Adios Adventure Travel offers step by step guide to planning your trip to South America. Review, research & reflect before you finalize.
Where do you want to go?
Multiple destinations – could include places in more than one country, i.e. Machu Picchu & Galapagos. Or include places in the same country, i.e. Machu Picchu and Amazon Rainforest. It is generally less expensive to travel to multiple destinations in the same country than it is to travel to multiple destinations in more than one country. Being able to combine more than one destination or activity on your trip is affected by where you want to go, how much time you have and your overall budget. It's beneficial to prioritize your activities in case you have to eliminate something due to time or budget constraints. Allow at least 24 hours travel time between Machu Picchu and Galapagos Islands. It is not possible to fly directly or get there in one day.
Single destination – trips to one place can be the easiest to organize and the most stressfree way to travel
How long do you want to travel?
Occupation, budget and interests may determine the duration of your trip. Setting up a 4-day Inca Trail hike or bike trip also means adding 2 additional days in Cusco (or other high altitude destionation) to acclimatize. Trying to squeeze in a trip to Machu Picchu in 1 day is not advised if you are sandwiching your visit between flights to/from Cusco. It's recommended to have a buffer day to allow for delays or cancellations. If you're looking for inspiration for your trip, view the itineraries on this site.
Solo travelers have the advantage of not having to coordinate their schedules with that of companions. But the disadvantage is that costs for solo travelers may be as much as 20% more per person than traveling with even 1 companion. Looking for groups to join means that you need a flexible schedule as it is not always possible to find a ready group on your exact preferred dates
Traveling with friends is ideal. And if you have at least 4 or more friends, you get to choose your own dates, destinations and activities and you get better rates than paired or single travelers.
Activities and special interests
The best option is to view our trip itineraries and find one that fits your time and destination needs, then customize it with your unique activities. For instance, if you chose the 7-day Machu Picchu tour, you could add bicycling, horseback riding or catered picnic. Shorter itineraries could include an afternoon cooking lesson or add a visit to an indigenous market, if that's what interests you.
Accommodation preferences can be mixed
Your choices run from tents to luxury hotels with full amenities. Most travelers choose the comfortable and affordable 3* hotels which include private bath. But it's possible to stay in a mix of tourist class hotels and splurge on luxury hotels where desired. After roughing it in tents on the Inca Trail, hikers may choose an overnight in a luxury hotel after the hike. The choices can be mixed and matched in many ways. All itineraries on Adios Adventure Travel website are based on 3* accommodations except where noted.
How to choose international and domestic flights
Choose a roundtrip international flight from your nearest international airport to Lima, Peru if you plan to visit the Peruvian Rainforest/Amazon, Machu Picchu, and/or Lake Titicaca.
Choose roundtrip international flight from your nearest internationa airport to Quito or Guayaquil, Ecuador if you plan to visit Ecuadorian Rainforest/Amazon and/or Galapagos Islands
To visit Bolivia, Lake Titicaca and Peru, it's possible to fly roundtrip to La Paz, Bolivia or roundtrip to Lima, Peru. Another option is to fly in to one and out of the other. Your choice may depend on cost and your schedule.
If you plan to visit both Machu Picchu and Galapagos, you can search roundtrip flights to Guayaquil, Ecuador or Lima, Peru. Then book roundtrip flight between Lima and Guayaquil in the middle of your trip. Another option is to book "open jaw" tickets, which means you will fly one way from your home to either Guayaquil or Lima, then fly to one way to Lima, if you're coming from Guayaquil and return to your home from Lima.
It may be beneficial to book domestic flights separately. It is not uncommon to book one way flights between multiple destinations in Peru or Ecuador. But if you plan to fly roundtrip between cities in one country, it's worth it to search for flights from your home to your final destination. And back.
If you're thoroughly confused, don't worry, it takes a while to become familiar with your choices. Feel free to ask us for advice. Ultimatley, we will review the flights and itinerary and make sure there are no unwanted gaps.
Are you traveling on a cruise?
Cruise ships start and end in various ports along the coast of South America. It may be possible to organize a pre-or post cruise excursion to Machu Picchu, Amazon Rainforest, Lake Titicaca or other destination.
Here are some general guidelines about the minimum length of time needed to get from your cruise ship to Machu Picchu. Callao to Lima airport, allow 1 hour. Checkin for flight to Cusco, allow 2 hours. Flight from Lima to Cusco 1 hour/10 min. Drive from Cusco to Ollantaytambo train station, allow 1.5 hours. Train ride from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes 1.5 hours. Shuttle bus from Aguas Calientes to the main entry of Machu Picchu is 30 min. You can see that from your ship, it would take at least 8 hours or more to get to the ruins. And flights between Lima and Cusco are daytime only. There are no evening flights. The minimum recommendation is 3 days to schedule a visit to Machu Picchu from your cruise ship. If your ship is able to stop in other ports in Peru, it's possible to pick up the cruise in another city. We have successfully arranged many customized excursions from cruise ships to Machu Picchu. Let us know your plans and we'll come up with a plan for you.
What is your budget?
We're happy to price out the cost for extras so you can choose those activities that are most important. By viewing the listed itineraries on this website you get an idea of the cost per person for 5, 6 or 7 day trips. Typically, lunches, dinners and bottled water are not included in the quotes. We recommend a minimum budget of $25 per person per day for lunches/dinners/bottled water. Don't forget to purchase travel insurance. Choose any provider or our recommended provider: WORLD NOMADS