Behind the Scenes of a RTW Trip – Month 10 Travel Review

Posted By Jeremy in South America

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Top of the Mountain in El Bolson, ArgentinaWe are flying past day 300 now.  We’ve now marked the end of our 10th month of this trip!   This past month has been an interesting one for us because we’ve spent the entirety of it in Chile and Argentina which are very similar cultures.  As we are normally moving relatively with a relatively fast pace, this puts these destinations in a rare category of places we’ve spent more than a month in (with Thailand, India, and Nepal).

But as much as we’re having a great time here, we’re ready to move on to something new and will be giving away some of our plans in this Month 10 review post!

As with our last report, each month we feature a travel review of the highlights, lowlights, and spending we had during the course of our adventure.  These are provided as a snapshot of what our RTW trip is like for your reference, although we know that every trip is different.


The volcano of Pucon, Chile

During our tenth month of travel we continued our exploration of Argentina and Chile that was started in month 9.  During month ten we visited El Bolson, Bariloche, San Martin de los Andes, and Mendoza in Argentina; Pucon, Talca, Santiago, and Valparaiso in Chile; and spent 6 nights on Easter Island which we are considering to be a unique country although it is techinically under the Chilean government.

Our total out-of-pocket spending for the month was about $5,620.  This was more or less what we expected, with our over estimation of Argentina and Chile prices covering our flight for Easter Island.  Hooray!  This happened mostly because we primarily researched prices from Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, not anticipating to spend more time in the northern cities that are far cheaper (by about $50 to $60/day difference!!).  So while we did not originally plan to spend this long in these countries, we’re happy how it all worked out.

This spending includes the following breakdown on a per day average for the two of us combined (in USD).  The following figures for Argentina and Chile are based on our current spending which will change during our final week in the country.  As mentioned above, we consider Easter Island its own country so the figures have been separated below.

Accommodation Food Transportation Sight Seeing Souvenirs Misc. Purchases
Argentina $40.10 $37.58 $54.77* $17.33 $3.38 $1.80
Chile $42.90 $32.37 $18.44 $20.13 $0.54 $4.16
Easter Island $92.50 $64.53 $23.16* $10.15 $15.02 $2.50

Transportation for Argentina includes two $300 plane tickets from BA to Ushuaia.
If excluding, transportation would be at approximately $32.54/day
Transportation for Easter Island excludes two $750 plane tickets from Santiago to Easter Island RT
If including, transportation would be at approximately $273.16/day (ouch).

We received a discounted car rental on Easter Island and split the remaining cost with a few friends who were on the island at the same time.

As always, our full spending log is available from our menu under “Plan Your Trip.”   When our stay in Argentina and Chile is completed, our updated averages will be available under their respective tabs on this page.

RTW Tally Snapshot

Front row seats to the moai of Easter Island

Want to see what a month is like where the only mode of transportation is bus (excluding the round-trip flight to Easter Island)?  This, and the next 5 months will be for you!  Other than a few detours where we return to the same city, we’re working our way through South America entirely overland!

What does that mean for the tally?  Lots of miles, and lots of additions to our vehicles transportation column.  After that?  Perhaps a new adventure?

Days Traveling: 305 (+31)
Countries Visited: 30 (+1)
Dollars Spent (USD): $58,003 (+$4,116)    Easter Island airfare purchased in previous month.
Pictures Taken (Jeremy):  21,973 (+1,984)
Miles Traveled: 44,117 (+5,771)
Planes: 22; Trains: 43
Vehicles: 8; Ferries: 2
Days of Rain: 7 (+2)    It always rains in Easter Island
Sick Days: 9.5 (+0)
Itinerary Changes: 4 (+2)
Arguments: 8 (+2)
Days Apart: 3.5 (+0.5)
Nights in a Dorm Bed: 34 (+6)
Combined Books Read: 38 (+2)
Bottles of Wine: 47 (+4)

Random Thoughts

A perfectly set wine tasting table in Mendoza

As with the last RTW trip covered on this site, these monthly updates are a great place to put in the little random details that we found interesting in the countries we visited that may not find their way into a full blog post.  The following are some of our favorites from the countries we visited in Month 10:

  • Easter Island is not nearly as expensive as everyone makes it out to be.  Yes, perishable food has a 3x markup in most places, but other than that prices of cheap food and restaurants were not as outrageous as we had once thought (think USA prices).  If you don’t bring food with you from Santiago, you may end up paying the same price to cook at your hotel than you would eating from one of the “fast food” shacks on the island (~$6-$10 per person)!
  • Valparaiso shot up to one of our favorite cities we’ve ever visited.  It is quite an interesting place to just wander around and go on the hunt for new murals and vistas.
  • We’re getting kind of burnt out on Argentina and Chile.  Not so much that we are not loving the places we’re visiting (we keep adding more to our itinerary), but more because the prices are quite high.  Luckily we’re about to head into Bolivia and explore a new culture!
  • Our costs of exploring southern Chile and Argentina (Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego regions) were 50% higher than exploring the central and northern regions.  The cost of being so remote is substantial here.
  • I still haven’t been able to scuba dive, and missed out seeing an underwater moai in Easter Island because of some strong winds and waves.
  • We felt our first earthquake in Valparaiso.  It wasn’t the big one in Chile that everyone read about (more on that soon), but was around a ~5.4 magnitude that shook our beds.  Angie freaked out, and I just kind of enjoyed it.  The Chileans at the hostel, naturally, acted like nothing happened.
  • We celebrated our birthdays and dating anniversary in the last month!  My birthday and our dating anniversary was spent on Easter Island and Angie’s birthday 12 days later was spent on a luxury wine tour of Mendoza.  Now we’re quite excited to see where our marriage anniversary will end up being (Machu Picchu anyone?).
  • After meeting several travelers who are doing it, we think renting/buying a camper van in South America would have been an amazing idea.  It would likely save tons of money, time, and would allow you to get around to tons of destinations that require a car.  If you’re planning a long trip to South America, this could be a wonderful idea.

Argentina, Chile, and Easter Island Posts

Moai at sunset

Since each month is limited on the number of days, we cannot write our posts fast enough to fit them all in!  But don’t worry, we’ve got ideas for a lot of great posts for after this trip ends (if it ever does).  The following are a selection of some we’ve published!

Polo in Argentina – The King of Sports
Dulce de Leche Overload in Argentina and Chile
Patagonia Restaurants – Our Favorites in Chile and Argentina
Buenos Aires Zoo – Lions, Tigers, and Bears!
Buenos Aires Restaurant Review – The Argentine Experience
Mendoza Vineyards – Celebrating my Birthday in Style
Spanish Lessons in South America – Lost in Translation
South America Overland – Ushuaia to Cartagena
Buenos Aires is One of the Most Underwhelming Cities We’ve Visited
Valparaiso – What Makes it Chile’s Capital of Culture?
Exploring Rapa Nui – Easter Island in Five Days
The Uncomfortable Side of Travel
Atacama Desert – Sand Boarding at Night
How Many Days Do You Need on Easter Island?
How to Visit Easter Island Without Spending a Lot of Money
Our Tsunami Evacuation on One of the World’s Most Remote Islands
Easter Island Hotels – The Best for All Budgets
Our Best Tips for Driving on Easter Island
Photos of the Moai – Easter Island Statues
…and more!

Murals of Valparaiso

So where will Month 11 take us?  We originally hoped to be finished with Argentina and Chile by the end of Month 10, but we found a few cities that kept us here a bit longer.  One more week of these two countries remain, and we’ll be crossing into Bolivia for three to four weeks!  After that we’ll be into Month 12, about to hit our anniversary for a full year of travel.  wow!

Is there something you’d like us to cover in our monthly reviews? Or perhaps something you’d like to see more or less of in our posts? Comment below to let us know and we’d be happy to feature it!

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  1. Wow, you guys are way more organized in terms of tracking. Good work. I was happy to be able to compare ours with your spending chart.

    Will keep a look out for your Bolivia travels. We’re heading there in a few weeks, perhaps our paths will cross.

    Post a Reply
    • Let us know where you are! We’re spending 3 weeks here (~2 more weeks) before heading to Peru. Sounds like you’ll be chasing us.

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  2. I love these reviews! It is so interesting to see how much things really cost when traveling- depending on the area and even compared to what we spend at home. Honestly I bet you will be similar to someone who doesn’t travel at all.

    Post a Reply
    • Agreed! I think the trouble would be saving up the amount to head off and do it in the first place. We saved up half our after-tax income for two+ years, but if we hadn’t saved it we probably would have spent it all on other things that aren’t as fun!

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  3. I would love to hear more about Easter Island! Especially the post you are suggesting about Easter Island on the cheap.

    Post a Reply
    • Hey Elizabeth, we just published that article yesterday! We’d love to hear what you think of it!

      Post a Reply

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