After months of researching, we finally planned our South America route with the expectation it will all probably change once we arrive. We plan to hit most of the highlights of the countries that we are visiting. If you have any suggestions of places that are a “must see”, please feel free to comment.

Ecuador
We leave Seattle on September 9th and arrive in Quito, Ecuador, at around midnight. Definitely not the greatest time to show up, but it was the only arrival time available to us. Fortunately, someone from the Spanish school is meeting us and taking us to our hostel. After a few days in Quito, Ecuador’s capital, we move on to the city of Otavalo. Here, we are going to spend the next couple of weeks taking Spanish classes at the Instituto Superior de Espanol and checking out the local market for which it is famous. They say that after two weeks I will be able to handle some simple Spanish conversations, but I am a bit dubious of that claim. After some intense Spanish, we fly to the Galapagos Islands to check out Darwin’s theories of evolution. We hope to get some diving in and catch site of the much-talked about blue-footed booby.

Peru
After Ecuador it is a long bus trip down to Lima, Peru, where we relax for a few days and soak up the local culture. Then, we plan to move on to Iquitos – a popular starting point for Amazon cruises. We hope to take a three day cruise up the Amazon and visit a few villages along the way. After the cruise, we plan to bus it down to Cuzco where we hope to hike the Inca Trail up to Machu Picchu. Jodi and I are really looking forward to Machu Picchu. It seems like whenever I tell people about the South American leg they always ask about Machu Picchu and say how jealous they are that we get to see it. After the big hike, it is more bus travel down to the Colca Canyon and then over to Lake Titicaca.

Bolivia
After a ferry ride across Lake Titicaca, we plan to spend a few days of checking out the islands and spending some time in La Paz. From La Paz we travel south to Uyuni, where there world’s largest salt flat is located. I’ve been to Salt Lake City, Utah, and that seemed big — I can only imagine what Uyuni will be like.

Argentina
After spending about a week in Bolivia, we cross into Argentina. Our first stop will be in Mendoza, which is famous for their wine. The plan is to spend about a week touring the countryside and visiting vineyards. From there it’s on to Zapala and the surrounding lakes. We continue on to Patagonia, staying in the city of El Calafate. I imagine we will do lots of hiking and exploring. From there we make our final trip across the country to Buenos Aires, either by plane or bus, for a little rest and relaxation before we head back to Seattle on December 19th for the holidays.

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