So I decided to suck it up and keep my job until next May when i'm done school, as it will make paying for this trip easy. I'm planning on a 4 month trip from the beginning of May until the end of August next year. I figure that if i skip the luxury hotels this time, I can do it on a tentative budget of around 10k. I may have to adjust for the diving, but that's ok. My priorities are 1) get my spanish to a good level 2) have fun and relax (women, dancing, beaches, diving) 3) see lots of cool stuff and take lots of pictures. 4) Get a Dive license and do lots of diving (gonna buy an underwater kit for my camera) ^_^ I intend to spend my first month in Buenos Aires. I'm going to take intensive spanish for a month before i head out to more rural areas and less developed countries because I won't have a bilingual spanish-speaking girlfriend as a crutch this time. Aside from that, everything else is flexible so I'm open to ideas from anyone that's spent time down there. This is what I can think of so far: Argentina: Buenos Aires (tango and spanish lessons, just have fun), Patagonia region, Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, Ushuaia (southermost city in the world), Mendoza (wine country), Iguazu Falls. Uruguay: Montevideo. Chile: Torres del Paine national park (penguins and more glaciers/mountains), Santiago and valparaiso. Not sure what else there is to do in Chile so I'm open to suggestions at this point. If I can find the time to get back in to very good climbing shape, I could also do a lot of it in Chile/Argentina. Bolivia: Salar de Uyuni (largest salt flats in the world), La Paz, Lake Titicaca, maybe Isla del Sol. Peru: seen much of it already, but missed Southern Peru on the last trip. Might go to Ica and Arequipa and then catch a flight in Lima to my next destination. Haven't really considered logistics so I might skip it completely. Ecuador: Galapagos Islands, Quito, maybe spend more time in the rainforest (could also do this in Brazil). Do some diving there. Brazil: Huge country. Aside from a short stay in Rio, haven't a clue what to see. Could use suggestions from anyone that's spent time there. I'll probably minimize my time here since I'm trying to improve my spanish and not portuguese. Then again, the beaches of Brazil are supposed to be great (as are the women, but with no portuguese it would be difficult), so I might spend more time here. I don't know... Colombia: definitely Cartagena and Islas del Rosario (more diving). Not sure how much time I'll spend in Bogota. I intend to leave colombia to the end of the trip since my spanish will be best at that point and if my camera equipment gets jacked it won't spoil my enjoyment too much. Panama, Costa Rica, etc.: Would like to tack this on to end of trip if there's still time. I'm open to suggestions since I'll try hard to fit them in. Could do yet more diving here. ^_^ I'll probably rent a nice apartment in Buenos Aires for a month and stay in hostels for the rest of the time. It seems to be quite easy to find safe and clean places to stay down there. I'll probably have to spend more in the Galapagos and Rio, but in other places I'll be spending like $20/night so it's not a big deal. I'm going to try to limit air travel to keep travel costs down and see more of the countries i'm travelling through. Packing will be a bit of a challenge. It will be a long trip and I'll have to prepare for average temperatures of 0 to 30. I'd like to have nice clothes for going out at night in BA (temps there will be 5-17 celsius) but I don't want to carry around too much stuff when I'm on buses, as I'm a little paranoid of things getting stolen. Has anyone done a trip like this before? How did you pack? I'm probably going to bring two sets of camera equipment. I'll keep one on me and one in the hotel. I like taking pictures so I don't want to be stuck with a point and shoot if i get robbed. Most importantly, what am I missing on my list of things to see and do? For those that have been to brazil, what is a must see/do? For those that dive, what are the best spots? It's something i've wanted to do for a long time so i'd like to do as much of it as possible.