Where should I travel to in South America?
May 3, 2014 11:25 AM   Subscribe

I have a month off and some saved up money and I want to travel to South America! Where should I travel?

Hi Hive, seeing as you're my most trusted resource, I figured I should consult you on my upcoming vacation. I have a month off and some money saved up and my friends and I would like to travel to South America. Some details:

- I've previously spent 2 months exploring Bolivia, and a week in Rio.
- Hablo espanol.
- I have some money saved up, but I'm you get and traveling with people more on a budget. Hostels > fancy hotels, but we are all more than willing to drop cash on unique experiences.
- They were thinking Peru + Ecuador, I was thinking Chile and Argentina
- We are adventurous! We would love to try our hand at rock climbing, hiking, scuba diving, surfing, etc.
- Much prefer unique indigenous experiences to big cities, though down to visit a big city or two along the way.

If you have any guidance please let me know. Thanks!
posted by masters2010 to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Although I've heard great things about chile and argentina, I feel like the cheap/outdoorsy/indigenous experience is pointing toward ecuador and bolivia.

I spent a couple months
in ecuador and there was tons of trekking, rafting, climbing experiences to be had, as well as a very present indigenous culture.

Peru less so on the outdoors front, better for history and ruins. Feels more"presented" for tourists in many areas. More expensive. Amazing ruins though, and lots of other stuff to do and see.
posted by geegollygosh at 11:54 AM on May 3, 2014

I enjoyed my with these folks in the Peruvian Amazon. There was little in the way of adventurous-y-ness (except an awesome zipline through the canopy), but if you want to look at wildlife, you'll be quite please. We also spent a good number of days at villages along the Amazon—very much an out-of-the-way experience.

Granted, this was 15 years ago (+ I was 10 years old), so YMMV at this point.

Any interest in the Galapagos? You'd have to be staying in something other than a hostel, but it's absolutely fantastic. There is a similar focus on nature there, too, as it's not exactly inhabited, but you could do a lot of scubaing and hiking!
posted by Maecenas at 4:30 PM on May 3, 2014

For big cities, please try Buenos Aires.
posted by gudrun at 6:03 PM on May 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Either would be good choices, but since you run on the adventurous side I would add Colombia to the mix if you did Peru/Ecuador. It is recommended to avoid traveling between cities at night, but is fairly safe otherwise. In the Santa Marta area, there was some scuba diving (though admittedly not much to see) and hiking in the mountains to ruins where we encountered archeologists, the military and indigenous people who outpaced and ignored the tourists on the trails. Also I learned how cocaine is made. Colombia seems to be more on the Israeli tourist route and not so much on the British/American tourist routes of South America.
posted by FiveSecondRule at 6:18 PM on May 3, 2014

The only problem with Buenos Aires is that you may never want to come back.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 4:03 AM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

I vouch for Peru+Ecuador. I was in each for 2 weeks, and it was really life changing! The hostels are very accessable and inexpensive in each, and I especially enjoyed the variation in terrain. We began in Peru, hiked in mountains, and saw Machu Pichu. The markets in the "non touristy" section of Cusco are really incredible. There are also rainforests in Peru, which you would definately need a guide for, but worth it to see the pink dolphins and pihranas.
Ecuador was lovely as well, with lots of art and culture. It's worth it to "drop cash" on visiting the Galapagos Islands, off the coast of Ecuador. They have a zoo dedicated to giant tortoise. Need I say more?
posted by Kestrelxo at 8:30 AM on May 4, 2014

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