A new year calls for a new adventure, and for Sam and me that means SOUTH AMERICA!
After spending the holidays back at home with family, we’re now in the process of doing laundry, packing up our belongings, and running last minute errands before we fly out in a week’s time.
The plan to backpack around South America kind of came about last year while we were completing our teaching practicum in Lima. We really enjoyed our month in the capital and travelling around Peru, and that’s when we realized that we wanted to come back and see more of South America together.
Sam did a big backpacking trip 5 years ago before we met, and I also covered some ground growing up in Argentina and travelling around to visit family. That being said, South America still feels very undiscovered for me, so I’m beyond thrilled to be going back with plenty of time to explore.
We’ll also have some company during our trip, which is always fun. Sam’s parents will be travelling with us for 2.5 months on their annual escape from winter in Canada, and then my parents will hopefully be joining us once we get to Argentina.
Aside from our first couple of weeks of travel, we don’t have anything booked in stone, but here’s a little peek at what we’re hoping to get up to while we’re in South America for the next 5 months:
I’m no stranger to Peru, especially Lima where I have family, but I still get excited about every visit. The plan for Peru is to spend a few days touring the capital and eating ceviche every single day. From there we’ll be heading over to Cusco, visiting the Sacred Valley, walking part of the Inca Trail, and seeing Machu Picchu. I loved going to Machu Picchu the first time around and I can’t wait to do it again, especially since I lost all those photos a few years back! We’ll then continue towards Puno, which will be the jump off point for visiting Lake Titicaca – the world’s highest navigable body of water! And lastly, we’ll swing by Arequipa, also known as the White City with its looming volcano in the background.
I’m also excited to see more of Bolivia. I spent a few weeks volunteering in Cochabamba a few years back, however, I didn’t get to see much of the country on that visit. The plan is to cross over to Bolivia through Lake Titicaca, and visit Copacabana (not to be confused with the world-renowned beach in Rio!) We’ll also be visiting La Paz, where I really want to see the Witches’ Market and browse through all the strange items they have for sale there. At one point we had talked about visit the Uyuni Salt Flats, but it appears we’re visiting during the time of year it floods, so we’ll have to play that by ear.
Chile is a completely new country for me since I’ve only every passed through in transit and that doesn’t count. The plan is to hit up the Atacama Desert. Volcanoes, lagoons, and flamingos? Yes, please! We’ll also be spending time in Santiago de Chile and Valparaiso before catching a flight to a destination I’ve been dreaming of for years: Easter Island! I know Easter Island is technically in Polynesia (I still can’t believe we’re flying that far), but I’m including it here anyway. I am beyond excited to see the Moai heads!
Flickr CC Hernán Piñera
Of course, I couldn’t travel to South America and not swing by Argentina, so I’ll be spending quite a bit of time there. We’ll start the trip in Northern Argentina which is home to some of the most dramatic landscapes I have ever see. We’ll be visiting Salta and taking a few day trips to visit the wineries and soak in the views around Cafayate. We’ll also swing by Buenos Aires – one of my favourite cities in the world! – where I plan on doing little aside from eating and wandering on foot. And from there it’ll be off to the sierras in the province of Cordoba to visit my old home and show Sam where I grew up. Lastly, we want to head over to Mendoza for more wine and mountain views.
Flickr CC Chris Atto
Uruguay is just a short boat ride from Buenos Aires, so at the moment it’s looking like a very high contender for a side trip. We’re hoping to squeeze in a trip to both Colonia del Sacramento and Montevideo. I’ve never been to Uruguay before, so I’m really curious to see a bit of the country.
Flickr CC Victor de Padua
And then there’s Brazil! I have my eyes set on Rio de Janeiro and not much else. It has been 7 years since my last visit, so I want to go there for a few weeks and soak it all up – beaches, samba, and caipirinhas. This is another South American city that I absolutely love, so I’m excited to show Sam around since he’s never been. Ideally I would have liked to have a few weeks to travel around the country, but we have a pretty packed schedule, so we’ll see how much time we actually have left over by the time we reach Rio. Maybe it’ll be enough for a few quick getaways to Buzios and Paraty.
And that’s a sneak peek of what’s to come! Nothing is set in stone aside from the first couple of weeks that we’ve booked in Peru, so things could still change and some new destinations could get thrown in there, but for now that’s our general plan. If anyone out there has any cool suggestions of things to do, tours you really enjoyed, or side trips we can’t miss, please let us know in the comments below!
Do you have any suggestions for any of the destinations above?
We’d love to hear your recommendations!