From climbing and whitewater rafting to surfing and wine tasting – Adam knows the best activities by travel destination
Recently, we had a chance to catch up with SouthAmerica.travel consultant Adam Haynie for a discussion on his experiences with the continent, and the ways in which he helps clients plan the perfect South American adventure. In his most recent excursion, Adam explored five countries over three months during the Spring and Summer of 2012. His journey crossed through Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina, and included a wide array of outdoor activities as well as historic and cultural immersion. Join along as we review the highlights of Adam’s trip, and be sure to check out the end of this article for his insightful advice on planning your own holiday.
Starting out in Ecuador, Adam delved right into adventure with surfing, hiking and canyoneering around Montanita. He balanced that out with visits to the museums and historical districts of the capital, Quito. Then, it was off to Peru on a 36 hour bus ride that Adam described as “one of the most beautiful pieces of scenery I’ve seen.” He continued, “there are desert-like mountains that go on endlessly on one side with the coastline stretching along the other. 36 hours seems like a lot, but the buses are extremely comfortable.” Once in Peru, Adam covered the popular Lima, Cuzco, Machu Picchu tour including the Sacred Valley, before moving on to Arequipa and a trek into Colca Canyon to witness the flight of the condors. Then, a quick stop in Puno and Lake Titicaca before a transfer to La Paz, Bolivia.
‘Bolivia is an amazing country; super underrated,” Adam shared. “La Paz is an incredible city with a culture all its own and stunning scenery at 11,000 feet.” After some sightseeing (and a failed attempt to breach the walls of San Pedro prison!) it was off to Rurrenabque for a venture into the Bolivian Amazon. It didn’t take long for things to get ‘out of control’ as heavy rains caused Adam’s 4×4-driving guide to have to assist three other vehicles that were stuck before then helping out a tilted bus! “It was at nearly 45 degrees and swaying back and forth a bit. Eventually, we got the bus out, but it was incredibly funny, or dangerous, or stupid…I’m not sure which,” Adam reminisces.
Emerging from the Amazon unscathed, Adam’s next stop was Potosi for a mining tour before heading towards Salar de Uyuni, Lago Colorado and yet another 4×4 stuck in the mud! “The Uyuni salt flats are absolutely stunning,” Adam commented while trying to make light of digging a vehicle out of salt-mud. “There’s something about the beauty of endless white sand and blue skies while you’re on your knees trying to free a 4×4….”
After transferring to San Pedro de Atacama in Chile, Adam visited the lagoons and geysers of the Valle de la Luna. Next up, graffiti photo-hunting in Valparaiso, surfing in Pichilemu and biking and hiking the hills of Pucon. After passing into Argentina through San Martin de los Andes, Adam ended up in Mendoza for a very cool wine tasting experience. “You go wine tasting by bike. You drink wine all day and then the cops escort everyone on their ride home — super fun!” he described. After a stop in Buenos Aires for a soccer game and some sightseeing, Adam squeezed in a quick trip to the Argentine side of Iguazu Falls before preparing to head back to the States.
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When we asked Adam for one good piece of advice on traveling to South America he exclaimed, “Plan ahead!” He explained, “I’m a serial wing-it kind of person, so I didn’t plan any of this trip. I had a one-way flight in with a flexible deadline, but no plans after I landed in Ecuador. This meant spending nearly the same cost for a 36-hour bus ride as a two hour flight. We nearly got stranded at the Peru/Bolivia border because we didn’t have the right currency to purchase a visa.” He also mentioned having to get a yellow-fever shot in the Lima airport so he could enter Bolivia, “so, yeah, plan ahead!”
Adam’s concluding advice? “South America is huge! I spent three months backpacking, and I don’t even feel like I scratched the surface of the continent. There are so many incredible places to visit and never enough time, so do research and don’t try to cram too much into a trip at once.”
Want to get in touch with Adam to begin planning your South American adventure? Drop him a line via email or call him direct at (206) 331-4181. Want to practice planning your trip before contacting Adam? Try our custom tour generator where you choose when and where you’d like to go and what activities you’d like to include.