Planning the Big Trip – South America

We’ve talked about the big picture of the trip (see more details: Planning the Big Trip) and how we’re currently getting ready (Check our post on 3 months left).
But where are we actually going within South America? Or even, why South America?

After living in Europe, having lived in China, travelling all over Europe, travelling to the US, South America is one of the logical next steps, especially for a big trip. Why? There’s the mysterious atmosphere around this continent, the strong historical and cultural ties with Europe, amazing landscapes and changing scenery, and lastly, amazing food.
One crash course in Spanish later (Qué va!) and South America was a must-go for our route.

We’ve tried to make an approximation of our route visible on Google maps, with some of the main stops on the way:

South america route

9 weeks, 13.332 km, for real?. We will mostly travel over land, only 2 domestic flights (Ushuaia-Buenos Aires and Puerto Iguazu-Buenos Aires) are planned.  At first sight, it looks crazy. Do we overestimate ourselves? Most likely, but there’s always room for change: for staying longer at one place, or leaving earlier at another, or meeting people and getting drifted away from the road. We have a route, a schedule, but we’re not the 100%-stick-to-the-plan kind of travelers. Plans can change, plans will change, plans should change. As Ted Simon wrote beautifully in his book Jupiters Travels:

“What happened on the way, who I met, all that was incidental. I had not quite realized that the interruptions were the journey.”

Peru is our starting point, where we will spend approx. 2,5 weeks (2.039 km). From there, we’ll be making a short stop in Bolivia for one week, and later continue to Northern Chile (1.418 km). From Chilean deserts and wine fields, over volcanoes and passing lakes, we plan to make our way to Argentinian / Chilean Patagonia, taking us around 4 weeks to reach Ushuaia (6.134 km). Our last one and a half week will be mainly spend in Uruguay, Puerto Iguazu and Buenos Aires (6.122 km) .

Up next, we give a first view on the areas, possible activities, transportation and financials for Peru-Bolivia, Chile-Patagonia and Argentina-Uruguay.

Small note for the number-crunchers: yes, if you would add up the km, it does not make 13.332 km. All due to estimations (and more details of route, e.g. including the Uruguay loop) while using Google Maps.