I‘d like to get through Bolivia as quickly as possible so any advice on that would be great?

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Post by Guest »

Hi all, I’ve managed to get some fairly last minute approval for some extended leave next year and I’m hoping to use 7 weeks of it with my husband in South America from late March to mid May. Feeling a bit stressed about how last minute it is so would love any advice on my very rough proposed route, if it’s doable and any advice to make it better? Anything to add or drop? Happy to take flights or buses based on whatever is most efficient or is simplest way of getting about:

Galapagos - approx 1 week (fly into Quito then on from there)

Ecuador - approx 1 week inc Quito, Amazon, Cotopaxi and Banos

Peru - approx 2 weeks inc Lima, Arequipa, Cusco, Inca Trail and Machu Picchu

Bolivia - approx 1 week inc lake titicaca and salt flats

Chile - approx 1 week for Atacama and Santiago flying home from there.

That leaves a week spare to spread across the rest of this to make thing less rushed.

Galapagos, Inca Trail and Salt flats I really want to do but everything else is more flexible.

To save time I‘d like to get through Bolivia as quickly as possible so any advice on that would be great?

Also wondering whether to do a loop in Ecuador back to Quito and fly to Lima, or I should change things to allow time to travel through the country and Peru stopping at a few beach towns via bus?

Thanks in advance!

Post by Jenna »

I think it’s doable with maybe a few extra days (which you said you have) we are fast travellers on a tight schedule and have covered a lot. If you are happy with night buses it’s definitely the best way to travel with limited time, our schedule was:

2-3 days Santiago, including a day trip / could do overnight stay in Valparaiso and to see Vina del Mar

Flight to Atacama and then San Pedro for 2-3 days and then start salt flat trip which is 3 days. Night bus that night to La Paz where for 2-3 days, one doing death road.

We then got a Bolivia Hop ticket from La Paz to lake Titicaca for a day trip then overnight to Cusco

Give yourself 2 days before Machu Picchu (you should have acclimatised at salt flats/ La Paz but still helpful and you have a briefing before most trips the night before)

We did the Inca trek with Machu Picchu with Alpaca Adventure (expensive but a great trip), this is 4 full days. We didn’t do Arequipa sadly but we did get a night bus from Cusco to Nazca, got in at 6am then did a morning flight over the lines with AeroNasca who picked us up did the flight and dropped us back to bus station where we then went to Ica- Huacachina for 2 days (i loved it here). We then got night bus to Lima, after a couple of days we flew to Quito.

One day in Quito before starting Amazon trip which is an overnight bus (public or shuttle booked through lodge), we did Cuyabeno at Nicky Lodge which was amazing, you can do 4 or 5 days, we did 4, the 4th days is basically all travelling back to Quito. We stayed in Quito for 2 more days and then left ecuador to Colombia. Sadly didn’t do Galapagos as we plan to do this as a separate holiday in future (when budget allow). Can’t comment on the travel around Ecuador for the other places unfortunately as we didn’t go there!

Obviously it’s always ideal to stay somewhere for a longer period of time but when you have limited time then it’s up to you how you spend it. People can be critical about fast travelling but if you are just there to get a taster of each country and see the big tourist parts then it is doable! Happy for you to message if you need!

Post by Tina »

Hi, really don't want to crash your plans or anything but the plan you have is literally not feasible.

Ecuador - Galapagos one week is OK, but Quito - Banos - Cotopaxi takes you at least one week as you would have to travel by bus or car in between. Going to Amazon from Quito or Banos takes 2 days of travel as the bus takes 4-8 hours ONE WAY (depending on where you start Quito/Banos)

Peru - Doing it by bus/car seems impossible unless you want to do night buses all the time? Flights can be done but can easily take a full day and not sure you get to see a lot of the cities then? A lot of activities are also outside of the cities..

Chile - one week seems alright, although I would always recommend an extra day or two for flight disruptions (if you do plan on going to Bolivia, I would suggest going to Salt flats from Atacama).

I would strongly recommend focusing on one country (maybe Peru?) or max combining 1.5 so like Ecuador plus parts of Peru// Peru + Bolivia.. I didn't believe it until I came here but the distances are absolutely insane and no matter how good you think you have planned it, things will go wrong 😃 (eg bus doesn't show up, no reason given, flight postponed, etc).

Hope this helps!!

Post by Amanda »

I think you want to do to much in a too short time frame.

Depending on what you want to do on Galapagos and the effort it takes to get there I'd say spend at least 10 days there.

Then if you want to go to the Amazon, that's gonna take you 5 days as well. I loved my stay in the Waita Lodge in Cuyabeno.

I can't say much about the other countries, but you can easily spend a month in Ecuador. So I'd focus on the three things you really want to do. Figure out how much time would be a good amount to spend at those three places with what you want to do and then build from there.

Skip Chile, focus on the three countries with the places you really want to visit.

And don't be stressed out by thinking it's already last minute. If this is all from March you have enough time to organise things. Enjoy preparing your trip! That's fun as well!
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