Myself and a friend of mine are planning a backpacking trip through the south of South America. This trip will start at Santiago and end up at Rio de Janeiro. Based on a number of things I have heard from various sites and using maps etc., this is the initial plan of our trip.
Santiago - road - Mendoza - road - Buenos Aires - ferry - Montevideo - road - Rio Grande - road - Porto Alegre - road - Florianopolis - road/ferry(?) - Santos - road - Sao Paolo - road - Rio de Janeiro.
Baring in mind that we are trying to minimise flight costs, is there anything that could be improved about this travel path or any other interesting places that should be visited along the way?
basicaly your way is correct, for sure there are alot to see along the way, but it will take time.
The only change is Florianopolis - road to São Paulo - road to RIO, you can go to Santos, but the main road to Rio start in São Paulo
You could include a stop in Curitiba because is in the way.
You can get more info at -snip-
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You're missing out on Iguazu!
Santiago - Mendoza - BsAs - Montevideo - Paysandú - Posadas - Iguazu - Curitiba - your itinerary.
It can be done more quickly as well, but personally I enjoyed the stretch between Montevideo and Paysandu; Uruguay is lovely.