When we set out on our trip to South America with four months stretching ahead of us, it felt like we had all the time in the world. Though at times it felt like we’d been travelling forever four months was actually no time at all. It’s definitely not enough time to explore an entire continent, especially one as big as South America.
I really do hope that we’ll get to return some day, so I thought I’d share some of the places I regret not visiting and want to get to in round two.
In the interest of keeping this post from being thousands of words long I’ve stuck to the things we missed out on in the countries we visited – Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia. My list of things to do in Argentina, Brazil and Chile could (and probably will) be another post entirely.
I’ve lamented before that we wish we’d had longer than one month in Colombia. Not least because I would have loved to have had the time to visit the coffee region. We got talking to a sweet old man over some buñuelos in Medellin who said that Jardin was the one place in Colombia we couldn’t miss, but having flown straight from Cali and not wanting to miss out on the two weeks we had planned on the coast we just didn’t have the time to go. It’s a shame though because look at it!
Laguna 69, Peru
Way back in the planning stages Laguna 69 was right at the top of my list of things to do in Peru. Logistically though it wasn’t very practical and getting to Huaraz would have involved having to go back to Lima for a third time, which neither of us wanted to do when the beaches and cocktails of Mancora were calling us. Both of us thought that Colca Canyon was a really difficult hike and by all accounts Laguna 69 is even more of a challenge, not least because of the 4600m altitude. It looks absolutely stunning, but maybe it’s one to try after putting in a few more hours at the gym.
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Visiting Ecuador and not go to the Galapagos Islands seems to be a pretty controversial decision. Our plan was initially to visit the Poor Man’s Galapagos while we were in Montanita but the island was closed to tours after the earthquake. Lots of people told us that because we were on a once in a lifetime trip we should just cobble some money together, say fuck it and just go. I don’t share that opinion though.
Ecuador is my favourite country. It’s very likely that I’ll be back, and we really didn’t want to take on an experience as incredible as the Galapagos without having the money to enjoy it properly. Needless to say we’ll be making it top priority on our next visit.
Rainbow Mountain, Peru
I didn’t even know the Ausangate mountain was a thing until I read about it on Hand Luggage Only recently. Needless to say I am kicking myself for not visiting! By all accounts it’s a difficult hike to reach it though.
The Amazon Rainforest
Budget and time depleted we had to make a decision towards the end of our trip on whether we wanted to spend a weekend in Cotopaxi or stay in a lodge in the Amazon. Craving some relaxation after battling the elements at Quilotoa, Cotopaxi won. I think that was the best decision for us at the time, but I’d love to go back and see the rainforest too.
What’s on your South America bucket list?