Where to Begin?

From the mystical peaks of the Andes to the tango rhythm of Argentina, South America has an undeniable energy that pervades everything.

Moderators: sinecure, TravelFun, ballu, jimshu, JaliscoJudy

Where to Begin?

Postby Orca1102 » Wed Mar 14, 2007 3:52 pm

Hey Everyone!

Due to budget control (on y end) I'm planning a first trip, next year looking into march-April 2008.
Here's the thing...I don't even know where to start! I'm interested in Peru, Costa Rica, Panama etc etc...
I'm a complete all-arounder looking for amazing panoramics, awesome cultures, serenity, landscapes, and alot of FUN!! I'm an active athlete, but I'm not looking to be exhausted....
any first suggestions so I can begin to filter my options here?
Honestly, everything here at GAP looks sooo awesome...if I had a million dollars....
All help is greatly appreciated!! Thanx!
Orca1102
User Rank: Weekender
User Rank: Weekender
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2007 1:35 pm
Location: Montreal, Canada

Some suggestions ...

Postby Myosotis » Thu Mar 15, 2007 11:39 pm

Hi !
My name is Marie-Eve. I could suggest you Mexico and Guatemala, any trip on the Mayan area. I lived during 4 years in Mexico and sometimes, people think this country is only a place fo beaches and all inclusive tours. It's definitively not only that. You have so many historical places in southern Mexico, like Oaxaca, Palenque, Merida, Tulum and Taxco.

If you're interested to visit Asia, India could be an excellent option for you. I went to India with my boyfriend last december-january, on a tour booked on the Gap website (unforgettable India)... It was the first real trip for my boyfriend and... India is speechless. A jewel. People are kind, interested by foreigners. It's not expensive at all to make optional activities...
If you want to see my pictures, go to: http//www.myosotis2331.spaces.live.com

Good luck to choose. That's the most difficult thing in travelling: to choose the country. lol

Marie-Eve xxxxx...
User avatar
Myosotis
User Rank: Nomad
User Rank: Nomad
 
Posts: 165
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 7:32 pm
Location: Rimouski, QC. Canada

Postby Orca1102 » Fri Mar 16, 2007 7:52 am

Merci Mari-Eve!

quelles merveilleuses photos de l'Inde!! J'en suis sans paroles, droelment je revien d'aller voir Les Grands Explorateurs hier, jsutement sur L'Inde...est-ce le destin?? L'Inde est concretement sur ma liste de voyage , par contre l"amerique du SUd et Central definitivement pour mon premier voyage. Je suis d'accord pour le Mexique, j'y ait travailler un mois a Ixtapa/ Zihatanejo...quelle merveille de culture et paysage...j'ai hate de voir tout le reste!

Thanks for your insight, I love to share other traveller's experiences, thank you!
Orca1102
User Rank: Weekender
User Rank: Weekender
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2007 1:35 pm
Location: Montreal, Canada

Postby Renee » Fri Mar 16, 2007 8:11 am

Here-she-goes, once you start... you're not going to stop... I, too, have to agree that Mexico, Guatamala is great to start with because it has everything to make you fall in love with the rest of the world... I started with Ecuador myself, which is a great place because in the space of that small country, you can have extreme culture, astounding jungle, great beaches and, of course, although I haven't been there (yet)...the Galapagos.. all closely accessible... one trip and you can have it all... and don't discount the classic Peru - Inca trail, Lake Titicaca... lots of people go there, but there are reasons why... I wish you well..
Renee
User Rank: Weekender
User Rank: Weekender
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 10:05 am

Postby Mat1lda » Fri Mar 16, 2007 12:56 pm

I have to agree with Renee, Ecuador is absolutely amazing. You have it all in just one tiny little country in the Andes. I first visited Ecuador on a GAP trip in 2005, and liked it so much that I've barely been home since. The most spectacular parts of Ecuador in my opinion are in the Andes. Especially Baños, Cuenca and Vilcabamba. I recently bought a guide book from a company that I'd not heard of before called Viva Travel Guides. They have a website too that covers Ecuador and Peru and they seem to have the most up to date information. It's probably worth a look. I'd recommend starting in Ecuador and then heading down through Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina for the most amazing experiences ever.
Enjoy the journey
Mat1lda
User Rank: Daytripper
User Rank: Daytripper
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2007 12:51 pm

Postby travel_girl » Fri Mar 16, 2007 6:11 pm

I am taking my first GAP trip in may and I am going on the Costa Rica Quest tour. I will let you know how it was once I get back. The trip runs from May 5-13, 2007. I am super excited and I am looking to see where I would like to go next even before I have left!!!!! I think my next tour will be to either south america or asia. I would really like to go to Thailand. Now that I have found GAP and heard so many AMAZING things about them, travel for me will never be the same :D

Have a great trip wherever you decide to go

Chrystal
travel_girl
User Rank: Traveller
User Rank: Traveller
 
Posts: 49
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 9:26 pm
Location: Brampton, Ontario, Canada

check out the PHPT trip with Gap

Postby samtheman » Sat Mar 17, 2007 2:49 am

hello,

where to start?? how much time do you have, my personal all time favourite trip with Gap (believe me i have done a few)
is the PHPT, highlights of Peru, it is a 21 day trip and it covers it all, the coast, dessert, vulcanos, the andes, lake titcaca, inca trail and the jungle.

it is a perfect mix between the people and the culture. this is a great way to start travelling
samtheman
User Rank: Weekender
User Rank: Weekender
 
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2007 10:48 pm

Postby travel_bunny » Sun Mar 18, 2007 12:43 am

here-she-goes, having been to central america twice and sth 3 times, i have to agree that mexico, guatemala, belize, are the places to go, in central, costa rica is great as well but is very much designed and priced for americas, which tends to be more expensive then the other central countries, in sth america to experience the true sth american culture you must go to peru, boliva and ecuador, after doing peru and bolivia with a gap tour in 00 i felt that i didn't have enough time to see it all, so i went back on my own after i did ecuador with gap, all gap tours are great, just find ones that have everything that you want to do, ie inca trail, jungle etc, it' the other places that the tours take you that you havn't heard of that will blow you away, ie playing soccar with kids in the colca canyon, seeing sloths 1 metre away from you, visiting an amazing convent in arequipa, also i know your on a budget, but don't let that effect your tour, i recently travelled with i girl on a very tight budget and she tending to bring the whole group down by not joining in etc, have fun choosing and travelling :D :D
travel_bunny
User Rank: Traveller
User Rank: Traveller
 
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Mar 18, 2007 12:20 am
Location: christchurch NZ

Postby Lori » Sun Mar 18, 2007 3:10 pm

My advice would be to decide on what 1 or 2 things you REALLY REALLY want to do in each country. That is how my sister-in-law (my travelling buddy) and I have planned our trips. We then choose tours that cover those "musts" and have the mentality that everything else is a bonus.

I have to agree that even though you are on a tight budget don't miss out on your adventure by worrying about every penny. I too have been on a trip with someone who constantly complained about the price of everything and carried on and on.... It was very annoying!!

Best of luck!
Lori
User Rank: Daytripper
User Rank: Daytripper
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2007 9:56 am

Postby Bea09 » Sun Mar 18, 2007 4:03 pm

I would highly recommend Peru for a first time trip to S. America. I did the Peru Panorama a few years ago and it was one of the best trips I've ever taken. It is a relatively well-beaten path but for good reason - a great combo of culture, vistas (I had never seen anything like Lake Titicaca before), physical challenge (Inca trail), and wildlife (jungle). It's amazing what they pack into one relatively short trip. Honestly, it's fabulous. I'm sure you won't go wrong whatever you end up choosing, but you should seriously consider Peru!
Bea09
User Rank: Weekender
User Rank: Weekender
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 11:12 am
Location: Toronto

Postby Orca1102 » Mon Mar 19, 2007 7:46 am

Wonderful! Thanks everyone for all your insight. It will definately give me more of a path to start on. Right now I think I'm just hesitating between Mexico/Guatamela and Peru, so that's already a great start for someone who wants to see evrything right away! Ha!
I can't believe how exited I'm getting already and I only plan to leave in a year...imagine my state a month before I leave.... :shock:
I'm really glad to see that everyone here has experienced an AMAZING time with GAP. I fell on this web site by pure and complete hazrd (I was looking for the Gap store website!!) and since I've been fascinated by this organization. Everyone seems to have nothing but positive and awesome things to say about their trips...wow!!! I know I'll be no where near disapointed!
I have sooooo many questions to ask but I'll just go with one at a time:
ARe the activities (such as horseback riding, snorkeling etc etc included in the Gap price?
I agree with many of you, I definately wont worry about the budget thing. I'm just worried about it right now, saving up is a little hard for me but I'm doing my best. Once I'm gone on a trip I'm sure just the sheer beauty of travelling will get me high!
Ok one more question...sorry!
Has there ever been a GAP trip that included travelling by motorcycle (even for just a few days?) I'd be really hyped to try that....
Ok enough babbling for today, so thanks again for all your help guys! It's a wonderful start to a lifelong adventure I'm sure!
G'day!!
Orca1102
User Rank: Weekender
User Rank: Weekender
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2007 1:35 pm
Location: Montreal, Canada

Postby Lilian » Sat Mar 24, 2007 12:25 pm

Something I do to plan for a trip is go to the library and check out vidoes/dvd's (and books) on the countries I'm most interested in visiting. I find it to be very insightful! I watch multiple videos/dvd's on the same country to gain various perspectives! I can't say enough about doing research before traveling. Guide books are also a great way to prepare.

Being more educated before departure gives me much more meaning to my travels....I even try to find a non-fiction book to read about my destination. When I went to Africa, I read An Ordinary Man and met Paul Rusesabagina (the author) before leaving (he just happened to be in my town at the time-all luck!). The movie Hotel Rwanda is based on his story.

Doing this helps me prepare, make and enjoy travel decisions.

:-)
Lilian
I love to travel!
Lilian
User Rank: Traveller
User Rank: Traveller
 
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2007 11:43 pm
Location: Ohio

Re: Where to Begin?

Postby bryguy76 » Mon Mar 26, 2007 6:11 pm

Here-she-Goes wrote:Hey Everyone!

Due to budget control (on y end) I'm planning a first trip, next year looking into march-April 2008.
Here's the thing...I don't even know where to start! I'm interested in Peru, Costa Rica, Panama etc etc...
I'm a complete all-arounder looking for amazing panoramics, awesome cultures, serenity, landscapes, and alot of FUN!! I'm an active athlete, but I'm not looking to be exhausted....
any first suggestions so I can begin to filter my options here?
Honestly, everything here at GAP looks sooo awesome...if I had a million dollars....
All help is greatly appreciated!! Thanx!


I could have spent months in Bolivia alone. It's the least expensive of the South American countries becuase it's the poorest. There are virtually an unlimited amount of mountains to climb, salt flats to see, jungles to visit, an over abundance of culture, and a very small amount of tourists. For my last night in La Paz, I ate at one of the most expensive restaraunts in the city and spent $12 for fresh lobster, steak and a bottle of wine. If you're athletic, I'd definatley reccomend biking down the worlds most dangerous road and climbing Huyana Potosi (spelling eek).
User avatar
bryguy76
User Rank: Weekender
User Rank: Weekender
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 5:45 pm
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Postby Sabine » Tue Mar 27, 2007 1:06 pm

Bea - I definitely second your note!!! I was looking for a combination of strenuous, cultural, historical, fun, etc etc. I am still in awe, and I cannot wait until I get a chance for another trip. What stands out about GAP is that they were the ONLY outfitter that responded back to me (and I contacted dozens), once I revealed that I was travelling by myself. I was looking for a small group to join, since I had safety concerns as a fair skinned female travelling alone in South America. I would join another GAP adventure at ANY time.
Sabine
User Rank: Adventurer
User Rank: Adventurer
 
Posts: 51
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 5:29 pm
Location: U.S.A


Return to South America

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 1 guest