Itinerary for six months in South America

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Itinerary for six months in South America

After graduating from university and having saved up all my money from student jobs, I left my country to travel for half a year through South-America. While my classmates started looking for jobs and settled in their beautiful apartments, I decided to wander through the South American continent, a destination that had appealed to me since I was a kid. It turned out to become one of the best travel experiences I've ever had. In those six months, I've traveled from Brazil to Columbia, passing through Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador on the way. Below is an overview of my 6-month itinerary through South America.

6 months: Is it enough?

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. It was okay not to follow the mainstream course of life, and I intented to apply that mindset to everything I would do later in life.

I'm rambling on... Anyhow, I would advice against travelling for more than six months in South America, because -although it is incredibly beautiful- the landscapes are not that 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.

The itinerary

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 remember 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, with 26 hour-bus ride from Perito Moreno to Bariloche.

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