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Dec/Jan in Peru & Bolivia - Cold?

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  • 30-08-2007 10:21am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 2,851 ✭✭✭


    Hi there,

    We're off to Chile/Peru/Bolivia and Argentina on December 1st and are coming home 2 months later. I'm really having difficulty knowing what to pack - I know its going to be summer over there but I've heard Bolivia especially can be really cold due to the altitude.

    I do plan on bringing some thermal/breathable tops and a marino wool jumper, but do you think I'd need a down jacket? Is that just overkill?

    What else do you recommend?

    Thanks!


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 795 ✭✭✭jrar


    Argentina will be quite warm/hot - was there in Jan. 95 and 96 and it was over 30C in B.A most of the time (slightly surreal being in those temps. a day after leaving a very cold Dublin !)

    However, when we travelled into Bolivia, it got decidedly cooler especially at night - and yes, the altitude can add to the feeling of cold, so best to pack some sort of fleecewear etc. to cover your options


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,120 ✭✭✭shrapnel222


    i would say as well that thermals,a fleece or two and a windbreaker would be more than enough


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,023 ✭✭✭Meathlass


    Glowing wrote:
    Hi there,

    We're off to Chile/Peru/Bolivia and Argentina on December 1st and are coming home 2 months later. I'm really having difficulty knowing what to pack - I know its going to be summer over there but I've heard Bolivia especially can be really cold due to the altitude.

    I do plan on bringing some thermal/breathable tops and a marino wool jumper, but do you think I'd need a down jacket? Is that just overkill?

    What else do you recommend?

    Thanks!

    The southern parts of Chile and Argentina may be cold with snow especially if you go trekking in Patagonia. Lots of rain too. Bring a fleece and a jacket. Layering is best. A waterproof jacket is also good. The altiplano in Bolivia is very cold at night, even with pretty much all my clothes on I was freezing in the desert. Beunos Aires and Santiago should be very hot. From Boliva to Argentiana straddles the Equator to Patagonia so it's like asking what to pack for a trip taking in Sweden to Italy. Your biggest problem is going to be the long distance buses where they turn the air conditioning up full blast and in Bolivia there was ice on the inside windows of our bus in the morning (cheapest option not always best!!) You can buy a cheap blanket over there for bus journeys or use your sleeping bag.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,851 ✭✭✭Glowing


    Thats great Meathlass, thanks!

    We're not going to be going further south than Santiago and BA - and no further north than Cusco probably.

    So would you suggest bringing a sleeping bag? Can you buy them cheaply over there? I'm really worried about the bus travel, not the cold, but the falling off the cliffs! I think I will be bringing the down jacket!


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,023 ✭✭✭Meathlass


    Glowing wrote:
    Thats great Meathlass, thanks!

    We're not going to be going further south than Santiago and BA - and no further north than Cusco probably.

    So would you suggest bringing a sleeping bag? Can you buy them cheaply over there? I'm really worried about the bus travel, not the cold, but the falling off the cliffs! I think I will be bringing the down jacket!

    You should be fine then in term of weather. Was in BA for most of jan and feb this year and it was about 30c all the time, day and night. Too hot for an Irish girl! It does get cold on the altiplano and very hot during the day but nothing that a few t-shirts , jumper and jacket won't solve. I wouldn't bother bringing a sleeping bag, didn't see any for sale over there. I bought a fleece blanket quite cheaply in a market and used that for the time I was there. You will have plenty of linen/blankets in hostels, it's just the buses that are a problem. Some of the more expensive companies provide blankets, pillows etc but not worth it for the extra cost. Bus travel in Chile and Argentina is relatively expensive. A 12 hour journey could cost 60 euros. Peru much cheaper especially if you stick to the cheaper bus lines for locals and avoid the expensive tourist ones like Cruz del Sur. Internal flights can be also quite cheap, expecially between Cusco and Lima which is a nightmare journey of hairpin bends!


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,851 ✭✭✭Glowing


    Meathlass, how did you find the busses/roads between Cusco and Bolivia - and then down towards Argentina? I'm really nervous on those busses flying around hairpins, and am starting to worry about it already!! (am looking forward to the rest of it though :D)


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,023 ✭✭✭Meathlass


    Glowing wrote:
    Meathlass, how did you find the busses/roads between Cusco and Bolivia - and then down towards Argentina? I'm really nervous on those busses flying around hairpins, and am starting to worry about it already!! (am looking forward to the rest of it though :D)


    I went from Cusco to Arquepia which was flat( no cliffs for the most part!) Then onto Puno, Lake Titicaca, onto La Paz, the roads there were all fine. They were on the flat, if you're really nervous go in daylight but I had no problems. La Paz to Uyuni (for Salt Flat tours) was fine for the first few hours (except for the smell on bus, I took the cheapest option so was full of locals with 40 skirts and jackets, none too chean, everyone chewing coca as well and spitting it out on the floor of the bus) but the last 6 hours were on an unpaved road in the desert and I felt every bump. There are no flights though as it's so high planes can't land. There is a train/bus option which I should have looked into. I'm also quite a nervous passenger and threw up quite a lot at the start of my trip in Colombia and Venezuela. Had got the hang of it by Peru and Bolivia but I found those travel sickness braclets quite good.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,851 ✭✭✭Glowing


    Hmm, maybe night time is better since i can't see the ravine we're almost falling into! :D

    Thanks for all the info Meathlass, you've set my mind at ease!


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,120 ✭✭✭shrapnel222


    glowing, if i were you i'd get a good sleeping bag. Firstly, i know you're doing the inca trail, so you'll need it any way just for that (and a tent for that matter). secondly, when you're out there i would seriously urge you to do other treks in the andes off the beaten track both in bolivia and peru, i promise you won't regret it. The inca trail is great because of macchu picchu, but unfortunately, the trek in itself is good but a bit spoilt by the fact 1000 other people are there with you. It is one of the greatest feelings walking in those mountains with not a soul around, in breathtaking sceneries, pitching your tent, going for a dip in a waterfall,etc...


  • Registered Users Posts: 21 chanpan


    I was there in Peru & Bolivia over Dec & Jan last year and my one piece of advice is don't bring anything with you!! Whatever you need you can buy there and for nothing. Beautiful llama wool jumpers for $6, thermals, Cusco is filled with shops selling decent, trekking gear/sleeping bags anything you need!

    I traveled for 6 months with a daypack,2 changes of clothes with an extra pair of socks, a good-quality fleece, my camera, my diary & my i-pod and I was the envy of everyone I met. I bought things as I needed them and passed them on to the locals when I didn't want to carry them anymore. As everything was so cheap I never felt guilty or sentimental about lugging around a pile of material stuff I didn't need.

    Just so you know I am a girl, I love my clothes & make-up and lifes little luxuries but having spent 5 years of my life carrying a rucksack this will be the best piece of advice you will ever get :)


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,851 ✭✭✭Glowing


    Thanks guys.

    Chanpan, I've backpacked for a year already and I really appreciate how great it is to travel light. I didn't travel as light as you :) but I certainly wasn't the type to bring a hairdryer either! I would be more inclined to buy stuff over there as i need it rather than lugging expensive stuff across the world only to carry it around at the bottom of my bag!

    Shrapnel, can you not rent sleeping bags and tents with the tour companies?


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,120 ✭✭✭shrapnel222


    i don't know to tell you the truth. possibly. but if, as i said earlier, you have any intention of doing any more, then having your own would make sense, regardless of whether you bought them here or there. I had both so didn't check what you could rent out there. I even had a hamac and spent a lot of nights sleeping in that :D


  • Registered Users Posts: 795 ✭✭✭jrar


    Glowing wrote:
    Shrapnel, can you not rent sleeping bags and tents with the tour companies?


    When I did it, I had my own good quality sleeping bag, but the tour company we booked with provided tents and food.


  • Registered Users Posts: 21 chanpan


    All the tour companies rent sleeping bags when doing the Inca trail. Although they tend to charge US20-US$30 for it. There are about 30 or so equipment rental shops in Cusco who operate independently from the trekking companies and charge $5 - $10 for the same. When I was there I haggled with one of these companies and managed to buy a really good ex-rental sleeping bag for $25. You will only use the sleeping bag when you are in the andes, everywhere else is too warm so I wouldn't bother bringing one with you.

    Just as an aside, when you are in Bolivia make sure you spend a few days on the Isla de Sol - it was by far my favourite place in South America. Have a wonderful time, I'm very jealous :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,339 ✭✭✭How Strange


    OP, from what I know the Inca Trail will be closed when you are there. It usually closes mid-late Dec until end Feb so it can be cleaned up and any maintenance carried out. :(


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 542 ✭✭✭lady_j


    OP, from what I know the Inca Trail will be closed when you are there. It usually closes mid-late Dec until end Feb so it can be cleaned up and any maintenance carried out. :(
    No fairly sure its just feb but can close for longer depending on weather. I double checked a few sites:

    http://www.kumuka.com/(X(1)S(l2dngz4552vluk45i2tx2d45))/Content.aspx?pagename=SA_News_IncaTrail

    http://www.andeantravelweb.com/peru/treks/inca_trail_4_day_faq.html

    http://www.gapadventures.com/inca-feb-closed.php


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,339 ✭✭✭How Strange


    Descry, maybe you're right. I was there early Dec and I was on one of the last treks. Maybe its that some companies don't bother running groups because its out of season and it pretty much rains everyday.

    Anyway, hope I'm wrong so you can go see it. It's fantastic.


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