My partner and I have travelled alot of South East Asia, India, Africa and China and we are off to travel South America in September. We have 3.5 months and was wondering whether it would be easier to book a overland tour or would any recommend doing it alone? We did India alone and was fine but Africa we overlanded. I understand there is alot of crime and robbery but is it easy to travel alone through the countries? We are looking at flying alot to save time, and we are looking at travelling from Chile, into Argentina, up to Bolivia, into Peru and then over to Brazil to fly out of Rio.
Is it an easy continent to travel around in terms of transport and finding hostels in each town? Has anyone camped around South America? How good was that?
We both have a general knowledge of spanish but should be pretty fluent by the time we leave. This will help alot right?
Thanks guys, appreciate the advice!
It's pretty much safe to travel overland in all of SA. Stay out of the jungle in Colombia. Don't look guerillas in the eye, they take it as a challenge.
SA is extremely safe. Don't be deterred by panic stories about abductions etc.; they do occur, but are not notably more frequent than at home.
D's advice about Colombian jungle is well-taken according to the information I have; if you ask me, the same thing goes for the north-east of Ecuador and northern Peru. But in general, areas where you can go to relatively easily are all safe. Your biggest concern will be pickpockets and crooked tour agents.
As for camping: good when done away from civilisation (check whether it is allowed!), risky - dangerous when done in the vicinity of cities. Camp sites, if they exist, tend to be close to poorer suburbs, so the risk of being mugged are substantial.
[ Edit: Edited on 23-Mar-2009, at 05:09 by bentivogli ]
I never had much of a problem as far as safety goes while I was traveling through south America. Just like anywhere you visit, avoid the shady areas and don't wander the streets late at night and you'll be ok. But I spent some of my time traveling with a group that just organized transportation and some daily activities for you. GAP travel adventures they are called. Group travel has its perks. Give it a look or visit my blog and read some cities I visited.
Thank you all for your advice. So loads of people do it right? Travel SA without a tour company? Is it pretty easy? Are there lots of tour operators within cities like there are in say bangkok or is it more you have to hunt them down?
Thanks for your help, all advice is appreciated.