I just read a really great question on the Europe forum, and i would like to ask it as it applys to South America. How far in advance should we book our accomodations? I would prefer to book our first couple of cities before we leave, and then from there a city in advance as needed. How does that sound like it will work out? How easy is it to find a place to stay the same night? Were going in February if that makes a difference....
I didn't book in advance when travelling South American (Chile, Argentina and Bolivia) in January and February in 2003. I only once had a problem arriving and just getting a place when I got there. That was in Bariloche, Argentina, and I arrived at 9pm at night. I think if you arrive early enough in the day (early afternoon) and aren't too picky, you'll be able to find a place to stay.
I did have my first few nights accomodation booked in Santiago when I arrived.
9 times out of 10, people from the hostels were actually waiting for busses at the bus terminal, providing free pickup etc.
Calafate (Argentina) is an exception, we arrived really early but a lot of people arriving after 6pm didn't find anywhere to stay (except the really expencive hotels).
We also had some problems to find a place to stay in Buenos Aires, but as soon as we went to the hostels that were not in the Lonely Planet, they had loads of vacancies.
Thank you, that gives me confidence. THis is my first time planning a trip like this, so im like a little kid. The slightest bit of affirmation makes me beam