Itinerary for six months in South America

Some general thoughts to help you plan

Date:2017-02-05

By: Sophie

A few years ago I've had one of the best travel experiences of my life. Having saved up all my money from student jobs, I left my country after graduating to go travelling for half a year. While my classmates started looking for jobs, I decided to wander around South America, a destination that had appealed to me since I was a kid. Even though this happened a few years ago, I haven't told a lot about it or even showed any pictures to anyone. The reason hereof is that I've got so many stories that I don't even know where to begin. I've also got so many pictures that I have not even managed to go through them and make my selection. Because people sometimes ask me for recommendations, I will start by publishing my itinerary and complete it with the matching stories as I work my way through the photos.


As mentioned earlier, I've travelled through South-America for six months, more precisely from October 4, 2013 to March 21, 2014. I've flewn from Brussels to Saõ Paulo (because it was cheaper than flying to Rio de Janeiro) and ended the trip in Bogotá. In between these two dates I've subsequently visited Brasil, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia. I will list the names of the places I've visited in each country below, which may come in useful if you ever plan a trip on this continent.


Personally, I think six months was about the right amount of time to travel South America. It is not enough time to visit everything, but it is definitely enough to soak in the South American culture and to take some distance from daily life, which I felt was a very enriching experience, allowing me to put seemingly important matters into perspective. I realised I was free and in control of my own life. By somehow rebelling against the set idea that we should find a job as soon as we graduate, I realised that I should pursue what I wanted, not what society wants from us. From that day on I decided that I would apply that mindset in everything I'd do further on in life.


I'm rambling on... Anyhow, personally I would advice against travelling for more than six months in South America, because -although it is incredibly beautiful- the landscapes are not so shockingly different in the individual countries, so against all expectations, a certain boredom set in after a few months. The places I visited by the end of my trip became 'a variation of something I had seen before'. Although I still enjoyed it, the landscapes didn't impress me anymore, meaning I lost one of the main reasons to travel around. I guess that's the sign it's time to search for another adventure.



Brasil

  • 2 days in Saõ Paulo
  • 3 days in Rio de Janeiro
  • Day excursion from Paraty to Praia do Sono
  • Day excursion from Paraty to Trindade
  • Day at the Brazilian side of the Iguazu waterfalls: Foz do Iguacu

  • Argentina

  • Day at the Argentinian side of the waterfalls: Puerto Iguazu
  • Flight from Puerto Iguazu to the south of Argentina
  • Day in Rio Gallegos
  • Day excursion from Rio Gallegos to Cabo Vírgenes

  • Chile

  • Puerto Natales
  • 5-day hike in Torres del Paine National Park

  • Argentina

  • Perito Moreno
  • 4 days in El Chaltén, with day hikes to Laguna Torre, Loma del Pliegue Tumbado, Laguna de los très and Mirador de los Cóndores y las Águiles
  • 4 days in Bariloche with excursions to Cerro Campanario, Cerro Tronador, Siete lagos and the Circuito Chico
  • 1 day in Mendoza
  • 1 day in La Rioja
  • 1 day for Talampaya and Ischigualasto
  • 2 days in Cafayate
  • 2-day road trip from Salta to Purmamarca, Huamahuacina, Iruya and Tilcara

  • Chile

  • 1 day in San Pedro de Atacama

  • Bolivia

  • 3 days in the Salar de Uyuni
  • 1 day in Tupiza
  • 7 days in Sucre
  • 5 days in Samaipata
  • 2 days in Torotoro
  • 9 days in the jungle and pampas close to Rurrenabaque
  • 1 days for Copacabana
  • 1 day for Isla del Sol

  • Peru

  • 1 day for Puno, Uros, Taquile
  • 3 days in Arequipa and the Colca canyon
  • 8 days in Cusco, among which 4 days for the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu
  • 1 day in Huacachina
  • 1 day for Islas Ballestas and Paracas
  • 2 days in Lima
  • 1 days in Huaraz
  • 2 days in Trujuillo
  • 1 day in Máncora

  • Ecuador

  • 2 days in Vilcabamba
  • 2 days for Cuenca and Cajas National Park
  • 1 day in Guayaquil
  • 2 days in Puerto Lopez
  • 3 days in Baños
  • 1 day in Quilotoa
  • 7 days on the Galápagos islands
  • 2 days in Quito
  • 2 days in Mindo
  • 1 day in Ótovalo

  • Colombia

  • 1 day for Ipiales
  • 3 days in Salento
  • 1 day in Medellín
  • 1 day in Guatapé
  • 2 days in Cartagena
  • 1 day in Baranquilla
  • 4 days for Cuidad Perdida
  • 2 days for Cabo de la Vela and Punto Gallinas
  • 2 days in Minca
  • 1 day for Playa Los Ángeles
  • 2 days in Tayrona National Park
  • 2 days in Bogotá

  • I have not included the time needed for travelling in between places, but know that South America is huge and that travelling around -most often done by bus- will take up a lot of time. The longest time I have been on the bus was in Argentina: I've spent 26 hours on the bus from Perito Moreno to Bariloche.

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