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Full Version: Santiago to Cuzco ... and back???
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Hey everyone,

we're arriving in Santiago from Toronto on January 19. The idea is to head north towards Machu Picchu essentially as soon as we get there. Are buses really the best (affordable) way?

We also wanted to check out the north of Chile on the way, places like San Pedro de Atacama, and certain cities (Calama, Arica, Iquique, etc.). Which are the coolest cities to visit? Any advice on how to do this trip? Anyone wanna come along?

Also, on the way back we were thinking that it might be cool to take a different route. But we have to leave Santiago on March 3 .... so would this be through Bolivia-Argentina? does this make any sense?? Your help is really appreciated
Great Advice.

Always keep in mind that international airfares are considerably higher than domestic fares. There are luxurious bus services all along the route, though some are extremely long, for example Santiago to San Pedro de Atacama is around 24 hours, so a plane ticket here may be indicated.
Here is a site that shows the quality of long-distance buses:
Bus companies in Chile

The route suggested by Eileen is the best:
San Pedro de Atacama (skipping Antofagasta), Iquique, Arica, Arequipa, from Arequipa take the direct bus to Cusco. In Cusco take the trip to Machu Picchu, but stay at least one night at Aguas Calientes. Return across the Altiplano to Lake Titicaca and Puno (skipping Juliaca), then La Paz, Oruro, Jujuy, Salta, Cordoba and Mendoza. Then a brief hop over the Andes back to Santiago.

Take the overnight buses if possible in Chile, but you may prefer day buses in Peru and Bolivia for the scenery.

To get inside Travelpod traveller information on each city you plan to visit, access the Travelpod site, and where it says “search” on the right, type in the city or town, and there you have all the comments, good and bad, from your fellow travellers. For example:

Hope this helps
That's some awesome advice guys. Thanks a lot. As for wine tasting in Mendoza, I have to try that, though I'd probably rather do it in Chile if its affordable given that Chilean wine is generally of a better quality.

How much do you guys think this could cost if we do bus it (we have the time and want to save money) and stay at hostels??
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