Traveling in South America

#1
Just wanted to get some advice from those that have done a bit of traveling in other countries apart from Argentina.Was thinking of making my way up to Ecuador via Paraguay, Bolivia and Argentina.
If anyone has any experience of this and could drop me some advice I would be grateful and if anyone has used tours (non seniors) that would be good to know also. The first piece of advice would be is this a sensible and safe trip and is it worth it.
Cheers.
 
#2
It's not a bad idea, do it yourself, just buy bus tickets from city to city. Learn a little Spanish and buy some tour books. From Ecuador go through Peru and then into Chile and over to Argentina, probably a safer route.
Depending on the time of year passage over the Andes can be a problem i.e. snow.
 

Bill

Active Member
#3
I did the trip in reverse of what you're talking about. No Paraguay though. I'd only do that if I was including Brazil and then working over. I would go west from BsAs and work your way north through the other large cities of Argentina and enter Bolivia from the south.
Planning a rough outline of your trip is key. Buy a good travel guide such as Lonely Planet or Let's Go and start reading about what's out there. There are also endless travel blogs about everything to do with traveling if you search the internet. Reading other people's personal experiences can be very educational.
My best advice is to actually do it if you have the chance. I would expect to spend about $1000 a month while travelling. Pack extremely light. A backpack that can stay with you even in the tightest Bus seat. Leave anything of value somewhere safe unless vital. Find a good pair of travel pants that have a zippered or consealed pocket. And so on....
 
#4
Thanks.Was also thinking of doing the Inca trail but I hear tours get booked way in advance.What would you say the saftey rating of this kind of trip is. Not so worried about north Argentina but Peru and Bolivia are the big unknown.
 

Bill

Active Member
#5
I did the Inca Trail without any advance reservation. I arrived in Cusco (March) and walked around to tour shops comparing prices. It wasn't expensive ($170 total) and included everything. Something important to note is that there's a 3 day wait after booking a tour so the government can approve your passport and add you to the system. I was thankful for this forced wait as I got altitude sickness and had time to recover before going on the hike.
The hike itself was fantastic and worth every moment despite the agony. It's VERY hard to do not just to hike up steep trails but to also walk down steep jagged stone stairs that will pound your knees. That was the biggest surprise since you don't expect that it'll be the downhill stuff that's the worst. Add rain to the jagged rocks and it gets especially exciting in a life threatening way.
How safe is this entire trip through SA? It all depends who you meet up with and what your attitude is like. I did many dangerous things and survived fine while other people seemed to have nothing but horror stories. I don't go on adventures to live a safe life though, so rather than being afraid I just sort of eat it up. I've said in the past that during my travels through Latin America, it seemed that 95% of the people were more afraid of me than I was of them.
Something else I'll add is that you should try to spend at least a month in each country if you can afford it and also go to Colombia, as it was my favorite country.