South America Honeymoon Itinerary

Old Dec 12th, 2022, 05:59 AM
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South America Honeymoon Itinerary

Hi all, first time poster here.

My partner and I will be doing a 32 day trip to South America in July/August 2023 for our honeymoon. We know it is winter so won't be venturing too far south. It is a once in a lifetime trip for us and understandbly we will be trying to do as much as possible in a relatively short amount of time. We know this won't give us a 'full experience' of many of the places we are visiting but it is better than not going at all!

I'm looking for some feedback on our rough itinerary:

Days 1-3: Flight + a couple of days in Lima to get over jet-lag, etc (coming from UK).
Days 4-6: Peru-Hop 3 day tour (Paracas, Huacachina, back to Lima at the end of Day 3).
Day 7: Fly the next morning to Cusco & begin acclimatisation
Day 8: Chill in Cusco
Day 9: Possibly do rainbow mountain depending on how the altitude is affecting us
Day 10: Travel that morning to Aguas Calientes. Spend the night here
Day 11: Visit Machu Picchu and return to Cusco this evening
Day 12: Leave Cusco (and Peru) via Lima

Day 13-16: Arrive in Santiago or Mendoza late on Day 12. Leave on Day 16. Visit wineries, and take it slow after the intensity of Peru.

Buenos Aires
Day 16-20: Land in Buenos Aires on day 16. Take a day trip to Colonia one day. Explore the city the other days.

Iguazu Falls
Day 20-22: Fly from BA to Iguazu on Day 20. Cross the border and explore the Brazil side. Day 21, cross early to Argentina and explore that side. Day 22, fly to Rio.

Ilha Grande/Buzios - I had originally planned Ilha Grande but Buzios might be easier to get to
Day 22-25: Fly from Iguazu to Rio then take the bus & boat to Ilha Grande all in one day. Potentially too ambitious? If we can do that, we will have two full slow days in Ilha Grande (chill, boat tour, etc), before heading back to Rio on Day 25

Rio De Janeiro
Day 26-32: Relax in Rio to end the trip. Visit the traditional sights, beaches, etc.

I appreciate it will be an intense trip, but is it too much? The only thing we could potentially drop is the wine country trip but we would like to visit a vineyard somewhere.

I was also looking for opinions on whether we should do:
  • Santiago or Mendoza
  • Ilha Grande or Buzios

Any feedback is appreciated, thanks!

northernringo is offline  
Old Dec 12th, 2022, 04:31 PM
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Re Peru
Since you have allowed one day for Macchu Picchu, you don't need to "acclimatize" in Cusco. You can stay in the Sacred Valley (Ollantaytambo, Urubamba or PIsac) instead. Visit the sights and ruins there, than go to Macchu Picchu (Aguas Calientes is the town nearby). Some people just visit by taking the train from Ollantaytambo and do not spend the night in Aguas Calientes. I would save Cusco for the last few days or nights, as Cusco is higher in altitude than the others. Inca Trail hikers who really should stay in Cusco first to acclimatize. In winter I might not visit Rainbow Mountain (too cold/difficult) but I have not been there (it is a sort of newish tourist attraction).

Peru is not really that "intense" since you are not hiking the Inca Trail and have time to take it easy when you arrive at altitude.

As for Paracas and Huacachina, not everyone feels that is a worthwhile side trip. I might instead fly to Arequipa, a city which more people enjoy, and then perhaps fly from there to Cusco.

mlgb is offline  
Old Dec 13th, 2022, 01:43 AM
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Overall your trip does seem doable but is is very full on for a honeymoon. Personally, I think you could slow it down a bit and make it even more memorable.

I pretty much agree with mlgb on the Peru portion of your trip and would change things around a bit.

Acclimatisation is an issue that shouldn't be ignored .There is all the info you need on the subject here @ The most efficient way of dealing with it is to do as mlgb suggests and head to the lower altitude of Ollantaytambo (2800m) before hitting Cusco at 3400m

I would skip the Peru Hop trip unless it is something you REALLY want to include. Arequipa is a stunning city and a bonus is that it is at an altitude which is good for the acclimatisation process.

If it were my trip I would be looking at two options:

Option 1

Day 1 - Lima
Day 2 - Fly to Cusco in the am and transfer directly to Ollantaytambo. Explore village in the morning
Day 3 - Day trip to Machu Picchu - early morning train there and afternoon train back o/n Ollantaytambo
Day 4 - Explore ruins in the morning before the tour buses arrive. take a taxi tour to Cusco stopping off at the major sites of moray, maras an Chinchero along the way. 6 hours arriving in Cusco late pm
Days 5 - 9 Cusco with maybe a side day trip to Pisac etc
Days 9- 12 Lima

Option 2

Day 1 - Lima
Day 2 - Lima then overnight bus to Arequipa
Day 3 - Arequipa - arrive around 08;00 dump bags at hotel and explore the city.
Day 4 - Arequipa - make sure to visit Monasteria de Santa Catalina!
Days 5 - Fly to Cusco
Days 6-7 Cusco
Day 8 Ollantaytambo
Day 9 Ollantaytambo & Day trip to MP by train o/n Ollantyatmbo
Day 10 take taxi tour to Cusco )Moray/Maras/Chichero O/N Cusco
Day 11 -12 Lima

With and extra day or two (or by putting a day or so you could include a visit to Colca Canyon and/or Lake Titicaca. IMHO Arequipa and these tow places are preferable to Huanchachina etc, but it really depends on your preferences.

As for the remainder of your trip , I cant offer anything for Brazil as I have only been there very briefly.

Iguazu - it may be more convenient just to stay in Puerto Igauzu on the Argentine side of the falls and visit both sides from there. You can hire taxi for tehday very cheaply who will pick you up and drop you off at the park entrances. You could then visit the Argentine falls on arrival on your first day, stay in PI that night and visit the Brazil side the next morning and get the driver to drop you off at the airport.

For you vineyard fix you have a number of options. Fly Santiago and visit on elf the vineyards there. I would highly recommend combining with a visit to Valapairaiso,. Indeed I would much rather stay in that town than Santiago (it is on the right side of Santiago for the airport and easy to get to.

I can take or leave Mendoza. Great wines but not my favourite destination in Argentina. One thought would be to combine BA and Iguazu with a mini road trip from Salta around NW Argentina. Some great vineyards around Cafayate.

There is a lot of info and photos on our travels in South America on our blog @ which may help. Just click on the Destinations Tab then South America then the appropriate country.

Many congratulations!
crellston is offline  
Old Dec 13th, 2022, 02:22 AM
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With the unstable political situation in Peru, consider flying between cities rather than bus trips.

mlgb is offline  
Old Dec 13th, 2022, 04:12 AM
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Their trip is not until next July. By then, things should be back to normal - I hope! Flying may not be an option. According to the Peruvian press, protestors have invaded Arequipa airport and air traffic controllers are striking!
crellston is offline  
Old Dec 13th, 2022, 06:51 AM
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Thanks everyone for the advice!

In regards to Paracas/Huacachina - my partner and I are interested in the sandboarding & San Ballestas boat tour so that's why we were keen to go here. However, we will take a look into the other options discussed above!

In regards to wine tasting in Santiago - is there a best way to go about booking this? Or is it something we could easily sort when we arrive there. I know you can book tours on TripAdvisor and they aren't too extortionate but I wanted to make sure we weren't being ripped off if we did something like this. Obviously for the vineyard tour we would not be driving ourselves so would need transport included!

Finally, in regards to Iguazu Falls - is the border crossing between Argentina & Brazil fairly quick? We don't want to cut our time short in the parks by being stuck at the border for a significant amount of time (we are both UK nationals).

Thanks again for the help. Also, crellston, I love your website - some great blog posts and fantastic pictures!
northernringo is offline  
Old Dec 13th, 2022, 09:11 AM
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Hi again.

If the coastal activities interest you then go for it. I would just consider going Lima - Paracas- Arequipa which will avoid doubling back to Lima which is at least 4hours each way and a pretty boring drive. you could either add a day and spend 2 in Arequipa and two in Colca or perhaps jus skip Colca.

As I mentioned, I would skip Santiago in favour of Valapraiso and take a wine tour from there. The Casablanca Valley, one of the premium wine growing areas is only 30 mins away. Generally it is pretty easy to arrange tours through your accommodation. Vineyard tours will be available anywhere near a wide region. They will likely be cheaper even though the organisers will be paying a commission. Unless its a an expensive tour your probably aren't going to save a lot but accommodation owners have a vested interest in ensuring you have good time and their guests don't get ripped. I guess the main issue is time - maybe email them in advance ?

Been a couple of times to Iguazu and have done three trips across the border. It was very easy to cross the border. As a UK citizen, you don't need a visa. The first couple of time we just stayed on the bus and didn't bother with immigration and it wasn't a problem. Things have changed since then and the last time we was 2-4 years ago when we took some friends and went by taxi. Again, it took very little time. the driver stopped at immigration and we got the relevant stamps and we were on our way in minutes.

I guess a lot depend on your flight timings from BA and on to Rio. The Argentine side take the best part of a day, the Brazil side half a day. To me it doesn't seem worth packing and unpacking to stay on different side of the border. I would get a hotel in Puerto Iguazu arrive as early as possible, organise your driver in advance (we just fixed it up with the driver that we got at the airport) to pick you up and drop you off and use the same driver the following day to see the Argentine falls and take you to the airport. You can do it in two nights if the flights work out, if not three and get and early flight the next day. Apart from the fall neither Foz nor PI are particularly interesting. One tip - do book a restaurant in PI in advance, we really struggle to find anywhere that had a table!
Glad you liked the blog
crellston is offline  
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