Vancouver to Rio overland (mostly)

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Vancouver to Rio overland (mostly)

Avatar for Tomrich11
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I’ve just booked some cheap flights from Sydney to Honolulu and Honolulu to Vancouver for June 2013 and it’s got me pretty damn excited about it all now! I’ll be travelling down to Rio in time for Carnival in 2014 from Vancouver.

The main journey will be from Mexico City to Rio de Janeiro which I want to do in 36weeks/9months. Hopefully I’ll be travelling through Mexico, Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil.

I might want to pop over to places like Cuba, Trinidad & Tobago, Galapagos Islands and Easter Island. I’m also thinking of powering through a road-trip from Vancouver to LA. It all depends on money though, but I thought I’d get some ideas on travelling through all these places early on.

I’ve seen posts on this site but just wanted to start a new thread; must do’s, must don’ts, routes, most/least expensive countries??

Thanks all!

     
Avatar for Caroline-
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This sounds AMAZING and I am utterly jealous!  The west coast of the US is fantastic, so definitely rent a car if you can! Before you leave Canada, you may want to go up to Whistler, or out to Vancouver Island - Tofino is amazing!

Once over the boarder, in Washington state there’s Seattle and Mount Rainer which in my opinion are both well worth a visit. There’s also Mount St. Helen’s and Olympic National Park. Heading South into Oregon is the capital, Portland. Lovely city, but not an awful lot going on. The coast of Oregon has some fantastic sand dunes and I’ve gone out on both beach buggy’s (guided, not that much fun) and rented my own quad bike (so much more fun) and raced around on the dunes.

Further south is California. Maybe Redwoods would be a nice stop off - the tallest trees I’ve ever seen! Then go on to San Francisco. From there, head inland to Yosemite (one of my favorite nationals parks in the US).

To get to LA, you could drive it straight, or break it up with stops in Monterey and/or Santa Barbara. I hate LA so personally I wouldn’t recommend spending long there, though Universal Studios is a good day out. Keep heading south to San Diego - beautiful city with Sea World, a beach and a zoo.

I’ve never been to Mexico before, but from readings I have done, the Northern area near the boarder of the US is supposed to be not overly safe. From what I gather (and don’t take my word for it) travelling down the Baja Peninsula is safer… maybe, and more scenic. Once you hit La Paz, you can take a ferry over to Mazatlan and head south from there.

I’ve travelled Antigua to San Jose and it offers some amazing places… you just have to get off the main bus route so ensure you have the time to do it. The Bay island of Roatan in Honduras is paradise, the town of Grenada and Ometepe island in Nicaragua are both stunning and full of things for backpackers to do.

In Costa Rica, there’s no end to the amount of activities on offer to backpackers… though be prepared to pay for it. After Honduras and Nicaragua, the prices will be a shock to the system. Monteverde has amazing zip lining, Manuel Antonio excellent surf, beautiful beaches in the National Park and endless wildlife. La Fortuna is really close to Arenal volcano that constantly erupts (an awesome sight) and there’s a brilliant outdoors center there that offer stuff like whitewater rafting, caving, guided mountain hiking, canyoning etc. If you’re in Costa Rica between August-October, you MUST visit Tortuguero and see the green sea turtles coming onto the beaches to lay eggs. You have to take a boat from Limon up the canal system to get there. The journey was pretty cool as we saw countless wildlife, including lots of crocodiles, so outside of the Green Sea Turtle laying season, it’s up to you if it would appeal.

I’ve not crossed from Panama into Colombia but I do know that crossing the Darien Gap should not be attempted. Your options will either be to fly the short leg, or take a boat. I’ve seen people mention some companies that run boat trips between the two countries, set up to cater for backpackers. I’m sure a quick search would bring up something good.

Expensive countries: Canada, USA, Costa Rica (and not from experience, but I’ve hear Belize)
Cheap countries: Guatemala, Honduras and definitely Nicaragua!

Tegucigalpa in Honduras hands down is the dodgiest city I’ve ever been in. I had to stop over night as I couldn’t do public transport from Roatan all the way down to Grenada in one day… but if you must do the same, get in and get out asap!

     
Avatar for Garybliss123
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You are pretty much going to be doing my dream trip - utterly jealous! I would love to know what kind of budget you are doing it on - and even better if you keep us updated whilst you are away. In the next 5 years I hope to do this trip.

     
Avatar for Tomrich11
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Thanks Caroline! Lots of good info there on Central America and the USA. I’ll look it all up when I get a chance.

As for the budget, if I average £30 a day for 9months that’ll work out as £7,500. I’m hoping to have £10,000-£12,500 by the time I’ve finished working in Australia. (Just doing data entry work…this place is a gold mine!)

I think that’s a decent budget, and I’m pretty good at sticking to it. I got through Fiji, New Zealand and SE Asia for 6months on a similar budget, it all averages out between the expensive and cheap countries in the end.

Hopefully I’ll have the motivation to do a blog this time round smile

     
Avatar for Warrick
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Tomrich11 - 03 December 2012 03:08 AM

Thanks Caroline! Lots of good info there on Central America and the USA. I’ll look it all up when I get a chance.

As for the budget, if I average £30 a day for 9months that’ll work out as £7,500. I’m hoping to have £10,000-£12,500 by the time I’ve finished working in Australia. (Just doing data entry work…this place is a gold mine!)

I think that’s a decent budget, and I’m pretty good at sticking to it. I got through Fiji, New Zealand and SE Asia for 6months on a similar budget, it all averages out between the expensive and cheap countries in the end.

Hopefully I’ll have the motivation to do a blog this time round smile

I think, for me, £12.5k would be a reasonable budget for a trip like this. Nice to see someone on the boards who actually has a grasp of what travelling costs.

Keep us updated.