I am planning a round the world trip for next year and my first stop is south america. I have no idea where to start planning and feel that two females travelling together isn't the safest plan. we are starting in Rio and then have to make our own way to santiago. We probably only have about 12 weeks to do everything in and are obviously on a tight budget. Our main goal is to trek in peru and see parts of the amazon (we are still in the early stages of planning)! Is taking a tour a good idea? Is is really that much more expensive than doing it by ourselves?
Hi, i recently got back from doing a tour with Budget Expeditions from Santiago to Quito. I probably could have done it cheaper on my own but the tour was fantastic. it was great to experience everything with a like-minded group of people!
Go for it! Dont bother with tour groups unless you really want to. You can totally do it all yourself. I went through all the same questions are you probably are now before I went, and only realised that everything is quite doable by yourself when you get there. South America is a challenge but it's really not as difficult to get around down there as ppl think.
If you have 12 weeks, my advice would be pick a few places and do them well, instead of trying to cram loads in!
Peru and Bolivia are just amazing! You could easily spend your 12 weeks in those two alone! What about flying into Lima and working your way down to Buenos AIres or something? or Rio?
Anyway, good luck planning!
Ps: If you need any help, let me know
By the way, sorry, thats not to say that the tour group experience is probably a good one too! Having not done it I wouldnt know! lol.
Sorry Acdale, didnt mean to sound as bombastic as that.
We took a tour in SA - it was probably more expensive than doing it on our on. There are good and bad points - but SA is generally a much easier place to travel than people think.
Check out this site for peoples opinions of overlanding companies
Although I would recommend having at a basic level of spanish for you to get the most of the place. Remember you will probably take tours when your out there anyway with local companies. Your current itinerary may be a little tight but definitely do-able. - Good luck and enjoy
I did South America earlier this year. I did it on a tour because a friend that I was travelling with wanted the added security of travelling in a group and all that. Well our first tour group ended up being just us and the guide! So much for the safety in numbers I spent about 7 weeks in South America, going to Peru, Boliva, Argentina and Brazil. Next time I go back I will be doing it without a tour group. It is very easy to get around. The bus systems are great, especially if you are doing the "Gringo" trail as they call it in Peru (Machu Picchu, Nazca lines, etc...) Nearly everyone speaks english, but a Spanish (Latin American) Phrasebook is really helpful. South America isn't scarey, I had a wonderful time there and didn't have any problems. The people there are really helpful. I hope this has helped so way... Have fun and just do it.
I did a tour in South America in the summer of 2003 and it was amazing! Me and my friend went with the company Kumuka (www.kumuka.com) and we travelled with them through Chile, Bolivia and Peru. You absolutely must go to Bolivia - its unbelievable!!! We had a really fun group on our tour - there were 20 of us and we all got along great. Half of out trip was camping and half was staying in hotels, so there was great variety. Our tour leader spoke fluent Spanish and I think that being able to speak Spanish is vital (especially after my bag got stolen by some peruvian and i had to go to the police station and get a report - couldn't have done it without my tour leader!) I'd definately recommend travelling with Kumuka.