It's still 3 months before I head away, but I can feel the nerves starting already. Atfer a few short days in NYC, I'm starting a 3-4month spell around South America.
I know lots of you have probably done the same thing, so I'm really interested to hear how you found backpacking solo around this continent - both good and bad experiences. It's hard to have any idea what it's going to be really like until you are there yourself, but I'm trying to be as prepared as possible for what's ahead.
Plus I'm bored at work
Hey, I was in Brazil for three and a bit months last year solo, I had a great time, met loads of cool, weird, interesting, funny, great people, I also met some not so great people but thats part and parcel of it!...I left them behind quick sharp.
I have to be honest and say sometimes I got a little lonely but that was literally about 5 days out of the whole shebang so although they stick out cos it's not so great it really was never a massive problem! I also had one very unfortunate incident with a pushy guy (but lets face it brazillians aren't exactly known for being shy )
the atmosphere in South America seems so much lighter than Britain and almost all of the continents I've visited, apart from the South Africans, Some of these guys literally are the friendliest people I've found on my wanderings! and the ethic for life, just seems to revolve around having fun and being carefree!
anyway thats my bit..., nerves are normal just don't let it take over!
SA is great, I just came back from there. I travelled for 3 months on my own and I didn't have problems (my daypack got stolen only once! ;-))
First I was a bit shocked how much attention I got everywhere I went (I'm tall and blond). People are generally really friendly and always have time to chat with you or give you information. I saved a lot of money because I was talking to local people who gave me good advices. BUT, you have to know the language!! I suggest everyone planning to go to SA to do a Spanish course; live is so much easier if you know the local language and you don't miss out on interesting stories from the locals!
I did. It's really nice, actually. Very few English speakers, but a LOT less touristy than other places (especially when compared to Central America). Everyone is really nice, and I got by with little Spanish and a lot of pointing and smiling.
I was mainly in the South (Chile, Argentina and Bolivia). Roads were good and it was easy to get around. Buses were plentiful. There are very few trains. Other than Bariloche in Argentina, I never had a problem finding a place to stay without any reserverations.
Thanks guys - it's great reading everyone's responses.
Really need to get cracking on learning a few basics in Spanish. I havent a word of it!
Oh, my Spanish advice...
The important thing is not to be completely fluent in spanish, but to be able to have key conversations. As I travelled, I had a basic knowledge of a couple of things, and was fine.
Learn how to carry on a short conversation - say hello, ask someone's name, ask where they are from and be able to answer these questions. Be able to tell them where you are going. This way you can talk to someone for at least a few sentences before launching into the "do you speak English?" question.
Learn the numbers. You can get by in almost any store by pointing and asking "how much?" As long as you can understand the answer.
Learn how to ask if a place has rooms available. Learn to ask about the room - Is there hot water? Does the room have a private bath? Learn how to tell them you want to stay for X nights.
Learn the names of common food and drink items. This will make ordering in restaurants easy.
I found things fine with these key things. You'll also be surprised how quickly you can pick up other vocabulary in Spanish. I never caught on to the grammar all that well, but it is amazing what you can do with nouns and pointing.
I did see people with no Spanish travelling around, but obviously they were more limited in what they were able to do, and learn about the people they met.
I plan to travel solo in South America maybe next jannuary for about 45 days and i am kind of nervous about it since it is the first time i am doing smt like that.
As i read from some of your postings in the forums u did a lot of research on latin america so may be u can help me out here.
I am travelling from cyprus and would like to land in Argentina and depart from peru or vice versa. Do u think this is possible and what about the costs?
Also i do not want to take any internal flights when i am there. do u think it is possible to travel from argenitna to peru or vice versa without flying and during this time visit the amazon, inca trail and patagonia, iguazu falls, buenos aires.
I'm probably not the best person to ask, since I havent been there yet, but I'll try to help.
I'm landing in Lima and leaving from Rio de Janeiro, but I'm travelling on from South America, not returning home. I'm sure you could do this, although I'm not sure of the costs to Cyprus. I booked my flights on-line and got pretty good fares! From what I have heard and read, a one-way flight is often more expensive than a return flight, so if you're planning on flying home from Peru maybe you could check out some low fares websites or www.lan.com. It all depends on where you're flying to really, I suppose.
I'm not planning on taking any internal flights either (apart from Santiago to Easter Island because its too far to swim ). Overland travel seems to take quite a while, though, and can take forever if its the wet season due to the condition of the roads. It is possible to travel from Argentina to Peru overland, but it looks like it would take a LONG TIME!
I'm sure that, at a push, you could take most of these places in 45 days, but honestly I think you might be trying to fit in too much (especially Patagonia!). My own feeling would be that if you're doing a lot of long bus journeys, you are going to need a few days at least in between each one to rest and recharge. Plus, you dont want to spend all your time sitting on a bus.
If you could afford a plane ticket from BA to Lima I would get it. Then you would have many more days in either city to branch out and explore, do trips, etc. I think from Peru you could cross into Brazil and take in an amazon trip quite easily.
Anyway, hopefully someone else will have some more detailed advice for you! I will be in Peru in January also
Hope that helps,
thanks a lot Samsara!
it was very useful info.
it will be good to keep in touch. may be we can meet for a beer in Peru