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Advice on getting around South America in 2 and a half month

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Advice on getting around South America in 2 and a half month

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1. Posted by graydog23 (Budding Member 8 posts) 7y

Hi all,

Myself and 4 friends are travelling around South America for 2 and a half months starting next week. We land in Rio and are flying out of L.A 2 and a half months later. We plan to bus through these countries in this order.


Currently the only flight we plan on making is from Cancun (Mexico) to L.A. We know with 2 and a half months and this huge distance to cover some countries will be gone through fairly quickly.

Would this distance be comfortably managable in this time frame? Would we need to maybe fly by plane more than the once? If we would where would be best/cheapest to do this?

Any other travel advice would be much appreciated :)


2. Posted by SamSalmon (Respected Member 626 posts) 7y

Would this distance be comfortably manageable in this time frame?

Depends how you define manageable.

Any other travel advice would be much appreciated

Pick 2 countries and stick to them.

Also- Cancun is a helluva long way from anywhere in South America.

3. Posted by Piecar (Travel Guru 894 posts) 7y

Christ yeah, Cancun is VERY VERY far from anywhere in South America. I'll be a little bit more liberal than my countryman. Pick three countries and stick to them.

Your plan is to take one flight from Cancun to LA. Your itinerary has you going from Colombia to Mexico....I believe you underestimate the amount of land you are covering there. Get a ruler out....Think about the Darien Gap... Think about the seven countries that separate Colombia from Mexico.

You have some real trials coming up here.


4. Posted by findemundo (Full Member 127 posts) 7y

Hi there,
You're ambitious, but South and Central America are bigger than your ambition. With your itinerary, you will encounter little culture except what you find inside bus stations, and little of the great outdoors but what you see from inside a bus. I have to agree with my fellow travelers that you'd be much happier spending some quality time in fewer places. Then again, you may want to visit a lot of sights and sites and go go go. If that's the case, a few logistical things to consider:

  • You can't cross the Darien Gap (safely) by land. There are loads of references to the Darien Gap (between S. and Central America) on this web site. You will need to fly from Colombia to somewhere in Central America.

  • Look at a map of Argentina. Look at the distance between Buenos Aires and Puerto Madryn. That is a 24-hour non-stop bus ride. Just gives you an idea of the time/space we're talking about.

  • For the most part, the non-stop buses I refer to above are available in Argentina, Brazil and Chile. They are luxurious, with air-con, food, blanket, toilet, etc. They are also a great way to break the bank, cheaper than flying, but not much. Your budget alternative is local buses, which don't have many of the amenities I mention here, nor the speed of travel.

My goal is not to discourage you, just want you to be fully aware of the logistical (and geographic) challenge you propose.

Good luck - and have a bunch of fun. South America is a fantastic place to wander.

5. Posted by mim (Travel Guru 1276 posts) 7y

Best advice is...don't do it.

It took me 3 months to see about a 20th of Brazil.

6. Posted by i c e (Respected Member 326 posts) 7y

Dude their right, that's insane (even by my standards) ......and really pointless. You won't experience any of the countries. My biggest regret is always not being able to spend alot of time in each country. I spent a months in Central America and did not even touch what is has to offer.

Having said that...... You can still have a great time doing what you said but you just have to realize that you will be on the road the entire time. You'll get to see a lot and maybe get a taste of what latin america is like (from a window on a over crowded bus that is.LOL).

Really though Cut your trip way down and spend your time and money to really experience a few countries well and you'll be much happier, not to metion have way less stress.



7. Posted by graydog23 (Budding Member 8 posts) 7y

Ok thanks alot for the feedback, very helpful indeed. What I think would make things a bit better and not so rushed (gathering from the feedback Ive received) would be skip Uruguay, skip Chile and skip Colombia. Then also add a flight from Equador to Cancun. Sound better?

Also you need to keep in mind we wouldnt be seeing the majority of Brazil, would just be from Rio south basically. Argentina would be no further south than Buenos Aires also. Am fully aware the vast size of these countries and know alot of them are out of the question. Hopefully things work out ok :)

8. Posted by BHammer301 (Budding Member 33 posts) 7y

every major city and every small town has a buss station near by. don't waste your money on flights. plus you will probably meet a few people traveling yor way to keep you company on the buses. I did it throught Chile Argentina, Uruguay Paraguy and Brazil. they are usually pretty affordable.

9. Posted by i c e (Respected Member 326 posts) 7y

BHammer is right buses are awesome. I love to travel on them. But regretable they just take a long time. Planes are much faster... (no duh, right?). You'll have to weight experiences agianst your precious time and see which is heavier....

Sounds much more realistic....

Hvae a geart tmie,


10. Posted by way2goeh (Full Member 159 posts) 7y

I have to agree with the posts above. One year isnt enough for this. Starting Rio is always a good thing but right now the weather is the craps. Been like this for 2 months now and it wont stop til April. Northern Brasil has absolutely fantastic beaches. You should not miss it. Southern Brasil (floripanopolis, curitiba and Gramado (esp gramado) should not be missed AT ALL. Uruguay is nothing special except for a day in Montevideo. Buenos Aires is fantastic and Foz is good too. SOuthern Argentina is a no brainer to see but if you take buses, you will lose alot of days busing. Let me tell you this. I live in Sao Paulo, so let me give you some prices.

Sao Paulo to Recife is about 200-300 dollars (worth it)

Sao Paulo to Buenos Aires is 200 dollars also (same website)

Buses will cost the same price but you can go to other places I mentioned (maybe fly back)
Buses from Buneos Aires to Santiago is much cheaper than planes. but make sure you stop in Mendoza (wine country and foot of the mountains).

For 2,5 months, you should go to all the places I mentioned and you will feel like you've seen the world. Forget Paraguay and any other nothern country (but i do love Venezuela and Panama). ANy questions, just ask

good luck and have fun