travel advice & savings
 
SAVE on RAIL PASSES LOWEST PRICES / FREE SHIPPING on orders over $449!
Now use the Trip Planner to:
  • Find and Buy Rail Passes
  • Find and Book Hostels
Already know which Rail Pass you need?
Click here and buy now!
Special Eurotrip Member Savings!
37 replies
South America
nivid
nivid's profile picture
Moderator
ModeratorModeratorModeratorModeratorModerator
Eurotrip Points: 1651
Member: 2316
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 1 year 41 weeks ago.

Hey Everyone,

I’m looking for some S.A. info, and I know that many of you have been there before.

Here’s what i’m looking for, so hopefully some of you can help me out.

1) What tends to be the cheapest place to fly into? I was thinking Brazil, Argentina, or Chile…maybe Peru (BTW, those are mainly the countries i’m interested in)

2) What and where are the major sites? I know some of them but not all. (general I know, but i’m really not very knowledgeable in S.A.)

3) When is the best time of year for travelling since it’s the Southern Hemisphere? I want to avoid rainy season, if possible, and be there when it’s reasonably warm, but not too hot.

Any suggestions would be appreciated. I’ve also posted this in the "rest of the world" forum, but since many people don’t read it, i’ll post it here where it will be read more.

Thanks

CalOlEn
CalOlEn's profile picture
New Member
New Member
Eurotrip Points: 39
Member: 3709
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 7 years 30 weeks ago.

Hi Nivid, I live in Equador and I’ve travelled pretty much everywhere in south america.. First of all, flying in south america tends to be quite expensive, specially comparing to usa and european prices.. but, south america in general, is cheap depending where you go. For example, in my country, you can find lunches for as low as 1$ and that will include soup, dish, dessert and juice. South America is much more than the countries you’ve listed, in fact if you dont like very much "big touristy" places, you will like some places elsewhere.. For example, Macchu Picchu can become terribly crowded and touristy, but the Ruinas of Ingapirca in Cuenca, Ecuador are bot very touristy and i personally like them better than Macchu Picchu.. Argentina tends to be more european, it’s pretty nice and cheap also (one of the cheapest countries in south america probably at the moment), but i personally recommend some amazon and jungle trekking, visiting Andean mountains, indian markets and that kind of places you wont find elsewhere in the world. Colombia is also a interesting country, if you like beaches, you will find incredibly good prices in nice resorts in Cartagena, Medellin or Cali, you wont believe the low prices and it’s not that dangerous, people shouldn’t be that afraid of going to Colombia..
Nice and sunny weather, specially in the Andean countries, would be from around april to september or october.. that’s pretty much the best season to come to south america.. i would specially recommend a south american tour by bus, you will meet interesting local people, and you will find a wide diversity of cultures from country to country.. In fact, every country is nice and needs to be visited. If you come to South America, I’d be pleased to meet you and travel with you or give you some advice on whatever you need.
Good Luck NIVID!!

nivid
nivid's profile picture
Moderator
ModeratorModeratorModeratorModeratorModerator
Eurotrip Points: 1651
Member: 2316
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 1 year 41 weeks ago.

Thanks for the infor CalOlEn,

I’m not really sure what i’m interested in yet. I just want to get lots of info from experienced people, like you. Then i’ll decide where I want to go. I’d definitly like to meet up on my travels.

Are there any cheap flights available with S.A.? Or is the bus the best way to go?

I’ll probably be asking you more questions in the future if you don’t mind.

Thanks.

Santa Klaus
Santa Klaus's profile picture
Traveler
TravelerTravelerTraveler
Eurotrip Points: 263
Member: 333
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 5 years 3 weeks ago.

Domestic flights are not that expensive in South America, but as soon as you´ll fly over a border it´s going to be ridiculously expensive. No idea why.
Buses are certainly the way to go. In Brazil and Argentina, as well as on the routes along the Panamericana, they are like space shuttles, much better than anywhere in Europe, and really cheap.
In contrast, in the mountains (unpaved roads everywhere) they use 30 year old Mercedes beasts, they´re apparently indestructible. You´ll travel with goats and chicken in crammed rusting things, the bus companies have funny names like "corazón de jesús" and they desperately need any help of god to reach their destination in one piece. Good fun.
I went to South America 4 times (2-4 monthe each time) and had a blast everywhere I went. If you´re a bit worried start with Chile, it´s a fantastic country, safe, and as "European" as it gets. Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador boast some terrific indigenous culture, but at times I felt like being on a different planet. Which is what trevelling should be all about anyway, isn´t it?
Apart from the capitals, the cities are generally not that interesting (exeption: Rio), but every country there has various breathtaking national parks.

Nadrazi
Nadrazi's profile picture
Traveler
TravelerTravelerTraveler
Eurotrip Points: 277
Member: 1259
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 7 years 11 weeks ago.

CalOlEn,

I’m also planning a S.A. trip for this may and june, how’s the weather and tourist situation around that time? It looks like I’ll be flying into Buenos Aires, Arg and working my way north – my only plan is to eventually hike the inca trail up to machu picchu. Not much interested in beaches this time but would love some jungle treking, indian market advice as well as other places such as the Ingapirca Ruins. Any other suggestions on what route to take or places not to miss? Also I understand your points on Colombia, but the american in me is still weary of going there.

Santa,
What’s the general situation with the buses as far as speed, reliability, reservations? Really I’m just wondering what kind of planning needs to go into bus travel in S.A. or can I basically just show up at the station and try to get on the next bus?

nivid, didn’t mean to hijack your thread here, just thought it pointless to make another. By the way, when are you planning on going?

CalOlEn
CalOlEn's profile picture
New Member
New Member
Eurotrip Points: 39
Member: 3709
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 7 years 30 weeks ago.

Don’t worry, I’d be pleased to answer any questions you may have.
NIVID:
Of course yoy cand find cheap flights, it always depends on where you go, it’s always best to travel to the capitals. For example, from Quito, Ecuador you can find flights to Lima, Peru from around 150-200$ (2 hour flight, maybe a little more), but if you do Quito(Ecuador)-Guayaquil(biggest city in Equador) (a 25mns. flight), that would cost you 120$. So, if you want to go to Guayaquil from Quito, I recommend taking a bus, it will cost you 10$. So, it all depends on the countries, but in general flying in south america is ridiculously expensive comparing to Europe or the US. I don’t recommend renting a car, cos it might be a little expensive also, I definitely recommend bus and train travels. As Santa said, bus in the lower part of SA (Argentina, Uruguay, Chile) is extremely cheap and very reliable, you wont have any problems, they’re safe, and you dont have to make reservations of any kind, just show up. In the upper part of the region (Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia), it’s impossible to make reservations, you will have just to show up, buses can be a little frightening the first time, cos the roads aren’t as nice as in Europe, but believe me, you will be safe and it will be a nice experience to ride on these buses. At first you will think it’s kindda suicidal or something lol.., but you will enjoy the rides, and landscapes are just amazing, you will experience different kinds of weather in less than 4 hours, you will see snowy mountains, jungle, little indian towns and that sort of things… SA is truly beautiful, I’ve met lots of european backpackers that have come to Equador, and they just love it, in fact, there are small towns in the coast that are full of people from abroad that just have decided to stay and they now live there..
Also, countries here are very cheap in general (except probably venezuela and chile, which are probably the most expensive countries, but not as expensive as europe anyways).
NADRAZI:
As i said before, buses are different in the upper part of SA and in the lower part, being in the lower part more modern and faster. In Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru,.. they’re old in general, but if you’re lucky and you look around, you will find also nice and modern buses with TV, DVD, air conditioner.. but they’re slightly more expensive than the older ones (not very expensive though).
If you like skiing, you definitely dont have to miss chile.. for indian markets, you will find a lot in Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia in the areas around the Andean Mountains. In Ecuador you definitely dont have to miss the Otavalo Market, i think it’s one of the most beautiful and cheapest markets, they’re also very touristy, but accomodation in Otavalo is very cheap. In Peru, you definitely dont have to miss el Cusco and the Amazonean Region, which is richer than in Equador,.. try to socialize with natives from this region, they will make you taste some of their tasty and "local" foods. They’re surprisingly good, believe me.. You can do also kayak in these regions.. Galapagos in Equador is definitely paradise, El Salto del Angel Falls in Venezuela are the most important in the world (far better and nicer than niagara falls), you will also find deserts in Venezuela (like in Egypt!), Peru and Chile.. Every country definitely has something unbelievable, worth to be seen..

nivid
nivid's profile picture
Moderator
ModeratorModeratorModeratorModeratorModerator
Eurotrip Points: 1651
Member: 2316
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 1 year 41 weeks ago.

Nadrazi,

I’m glad you joined on the thread, cause I can use some of your info too. Really though, S.A. is the one continent where i’m pretty much clueless as far as travelling around it goes.

I’m thinking fall for travelling. Nothing is set yet, and it will depend on a few things, but i’d love to go in the fall. If not it may have to be pushed off until a year from now.

Did you find Buenos Aires to be a cheap place to fly into? I was told maybe Lima on the other site. For me it doesn’t matter much as long as I get the cheapest option. I’m looking at seeing at least 3 countries (Brazil, Argentina, and Peru for sure), so it really makes no difference. I’ll just figure out where I want to go when I know where i’m starting and ending.

Thanks Santa and CalOlEn for the extra info. Do you know what the cheap airlines are? OR any websites that show routes? I think i’ll use the bus more, but there will be times when I will have to use the plane. Ex. from Rio to another Major city or somewhere else in Brazil.

Thanks again everyone!!

Nadrazi
Nadrazi's profile picture
Traveler
TravelerTravelerTraveler
Eurotrip Points: 277
Member: 1259
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 7 years 11 weeks ago.

Thanks nivid, I was thinking the more the better since I’m pretty clueless as well. I don’t really plan on flying at all once I’m down there, the bus system seems to offer the exposure that I’m looking for as well as the right price (as I just blew all my travel money in Costa Rica – I know two in one year, but this one is gonna be cheap). I’m looking now at Arg, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Venezuela – time and money permitting. I know I’m leaving out Brazil, but it’s such a huge country and I’ve heard so much about it that I’m thinking of putting off Brazil until another trip when I can devote some serious time. As far as flights down there I wish I could help you out but I’m acutally cheating on this one. I got a buddy who works for an airline and is hooking me up with a cheap standbye flight, which is the whole reason this trip is possible for me now, sorry. Anyway I would assume B.A. is not one of the cheaper places to fly into just because of its geographic distance.

nivid
nivid's profile picture
Moderator
ModeratorModeratorModeratorModeratorModerator
Eurotrip Points: 1651
Member: 2316
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 1 year 41 weeks ago.

Nadrazi,

Thats great. I’m in the same situation. I am in the process of getting a really cheap ticket from a friend, but it’s for travel within Canada since the airline only flies to the US and Canada. Not as good as Argentina, but good anyway.

Just curious, how long is your intended trip anyway?

For me Brazil is the #1 place (I checked flights and I think Sao Paolo may be the cheapest for me). But I also have to go to Argentina and Peru. Whatever other places I may get too i’ll probably decide later. Right now I don’t even know how long i’ll be able to go for so it will depend on that.

If you figure out any good info, be sure to share and i’ll do the same.

Nadrazi
Nadrazi's profile picture
Traveler
TravelerTravelerTraveler
Eurotrip Points: 277
Member: 1259
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 7 years 11 weeks ago.

I understand where you’re coming from, as Brazil is one of the biggest stops for me as well. However the two guys I’m going with are determined upon Argentina (we met some argentinean girls in rome and they fell in love), and since I’m bumming a cheap ticket here I only have limited say. But I’ll probably break away from them at some point and I figured I could probably see a lot more if I held off on Brazil – but I’ll really be going day to day so we’ll see where I end up. I’m planning on around 7 weeks if my money situation will carry me that far.

CalOlEn
CalOlEn's profile picture
New Member
New Member
Eurotrip Points: 39
Member: 3709
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 7 years 30 weeks ago.

I definitely agree with you nadrazi that brazil is such a huge country, with a wide variety of options.. I think it’s much better for first timers in SA, to put off Brazil and leave it for a future trip. Brazil needs to be experienced at full.. and nivid, the 3 countries you’re most interested are kindda far away from each other, leaving aside lots of interesting things between these two countries, I believe you should stick in a determined area depending on your travelling time, cos you always have to remember that transportation in SA is a lot slower than in Europe.. therefore, transportation will be less convenient (in terms of time) than in Europe.

nivid
nivid's profile picture
Moderator
ModeratorModeratorModeratorModeratorModerator
Eurotrip Points: 1651
Member: 2316
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 1 year 41 weeks ago.

Thanks for the advice CalOlEn.

I know they are far apart, but it’s really hard to not try and see it all when i’m there. I am definitly going to Rio, and that’s for sure. I’m not going to SA without stoppping there. And i’ll also be spending some time in Sao Paolo, since that will most likely be where I end up flying into.

One thing that will determine where else I will be going is where ever I can find an Amazon river tour. I just want to do a boat tour down the Amazon for a few days.

Do you know any reasonably priced tours that I may be able to check out??

I don’t really know which part of the Amazon to go to. I want to get to the typical rainforest, narrow river, jungle tour. I was thinking that I would find this more in Peru then Brazil, but I really have no idea. I also want to see Machu Picchu, so another reason for Peru. So if I have to fly to Peru from Brazil then that’s fine. I don’t mind having to fly once, but i’m going to try and use the buses for everything else.

Also, as for Argentina, I really have no idea what I want to see there. I have lots of researching to do. Thats why it’s great to hear from people who have been to SA, or even better live there.

I have just always wanted to go to Buenas Aires, so really there are no other plans for Argentina yet.

Nadrazi
Nadrazi's profile picture
Traveler
TravelerTravelerTraveler
Eurotrip Points: 277
Member: 1259
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 7 years 11 weeks ago.

nivid,

I would assume for tours, that once you get in the area you wouldn’t have any trouble finding help (or having help thrown at you). At least that was pretty much the case in Costa Rica, you couldn’t walk anywhere without seeing signs for tour groups offering atv’s, canapy tours, and volcano trips. I even ended up taking a little private jungle river-boat tour just by walking down the beach and finding a river with a bunch of guys and boats.

Back to S.A. though, what kind of daily budget should I be looking at. I understand as CalOlEn was saying that Argentina/Chile will differ from Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia… but what should I expect to spend staying in hostels/cheap hotels, cheap food, buses …etc. Is $30-35USD not including travel expenses reasonable as an average?

Also regarding Machu Picchu I’ve heard it can get a little pricey since you have to hire a tour guide – but since I’ll be on my own will I be able to split the price among a group or is it a flat price per person? And for June can I just show up in Cusco and make a reservation for a day or two later or do I need to make reservations well ahead of time. Mainly because I don’t want to have any set dates if possible.

CalOlEn
CalOlEn's profile picture
New Member
New Member
Eurotrip Points: 39
Member: 3709
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 7 years 30 weeks ago.

Nadrazi, I believe 30 to 35$ a day is way more than needed, in countries like Argentina or Ecuador where meals (good ones though) can become extremely unexpensive, and cheap hostels will cost you around 10$ a day, I believe you will need 20 to 25 dollars, and even that is generous.
Nadrazi, Macchu Picchu is becoming more expensive because sooner o later (we dont know yet), bur in any case in a near future, peruvians will close macchu picchu forever because they feel tourists are destroying this historical place. So I think you should be aware of that.. I’m pretty sure for instance, that my kids (i dont have kinds, but in a distant future..) will never be able to see Macchu Picchu, which is a pity. You just showp up in Cusco and it will be extremely easy to be set, and you will have to ask for prices cos there will be tons of tour guides.. it’s your choice, if you’re not that into historical stuff, just share expenses with some people for a tour guide or just take one of your own.. in any case, you have to keep asking, as prices are always extremely flexible..

nivid
nivid's profile picture
Moderator
ModeratorModeratorModeratorModeratorModerator
Eurotrip Points: 1651
Member: 2316
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 1 year 41 weeks ago.

Thanks to both of you for the extra information. I figured the Amazon tours would be like that, but i’m just looking for one of the better ones.

I want a good tour, but I want to know the area where the best tours are so I can travel there, and look for a tour when I get there. I’m not sure what part of the Amazon is best for tour boat trips that last for 4-5 days or so.

Thanks!

Nadrazi
Nadrazi's profile picture
Traveler
TravelerTravelerTraveler
Eurotrip Points: 277
Member: 1259
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 7 years 11 weeks ago.

Nivid,

Check out http://fullpassport.com/index.html. Auher posted it awhile back on his site, a couple’s three year backpacking trip. Their S.A. section is pretty good and has a lot of information – and they went on a couple amazon tours in Peru and Brazil so that might help you out a bit.

nivid
nivid's profile picture
Moderator
ModeratorModeratorModeratorModeratorModerator
Eurotrip Points: 1651
Member: 2316
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 1 year 41 weeks ago.

Thanks for reminding me of that link. I remember reading some of it way back then, but forgot all about it.

Pezza12
Pezza12's profile picture
New Member
New Member
Eurotrip Points: 23
Member: 4240
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 7 years 30 weeks ago.

hey i spent a month in south america in december and am now in the states before going to europe – needed 3 months to do it properly
but was awesome anyway..
i went to peru for the inca trail, buenos airies, chile and brazil..

Cusco/ inca trail – awesome.. cusco is a cool little town with a lot of character – heaps of day trips to do out of there too – for example we went white water rafting, mountain biking.. then the inca trail – only cost me $150 US – i bought it there which was no problem but we were there in low season – im a student too so got $25 US off with my itsic card.. be prepared for a tough work out – its hard work and at times you will be hating it.. but the scenery is awesome and as time goes on you forget about the hard times and only remember how amazing it was.. nightlife in cusco is not bad too – every place has free drinks- one night i managed to bar hop – have about 15 drinks all free..food and everything is also very cheap

Santiago – dont bother – got a 23 hour bus from here to BA – around 50US

Buenos Airies- best nightlife of any where i have been.. but it is a must you stay at MILHOUSE hostel – party central.. theres about 50-80 people party at the hostel every night as a pre game and then the hostel has a bus that takes you to the best night club for the night.. OPERA BAY is the best nightclub i have ever been to.. there late nights though.. pre games dont start till 11 and nightclubs not till 2 so you dont get home till sunrise often.. steaks are awesome in arentina too and are only 7 dollars US or there abouts.. Boca is a good place to go and see with colourful buildings and the soccer is a must as well whether u like sport or not – atmosphere is amazing – the hostel has reserved seats there so you go as a group from the hostel..

Brazil – 29 hour bus from buenos aireis to florianoplis – around 100US..florianopilis is a big place so if you go there do your research before you go – beaaches are bautiful as are woman – great for day sessions – bars on the beach.. we had new years in rio – awesome place – make sure you get up to the lookouts, and make sure you do a fevella tour – you go up intot he slums tha are literally only ikm away from downtown rio- amazing experience – go with a tour tho.. beach is awesome and nightlife isnt bad too.. brazil is alot more expensive than peru and ba’s tho..

few of my mates also went to ilha grande, salvador and iguazo falls after i left and the all sounding amzing – ilha grande only 3 hours from rio and alot more chilled.. iguazo falls – spectacular and salvador party and beach..

anyways hope this helped.. have a awesome time

LeoX
LeoX's profile picture
Member
MemberMember
Eurotrip Points: 63
Member: 2339
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 5 years 30 weeks ago.

Hey, if u need any info about Argentina, dont hesitate on asking

here is a site where u can find anything u r looking for

www.liveargentina.co… (Spanish, English, Portuguese, French, Italian )

msn: xhoustonx@hotmail.com

nivid
nivid's profile picture
Moderator
ModeratorModeratorModeratorModeratorModerator
Eurotrip Points: 1651
Member: 2316
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 1 year 41 weeks ago.

Thanks for all that info Pezza. It seems like you checked out most of the stuff that i’m interested in. I’m not sure yet how long i’ll be going but it will be more than a month.

Were all those buses direct?? 23 and 29 hours seems like a long time to spend on a bus. Were they comfortable??

Thanks Leo for that link. I’ll be sure to email you directly when I have some specific questions, and i’ll add you to msn.

Pezza12
Pezza12's profile picture
New Member
New Member
Eurotrip Points: 23
Member: 4240
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 7 years 30 weeks ago.

bus rides were direct – had to stop at borders for customs and have a few 45 minute stops for meals.. they were really comfortable – pretty much like a business class seat on a plane and have movies on them.. of the 29 hours from buenos airies to florianoplis i slept for 23 of them – i was so buggered from a week of partying that i couldnt wait to get on th ebus just so i could have a alcahol free day..

nivid
nivid's profile picture
Moderator
ModeratorModeratorModeratorModeratorModerator
Eurotrip Points: 1651
Member: 2316
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 1 year 41 weeks ago.

Thanks again Pezza! I’m thinking of heading to Florianopolis as well. I may also stop by Uruguay.

Right now after talking to some people, especially Leo, this is what i’m thinking.

For Brazil:

Sao Paolo – only because I will probably have to land there?
Iguazu falls
Rio
Florianopolis

Uruguay:

Montevideo
Colonia?

Argentina:

Buenas Aires
El Tigre?

Peru:

Cuzcu
Lima – I may be landing here as well
Iquitos

Chile:

Santiago

I’m really not too sure other than Brazil is for sure. I think Argentina is also a definite on the list, and Uruguay sounds interesting. I want to see Peru as well, but maybe it might have to wait becuase of the length of the bus trips and the high prices of airfare.

Any more suggestions are welcome! Thanks everyone.

Nadrazi
Nadrazi's profile picture
Traveler
TravelerTravelerTraveler
Eurotrip Points: 277
Member: 1259
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 7 years 11 weeks ago.

wow I can’t believe the length of those bus rides rides. I realize it’s a good distance but that’s still going pretty slow, was it a lack of direct roads, or the conditions…..?

Also what was so bad about Santiago?

Santa Klaus
Santa Klaus's profile picture
Traveler
TravelerTravelerTraveler
Eurotrip Points: 263
Member: 333
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 5 years 3 weeks ago.

The buses are quite fast (at least on the paved main routes), but the distances are enormous. Chile is only twice the size of Germany, but 4.200 km from one end to the other. Argentina is about the size of the entire European Union! Brazil is twice the size of Argentina.

PLEASE PLEASE don´t rush through 7 countries in 4 weeks. You just won´t get ANYTHING out of it. Part of the "South America Experience" ist slowing down yourself to THEIR speed of life. Take it easy and suck up as much as you can of the place where you are. You just can´t see it "all" in less than one year, believe me.

Decide: are you a party animal, then stick to the big cities. Are you a beach person, then stay in Brazil. Do you like hiking and mountains, then go to the Andes. Decide!

It won´t be your last time there. As a matter of fact, I haven´t met anyone who didn´t get instantly addicted to South America.

If you fly into Sao Paulo, visit Rio, one of the islands off the coast (like Morro de Sao Paulo), Uruguay, Iguacu and Buenos Aires, and a few small places along the way. No more.

If you fly into Lima, enjoy a Saturday evening in Barranco (their nightlife area), then get the hell out of that dump and see the mountains. Don´t do the Inca Trail. By local standard´s it´s just a total rip-off. You can take the train to Macchu Pichu and do the hiking elsewhere (like in Huaraz) where there are less tourists and the locals still see you as a person, not a walking cash machine.

What´s so bad about Santiago? Nothing. If you force me to spend the rest of my life in South America, I´d probably move to Santiago.

nivid
nivid's profile picture
Moderator
ModeratorModeratorModeratorModeratorModerator
Eurotrip Points: 1651
Member: 2316
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 1 year 41 weeks ago.

quote: PLEASE PLEASE don´t rush through 7 countries in 4 weeks. You just won´t get ANYTHING out of it.

Who’s going for 4 weeks???? Not me. I don’t have a set time frame, but it will be way more than a month. 2 at absolute minimum.

quote: If you fly into Sao Paulo, visit Rio, one of the islands off the coast (like Morro de Sao Paulo), Uruguay, Iguacu and Buenos Aires, and a few small places along the way. No more.

This is actually more along the lines I was thinking. Only because flights are too expensive, and the bus trip would be too long to get to Peru.

Even with only those places i’ll still be gone much longer than 4 weeks, if it was me you were referring too. The places I listed were just ideas.

Santa Klaus
Santa Klaus's profile picture
Traveler
TravelerTravelerTraveler
Eurotrip Points: 263
Member: 333
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 5 years 3 weeks ago.

That´s good nivid.

Do you speak any portugese or spanish? If not take some classes before you go. What I liked most about South America were the locals. They really are sociable, and they have a similar cultural background as we Europeans (or North Americans) so it´s quite easy to get in contact with them (not like in South East Asia, where you more feel like being on an entire different planet).

If you speak a few words of their language.

They´re only able to learn English if they have wealthy parents who can affort a good school.

AND: the entire female population wants to be married with a gringo, so you have been warned! (I assume you´re a guy)

If you only speak spanish it won´t be a problem. Brazilians understand it quite easily and once you got the trick with their accent you´ll anderstand them, too.

If you´re going to learn portugese make sure the teacher is from Brazil. In Portugal they have a very different dialect.

You´ll have heaps of fun, and you´ll be back there.

nivid
nivid's profile picture
Moderator
ModeratorModeratorModeratorModeratorModerator
Eurotrip Points: 1651
Member: 2316
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 1 year 41 weeks ago.

Dear Santa,

Yes I speak a little Spanish, but it’s very little I don’t speak any Portuguese though. I think i’ll be able to manage.

quote: AND: the entire female population wants to be married with a gringo, so you have been warned! (I assume you´re a guy)

Yup, i’m a guy.

Thanks for the info.

Santa Klaus
Santa Klaus's profile picture
Traveler
TravelerTravelerTraveler
Eurotrip Points: 263
Member: 333
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 5 years 3 weeks ago.

Boa viagem!

nivid
nivid's profile picture
Moderator
ModeratorModeratorModeratorModeratorModerator
Eurotrip Points: 1651
Member: 2316
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 1 year 41 weeks ago.

Thanks!!

I had to go and translate that….haha, but I get it now. It really is quite different from Spanish…yet still similar..¡Viaje bueno!

LeoX
LeoX's profile picture
Member
MemberMember
Eurotrip Points: 63
Member: 2339
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 5 years 30 weeks ago.

es Buen viaje Wink
hehehe

Nadrazi
Nadrazi's profile picture
Traveler
TravelerTravelerTraveler
Eurotrip Points: 277
Member: 1259
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 7 years 11 weeks ago.

quote: AND: the entire female population wants to be married with a gringo, so you have been warned! (I assume you´re a guy)
Eso es fantástico!

And now the ubiquitous Machu Picchu question. Im right now trying to book for the middle of June, but it’s not looking promising. If I can’t get a spot I’ll hang around Cusco for a few days hoping to jump on a cancellation but if not – any recommondation for any other ruins/hikes in the area. I’ll be pretty upset by missing MP but if I have to I want to fill in with something else.

CaLOLen mentioned Ingapirca ruins in Ecuador, but never heard of them. Anyone else been there? Any others in Peru specifically, I’m thinking of flying back from Lima now so I may not make it all the way up to Ecuador.

Also I really want to go see the Salar de Uyuni salt lake in Bolivia. Has anyone been out here and any advice about tours?

Santa Klaus
Santa Klaus's profile picture
Traveler
TravelerTravelerTraveler
Eurotrip Points: 263
Member: 333
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 5 years 3 weeks ago.

It´s been a few years since I have been to Macchu Pichu, but the "booking" issue is entirely new to me!

I would be VERY surprised if there´s not a tour guide on every corner in Cusco, trying to get you on his tour!

Mind you: you do NOT have to walk the Inca trail if you only want to see the ruins. There are daily trains to Aguas Calientes, from where you can just walk up to the site (or take the shuttle bus for a few dollars).

When I was there, everyone told me that Inca Trail (referred to as "Gringo Trail&quotWink is crap. Overpriced ant overtravelled. They told me they have just collected 400 tons of garbage along the trail, and that was just the stuff they couldn´t burn on the spot.

Hike elsewhere. The Huaraz region in Peru is well known for stunning mountains, or the Colca Canyon near Arequipa.

Nadrazi
Nadrazi's profile picture
Traveler
TravelerTravelerTraveler
Eurotrip Points: 277
Member: 1259
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 7 years 11 weeks ago.

Sure there’s a HUGE number of tours to choose from……the problem is that they now issue permits limited to only 500 hundred people a day (from what I’ve heard that 500 is split between hikers and porters) and so permits for the high season (June-Sept) can run out really fast.

Santa Klaus
Santa Klaus's profile picture
Traveler
TravelerTravelerTraveler
Eurotrip Points: 263
Member: 333
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 5 years 3 weeks ago.

Aha.

Would those 500 be for the Inca Trail (sounds reasonable to me) or the site itself?

Nadrazi
Nadrazi's profile picture
Traveler
TravelerTravelerTraveler
Eurotrip Points: 277
Member: 1259
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 7 years 11 weeks ago.

I’m pretty sure the 500 permits is for the Inca Trail and does not apply to those coming up from Aguas Calientes.

Sure taking the Inca Trail is not exactly off the beaten path – even limited at 500 people a day is pretty well traveled. There will always be plenty of cynics for any kind of guided tour like this, but there are so many more who come back raving about it. Personally I like the idea of having to earn your way up to Machu Picchu, hiking for 4 days just to get a glimpse of it. We’ll see.

Santa Klaus
Santa Klaus's profile picture
Traveler
TravelerTravelerTraveler
Eurotrip Points: 263
Member: 333
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 5 years 3 weeks ago.

I´m not cynical or saying it´s not worth it. I´m just suggesting you can have the same in many other national parks for free, without reservation hassle, and on pretty untravelled paths. That´s all.

I did not find the ruins themselves too amazing, sure, they´re quite interesting from an archeological point of view. What really blew my mind was the setting of the place. There´s a really steep valley on three sides of it, bursting with vegetation on places you didn´t think a tree can possibly grow.

I recommend to do a bit reading on the Incas. They were a fascinating culture. They were really smart farmers (Peru produced way more food 500 years ago than today with all that "green revolution" farming and genetically engeneered crops!) and it´s really interesting what they achieved without even having wheels.

Nadrazi
Nadrazi's profile picture
Traveler
TravelerTravelerTraveler
Eurotrip Points: 277
Member: 1259
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 7 years 11 weeks ago.

Ok just thought I’d update this a bit for future reference, will be hiking in a few weeks and wanted to add a few things I’ve learned.

There’s a huge number of companies to choose from and their prices can really differ, but the average price is around $300 and I’ve heard of some pretty poor experiences from people who chose the really discounted companies. The most popular and highly recommended groups I’ve come across are Peru Treks, Andean Life, SAS, United Mice, Quente, and Llama Path and the more expensive in that group seems to be United Mice and Qente. I have personally booked with Llama Path since it was started by a former trail guide, usually has smaller groups than the others, and supposedly treats their porters much better. With a student discount I am paying $270.

If you’re going in the high season May-August you almost have to book in advance as restrictions on permits cause days to fill up very quickly. Only 500 people are allowed to enter the trail each day and that includes guides and porters, leaving about 250 permits or less for hikers. Other times of the year it is easier to just show up and get in a group for half the price provided there are still spots open. The "Operadores de Turismo" website allows you to see exactly how many permits are still available for each day and will help in deciding whether to pre-book. Click on "Disponibilidad" in the box on the top left corner and then choose your date from the drop down box.

http://www.inc-cusco.gob.pe/frame/index_consultas.php

Most agencies require you to pay the remainder of your balance a day or two before your departure so plan to arrive in Cuzco a few days early (A good idea regardless as you’ll need at least a day to climatize to the altitude).

To give an idea of how fast the trail fills up and how long ahead of time you need to reserve. As of today (May 03):

May – completely full
June – completely full
July – more than half of the days are full

nivid
nivid's profile picture
Moderator
ModeratorModeratorModeratorModeratorModerator
Eurotrip Points: 1651
Member: 2316
Joined: 01/03/2007
User offline. Last seen 1 year 41 weeks ago.

Thanks for the update Nadrazi. Unfortuantly, as you know, i’m not going to be going as soon as I had expected, but when I do get to go, i’ll take your adveice and any info you have.

Have a great time.