Hello, I am planning to go to South America this October, and despite researching I am still no wiser as to where to start my travels.
i am from the UK but currently in Australia and will be departing from Sydney.
i want to learn Spanish and ideally when I first arrive i'd like to spend a month or two taking Spanish lessons, and then continue my travels with a combination of volunteering, being a tourist and maybe working. I like to travel slowly and it would be nice to stay in a place for a longer time if i liked it enough.
I was thinking to start in Buenos Aires, take lessons then either go down to Patagonia or just along Rosario, Cordoba, Mendoza to Chile, and then up through Bolivia, Peru etc etc.
The problem is I know that for a beginner, perhaps starting in Argentina is not the best place as the Spanish is more difficult, and I would really prefer to take some lessons before I start travelling the continent.
But - starting here has better weather. I was thinking to start in Colombia - clearer Spanish, but I believe the weather is not so good, and then i'd be in Peru around February or March and it's rainy season.
Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions? I am so indecisive!
The usual gateway to South America from Sydney is Santiago, Chile. If you want to study Spanish, you could work your way to Bolivia, visiting the Salar de Uyuni on the way. From Bolivia, you could either head north to Peru, or south to Argentina (south is probably better, weather wise).
This Web site will help give you a clearer picture of what the weather will be like in the places you want to visit: http://www.climatemps.com/
Colombia, Ecuador and Peru also are good places to study Spanish. I considered doing that in Ecuador last year, but decided not to (lack of time).
Many currencies in South America have dropped in value relative to the U.S. dollar, so traveling in the region now is more affordable. Use cash to convert into pesos in Argentina, where the official exchange rate at banks and ATMS is substantially below the rate offered elsewhere.
You'll have a great time in South America.
Hi, I have recently done something similar to you, I started off in Buenos Aires, travelled down to Patagonia and am slowly working my way up the Continent. I liked that I've done it this way and haven't backtracked on myself too much, and starting off in Argentina was an easy way to ease myself into backpacking around South America.
With regards to beginning to learn spanish in Buenos Aires, I don't think you should be so concerned about it being difficult. If you've never learnt spanish before, it will all be new to you no matter where you are and will not be any more difficult than learning in any other country. I would suggest, though, that you learn Spanish in a city that you enjoy being in. You will only be in classes for about four-six hours a day so that's a lot of your day left to fill, and if you're in a city you hate, but are only there because the spanish classes are cheap, or someone told you the accent there was better, then, trust me, you will not enjoy yourself. I took spanish classes in BsAs and totally recommend it, as it such fun city to be in because there was always something going on.
Thanks, can you tell me more about when you studied in BA? Or have any tips/recommendations?
it really makes it easier for me to start in Argentina, then through Chile and upwards because of the weather, and I also have a friend living in BA who I could stay with when I first arrive.