Page 1 of 2

Need Help Planning A Trip

PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 5:52 am
by Sk0rCh
I am going to be graduating college in May, and my full time job will start July 19th. I’ll probably go to Las Vegas right after graduating, so starting in June, I want to go traveling for a month, possibly a month and a half. I want to go places before I start working. I don’t want to visit the city/night life – I want to see natural things i.e. safari in Africa, rainforests, pyramids, waterfalls, old churches, etc. Basically anything that is interesting, natural, and possibly historic.
The only place I have been, outside of America, is India. So basically, anything besides India and America I would consider. I don’t know about Europe, mainly because I don’t know if it is sort of the natural sort of atmosphere that I am looking for, at least not based on face-value, but if you think otherwise please tell me why. Right now, I am thinking Costa Rica, or Africa, or Australia/New Zealand. Who knows, maybe even two out of the three, or all three. What do you guys think? Should I go somewhere else? Where would you recommend I go based on what I want to see. Also, if anyone knows any good deals for flying, or other deals once I actually land (i.e. discount for a safari or something), please let me know of that as well.

Re: Need Help Planning A Trip

PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 7:31 pm
by PointBlank
I really havent gone too many places outside the US so I can't really make any personal suggestions, but I know last year Celina had this 2 week thing in Australia (not exactly sure where in it) and she seemed to really like it, especially the kinds of animals like kangaroos and koalas (not sure if that counts as the kind of "nature" stuff you like). If I'm not mistaken, I think Australia has quite a lot of exotic birds as well.

If you do go to Europe, I'd suggest maybe Stonehenge? I haven't been there myself but I think it would be kind of neat to see it in person with its mysteriousness and large sized rocks.

Re: Need Help Planning A Trip

PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 6:51 pm
by Sk0rCh
How old do you have to be to rent a car? I will be 22 by the time this trip is done (birthday in April).

I think I have narrowed it down.

Right now, I am leaning toward Central and South America.

I am thinking the rainforests and sights of Costa Rica > then to Quito, Ecuador in order to take a trip to the > Galapagos islands > Iguazu waterfall in Argentina > Patanal in Brazil/Bolivia > San Pedro de Atacam in Chile > go north via Nazca to > Machu Picchu, Peru

Is this the most efficient way to go about it? I might as well visit Brazil while I am in the Patanal, right? Check out those Brazilian beaches?

This sounds very expensive! I don't even know if I will even be able to do half of it!

Also, how will I actually go about seeing all these things? Will I have to go through a company that specializes in adventure packages? Or is it possible for me to just do these things without that? Maybe I will just use a company in order to go to the Galapagos, and for the rest, just backpack it? Is that possible?

Anyone with any information is appreciated.

Re: Need Help Planning A Trip

PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:39 pm
by PointBlank
You need to be at least 25 to rent a car, but apparently there are ways around it if you're at least 21:

lol No idea to any of the other questions unfortunately, hopefully someone else can help with that. If you visit central america, I'd also recommend maybe briefly stopping to see the mayan temples. You never know, they may not be there after 2012 :lol:

Re: Need Help Planning A Trip

PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 1:24 am
by Sk0rCh
where are those at?

Re: Need Help Planning A Trip

PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 2:38 am
by PointBlank

Re: Need Help Planning A Trip

PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:24 pm
by rawb
I once saw a cruise that left from NY, toured the Mediterranean for a little more than a week, then went to the Caribbean for a few days before finally ending in Florida. It was only a few thousand but that was too much for me at the time, I wanted to go so bad that trip sounds like a dream for me :(

The historical significance of a place probably means more to me than the natural view so the Mediterranean thing sounds amazing to me personally (not that Greece doesn't sound beautiful). The thought of so much history in one relatively small area is pretty appealing to me (Spain, Italy/Rome, Greece, Israel, Egypt/North Africa). For nature I'd probably want to see Southeast Asia/Australia/New Zealand, the Caribbean, and South America.

Have fun!

Re: Need Help Planning A Trip

PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2010 2:31 am
by celina
I've been to Costa Rica and Australia...

If you go to Costa Rica I strongly recommend to go zip lining.. it is sooo fun and depending on how high up you are you might see some monkeys in trees nearby or some toucans you should also see if there's a place you can go river rafting.. that was really fun as well..

Like PB said, I just went last summer and it was AMAZING... you should go to Cairns and the great barrier reef and go snorkeling, it was so badass even though I was a bit paranoid of the fish since they were pretty big lol..

But yeah.. Costa Rica is definitely cool and you'll enjoy it, you should go (w/ a tour guide lol) on a hike in the rain forest, it's really pretty and you'll see a shit load of insects and snakes and what not. If you go to Costa Rica, be prepared to eat alot of beans and rice :)

Re: Need Help Planning A Trip

PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 3:07 pm
by Sk0rCh
Celina could you give me more info on Costa Rica? How did you go ziplining/river rafting/exploring the rainforest? you went through a tour guide? which company? where can i get the best deal on a flight?

Re: Need Help Planning A Trip

PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 8:49 pm
by Sk0rCh
Okay, here is an update of where I am now.

I haven't even begun to plan out the logistics - i.e. costs, flight, transportation, living accomodations, visas, other documentation (?), immunizations, exchange rates, weather, what places I should avoid due to crime, what I will need to bring to the trip, etc. (I am probably missing a lot). I am going to be using Lonely Planet's and Frommer's travel guides to help me with some of this stuff, along with internet resources.

For flight, I am thinking of doing it through oneWorld ( Is this a good idea?

Here is what I REALLY WANT to see:

(2) Peru - Machu Picchu
(3) Bolivia - Lake TitiCaca ( on the border of Peru/Bolivia), Río Madidi watershed (Parque Nacional Madidi) also (Noel Kempff Mercado National Park)
(1) Brazil - Amazon River/Rainforest/Pantanal/Iguazu Falls/Brazilian Beaches/Rio de Janeiro
(1) Argentina - Iguazu Falls (I hear both sides of the falls are amazing to see.

Here is what I wouldn't mind seeing, but will probably skip due to cost/time reasons:

(4) Costa Rica - rainforests/other activities (ziplining, river rafting, white water rafting, etc.) (this is nice but the rainforest isn't so great compared to the Amazon, right?)
(5) Galapagos Islands (very expensive)
(6) Kaieteur Falls, Guyana - (this place looks beautiful, but again, expense and time).
(7) San Pedro de Atacam in Chile (I don't know how exciting this will be)

What do you think of that list? Is it realistic to do 1, 2, and 3? Should I get rid of (3)? Is it possible to include (4)?

Like I said, I haven't planned much of the logistics yet. I have no idea how long I will stay at a particular location, let me know if you have any estimates.

Here is the specific journey, in my mind so far.

I am thinking that I will land in Peru, somehow find a safe place to stay that is not far from Machu Picchu, and then use a guided tour to visit Machu Picchu. I want to avoid guided tours due to expense, but I am told that it is a good idea to do this for Machu Picchu. After that, go to the border of Bolivia to see Lake TitiCaca/Parque Nacional Madidi. Then somehow travel east to see Parque Nacional Noel Kempff. After that, I will be pretty much on the border of Brazil. Then I will somehow go South to see the Pantanal and the Parque Nacional do Pantanal Matogrossense. After that, I will continue to go further south (a lot). Until I reach Iguazu Falls (Parque Nacional Iguazu). Then, if time permits, I will head northeast to Rio de Janeiro and spend some time there and find a nearby airport to come back to Chicago.

In the above trip, I did not include the Amazon Rainforest/River because I have NO IDEA yet where in Brazil I should go to see this. I do not want to go to Manaus because I understand that this is a beaten path, and I want to go somewhere less traveled, but not overly expensive. I am thinking I visit the Amazon rainforest/river before I head south for the Pantanal, but that will depend on where I want to see it. As for the Brazilian beaches, I am clueless on that as well so far. Please let me know where I should go!

Re: Need Help Planning A Trip

PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 4:00 pm
by Sk0rCh
I have updated my trip out of concern for time, please let me know what you think. Also, for the most part, Brazil is not included in this updated itinerary. I think your idea about making 3 itineraries is really good, and I will definitely do this, but first I need to find some focus on what I am doing. After I have some focus, I will definitely do that!

My concern for time is due to a lot of people telling me that I will not have time to do the following plan in 5 weeks:

Machu Picchu > Lake TitiCaca > Parque Nacional Madidi > Noel Kempff > Amazon Rainforest/River/Brazilian Beaches (I am not sure where to put this, but I definitely want to do this) > Pantanal / Parque Nacional do Pantanal Matogrossense > Rio de Janeiro.

You guys are saying that I will not be able to do this, and that I should focus on less things and just not rush it and enjoy my time there.

I don't know how to alter my trip if I am not going to have enough time. I definitely want to see the Amazon! My priorities are more over toward nature and wildlife than toward history and things like that - I only want to see Machu Picchu, I will pass on the Incan Trail, and the Nazca lines

I researched Puerto Moldanado and it seems like this is more and more of what I am looking for. Maybe this is a better idea. Instead of rushing to Brazil after Lake Titicaca, I can stay in Peru and see the the Amazon from Puerto Moldanado?

Or is it better to see it from Brazil?

Please see my modified trip below. Please let me know where you think Salar de Uyuni can fit in this trip, if it is possible

So here is what I am thinking now.

I start with Lake titicaca > Machu Picchu > Cusco > take a train or flight to Puerto Maldonado > take a boat to Tambopata-Candamo/Sandoval Lake/Collpa de Guacamayos (apparently boat is the only way to access this place, please tell me if you know otherwise) > go south to see Bahuaja-Sonene National Park > go west to see Manú National Park > Iguazu Falls???

Will this work?

Tambopata sounds very exciting, it is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. It is also home to Colpa de Guacamayos (the clay lick attracts thousands of macaws and parrots each day!).

I don't think I will have time to see Iquitos, right? since that is much further northwest than my current itinerary. Which would you recommend, Puerto Maldonado or Iquitos?

The downside to this is that I will not get to see the Pantanal, nor Iguazu Falls. Is there a way I can still do one of two of these things? If not both =[. Maybe take a flight from somewhere near Puerto Moldanado to the Iguazu Falls? And then either end my trip there, or go to the Rio if I have time.

Re: Need Help Planning A Trip

PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 5:38 am
by Sk0rCh
Here is an update:

Ok, so at least I have something decided. This part of the trip is finalized.. for now.

Chicago > Lima > Cuzco (all flights)

From Cuzco, (after Machu Picchu) I will meet up with a travel agency to do one of their tours through Manu. The question I am trying to answer right now, is which agency?


Here are my 5 options based on researching:


*Manu Nature Tours: Manu Cloud Forest Lodge & Manu Lodge (5, 6, 7, or 8 day options) - price not listed, emailed them asking for information on prices.*

This seems like a very good site and it seems like they know what they were doing, if price was not a consideration, this would definitely be my first or second choice.


*Atalaya Peru*

There are a couple of different options here:

Either the *"Manu Park" 8d/7n tour (PRICE $ 970.00 PER PERSON + s/ 150.00 Park Entrance)*

or the

*Manu & Tambopata National Park 11d/10n tour ( PRICE $1840.00 + S/150.00 ENTRADA PARQUE*)

This also seems like a great site and would be in my top 2 if money was not a factor.

This is where I need help, It seems like the latter is too expensive, is it worth it? I need help in comparing the two trips on this website, and also comparing the trips on this website to that of #1. Although it is difficult without knowing the pricing of #1, but any help is appreciated.

*3. Pantiacolla*

*Cloud Forest, Lake Salvador & Otorongo, Macaw Lick and Pantiacolla Mountains (9days) in and out by bus (emailed for price)*…

This one seems a little longer than a few of the other ones, but that may very well be because bus transportation is used. This could also mean it is cheaper, which is good. Although I'm not very impressed with this website, I'm still unsure if it is really going to make a significant difference which tour agency I choose.

*4. Perutravels*


*Manu Reserved Zone Tour (8d / 7n) (1000$*)

This site seems very cluttered, but it seems cheaper than the others, assuming the cost of a single person doesn't shoot the price up.

*5. SAS*

There are several different Manu trips, but I am not sure which one is the best deal.

What do you guys think?

One concern with some of these tours is that the price is assumed based on two people traveling. I doubt that I will get a person to accompany me, so hopefully the prices don't shoot up too much. I will work on getting the pricing based on my situation, but what do you guys think about the tours in general? Which one would you guys recommend?

After Manu, I will be back in Cuzco, and I am still deciding on whether or not I will go to Lake Titicaca. I definitely wanted to do it at first, but after seeing some videos online, it seems like it's a great lake, and it's definitely going to be a great experience living with the natives.. but I don't know if it is for me. It's a good place to relax, but I don't really see anything besides the lake. Assuming I skip Lake Titicaca, I want to go to the Pantanal from Cusco, and then to Iguazu, and then end my trip in Rio. I will continue planning this, but I want to get the Peru part of my trip finalized first. You guys say that I don't need a guided tour for Machu Picchu, so there really isn't much planning to do there right? I just want to get the Manu trip finalized.

Re: Need Help Planning A Trip

PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 9:45 pm
by Sk0rCh
Here is an update for my trip:

- Manu
I have been in contact with 7-8 different agencies for Manu, and after seeing all their offers, I believe DosManos has the best deal, where it is 770$ for 8D/7N. Anyone heard anything good or bad about this agency? ... 8d_7n_.php

There is a 50% possibility that at least one of my friends may accompany me on at least some of this trip.

So here are the questions I have now:

- Machu Picchu (No Inca Trail)

I will visit this place before or after Manu depending on the dates I am able to book for Manu. Just to be sure, I do not have to use a tour agency for this, right? Simply take the train and go there early in the morning before the tour groups get there?

- Lake Titicaca

I want to try and spend a few days here, but I don't know if I should use a tour agency for that. Maybe if I use the same tour agency they will give me some sort of package discount? But before I look into that, I want to know if it is even necessary to use a tour agency for this - can I just show up there on my own?

- The Pantanal

I want this to be at least 2 weeks of my trip, since this is the place where I can see a lot of wildlife. Can anyone recommend any tour agencies for this? From Lake Titicaca, I will have to find a way to somehow arrive here - I am thinking I will do this by plane since bus would take too long, anyone have any idea what airport I would use to depart Lake Titicaca and where I would land near the Pantanal? Or should I bus it?

- Iguazu Falls

Hopefully I still have time for this. Maybe from the Pantanal it would be a good idea to fly to Rio de Janeiro, since I want to go there anyway. And then from Rio, find a tour agency that'll take me to Iguazu. Or it might be easier to go from Pantanal to Iguazu to Rio and then go home from Rio after spending a few days there.

Thanks for your help!

Re: Need Help Planning A Trip

PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:53 pm
by Euro
Been a while how was the trip?

Re: Need Help Planning A Trip

PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2010 1:57 pm
by Sk0rCh
it was amazing - i did everything that I said I would :D

but really though, the amazon and pantanal was amazing - I saw a couple jaguars, and an anaconda, and so many other animals - i snorkeled in the rio sucuri (Anaconda River). Machu Picchu and Iguacu Falls was mind-blowing, no words/pictures/videos can describe it, you have to see it for yourself. Lake Titicaca was so serene and beautiful. Bonito was fun. Rio de Janeiro was pretty interesting - they get CRAZY during world cup games. I have like thousands of photos on my facebook!

Anyways, the most important thing:

Peruvian Food > Brazilian Food
Peruvian Women <<<<< Brazilian Women