So here's the deal. My girlfriend and I are travelling around the world, South Africa, OZ, NZ, Thailand and finish off in South America. We're due to fly into Chile (Santiago) around April 9th and are leaving Brazil (Rio) around May 30th - these date are pretty flexible however. We'll have around £1500 left over (subject to change!!!!) and we're just looking for some general ideas or tips. We're both pretty keen to travel north and see Boliva then across to Rio. Couple of more specific questions:
- How safe is it travelling through Chile/Peru into Bolivia as a couple?
- Any specific overland trips/companies to recommend (or avoid!)?
- What is public transport like in South America?
- Are internal flights generally accessible and cheap?
This is our first time touring around the world, but we're both relatively experienced travellers, any advice AT ALL would be fantastic,
Thanks in advance,
safety; very good, you needn't worry about that as long as you don't do anything blatantly stupid
bus companies; all are acceptable, some very good. I'd simply go for the cheapest one (take more expensive seats like cochecama if you travel long distances)
technically, public transport doesn't really exist, but privately owned bus companies can stand the comparison with any European company I've ever travelled with, and would win out
internal flights are not a responsible mode of travel, plus they don't nearly give you the experiences offered by bus journeys. Don't fly unneccesarily, while away nor at home.
1500 UK will easily last 7 weeks, so no worries there, either... just browse through this forum to see some suggestions for itineraries, and enjoy your trip,
Is that £1,500 each or total?
Works out £30 per day if it's a total. That's not a great deal of cash for 2 people to live on albeit it can no doubt be done.
Tricky's right of course; I didn't realise there were two of you
OK, some math.
1500 GBP is 3.047 USD
I convert that into USD because USD is widely accepted.
What I would do is BEFORE arriving in SA, convert all of those GBPs into USD. It is because, in spite of the fact the USD is low these days, it changes better in SA than any european currency, especially euros. In dollar we trust...
7 weeks is 35 days. It gives you 87 USD a day.
Example: in Peru 87 USD is about 280 soles.
Modest double room in some average hotel is from 40-60 soles in Lima.
Average, and very decent meal in Lima is about 15 soles pp.
So, basically, you two eat and live on up to 120 soles a day. And Lima is more
expensive than the rest of the country. Bolivia is somewhat cheaper, Chile
is more expensive.
But, do not be deceived: if you want to visit some places, you have to pay sometimes even 20 USD, there is also transportation, by my experience put one sol into ten kilometres, so if
you travel from Lima to Chiclayo i.e. it is 700 kms, 70 soles pp.
Even internal air fare is about 80 USD per one hour of flight (more or less) - per person.
If you use it...
And of course, as travelling human beings you would want some fun, nightlife.
So, be just careful, you can save in many ways.
1. Try to find backpackers lodges with possibility of cooking on your own. But remember - cheaper place - less security.
2. Do not eat in tourist places, go a little bit aside (I do not mean eat on the street, it is not so safe for your digestion), but you'll find that there are frequent places for the locals (must be frequent, food is then fresh) - spend some time looking around, and do not let anybody drag you into places where prices are not shown, or are high without your knowledge,
3. Be aware that places like Cuzco, Nazca, Lima, all tourist areas can burn your wallet.
4. Being on the tighter budget is somewhat interesting - you'll have better experience of the countries, closer to ordinary local people,
5. When picking some excursions and trekking, go to several places. You'll be surprised to find the difference. But, be aware it can be also a lower service.
6. Bargain, bargain, bargain, and dress simple
7. Try to find some travelling buddies in all places, splitting the cost can be a save.
8. Always ask fro the prices, and try to learn as much Spanish as you can. It sometimes opens the door...
9. Buy things in stores, not on the street. In bigger markets prices are shown. On the street you can be frauded.
10. Exchange experience with other travelers, you'll get good info on cheap and good places, hostels, safety tips, and make friends - and keep positive attitude no matter what happens.
Also, I reccomend that you make yourself a possibility to have access to some emergency money aside from your funds. No one knows what might happen.
But, in this manner I hope you'll have a good time, stay positive and do it.
OK, some math.
7 weeks is 35 days. It gives you 87 USD a day.
Daily calculations for budget would be way off if using this as your base.
My girlfriend and I spent 2 months (60 days exactly) in South America (Peru, Bolivia, Chile) and had exactly 1500 pounds as a budget for the two of us together. That worked out to be 25 Pounds, or 50 USD per day. The only exception to our budget was our Salkantay/Machu Picchu trek ($320 for two) which we had a separate source of cash for.
That 1500 pounds lasted us just fine (we had a couple hundred to spare) and we found $50 a day quite reasonable for all these countries. Bolivia was the cheapest and I would say we spent something more like $35-40 a day. Chile was the most expensive, but by staying in hostels and self-catering, we still had no problems keeping it under $50.
For only 7 weeks, that's only 49 days (contrary to mike65's calculations) so you can budget $60. I don't know about Brazil, but in Chile, Peru and Bolivia you'll be fine.
Safety is fine if you use your head and more importantly, do your research and find out what things to look out for. Most of the common dangers and scams are well documented and there is no reason for you not to be aware of them before you go.
Public transport is great in this part of the world. You'll never have trouble finding a bus to your next destination.