As a continuation of my last post about travel routes in South America, here is my second suggestion:
Rio to Lima (Highlights: Rio Carnival, Iguazu Falls, Uyuni salt flats, Amazon tour, Lake Titicaca, Machu Picchu)
Here I wanted to give you an option that really highlights Brazil. After researching visiting Rio during Carnival, I was pleasantly surprised that it seems to be a lot more affordable than I expected if you BOOK EARLY (aka. as soon as possible). The dates for this year’s Carnival are February 28–March 4. The best deals I found are samba parade tickets starting from US$59 (for more info visit: www.rio-carnival.net) and accommodations starting from about US$50 per night for a bed in a shared dorm. Booking your flight and good, affordable accommodations early is KEY. You might find this helpful.
After Carnival, I’d suggest going north along the coast if you want to stray a bit away from the beaten backpacker routes, and see a lot more of what Brazil has to offer. There are stunning beaches all along this coast and plenty of places to stop along the way. To name a few: Buzios, Parque Estadual de Itaunas, Porto Seguro/Arraial d’Ajuda, Itacare, Marro de Sao Paulo, Maceio, Porto de Galinhas, Praia da Pipa, and the not easily accessible, but simply amazing, Jaricoacoara and Lencois Marahenses. Last , but definitely not least, the islands of Frenando de Noronha are supposed to be the Galapagos Islands of Brazil, and will probably cost you just as much to visit, but they are famed to be worth it, especially for scuba diving enthusiasts.
If the northern Brazilian coastline doesn’t interest you, you can of course just go south from Rio and hit up the also beautiful, popular destinations marked on the map, on your way to Sao Paulo, and then check out the famous Iguazu Falls before heading over to Bolivia and Peru. If you did this you could also fit in going up the coast to Ecuador and Colombia.
Don’t forget to also check out my posts on Route Suggestion #1 and Route Suggestion #3, and then decide which one works best for you. I’ve also included some useful general tips about backpacking in South America at the end of my first post in this 3-part series.
As always, happy travels!