I'm from the UK and planning on doing a trip around S. America before flying to New Zealand to live for 5 months with my Round the World ticket. Here is my proposed travel plan:
QUITO (Ecuador) - LIMA (Peru) - LA PAZ (Bolivia) - ASUNCION (Paraguay) - RIO DE JANEIRO (Brazil) - SAO PAULO (Brazil) - BUENOS AIRES (Argentina) - MENDOZA (Argentina) - SANTIAGO (Chile).
This is obviously a very broad plan and I will undoubtedly make stops in between...the fun of travelling!
My questions are:
What do you think of this route?
Can it be done by bus? [I don't want to fly and miss the scenery]
How long would you propose for a journey like this?
And...does a British guy need visas to enter these countries???
Any help will be most appreciated.
I haven't been to all countries, but I didn't need a visa for the countries I have been, like Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile. I guess it's the same for Paraguay, Brazil and Ecuador as well. And as you are from the EU as well, things will apply the same way probably. And if you need kinda visa, you can get it at airports or any other border crossings.
Roughly 4 months will be a nice time to travel and see lots of things without rushing it. It's just a rough guess, it can be done in 3 months, maybe a little less, but you have to focus on certain places and take the occasional flight. 5 months will probably be perfect!
The route you want is pretty straightforward, except the Bolivia to Asuncion part, when you want to travel straight between the two countries, instead of travelling first to Argentina for example (via Salta). The trip through the Gran Chaco in Paraguay is a very rough but rewarding one I heard, and can be done by bus.
Just like almost any other part of your trip, although sometimes a trainride will be welcome, especially in Bolivia where roads are bumpy. Trains are slower by the way.
[ Edit: Edited on Mar 18, 2007, at 8:51 AM by Utrecht ]
Looks good to me! Would agree with what Utrecht suggested about the route. As for visas, I was in South America last year and visited Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina and Brazil and did not need a VISA for any of those places. (I'm Irish by the way).
That's definitely doable in four months, though believe me it wont be long enough!
If you need any specific help with the countries Ive been to, let me know.
Thanks for the help guys.
One question: How much do things cost in South America. Like accommodation etc...
If I'm going to be travelling for like 3/4/5 months, I will need to be paying for hostels every single night.
Could any of you help with a budget at all?
Accommodation varies from country to country. In Peru, you are looking at about 7-10$US a night for a decent enough hostel. Bolivia - around $2-5US a night (sweet ) Chile is expensive at about $10-15US a night. Argentina slightly lower again between 8-12 a night. Brazil (Rio) about $20 a night.
Obviously, in the bigger cities the hostels are more than in the out of the way towns and villages. The prices above are the upper range.
Patagonia is more expenisve for food and accommodation also.
In Peru and Bolivia, unless you are spending a lot, you can live well on 15-20 US a day. Bolivia, about half that. Chile about $30 a day. Argentina 25-30$. Brazil 30$.
I found that in the 7 months I was there, I averaged about 30-40$ a day but that was including trips and tours etc. Hope that gives you a good idea.
My best advice is try not to do everything. I´m in Chile now, mainly the south, and finding myself catching buses to a new place every second day, which takes its toll. This is mainly in an effort to get to Patagonia in time to catch the Navimag back on the 13th, so has created a bit of a tight schedule. In Argentina we have decided to cull the trip to Buenos Aires and a single side trip to Iguazu, I know it´s a huge place and there is so much more to see and do, but right now I´m exhausted and the idea of staying in one place more than a couple of nights is really appealing. Don´t rush Mendoza if you can possibly help it, we took a 2-day side trip from Santiago, in which time it rained, we didn´t even make it out of the city on the first day (Mendoza city stinks of care exhaust, btw) so weren´t left with the best impression. Take your time, get out of the city! And bus from Mendoza to Stg, it´s a little hair-raising in parts - this depends mainly on your driver - but the views are stunning. Go in the daytime so you don´t miss a thing. The border is a drag though.
Buenos viajes (or something, my spanish is appalling. Learn spanish!)
With 5 months time on your hands, you don't have to rush it, so take Meeg's advice; it's better to skip part of your itinerary and do the rest at your leisure, than the other way around.
Everything is doable by bus, I absolutely recommend that over flying. Bolivia-Asuncion actually makes for a nice bit of adventure; there's two alternatives, both with their pros and cons.
Sta Cruz - Corumba - Campo Grande - Dourados - Ponta Pora - Concepcion - boat to Asuncion. This one is the most feasible, plus it takes you straight through part of the pantanal, which is nice.
Alternatively, there is Sucre - Monteagosto - Grl. Eugenio Garay (border with Paraguay) - Mariscal Estegarribia - Filadelfia - Pozo Colorado - Concepcion - boat to Asuncion. This is MUCH more adventurous, and whether or not it's doable greatly depends on the weather (road conditions).
one important thing I forgot about that last alternative for Bolivia-Asuncion; exit stamps. When you come from the Paraguyan side, this is highly complicated, as you need to collect them some 250 km or so before the border, in Filadelfia. I wouldn't know about the other way around, but I imagine that Garay isn't a true border station, either. Better inquire beforehand; it beats having to backtrack.
And one other thing... the proper name of that Bolivian town is Monteagudo, not Monteagosto. Don't know where I got that
[ Edit: Edited on Apr 3, 2007, at 1:02 AM by bentivogli ]
Accommodation in Rio de Janeiro. Do you have good advice about cheap B&B in Zona do Zul in Rio? I never stayed in B&B in Rio.
Traveller from Stockholm