sounds like an interesting place.
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