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Camping in south america

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Camping in south america

1. Posted by AndyB24 (Respected Member 167 posts) 9y

Hi guys,
Heading to peru/ecuador/bolivia/argentina from may till novemberish. Has anyone camped in these countries? is it safe? any recommended spots?
Don't want to take camping gear if we end up spending all our time in hostels.

2. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 9y

Hi Andy,

The only places I camped were on the Inca Trail (which obviously was all organised by a tour company) and in Chile with some local people I made friends with.

I met no travellers who were camping randomly, apart from those doing tracks like the Torres del Paine circuit. 99% of people were hostelling because its generally so cheap and the best way of meeting people. I dont even remember coming across any camping grounds really, although a lot of hostels had space out the back for tents to be erected.

If you are going to be doing a lot of trekking then I'd say it would be worthwhile brining it. Otherwise, it might jsut be a burden and not especially cost efficient.

Then again, you might hear differently from people who have actualyl done it. :)

Hope that helps

3. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru 2398 posts) 9y

I've camped in a few natural parks in Argentina, which is safe as long as the park rangers tell you it is. At any rate, I'd strongly recommend obeying park regulations; if they tell you you can't camp, there's usually a pretty good reason for it.

Outside parks, camping in SA is still difficult, and moderately safe at best. Esp. near towns and cities, occasional aggression towards campers has been reported, mostly in Bolivia, but I also heard of cases in Argentina. Peru and Ecuador I wouldn't know. And of course you run a large risk of your belongings being stolen; most insurance policies I had don't cover theft from campsites, anyway.


4. Posted by AndyB24 (Respected Member 167 posts) 9y

Thanks guys, sort of what I was expecting, might just stick to the inca trail and hostels I think, as u said samsara2, it's not expensive for accomodation over there.

5. Posted by meeg (Budding Member 44 posts) 9y

I´ve been in Sth America for close to 2 weeks now, mainly Chile so far, travelling with a friend. We have a tent and have camped 2 nights already, although I mainly brought it along for the Torres del Paine walk which we haven´t done yet. It´s worth checking out the price of hostels as opposed to camping as sometimes you won´t actually save money by camping, and don´t have the security you get at a hostel. Tent has been a bit of trouble to lug about (mine is about 3kg) but have managed to get away with it in hand luggage as long as I take the poles and pegs out! Inca trail generally includes tents if you take a tour (I know ours does) so don´t know if it´s worth bringing one for that, depending how independently you are doing it. Check locally as to where it´s legal to camp, since guidebook info can go out of date over a couple of years (prime example Rapa Nui, where the only campsites now are in town); I guess most countries would have an equivalent to Conaf in Chile, which controls National parks &c. But it does open up opportunities you might miss out on without if, especially if you are like us and are travelling around without a strict schedule, so not booking hostels til the last minute. Hostels are good to meet people too, compared to camping. Sometimes if a hostel is booked out they may let you camp outside (back yard, courtyard), haven´t tried this myself but have seen it happen. Also national parks may be miles out of town so camping within the park may be a better option, even for day walks; see if you can store anything you don´t need at your hostel and that way you are less likely to get it flogged.
On a side note, watch your shit on the buses. I had my camera stolen out of my shoulder bag yesterday, while I was wearing it. Not amused.