Deciding on where to go
06.03.2016 5 °C
Getting married is an expensive business so we decided rather than adding to the ever growing bank loan we'd put back our Honeymoon until this year, giving us time to save enough to make it memorable. Of course, we hadn't accounted for everyone's generosity at the wedding.
With a year to think about things, a number of destinations were considered, Trans-Siberian Railway, China, Patagonia, Southern United States but in the end we settled on Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. The perception of how long three weeks is varies depending on whose perspective you're coming from. If you're my boss for example, then three weeks is a hell of a long time to be away but for us, it soon became apparent that three weeks wasn't long enough to do everything we wanted to do. The crucial thing was to try not to do too much but to make the most of our experience.
We rocked down to Trailfinders, a must for any wannabee Traveller, and gave our instructions to the very willing Sales Rep. He scoured the available flights and after much consideration we discovered the cheapest and best way to go, was to fly to Santiago in Chile via Madrid and fly back from Lima in Peru. International flights from Quito in Ecuador were way too expensive and weren't possible from La Paz in Bolivia so immediately our plans had to be changed.
We're both seasoned travellers but it never ceases to amaze just how difficult it is to judge how big a country is. Once we realised that Ecuador on its own is the size of Ireland, we knew that those three weeks weren't going to be long enough to do everything we had planned. In fact with us flying into Chile we made a quick judgement call that Ecuador was out of the question. We just wouldn't have enough time to make it. So we left Trailfinders with the flights to Santiago and from Lima paid for, now all we had to do was work out the bit in between.
As Chile wasn't part of the original plan, I got carried away with what we could see while we were there. We'd only been home a few minutes and we got out the Lonely Planet guide to South America and started planning our strategy for getting from Chile to Bolivia. A couple of days in Santiago seeing the sights, catch a bus to the coastal town of Valpariaso, head upto La Serena. Another overnight Bus to Antofagasta and then the Atacama.
When you put it like that it sounds so straightforward but once we got the Bus timetables out and looked into it, we soon realised that little journey alone would take 7 days. Its over 1500KM from Santiago to Calama, the foremost town on the edge of the Atacama....1500!!! So the first piece of paper with a travel plan on was scrumpled up and tossed in the bin and Plan B was began.
Several hours and days have passed and enough beads of sweat to fill a bath tub have been shed in order to try and get everything in. Thankfully, my wife is the sensible one who reminded me that we still need to relax, it is a holiday after all. So the Itinerary is going to look something like this.
Mon, 18th July - Arrive Santaigo
Tues, 19th July - Chill in Santiago for the Day
Weds, 20th July - Fly to Calama and Hire a car for 2 days
Thurs, 21st July - Tour the Atacama Desert for the day
Fri, 22nd July - Hand the car back and check into San Pedro De Atacama
Sat, 23rd July - Up early and join a 3 day tour to Salar De Uyuni (Salt Flats)
Sun, 24th July
Mon, 25th July - Arrive Uyuni 3pm Depart Uyuni 8pm on an overnight Bus
Tues, 26th July - Arrive La Paz 6am
Weds, 27th July - Spend the day chillin in La Paz
Thurs, 28th July - Catch an early bus to Copacobana on the edge of Lake Titicaca and get the boat over to Isle Del Sol
Fri, 29th July - Hike the Island
Sat, 30th July - Get the Boat back to the mainland and continue onto Cuzco in Peru
Sun, 31st July - Arrive Cuzco 3am
Mon, 1st Aug - Join 2day/1night Trek to Machu Pichu
Tues, 2nd Aug - Arrive back in Cuzco, 6pm
Weds, 3rd Aug - Chill out in Cuzco
Thurs, 4th Aug - Fly to Lima Arrive at 2pm
Fri, 5th Aug - Depart Lima for home
When you write it down like that it makes you realise just how short a time 3 weeks is....and to think we were hoping to do Ecuador too!!
The flights are booked, the hotels are booked, the tours are booked and the buses are booked. All that's left now is for us to count down the 132 days till we leave.
Salúd to that