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1. Posted by tuupi (Budding Member 5 posts) 11y

Hi everyone!

can someone give me any advice on travelling in south america?

I'm 23-year-old female journalism student from finland(but living/studieng in england) and i'm planning to go backpacking around south america on my own next summer.I've already started my plans but only thing that's certain is- that i'm going!

I can spend around 2 and 1/2 months travelling and i'm at least going to Peru and Brazil but i do want to see as many places as possible.

can some one help me with few issues?
how much do i need per day to spend?how's the weather during july to mid september? is it safe to travel on my own?can i manage with starter's spanish(which i haven't started to learn yet)?where can i book the cheapest flight tickets and accomodation? and should i travel by plane, train or by bus in south america?idealy, i wouldn't like to sit on a plane a lot because i don't think that's really the idea of backpacking!heh.
cheers my dears!
Tuulia

2. Posted by Kingwindle (Respected Member 301 posts) 11y

Well you want a lot of information!! The best thing I think to do if you are really serious about going to South America is to buy the Lonely Panet book on South America, I bought mine in England for roughly £17.99. It is brilliant, and will give you so much detailed information about each individual town in each country, hotels, weather, the whole lot. It sounds a lot of money but this book is serious kit if you are serios yourself, and can be found in various book shops, even WH SMith I think.

Have a nice time,
Tarik

3. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 11y

I can't answer all your questions, but I can answer some.

how much do i need per day to spend?

The minimum I have heard people spend is around $US 25 a day. That's going very budget - dorm hostels and cheap food. I was spending around $US 40 a day in South America when I was there (staying in hotels with bathrooms). Brazil will cost more than Peru. The cities will cost more than the country. That doesn't include the costs associated with trips and tour or transportation (except local buses and the like).

is it safe to travel on my own?

Yes. I've met a few women travelling by themselves. They didn't encounter any major problems.

can i manage with starter's spanish(which i haven't started to learn yet?

Check out this link for info on how much Spanish you need. Can't speak Spanish. Brazil speaks Portuguese, not Spanish, by the way.

should i travel by plane, train or by bus in south america?

The choice depends on desire, budget and time. Brazil and Peru are on opposite sides of the continent, and separated by some dense jungle and big mountains. If you want to see as many places as possible, then flying between them is probably the best bet. However, if you want to "experience" the land and see the geography, then you might want to take a bus. Trains, from my experience, are few and far between.

You might want to look into getting a South American airpass, which would allow you to get a certain number of flights for a set fee.

Greg

4. Posted by tuupi (Budding Member 5 posts) 11y

Hi Tarik and Greg!

thanks a lot for your advices! Tarik,that book sounds like a good investment and not that expensive at all!I'll definitely buy it!

Greg,you gave me loads of useful information which I'm very grateful,thank you!And I do know that in Brazil they speak Portugese(friend of mine is from there except he's in Canada at the moment) but I was still thinking that Spanish would be more useful language to learn than Portugese.No offence to any Portugese speakers!

I might look into that airpass thing even though I prefer buses and my idea was to fly to Brazil and from there to go down to Argentina and Chile and then to Peru. But We'll see!

By the way, i would really like to go to Columbia but I know its reputation and was wondering is it worth of risking my safety to go there?
Also,do I need a visa?

cheers again,
Tuulia

5. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 11y

Best thing to do is to contact the consultate of the countries you want to visit. They will be able to explain if you need a visa, and the best way of obtaining it. The consultates might have websites as well. Try googling them.

Often times governments put up websites. I know Canada has one where they list country information, including warnings about travel, vaccinations required and recommended and visa information. I saw you were from Finland, but couldn't find a similar site put up by the Finnish government. However, you might have more luck searching than I did, as I don't speak Finnish. This is the Canadian site: Canada's country reports. Remember that the entry / exit requirements may differ for Finnish people.

Greg

6. Posted by tuupi (Budding Member 5 posts) 11y

Hi again Greg!

Oh yes, very good idea!Thanks!

Do you know anything about Colombia? have you been there?

Tuulia

7. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 11y

I do not know anything about Columbia. however, you can find people who have signed up to be travel helpers by selecting the TRAVEL HELP link at the top of the page. Select Columbia and see who has signed up to assist for that country.

I will say that travelling to Brazil, Peru and Columbia in 2 1/2 months seems like a LOT to see. I did Chile, Argentina and Bolivia for 2 months, and didn't see much of Argentina and Bolivia at all, and got to see a bunch of Chile, but felt like I just scratched the surface.

Enjoy your trip!
Greg

8. Posted by chellay (Budding Member 20 posts) 11y

I am also planning a trip to South America, but instead of buying the Lonely Planet book, I bought the Footprint South American Handbook 2005. I spent quite a bit of time reading reviews and looking through the Lonely Planet book in bookstores and I suggest you do the same to see what best suits your needs. I liked the fact that the Footprint book was most up to date and had more detail.
I have been a Lonely Planet user in the past, but I've decided to try something new. Also, I've been told that practically everyone you meet will own LP... meaning you will likely have access to it during your travels whether you buy it or not, and with another book, you are more likely to be able to make unique suggestions to the travellers you'll meet along the way. Best of luck!

9. Posted by thowra (Full Member 74 posts) 11y

Yes it is safe to travel alone as a female, I travelled for 2 months and was fine. (Brasil / Argentina / Paraguay) . I recommend getting to grips with as much of the language as possible before going as it seriously increases the enjoyment factor. By the end of your stay you should have mastered the basics anyway! I would recommend travelling around by bus as it is cheap, and if you get night buses you can save on hotel bills by sleeping in the buses. Its not comfy at first but you soon get used to it. The only problem is that since i have got back, i fall asleep on public transport as soon as i sit down.

10. Posted by tuupi (Budding Member 5 posts) 11y

Hi chellay and thowra!

Nice to get some replies from women as well!
thowra, thanks for all of those tips! sounds good that night travelling except when you come back to the UK! I like buses anyway so I don't mind if it's a bit bumby ride!
By the way, how are the buses?i mean, are they clean and are there toilets in them or do the drivers just stop at some point along the way and expect you to wee outside... i mean, don't really mind because i'm used to all that stuff!

cheers,
tuulia