Most of the planning we’ve done for our trip has been van-related: mechanical repairs, camping equipment, a few safety/customization projects (more on those later)… we’ve spent almost no time coming up with an itinerary. That’s somewhat on purpose, since we have no idea what the roads will be like, what bad weather might pop up, or what other unforeseen delays might arise. So while we were waiting for the van to arrive, we made a rough outline of our priorities for the overall trip. The big must-see sights, and must-do activities that were on our South American bucket lists, along with how long we thought it would take to do or see all those things, plus travel between. That gave us an idea of how long we should allocate to each country or region. In addition, we were planning to rendezvous with a couple of good friends and travel together to Bolivia and possibly further, which helped us set a deadline for our time in Chile. From there, we figured we would fill in the gaps with allllllll the other things that sounded awesome.
With that, our plan was to drive south. Until the continent ends. And then – turn around.
So we started doing just that. We chose Salto del Laja as our next destination: partly because the guidebook called it a mini-Iguazu Falls (you all know Iguazu was a hit with me), partly because it seemed like a reasonable distance for us to drive in one day, and partly because quite a few travelers who had completed trips similar to ours had documented positive camping experiences there.
So, we started the day with a nice breakfast at our first little campsite…