I can't wait t see all the sights of South America, but I can't decide the best way to do it.
I want to go all over and see all the major attractions and more. Should i listen to the travel agent who tells me I need a tour?? Or is independent travel a cheap and adventurous option??
Has anyone got any tips, advice or prefrence???
I travelled through Peru independently a couple of months ago; the first time I visited South America, and the first time I visited a non-'Western' country (though I had plenty of independent travelling experience in the USA, New Zealand and Australia). And it was just as ridiculously easy to just arrange everything by myself in Peru as it was in those countries. There are individual locations where it makes sense to do a short tour (I did one for visiting the Colca Canyon, and of course the Inca trail to Machu Picchu, which you aren't allowed to do independently), but mostly you just visit bus stations to book local buses and walk through cities on your own to see all the sights. And when you want to do a tour, there'll be a thousand and one places where you can book one locally. (Shop around to avoid rip-offs, obviously.) Also, if you ever want to go somewhere not easily reachable by public transport, it's ridiculously cheap to just hire a taxi for an entire day.
Of course you need to be able to be flexible (I was caught up in a bus strike once, and needed to get my bus ticket refunded and book a flight and arrange onward transportation from the airport all in the same day), and plan ahead (a Lonely Planet is even more indispensable than it usually already is), but that really just goes with the territory.
But yeah, I'd definitely recommend doing things independently. You have so much more freedom, and will see so much more wandering away from the big crowds. You can set your own pace, and do only those things which really interest you, and you'll constantly meet up with new people who'll share experiences and give you ideas for what else to do, and then you'll have the freedom to change your plans to include those things.
(And obviously a travel agent isn't going to recommend doing things independently, for that won't make them any money!)
just as ridiculously easy to just arrange everything by myself......
Quite a turn of phrase and very true!
The independent travel is best, but with some tips from experts in the countries you visit ...
How much time you have for your trip?
If you are an average of one month, you can visit approx. 4 countries
I recommend you Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Uruguay (my country)
I recommend Peru Macchupichu of Bolvi Titicaca and the indigenous peoples of the floating islands, also a community of Amazonas, in northern Argentina and Buenos Aires, and the beaches of Uruguay and northern communities, valleys, rivers, and people Local very friendly ...
This trip can do it by train to Argentina, then by bus and then by ferry to Uruguay crus, then by bus. And you can start back from the airport in Montevideo.