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How Much Time to Spend in South America

How Much Time to Spend in South America - I'm Taking Off - A Travel Blog

I know for a fact that long-term travel is not for me, but I still like to spend a good amount of time out the country when I do travel so I feel like the long flights and money spent are truly worth it. With a few trips under my belt I think I’ve figured out how long is just right. I spent ten days in South America this last trip and by day eight I was starting to feel the drag. The drag for me is wanting to sleep in my bed, wanting to do some laundry, and taking a shower in hot (not lukewarm) water. Simple comforts that I sometimes take for granted. My friend and I begin to discuss the small tweaks we could’ve made to our itinerary comparing the time spent and what would’ve been just right.

Foz do Iguacu, Brazil
Time spent: 2 ½ days // Suggested time: 1 ½ days
The waterfalls are Foz do Iguacu’s main attraction, and once you’ve seen them, there’s not much left to do. I wrote about how I welcomed the lazy days Foz do Iguacu provided, and if you’re looking for that kind of relaxation, this is the place for it, but unless you intend to visit the Argentina side of the waterfalls, get in, get out and head to your next destination.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Time spent: 4 days // Suggested time: 3 days
I loved every minute of my time spent in Rio, and I have NO regrets about spending four days there. The only reason I’d recommend a day’s shorter stay is because there were some late starts to some days, hours spent in a tattoo shop, and a few wrong turns that led to us being a slightly lost a time or two. With a little more attention to detail, I have no doubt that everything we did over four days could have been done in three. But if you intend to take a day trip to Buzios, Ilha Grande or Paraty you may want to add a day or two.How Much Time to Spend in South America - I'm Taking Off - A Travel BlogLima, Peru
Time spent: 2 days // Suggested time: An extended layover or 1-2 days
Lima didn’t exactly bowl me over upon arrival, but I warmed up to it eventually. All the things I liked about Lima could have easily been seen in a day or over an extended layover, so that would be my recommendation. Lima is a lovely city full of color and character. To me, it’s the kind of place that fits well within a trip, but should not BE the trip, if that makes sense. Of course, if you’re heading to Machu Picchu it’s a stop worth making, but a stopover for a day or two should suffice.How Much Time to Spend in South America - I'm Taking Off - A Travel Blog

How much time would you ideally like to spend in South America? Have you ever spent more time in a destination than you felt necessary? Leave me a comment below and let me know how long is just right for you!

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  • Reply
    May 17, 2017 at 3:40 AM

    I’ve always wanted to travel to Brazil just to see Iguazu falls! Probably spend the most days there.

  • Reply
    February 25, 2016 at 4:31 AM

    I nominated you for a Liebster Award. I love your page 🙂

  • Reply
    February 9, 2016 at 3:43 AM

    Love this recap and wish I would have checked out the falls from the Argentina side.
    I did one of those night tours and after paying for the Brazilian visa, that reciprocity fee for Argentina was a bit much for not that much to do. Considering the casino and the shopping, a daytime trip would have been much better.

    • Reply
      February 15, 2016 at 7:36 PM

      Thank you for reading Lakisha! I definitely wanted to visit the Argentina side but I couldn’t bring myself to spend the money after having spent so much for Brazil but it’s definitely on my to do list!

  • Reply
    January 27, 2016 at 11:37 AM

    Agree – we spent 2 days in Iguacu. The first day, we arrived and hung out at the pool, walked around the small town and that’s it. The next day, we visited the park and did everything from the speedboat ride up to the falls, to the canoe ride along the river. After that, we went to the Sheraton (I think it was) and got massages, relaxed at the pool, dinner, then headed out the next morning.

    Rio is a solid 3 to 4 days, sometimes the rain can hamper plans but there’s enough to do for 4 days.

    I haven’t been to Lima, Peru but you’re feelings are similar to what I thought of Santiago, Chile. We scheduled 3 days and it was too much – thank God we went to Valpariso for the day at the suggestion of our wine tour guide from Mendoza. We were bored after a day.

    Have you been to Argentina? If not, that’s where you need to go. Do a combo Argentina/Uruguay visit.

    • Reply
      January 28, 2016 at 3:04 PM

      Hi Sig! I haven’t been to Argentina but I heard the views from the falls on that side are a MUST SEE so I definitely want to visit and I’ll be sure to keep your recommendation to see Uruguay in mind!

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