Thinking of Family Trip to South America

Old Aug 28th, 2022, 04:18 PM
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Thinking of Family Trip to South America

Hi,
We’re a family of 3 – the couple and our 10yo, planning exploring a budget trip to South America. We’re originally from Asia settled in Canada. Why am I telling this? To emphasize that we’ve no idea about South America (other than googling ofc) and that language *will* be a barrier.

So then why South America you ask. Well, just because we want to visit get lost in a different world. I will probably share our preferences and what we’re looking to get out of the trip.

Although we’d like to visit all the must-visits (think Machu Picchu), we’re not for just checking boxes. To explain further, I’d rather roam the streets of the local town to see how people live than visit a museum. Rather travel by local bus than visit the pub. We love nature but not so trekky. Generally, we’re frugal, so budget hotels (even shared accos would be okay) and street food would be preferred as it fits with my appetite to see the culture.

I did some preliminary research and figured that I cannot do a pan South America trip. So I decided to stick with west side of South America - Columbia-Galapagos-Cusco-Bolivia. Rather than visiting everything in the country, I'd like to pick the spots and cover them. Other thought was to have some buffer days, especially at places where there are altitude adjustments needed, so can increase the time to 3 weeks (as long as does not increase the budget too much).

Now coming to the budget, more than a dollar amount, I would like bang for the buck. Am I being crazy to think this can be covered with $10K USD? This is excluding external flights to/from Canada, but includes the intercity flights.

This would be mid-2023, and I am just exploring, not making a proper plan for now. Thoughts?
mrbean is offline  
Old Aug 28th, 2022, 10:20 PM
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It is a good you are not making a "proper plan" right now. Your budget is fine. $10k for 3 weeks equates to $500 per day which is fine (although Galapagos would take a large chunk of that) but you plan to visit four countries in 21 days is beyond crazy!

Just do the maths, that works out at 5 days per country. You will lose an entire day every time you change country so that reduces your "usable" sightseeing time to 17 days. That will be further reduced by the half day you will lose every time you change location within a country (two nights will only allow one full day of sightseeing. Even the most optimistic itinerary will only allow 3-4 days of actual sightseeing wishing each country which is nothing!

To see Machu Picchu and The Sacred Valley require a minimum of 5 nights ( but 7 would be much better) . Allow a week for Galapagos. Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia needs 3 days plus 2 in La Paz.

To save yourself a lot of time, I would have a major rethink and plan on just visiting one country and doing it in a little depth or maybe the highlights of two. First choice for a first timer would be Peru which has a well developed tourism infrastructure and is really easy to travel around. You could see some really amazing sights in 3 weeks. If you wanted two countries then it combines well with Bolivia - Lake Titicaca , La Paz and Salar de Uyuni.

some details and photos of our travels in these place which may provide some ideas of what suits your family ( or not) on our blog @ https://accidentalnomads.com . Just use the destination tab to go to the appropriate country.

Happy to help With specifics when you narrow down your choices


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Old Aug 30th, 2022, 07:42 AM
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Thank you @crellston for the response, this is the kind of response I was hoping to get.

Point # 1 - I was talking to my better half and she said she doesnt want to visit beaches. We discussed that Galapagos is much more than animals and beaches, but still its not something that we would throw our weight behind.
Point # 2 - You mentioned Galapagos will suck most of the budget + a week.

So I have this bold crazy idea to drop Galapagos (& Ecuador with it). This would give us more breathing time at other places. Machu Picchu, and some of the ancient stuff appeals to me more.

P.S: Saw your blog, beautiful. I plan to to go through posts in details in leisure time.
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Old Jan 19th, 2023, 02:23 AM
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Hi there,

Things to consider:
(1) Colombia is a big country. If you are travelling with a 10 yo i suggest to stick to one place where you have plenty of nature and and activities and stay 3 or 4 days.

if i have to pick one place in Colombia, that would be Quindio ( Salento, Cocora Valley, and other fun activities around) . From Canada, without knowing your location, I will try to fly Copa Airlines. They have flights to Armenia, Quindio).

In that area I recommend to stay in a "finca" ( rural accommodation with confortable rooms) to enjoy locals. As I said in a previous post, look for accommodation not only in conventional sites but also Airbnb. Most of those "fincas" have more than one room, so even if you see dates blocked, contact the owner. I stayed at very peaceful farm in an area called Caney - Llanadas, with a great local family who helped to get the places we needed to go. Check Iruaecolodge.

(2) Check Peru's political unrest. It could be settled by the time of your trip.

(3) Ecuador is a beautiful country. My favorite place is near Quito: Cotopaxi Volcano. Great nature activities for families and amazing views. Check Cotopaxi Pungo hotel. English spoken. It' is 40 minutes from Quito Airport. Contact the hotel in advance, and check transportation.

From Quito fly to Baltra or San Cristobal. Galapagos is far from the continent, and flight takes around three hours. I took a 5 day cruise in Galapagos and it was very good. Just keep in mind that large cruise ships are not allowed. Check different travel agencies or cruises. [Expensive]

(4) Bolivia: two places to go: Salar de Uyuni and Titicaca Lake. Titicaca will be possible if you finally go to Perú. (Just be careful with altitude). Salar de Uyuni is also reachable from Atacama desert in Chile.

(5) if for any reason you decide not to go to Perú or Galapagos, I would suggest Argentina and glaciars. The areas of Perito Moreno and Ushuaia are great to visit.

South America is very big and flights tend to be expensive. Try to save your budget in your first leg in Colombia if you stick with your Galapagos plan.



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