Home from travelling South America for 4 months, thought I’d put up my route, info etc.
Brazil - Argentina - Uruguay - Chile - Bolivia - Peru - Ecuador - Colombia.
Brazil - Started in Rio for Carnival, then Paraty, Ilha Grande (island), Sao Paulo, Florianopolis, Iguazu Falls (Brazil side)
Argentina - Iguazu Falls (Argentina side), Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Mendoza
Chile - Santiago, San Pedro De Atacama
Bolivia - Uyuni, Sucre, Potosi, La Paz
Peru - Puno, Cusco, Lima, Mancora
Ecuador - Montanita, Quito
Colombia - Popayan, San Agustin, Cali, Salento, Medellin, Cartagena, Santa Marta, Bogota - London.
(All in order of the place to place I went on buses, planes and boats)
Spent around £6,000 but I spend a lot of money on alcohol so people on a slim budget can do it much cheaper.
Brazil and Argentina are expensive, Chile gets cheaper, Bolivia and Peru dirt cheap, Ecuador cheapish, Colombia not expensive but not cheap.
Best county was Colombia. F**king amazing place with Brazil a close second.
Highlights: Christ of Redeemer, Carnival, Salt Flats, Sand boarding, Machu Picchu, Death road, Wine tour, Coffee tour, Horse riding, Caribbean coast, Waterfalls, Fishing tour, Mine tour. All I can remember but much more I did and you can do.
Internal flights are cheap but flying around SA from county to country is expensive. Like around £200-£300 a pop.
Internal flights are around £50-£100 depending on how long in advance you book them.
Knowing some basic Spanish will come in very handy as most people can’t speak English over there only in the main big cities. Even went to book tours and they didn’t speak English in certain places. I got by not knowing any Spanish but tried to travel with people here and there which knew some.
I went from Feb til June and was hot in all the countries, only saw rain a couple times in some places and countries.
There is a trail which everyone does, called the Gringo trail which is pretty much what I done with other places in there. People usually start in Brazil and work their way to Peru and fly home from there or the other way around. Most people going Colombia are usually going/done Central America which is well worth a visit
Hostels in all these places and countries full of backpackers to meet. Party hostels to relaxing hostels.
Your card won’t work on every ATM over there but they have many so you will find one in the end.
That’s all I can think of to say, hope that helps.
sounds like you had a fantastic time, i am due to set off for my trip to asia and oz on friday, hopefully i will be able t get a job in aus or nz to save some money to explore some of south america
Yeah had a great time, really enjoyed myself in South America.
Been asked a couple questions in messages so thought I’d answer them on here as well for everyone else reading this.
4 months a rush?
No, at first I planned to do it in 3 months but found it could be done but would be more moving around. I found 4 months+ is the perfect time as I went to the countries I wanted to visit (8) and had a relax time about it all no feeling rushed to move on.
For 4 months I did it on around 5-6k but you can do it on 3-4k. Just depends on how you wanna do it, I stayed in all the best/expensive hostels, drunk and ate when I wanted, hardly cooked for myself etc. So you can do South America on a cheap but it still ain’t SE Asia cheap (Only in Bolivia and Peru) but people who are good at budgeting won’t have a problem. (All the hostels have kitchens)
I booked one way flights as this trip wasn’t planned but I could have saved a lot of money if I didn’t do it this way. I paid £550 to fly to Brazil, then I paid £700 to fly home from Colombia. For some reason flying in or out of Colombia is the most expensive country in SA. I would defo look into a flexible ticket etc and not just one way as you can save money.
South America is like SE Asia, Oz, etc. It is full of people to meet, lone travellers, party hostels and relaxed hostels, tours, coaches etc I travelled on my own and can count on my hand how many times I was actually on my own on this trip. There is a route like SA Asia which everyone does and goes to the same places so meeting people is your last worry in South America.
Again hope this helps, any questions then fire away!!!!
Sounds amazing! Nice to know you can see all that in 4 months, I’d like to go for 6 months though. Did you see the Torres del Paine? I’d love to include that too. Did you feel safe in Colombia by yourself?
Oh yeah 6 months would be the perfect time as I didn’t do a couple things like what you said, Amazon etc. I got to see a lot of South America in 4 months but yes 6+ would be better.
Colombia was one of the safest places, the whole of South America was friendly but the Colombian’s are extra friendly as they wanna get away from the stereotype of Kidnapping and Cocaine.
They hate how people think that about them and it ain’t nothing like that no more, they love seeing/meeting tourist as 20-30 years ago tourism wasn’t there.
One story I was on a bus in Bogota looking out the window and looking at my paper with the hostel address on it, when a lad about 25 asked if I need any help, he gets off at my stop and takes me all the way to the address and turns round and says “bye”. he didn’t want money or anything in return. Things like that happen in Colombia all the time. They just wanna speak to us, learn English and generally just interested on us and how we feel about Colombia.
So to anyone reading this South America is safe and Colombia is nothing like the reputation it used to be. I meet loads of solo travellers like me but also girls doing it by themselves. Yeah I ain’t gonna lie you hear stories and did hear about people getting mugged etc but these are places which are dodgy at 3-4am in the morning so it all comes down to anywhere in the world if your not street wise with certain things then you never know what is gonna happen
Sounds great! Its good that you did a mini report of your trip on here I bet some people would find it useful. I wish more people would do this after their trips, especially if you are open to answering questions etc.
Sounds like quite a trip, though 4 months would require moving a little faster than I like to go. Then again, I’m old and slow these days.
Shame you didn’t have a chance to do the Amazon, but that’s something for next time I guess!
First of all, thanks very much for taking the time to write this post!
We’re heading off on a RTW in September and will be covering S. America from April - September next Year and found it very very useful!
Planning to spend just over 5 months there (with an extended period in Ecuador learning Spanish and seeing the Galapagos.)
Itinerary is: Chile -.Ecuador - Peru - Bolivia - Argentina - Brazil
I had previously cut out Columbia, Venezuela and Paraguay as thought i would be cramming too much in (and still do). However your post is now making me reconsider Columbia….
Not committed to anything apart from the flight in to Santiago and out of Rio, so we can be quite flexible… hmmm!
Anyway, cheers for the info, i may be back here asking some more questions as my S. America research steps up!
Cheers, well as corny as it sounds I wanted to give something back to this forum.
I went on my first RTW trip in 2010 to US, Oz, Fiji etc etc and this forum helped me out a lot. Where I live no one has ever been travelling, also never knew anyone who has from school etc so had to get all the information off my own back from the Internet etc and came on here, read up on a lot of posts and sent messages around. It really helped me out. So even though I’m not on here 24/7 I felt like I should come on here and give my piece of information back to anyone else coming on here for help
On my South America trip it wasn’t really planned as much as my first trip so wanted to just do it along the way speaking to people but did come on here to read up some information on SA which helped. Also realised there wasn’t as much info on SA as there is on Aus etc so also felt it was needed to put up this post as well.
Yeah to be fair 4 months was moving around a lot, I was mostly staying in the big cities or really cool places for a week and the others just 3-5 days. Like I said 6 months + is perfect but you can see a lot in 4 months but rushing in certain places
Yeah it’s a shame I missed out on the Amazon but had to miss out on a couple of certain things on this trip but hopefully get back there one day. I loved South America so pretty sure I will get back there one day! Ha.
Haha Well as you see I’ve been banging on about Colombia. The last thing I will say about it is nearly every backpacker you meet in South America asked if you’ve been or going to Colombia on your trip, then straight after say it’s the best country in South America. Haha Mostly everyone will say that to you, I’ve been to over 40 countries in the last 4 years and I personally say Colombia is in my top 3 if not my number 1 country! So yeah, if you’re over there I would defo think about putting Colombia into your Itinerary!
I’m happy to help with any questions, like I said I ain’t on here 24/7 but will get back to ya at some point and I’ll also post any questions I get on here in case anyone else would find the answers useful.
How did you like Sao Paulo? Where did you stay there. I hear mixed reviews about it, but I still want to go…
Brilliant read mate, thanks for posting! SA is my dream.
Thanks for posting this! I’m planning a trip for about 6-8 months however I want to do Latin America too so I’ve accounted for extra time. I don’t however want to fly whilst I am out there so am accounting for bussing it everywhere.
This was really useful budget wise and it’s great to hear the Columbia is so nice! First time I thought about Columbia I said to myself ‘no way!!!’ however after searching up about it it seems to have a much better reputation nowadays!
Thank you! any tips you want to give feel free! I’d love to hear more.
I liked Sao Paulo. You’re right though, when you meet people in Brazil some people say don’t bother when others say go there. I liked it though as I’m a London boy so love the big city life, Sao Paulo is a massive built up city which reminded me a little of London. Busy, people in suits and ties, sport, great night life etc So I would say worth going to even if its for a couple days, weekends are great there. I can’t remember where I stayed. Something like Green Apple or Lime tree House. I just remember it was green inside, decent party hostel.
I bus it most places so you will have no problems getting buses and they are decent in SA. Argentina coaches the most expensive.
Just the thing is SA is massive so sometimes you might have to do 10+/20+/30+ hours depending on where you are going so that’s why some people fly.
You can get day & overnight bus etc. I heard rumours about people getting their stuff stolen but if never happen with me. Some people we’re leaving bags above their heads on the rack so don’t do that, also some people had their bags on them on their lap but would have a knife mark on their bag when they woke up and all their stuff took out.
Some people had a money belt/bag and would sleep with that on with all their important stuff in there. I just had it between my legs on the floor and wrapped around one of my legs, I had no problems but like I said some people did but rear to meet more than a couple people who have.
Also people we’re talking about coaches in Colombia being dangerous at night, people getting on with guns taking everything. This is all bollocks. Colombia ain’t as dangerous as it use to be and stuff like that doesnt happen no more. They have the army everywhere there, they stop coaches and get on all the time and check people passports so it’s a safe place. I’m not saying it’s the safest place in the world as things still go on there but the whole of South America is like that so you just gotta be wise about stuff and you’ll be fine.
Well if you have anymore questions then fire away!!!!
Found it… Lime Time Hostel… Thanks for your suggestion, im gonna book it there!
Just booked and fly into Rio on November 5th canny wait. Thanks for the post you’ve given me a great starting point
I am going to Peru in 5 weeks - Will be doing an 8 day tour with Tucan Travel.
However, I am going for 2 weeks and will be booking some hostels for the beginning and end of my trip.
Can anyone suggest any clean, busy ones please? I am travelling alone and am a newbie traveller… So I want to go somewhere with loads of people but also happy to pay a bit more if its clean