We’re going to South America!

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:

Visiting Machu Picchu

Peru

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.

Bolivia

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

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!

Argentina

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.

Uruguay

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.

Brazil

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!

Join the Conversation

21 Comments

    1. says: Audrey

      Ahhhh! I’ve been spending hours reading about Easter Island on the Lonely Planet forums. So SO excited to get there…even though it’s still a couple of months away. 🙂

  1. says: Joella

    So exciting! I can’t wait to follow along. I travelled in South America a few years back and went to Venezuela (well, we lived there for a while), Colombia, Ecuador and Argentina. Not sure if you have been to the Patagonian part of Argentina already, but I really recommend it. We did a road trip down there and it was so fun. I’m so excited to see your pics of Easter Island. It’s one of those places that you don’t really read about on blogs. I’m off to Nicaragua at the weekend- have you been there? It’s my first time in Central America. Excited!

    1. says: Audrey

      Thanks for the tip on Patagonia. I’m kind of toying with the idea of going there if we have a few weeks leftover, but then I also wonder if I should save it for another trip and do it with more time to spare. Sounds like a fascinating region! Wishing you a great trip in Nicaragua!

  2. Happy New Year Audrey! It all looks wonderfully exciting. I’m thrilled for you both!

    I haven’t really been to South America except to the Dominican Republic (does that count) but I’m very interested in reading about Chile & Peru.

    Have fun!

    1. says: Audrey

      Happy New Year to you too, Victoria! I hope you had fun celebrating. You know, the Dominican Republic is a really popular sun destination with Canadians, but I’ve never been! How did you enjoy the beaches?

  3. says: Katie

    So many dream places for me here! I’ve never been to South America and all of these destinations look incredible. Topping my list are Machu Picchu (of course), Buenos Aires, and Easter Island. I’d also love to see the Uyuni Salt Flats and, “as long as I was down there,” the Galápagos islands as well. A girl can dream, right?!

    1. says: Audrey

      I agree with you. It’s such a nice way to make memories together. I’m glad to hear you’ve also been travelling with your family – I think it makes travel a little extra special! 🙂

  4. says: Meredith

    Yay for coming back to South America! Peru is the best, and I’m glad you’ll be seeing another beautiful city that doesn’t get much attention- Arequipa! Of course the jungle is a beautiful place to visit too, but I guess you won’t have time for that since everything is already set in place. We’ll be in Cusco in 2 weeks, is that when you will be there? My husband and I live in Lima and have a travel/photography blog if you’re interested : http://imageinperu.com I actually haven’t posted anything about Arequipa yet, but am planning to soon! We stayed at a super cute little hotel La Casa de Margot a few blocks from the plaza. And we saw Colca Canyon on a 2-day tour, which was nice. Happy travels!

    1. says: Audrey

      Thanks for the recommendation for accommodations in Arequipa. I’ve been doing a lot of AirBnB lately, but I’ll keep that in mind too. The location sounds great!

    1. says: Audrey

      I’m going to miss the Olympics by a couple of months, unfortunately! Are you planning on going for any of the events?

  5. says: Ryan

    What rad plans for the New Year for the both of you! Haven’t been to Central or South America yet so I’ll be following along. When you went the first time, did you find the countries you went to hard to communicate in? Obviously it can be difficult in any country but did you know Spanish prior? I’d love to learn Spanish and then go. My friend just went back to Uruguay but he told me all about it and it seems incredible. Really need to go sometime soon but I’d like to do both Central and South together.

  6. says: Hung Thai

    I’m glad you’re heading to Lake Titicaca to see the people living on the floating islands. We all know about Macchu Picchu, but Lake Titicaca has to be one of my favorites in all the travels I’ve done. Looking forward to your pictures and stories from there.

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