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Arranging Trip - Bit of advice needed

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Arranging Trip - Bit of advice needed

1. Posted by AsherM (Budding Member 2 posts) 11y

Before I start, I know some of this info may have been given in previous threads, but the information i'm looking for is quite specific so please be understanding.

Background Info:

- I'm a 19 y.o male living in Sydney, Australia and would be travelling to South America for the first time.
- I will most likely be travelling alone, so i'd want to meet a lot of people on the way.
- I'm more into partying than lazing around on the beach, but wouldn't mind a bit of both.
- I'd love to see some sights, but i'm mainly looking to have a good time.
- I'm not on an extremely tight budget, but i'm not loaded either.
- I don't speak Spanish (maybe I can learn a bit before I leave)

I'll have some time off University between 29th November 2005 and 27th February 2006, and during that time i'm looking to spend 4-5 weeks in South America. But I have a couple of questions:

1. During the aforementioned period, which dates are the best to go as far as activity and weather is concerned?

2. I have been advised to start off in Santiago, Chile and travel overland through Cordoba (Argentina) and then through to Buenos Aires. I'd be hoping to stay in Buenos Aires for about 4 days. Then I was told to fly from Buenos Aires to La Paz (Bolivia) and take a paid tour (lasting around 21 days) through Cuzco, Machu Picchu (Inca Trail Trek), Lima, which would probably conclude my trip. Is this a decent itinery given the info I gave above? Maybe someone can suggest something better?

3. Will I have difficulty getting around and interacting with locals if I don't speak Spanish?

4. I've heard that South America as a whole is very dangerous, particularly if you go by yourself. Is there much truth in this?

5. Has anyone been on a similar holiday alone? Did you have fun despite that fact that you didn't have friends with you?

Thanks in advance - any advice would be greatly appreciated.

2. Posted by jackboy (Inactive 350 posts) 11y

You are certinly a good planner and you have planned a great trip.
Can you not make Rio de Janeiro and do the Sugar Loaf as that was something I will always remember on my Lone trip about 4 years ago when I travelled alone, my only companion Lonely Planet S America.
I got robbed of my beachbag belongings on Copcobana beach as when i was walking to the beach i noticed all the locals had no kit only towels and where wearing their swiming trunks; so lesson 1.
I enjoyed Buenios Aires as I am a "townbum" and their was plenty to see during the day and at night it has the best redlight district i have ever been to in the world;keep it quiet!!!!!!!!!!,everybody speaks English and plenty of friendly Travellers on the road.
Santiago was fun and very friendly but I needed a rest after BA!!!!!.
I did not have one word of Spanish but I met and had laughts with "all sorts" and everyone was so friendly and had no problems but if you can do a course it always helps.
The best and cheapest time to go would be a week after New Year so dont say I wish,pack those bags and book the plane.
have a great trip and al de bes

3. Posted by Everett (Budding Member 30 posts) 11y

Hi Asher

Right now i'm traveling around SA on my own. Usually you wont have any problem about safety if you just mind you bags and other belongings.
If you are openminded you will defentinly meet other people on your own ages and older. A good advice would be pick the hostels, were you know there is other backpackers, and were Lonely Planet or Footprints tells that there is a good social life.
There is a lot of stories about muggins in cabs, buses etc. But so far i haven't got into any trouble, i have to believe that some of the stories must be urban stories, because some of them seems to be pretty crazy.

Hope you will find SA just as enjoying as i do right now. Good luck.