I have been wanting to take a trip for some time now, and after meeting a very lovely Brazilian girl in Spain earlier this year, I have been inspired to go for South America. After tossing around a couple of options like trying to teach English in Brazil, travel from Buenos Aires to Brazil, Costa Rica to Colombia, etc, I am thinking that my best possible option would be hitting Costa Rica, but I want more! So I am thinking that I would try and create my own little adventure by trying to overland it to Lima. I have been doing some research and searched the forums as well, but all I can find is that Bolivia and some of the surrounding countries are rife with danger! So, let me explain a bit and hopefully I can get some good advice.
Who am I: Daniel, nice to meet you! I am a 24 white male from California. I have been all over the United States though I have limited foreign travel experience (Spain for two weeks earlier this year and Mexico a few times). Don't know any Spanish really, but I will start learning as much as I can when I figure out where I am going (considering Brazil is Portugese). I am a very mellow guy that likes to meet new people. Don't have high expectations, just go with the flow. I enjoy everything from quiet days with a book, to a tough hike, to dancing and drinking til 5 in the morning.
What I hope to gain out of this trip: Primarily, challenge myself while seeing a good part of the world. I would love to have some great memories for myself, and stories to tell the friends! My last trip was a good warmup course, but I need to do more this time around.
The trip: Giving myself about 3.5 months, beginning in middle of March to get from Costa Rica to Lima for my departing flight at the end of June. I haven't researched much of what to do, but I don't think it will be hard to find entertainment along the way. Would be doing the hostel bit, or if I feel crazy and meet some cool people, crash on some couches. I heard Costa Rica is wild and great for the adventure seekers, which would be a great start to this journey.
Finances: Been doing some numbers. Would be selling damn near everything and starting fresh when I get home. Would hope to have about $7000 USD. I managed to hang out in Barcelona, Spain earlier this year for just over $800 for 15 days, including my $420 flight, so I don't think I should have much trouble living like a pauper. I hope to be able to scrounge by for about $1000 a month, and have the rest for novelty stuff like ziplining in the jungle, rafting, diving, etc.
Hope that gets a pretty good estimate of my situation. My main question is whether or not the overland trip to Peru is going to be viable and relatively safe. I have read plenty of terrible stories, but I am mainly trying to avoid travelling through guerilla wars going on - like Venezuala/Colombia if what I have read is true.
Feel free to comment on anything else of note. I appreciate any and all information. Of course, I will be doing my own research, but I was hoping to get a first-hand perspective or two to add to my own information.
[ Edit: Edited on Dec 1, 2008, at 2:55 PM by Danielsw25 ]