ME AND A BUDDY OF MINE ARE GONNA SPEND 6 MONTHS IN SOUTH AMERICA. WE WILL START IN CARACAS, WHERE I HAVE SOME FAMILY AND THEN TRAVEL DOWN THE EAST COAST THROUGH BRAZIL INTO ARGENTINA AND THEN COME BACK UP THE WEST COAST OF THE CONTINENT. RIGHT NOW OUR WE ARE IN THE PLANNING STAGE OF THE TRIP. WE ARE TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHERE TO GO, WHICH MORE SPECIFIC ROUTE TO TAKE, HOW TO TRAVEL, ETC... I WOULD GREATLY APPRECIATE ANY ADVICE OR COMMENTS OR SUGGESTIONS. THANKS!
sounds good! if you're in brazil i would suggest the north east, it looks absolutely beautiful, loads of long sandy beaches. (i haven't actually been there but i was thinking of going to brazil and would have gone to the north east).
Six months to round the entire continent clockwise is feasible, though rather tight. I'd advice against going all the way south, but instead go north-west from Buenos Aires, enter Chile through the Atacama desert, and then travel north again to Bolivia (Salar de Uyuni), Peru, Ecuador and end in Carácas again (first check whether you can enter twice in six months).
It would mean missing Patagonia, Puerto Madryn, Tierra del Fuego and southern Chile, but they will still be there when you return later. The upshot of not going south is that you can easily do everything by ground transportation, which is more relaxing and hugely benefits the environment :-)
have fun, contact me for more detailed tips,
I am also backpacking around South America and was interested by the comment on 'Ground Transportation'. What is the best way to find out about bus/train routes?
Easiest way is to buy a guidebook. When you only use it for connections, the SA handbook is much more accurate than LP's shoestring.
Many SA bus companies have no or outdated web sites, most of which only in Spanish, so that won't do you any good. However, since buses are by far the most common means of long and medium distance transport in SA, rest assured that they will pretty much get you everywhere.
And it's cheap, too: two years ago, I travelled from Quito (Ecuador) to Ushuaia (Southern Argentina) for a little over 200 USD. All in all, I spent about 9 full days on the bus to cover that distance (or maybe a wee bit more; I'm presently unable to reconstruct).
Trains on the other hand are dreadful. Ever since most SA governments privatised both their railroad networks and their train companies, reliability, comfort and safety dropped dramatically. Trains survived as a means of commuter traffic. Except for a few touristic connections in the Andes and the connection between Uyuni and Villazon (Bolivia), most other passenger services have long been cancelled, even though Argentina is now busy to revive some long-distance services (for instance between La Plata and Mendoza, which is said to be horrid; plus the bus is about five times faster).
[ Edit: Edited at Jun 27, 2006 7:00 AM by bentivogli ]
You could do most of it by bus its alot cheaper that way. If you happen to be in Argentina in the summer I would recomend hitting up Patagonia it is an amazing place when the weather is nice. Uruguay is a cool place too, its not very touristy but has some nice beaches and is cheap. Peru, Boliva, Ecuador, Colombia are all great places as well. Six months is alot of time to go to many places, but it is a big continent. Have fun