Location: Places >> South America
Login for full access to Couchsurfing Groups. Not a member yet? Join our community!

2 Months South America - Looking for Advice
Posted January 24th, 2013 - 3:36 pm by from London, England (Permalink)
Hey :)

Can someone please tell me if this plan looks Ok, give me advice on some stuff thats closeby but not yet on my list? Maybe some stuff that I can get rid of, for example I am not sure if I should go to both the Maridi NP and the Panatal - would one of them be enough aswell? Currently this plan contains a couple of days too many, I have 56 days overall from June 29th to August 25th, starting in Quito and returning from Rio. I plan to buy a LAN or oneworld Airpass to take about 5-6 flights within South America, the rest will be via bus. Need to check that out once the route is planned :)

Thanks for any help/advice!

[15] Ecuador
- [4] Quito
- [1] Guayaquil
- [6] Galapagos Islands
- [4] Quilotoa Loop, Including a 2 day climb to Cotopaxi

[15] Peru
- [2] Arequipa (Rafting in Colca Canyon?)
- [3] Cuzco (Sacred Valley of the Incas / Urubamba valley, Sacsayhuaman)
- [4] Machu Picchu (Salkantay or inca trail or Cachora/Choquequirao?)
- [1] Peru Side Lake Titicaca
- [5] Huaraz (Trekking in the Cordillera Blanca, Santa Cruz Trek?)

[14] Bolivia
- [3] La Paz
- [1] Yungas Road aka Death Road
- [2] Lake Titicaca & Isla del Sol
- [4] Salar de Uyuni
- [4] Rurrenabaque & Madidi National Park (Wildlife Spotting in the Beni Wetlands)

[2] Chile
- [2] Moon Valley - Valle de la Luna

[3] Argentina
- [1] Pucara de Tilcara
- [1] Quebrada de Humahuaca
- [1] Road from Cachi to Cafayate

[13] Brazil
- [5] Rio de Janeiro (Visit Favelas, Rocinha)
- [1] Itaipu Dam & Iguazu Falls
- [5] Pantanal Wetlands Tour (Spot Jaguars)
- [2] Roadtrip from Sao Paulo to Rio to stop at the beaches (if there is some extra time)



Posted January 29th, 2013 - 10:35 am by from London, England (Permalink)
Hm nobody? :(

Posted January 29th, 2013 - 1:31 pm by from Almere, Netherlands (Permalink)
Hi Chris,

Wish I could tell you about your plan!
But I am planning our first trip to South America too so...

IMO, your plan for Peru and Bolivia is good.

Hope someone from the area will see your post and reply soon.


Posted January 29th, 2013 - 2:21 pm by from Buenos Aires, Argentina (Permalink)
Hi Chris!!!

You have an awesome route plan!

I was in Cusco-Machu Picchu in December, it was amazing. I didn't made de Inca Trail (it was too expensive to me), I made it for my own (with bus). Be careful because right now is landslide time (alud), so maybe some roads are closed and for rafting is gonna be pretty dangerous.

For Argentina, of course you have to go to Quebrada, but I recomend to do "Salinas Grandes - Purmamarca". Is really close to Tilcara, in fact you can take a cheap bus in Tilcara to Purmamarca and then, in Purmamarca you can take a car (remis) with other people and go to Salinas, you are gonna love it!

For Brasil, I was in Rio 3 times, If you wanna visit a favela, I recomend go with some guide (I think there is a travel agency call "Be a Local" or something like that, it's very popular in the hostels). I visited Lapa (in the night you have to be careful), Tijuca, Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro and some "escolas" well and others thing

If you have any question from Brasil, Argentina or Peru, let me know!

Sorry for my cheap english jajaja!

Posted January 30th, 2013 - 1:33 am by from Ciudad de Mendoza, Argentina (Permalink)
Hello Chris!all the places in your list are worth to visit but i am afraid ,it is going to be difficult to do all of them because your schedule is pretty tight.You have to be wise using your flights and to be aware that only the most important cities in southamerica are connected by direct flights.
I would like to know about your itinerary in Peru,I suppose that Huaraz is the first city you are going to go.It is 8 hours away from Lima to the north by bus and then Arequipa is in southern Peru about 15 hours by bus.After that is going to be easy to get to Cusco,if you take a night bus you will be early in the morning in Cusco and the same from Cusco to Puno.I recommend you to visit the Uros and Amantani islands.From Puno you can go to Copacabana,the Bolivian side of the Titicaca lake,if you arrive early in the morning you will have time to go to the Isla del sol and then go to La Paz and continue with your trip.
One more thing about Peru,you will be in Cusco in July wich is high season,if you are doing the official inca trail you should book it now.
good luck1

Posted January 30th, 2013 - 1:18 pm by from London, England (Permalink)
thanks guys!

yes i know it is too much and I was hoping for advice on what to skip, espeecially on this one:

Madidi National Park or Pantanal Wetlands Tour

Can anybody compare and advice which one would be better if I can only do one?


Posted February 3rd, 2013 - 9:32 pm by from Santa Marta, Colombia (Permalink)
Better if you skip all but Galapagos in Ecuador. Quilatoa is awesome, but Andes around Huarez will sate your appetite for amazing mountaineering.

Arequipe you can miss, concentrate on just area around Cuzco will save you huge travel time.

Your Bolivia itinerary is mindblowing, spend more time there if you can, it is spectacular.

You can miss Chile, Salar de Uyuni blows it out of the water.

Don't know that part of Argie, Iguassu is amazing but it's a long way away.

You are missing the most diverse and exciting place on the continent right now: COLOMBIA.

If I were you I would do 1 month all Colombia, 1 week Galapagos, 1 week Huarez area, 1 week Cuzco area, 1 month Bolivia.

Come back do Argie and Brasil when you are old and rich.

Posted February 4th, 2013 - 10:34 am by from London, England (Permalink)
Thanks! I heard so many good things about columbia so i decided to go there for 2 months with venezuela and some parts of central america in a different trip.

I will also do another 2 months for patagonnia / chile / argentina in yet another trip!

so for now I just focus on the central part of south america.

Hm Arequipa does not seem to be soooo nice then? A couple of people told me that now so i think i will skip it.

Thanks! Nobody can compare the Madidi National Park and Pantanal Wetlands Tour? :(


Posted February 11th, 2013 - 4:26 pm by from Sinop, Brazil (Permalink)
There are better places in Brazil to go than the Pantanal (if you really wish get in touch with Mother Earth).

I would sugest you to go to Jaciara-MT or Nobres-MT wich are cheaper than Pantanal, and will provide you with much more fun - I've gone to both (and to Pantanal, wich is no big deal , and a bit expensive too).

If you want to go to the sunny beaches in Brazil, and if you have the time, besides Rio (more expensive), the states on the Northeast provide the best ones - specially on the Capital of Rio Grande do Norte (Natal).

Posted February 4th, 2013 - 12:29 am by from Sao Paulo, Brazil (Permalink)
I would suggest u to see other things in Rio beyond visiting favelas, there are so many beautiful things there to see like, Jardim Botanico, Sugar Loaf, Corcovado, Lapa, I really dont know why tourists like so much favelas.
Close to pantanal there is Bonito that is a beautiful place with a lot of ecologic and beautifull places to visit maybe u should research about it.
I hope I helped u!

Posted February 4th, 2013 - 10:35 am by from London, England (Permalink)
Thanks! Will check it out soon and google up your suggestions :)

Posted February 4th, 2013 - 2:27 pm by from Aeugst am Albis, Switzerland (Permalink)
Not including Colombia in your travel plans is like not coming to south America (well if you ask me). Brazil is really expensive to travel specially Rio. (well maybe bot all of Brazil but in general)
consider Colombia! you can get there by bus from Ecuador or by plane if you find some good offers.
check our website www.colomviva.com for more information about Colombia

Posted February 6th, 2013 - 1:58 pm by from London, England (Permalink)
Hey! As I said I only have 2 months and I want to spend a looong time in Columbia so I will come back there 1-2 years later.

This is my new route, any comments?

Posted February 6th, 2013 - 6:41 pm by from London, England (Permalink)
Hey, I'm doing a similar trip, but in 1 month time, although going from Colombia down to Buenos Aires. I saw the Lan Pass, that you are going to use. What is it? How do you get this?
Your trip looks great, you helped me a little discovering a little bit soe new places in Bolivia, thanks! I wondered how are you going to get from Chile to Iguazu Falls? You need to get that one figured out, the buses in Bolivia are horrid apparently, you don't want to be spending many hours on a stinky coach.
Greetings from Argentina!

Posted February 6th, 2013 - 6:47 pm by from Santa Marta, Colombia (Permalink)
Hey all if you are in Colombia, you should check out some of the epic tours Elemento are running on the Carribean coast: http://www.elementooutdoor.com/

They've got some awesome recent trip advisor commentaries too: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g1149024-d2440911-Reviews-Elemento_Outdoor_Adventure_Day_Tours-Taganga_Magdalena_Department.html

They go to amazing places very few other travellers get to see and you can experience so much in a day descending the highest coastal mountain in the world by bicycle.

Get involved in the action!

Posted February 8th, 2013 - 1:32 am by from Ciudad de Mendoza, Argentina (Permalink)
Hi Chris!In Puno you should go to Taquile and Amantani islands.
Te buses from San Pedro dde Atacama to Salta leaves 3 times a week and takes about 10 hours,from Salta to Puerto Iguazu about 24 hours,the Argentinian side of the falls are spectacular you can´t miss la garganta del diablo.

Posted February 9th, 2013 - 6:34 pm by from London, England (Permalink)
Thanks guys!

Ye, Koalas Travellers, thats my biggest question :)

My biggest concern is how to get from Calama to Foz do Iguaçu right now,
if I search for flights on skyscanner I can only see flights that take 25 or more hours which would suck! And sadly I do not have any
information about the Flight Times within the LAN Airpass. I'm also
puzzled about the fact that the flights Calama - brasilia and brasilia
to Foz do Iguaçu are free in the LAN Airpass

Posted February 9th, 2013 - 10:34 pm by from London, England (Permalink)
Ok I think will skip Brasil as it takes too much time to get there and do it together with Argentina next year...

So I will add 2 days in Santiago and fly back from there, with the new flights I will have 9 days left and now I have to decide between:

A) Go to the Galapagos Islands after climibing Cotopaxi (would be very cheap to get there with the LAN Airpass)

B) Spend 9 days in Colombia, starting in Bogota. The Airpass would allow me to fly from Bogota to Medellin and from there to Quito - I would at least take the 2nd flight because I heard its cool to fly into quito :) Maybe someone was traveling in the South West of Colombia and could give me some tipps on how to use the time there as its best.

Thanks a lot! It's really hard to skip parts I already planned but I think it's the wise choice :(


Posted February 13th, 2013 - 1:48 pm by from London, England (Permalink)
Hey Guys! I made up my mind and got the following route planned now: http://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2013/02/13/south-america-in-2013/#more-1944

Feel free to comment and provide advice about what agencys to use for the different trips (machu piccu, madidi np, salar de uyuni etc) or how to spend my time in the regions the best. For example I do not want to take a 6 day cruise for the galapagos islands but rather have everything self organzied with daily tours departing from Baltra.

Thanks for all your help!! :)

[3] Colombia
[1] Bogota – 28.06.2013 first full day

[1] Medellin

[1] Guatape
[18] Ecuador
[2] Quito

[1] Baños de Agua Santa

[3] Quilotoa Loop

[2] Climb Illiniza Norte 5,126m

[2] Climb Cotopaxi 5,897m

[1] Quito

[7] Galapagos Islands
[17] Peru
[2] Cuzco

[2] Sacred Valley of the Incas / Urubamba valley

[5] Machu Picchu

[1] Arequipa

[3] Hike in Colca Canyon (no tour)

[2] Climb El Misti 5,822m or Chachani 6,057m

[2] Puno / Peru Side of Lake Titicaca
[15] Bolivia
[2] Copacabana / Bolivia Side of Lake Titicaca

[2] La Paz

[1] Yungas Road aka Death Road

[5] Rurrenabaque & Madidi National Park

[5] Salar de Uyuni
[4] Chile
[3] San Pedro de Atacama , Salar de Uyuni Tour will leave us there.

[1] Santiago de Chile

Posted February 18th, 2013 - 6:55 am by from Melbourne, Australia (Permalink)
Hey Chris,

I love the look of your plan and am hoping to travel South America later this year.

If you don't mind me asking, how much are you budgeting for the trip? I have looked at Lonely Planet and the shoe-string traveller per day budgets. I'd be interested to see what a "real" person is planning to spend.

Talk soon,

Laura :)

Posted February 21st, 2013 - 11:52 am by from London, England (Permalink)
Hm I think it will be around 4000-5000 euros, depends on how much we spend on drinks etc :) I got some cheap flights now so this certainly helps hehe

Posted February 21st, 2013 - 12:51 pm by from Almere, Netherlands (Permalink)
Hi Chris,

Thank you for sharing all your info with us :)

My husband and I are planning our first trip to South America too. We are thinking of August or September for 2-3 month and still looking for cheap tickets.

Would love to hear from you during the trip too!

Good luck,

Posted February 23rd, 2013 - 2:09 pm by from London, England (Permalink)
I will post a travel report on my blog for sure!

Posted February 25th, 2013 - 11:05 pm by from Guayaquil, Ecuador (Permalink)
Hi man..!

Wauu..! You have 18 days in Ecuador..! It's very good..! Ecuador is amazing, so there are other nice places that you can visit for example Guayaquil(I live here) Guayaquil: Walk around downtown, Parque de las Iguanas, Malecon 2000, Las Peñas, Parque Historico.

It's posible that you have more time in Baños, There're excelent activities to do: A Must-Go-Spot! Waterfalls bike trek, bungee jumping, hot springs?, rafting, canyoning, cool night life. Beside Baños is near to Puyo: First and closer door to Ecuadorian jungle. Animal refugees and why not a shaman ritual?

If you decide visit Guayaquil you're welcome to Guayaquil, I can recieve you..!

Sorry, my english isn't very good! lol

Good luck in your trip..!



Posted March 3rd, 2013 - 4:29 pm by from London, England (Permalink)
Thanks for the offer! :)

I will actually fly back from the Galapos Islands to Guayaquil and may stay a night there- not sure yet but Ill let you know in case we do!

How is the bungee jumping in banos?


Posted March 4th, 2013 - 5:33 pm by from Guayaquil, Ecuador (Permalink)
Nice man.!
You're welcome.. the bungee jumping in baños is amazing..! I had this nice experience the last months..!

Posted March 15th, 2013 - 12:41 pm by from London, England (Permalink)
do you have a link with the company you did it? how much was it?

Posted March 15th, 2013 - 5:20 pm by from Guayaquil, Ecuador (Permalink)
I don't have a link, but I have contacts, number phone to this activities, they're my friends in Baños. Por examples the bungee jumping is $20, with a nice video and picture $20+$5= 25, It depent, you can bargain(ofrecer, regatear). :D

Posted March 21st, 2013 - 11:28 pm by from London, England (Permalink)
Great, thanks! Im off to scotland now for 16days of hiking and will get back to you once south america comes closer! :)

Posted March 23rd, 2013 - 3:25 pm by from Santa Marta, Colombia (Permalink)
Awesome, make sure to check out the islands of Eigg and Skye - so beautiful. Amazing hiking. Brilliant culture

Posted March 30th, 2013 - 7:04 am by from New York, United States (Permalink)
Are you still planning the travel? How did you pick your location? Are you backpacking or biking SA?
When does your travel to SA begin/end?

Posted May 16th, 2013 - 10:49 am by from London, England (Permalink)
Hey! Sorry didn't check this group in a while but yes, I am still doing the trip :) We are 3-5 people now and the details are here.

We just booked all of our Flights and the Machu Piccu tour and these are the remaining specific questions I got - maybe someone can help out with some of these.

Thanks a lot!!

1.) What's a good price for climbing Illiniza Norte and Cotopaxi
in Ecuador? I'm in contact with a Couchsurfer who is also offering
Tours up there as he is a Mountain guide. How do these prices compete?
He is charging $180 for Cotopaxi and $90 for Illiniza Norte if we are 3
or more. He also offered to get down to the bottom of the Cotopaxi
crater for $40 in 3 hours. Anyone did that?

2.) We did not book anything besides the Flights for the Galapagos Islands yet and I was reading here, here and here
that you can actually save a lot of money by not booking in advance.
I'm just not sure if there would really be any free spots for the three
of us if we go there in the middle of July?

3.) Has anyone climbed Cotopaxi AND one of the following Peaks in Peru?
Climb El Misti 5,822m or Chachani 6,057m. I would like to climb a
second mountain but El Misti looks veeeeeery similar to Cotopaxi so
maybe it would not really be worth doing it after Cotopaxi? How about
Chachani, anyone had any experiences there and can compare it to
Cotopaxi? Or should we skip those and rather do something else in the
two days?

4.) How would you suggest what the best way would be to explore Lake Titicaca
after arriving in Puno after a 6 hour bus ride from Arequipa ? I was
thinking of skipping the Floating Islands and spending more time on the
Bolivia Side at Isla del Sol for example. Any thoughts?

5.) Yungas Road: I planned to book with these guys. Should be a good choice I guess?

6.) I also planned 5 days to see the Madidi National Park
close to Rurrenabaque and do some Wildlife Spotting in the Beni
Wetlands. Is this something we have to book in advance or should it be
ok to book something on spot? We can either take a 50minute flight from
La Paz or 20 hour bus ride. Has anyone done the busride yet and can tell
me if it has some nice scenery at least or if we should rather get the

7.) Then we're on to Salar de Uyuni.
Same question here: Anyone has some recommendations for a tour operator
to do a 5 day trip which will in the end drop us off at San Pedro de
Atacama? And whats the best way to get there from Rurrenabaque? I assume
we would need to take a 15 hour bus ride from La Paz?

I think those are the most important questions that I have! Thanks a lot for anyone who can help answering them already


Posted June 7th, 2013 - 2:25 pm by from London, England (Permalink)
its all sorted out except for 2) and 6) in case someone wants to add a comment :)

Posted June 7th, 2013 - 3:52 pm by from Joao Pessoa, Brazil (Permalink)
Please see in google images this places:

praia de areia vermelha
praia de coqueirinho
praia do jacaré
praia de tababa
praia de intermares
praia de cabo branco

iff you desire know i can show for you..
im guide tourist in João Pessoa..