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Nov
2016
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One month in South America

This year has been an exciting one…I quit my job to travel and focus on the travel blog. Obviously, I have travelled quite a bit and have been to some really exciting places Β – Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, Austria, Zanzibar and Taiwan. I am not even mentioning the domestic travel that kept me busy on long weekends.

That Byin Nyu Pagoda at Bagan, Myanmar

That Byin Nyu Pagoda at Bagan, Myanmar

The year started with an exotic destination – Myanmar…the land of pagodas. And hence, I have decided to end the year with an equally exotic destination – South America. Later in November, I am off to South America for a month. I am super excited…its been on the bucketlist for far too long! It is a solo trip as Ankur has not been able to get leave, which makes me feel sad. I am going to miss him. One week in Taiwan without Ankur made me realise that this one month in South America will be a long month. I am feeling the pinch even more as all the destinations that I am going to are on Ankur’s bucketlist as well. So, I have decided to do only a few things in each country and leave the rest for a more elaborate trip with Ankur for sometime in the future. I am keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that it does happen soon!

So, where will I be going and what will I be doing? I would be visiting four countries – Galapagos (Ecuador), Peru, Bolivia and Brazil. Here is a snapshot of what my plan looks like. Needless to say, I will share a detailed itinerary at a later date:

One week in Galapagos (Ecuador):

This is the country that I am most excited about. I have heard that you can see evolution in play here and Charles Darwin’s theories being proved. Sea lions and their pups populate the sea coast like stray dogs…and they loot so cute!

Little pup...so cute! (Pic courtesy: K Preetam)

Little pup…so cute! (Pic courtesy: K Preetam)

Iguana lizards sun bathe on volcanic rocks and blend in well with the surroundings. Penguins are happy snorkelling by your side and if you are lucky, you may sight hammerheads and manta rays as well!

I will be spending a week on these islands doing some land based trips as well as some SCUBA diving.

One week in Peru:

Machu Picchu….ohhh Machu Picchu! How can I visit South America and not bow to the Inca civilisation’s stellar city. I would be doing a short trip to Machu Picchu to be amazed…I am prepared!

Machu Picchu (pic courtesy: Martin St-Amant - Wikipedia - CC-BY-SA-3.0 )

Machu Picchu (pic courtesy: Martin St-Amant – Wikipedia – CC-BY-SA-3.0 )

I will also visit the Amazon rainforest from Peru. I intend to sign up for a 4 days – 3 nights trip to the Manu National park.

I am spending the maximum time in Peru and Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, is next on the cards. Β I want to be ferried around in the traditional ‘taxi boat’ at the Uros village that float gracefully on this serene lake.

Uros floating village at Lake Titicaca (Pic courtesy: Cmunozjugo - Emre Safak, - Wikipedia)

Uros floating village at Lake Titicaca (Pic courtesy: Cmunozjugo – Emre Safak, – Wikipedia)

One week in Bolivia:

Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt flats in the world are in Bolivia. It is the place to get funky photos done…and I want one there! This is the place that transforms into the largest mirror on the planet on a rainy day. I have no clue on what the weather Gods have in store for me, but I will keep my fingers crossed. Mirror or no mirror, I am off to see the largest salt flats on the planet!

Salt flats at Uyuni (pic courtesy: Kuroiniisan - Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0])

Salt flats at Uyuni (pic courtesy: Kuroiniisan – Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0])

One week in Brazil:

I have been told that Brazil needs a month…and I will not contest that as it is coming from someone who has travelled to over Β 100 countries. So, I will stick to 3 days in Rio, where I intend to do nothing except for lounging on the beach. Oh…I almost forgot…I do intend to try hand gliding, take a selfie at Christ, the Redeemer and go up the Sugar Loaf.

Christ, the Redeemer (Pic courtesy: Gustavo Facci from Argentina - Wikipedia)

Christ, the Redeemer (Pic courtesy: Gustavo Facci from Argentina – Wikipedia)

I have also budgeted two days at Sao Paulo, just because my flight lands in this city.

I know its a lot that I am trying to squeeze Β into just a month! But it’s my first trip to South America and I want to make the most of it. I am excited and I am nervous. It would be great if you could help me plan my travels … share your tips please!

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20 Responses

  1. I think if I remember it right you are vegetarian. If not, get a reservation done at The Central at Lima, currently the 4th ranked restaurant in the world and their concept of the menu just blew me away. Even Gastrid & Aston in Lima is fantastic. Check with them if they can serve a vegetarian tasting menu. Cheers and wishing you the best for your first taste of South America.

    Sonia, I have traveled to all the destinations you have mentioned apart from Bolivia. Knowing what I know, I would have dropped Brazil from this itinerary.
    Peru with a 4 day amazon trip ( I did a 2 night’s 3 days.. Good enough), Machu Pichu & Titicaca looks too tight. Machu Pichu & Cusco should take 3 days. I would suggest that you add Colca Canyon, Arequipa & Nazca lines in Peru & that would complete Peru for you but will not be possible in 7 days.
    If you have 7days for Ecuador then do a 5 day Galapagos & 2 days of Quito & Ottavala. We did a 5 days Galapagos & that was good enough.

    1. Thanks! I guess I might end up dropping Peru and doing more time in Brazil. There isnt enough time to get the Brazilian and the Peruvian visas both…they take a lot of time πŸ™ Still a little uncertain.
      If I were to visit Brazil for 10 days, which places would you recommend?

  2. I wish I had tips to give you, but those are all places that are still on my bucket list! I like the idea of you coming back with Ankur – South America is a large continent with so many different cultures, ecosystems, and landscapes. There’s no way to fit it all in a month! That being said, what you have planned for that month looks incredible. Can’t wait to see all of your experiences!

    1. Agree…the place needs at least 6 months. I am hoping I can see some highlights…I am actually most excited about Galapagos and the diving there! Lots coming up on the social media as well!

  3. Wow your travel plans sound so exciting! I also have South America on my bucket list and wish to go to every place that you have mentioned- especially Machu Picchu and the salt flats in Bolivia! I know it’s hard squeezing so much into only a month- so I really hope it all works out and you have the most incredible time! Safe travels!

    1. Thanks…I am struggling between add more days to Brazil and letting go of Peru totally….and doing it some other time. I think South America needs at least 6 months…but I dont think I can stay away from home for that long πŸ™

  4. Love the picture of the floating village! I have Christ the Redeemer on my bucket list and looking forward to the day I can make that dream a reality! I think you are so courageous to be able to quit your job to do what you love. This is a great post! South America is so beautiful, so many choices of places to visit.

    1. Thanks Sheri! Sometimes not having a job is unnerving…sometimes it is liberating πŸ™‚
      I am trying not to think too much about it πŸ™‚ and enjoy the upcoming trip!

  5. How exciting. I spent seven months in South America (two months in Brazil) and it wasn’t enough but you have chosen the best places to go for each country! You will have the best time and it will make you want to go back time and time again. Excited to see your pictures and read all about it!

  6. Mallkka

    Have only gone to Peru. Machu Piccu and sacred valley needs a week. Not only because it has so many things to offer but your leg will just not move after climbing those high stairs πŸ™‚ And coming from Indian flat, we are not very uses to with high altitude climbing. So you will be much slower than you know yourself.

    Have heard from fellow travellers that same applies for Bolivia as well.

    1. Ahh…this is useful info. I will keep a couple of days of doing nothing in Cusco to let me muscles relax. I would be spending a week before that in Galapagos diving…so the altitude will hit as well.
      Thanks again!

  7. What an amazing trip you are going to have. This really is my SAmerican bucket list trip. My only tip to buy your tickets for Machu Picchu in advance, or make sure they are all booked correctly in your tour, I’ve heard so many horror stories!

    1. Thanks! I have already bought the tickets to the site and on the train. I am hoping that the next time I will be able to do the 4 day trek. This journey will be a short one…2 days…in an out…zoop zoop by train!

  8. This sounds like a fab itinerary, you’ve ticked all the right places. Although I haven’t been to South America, I feel like Peru is something I shouldn’t miss if I ever get to travel there. It’s such a long trip to miss out Macchu Pichu for me. Lol.

    1. I too am very excited about Peru. But considering that Brazil and Peru both take so long to process the visa, I guess I will have to choose one of the two πŸ™

  9. I have been to Rio recently for the Olympics and the Christ is simply amazing! make sure you go very ugly to avoid crowds! don’t for the the famous stairs too! Same for Machu picchu – be in advance!

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