I'm a 24-year-old Australian girl. I've been keen to go to South America for quite some time now but have never had the guts to do so. Last time I ended up going to Europe alone instead, which was a great, though difficult experience!
Anyway, crazily enough I booked a trip in a very last minute fashion, and now I'm leaving on October the 27th, 2010!!!! I'm flying in and out of Buenos Aires. I'm thinking of taking some spanish classes in BA first. I might then head to Mendoza, or whatever I hear other travellers recommend, followed by Valpo and Santiago in Chile.
I'm not sure what do do after this. I'm thinking of heading to Peru and/or Bolivia and then making my way up to Ecuador. Can someone advise me whether this is even possible to do by bus!? I'm not sure i can afford internal flights, they are sooo expensive from what I've seen so far!
Also, are Peru and Bolivia safe?! Or is it best for me to stick to Argentina and Chile? I would like to venture beyond these places but I don't want to put myself in too much danger!
I'd be really grateful for any help! I know so little about this continent.
Thanks in advance!
i wanted to reply because your post looks like it could well have been written by me. 26 australian guy and kind of in a similar situation. Leaving early Nov and discovered all the preparations involved with this trip before leaving and had such mixed advice from friends both aussie and south american, it has left me feeling a little neive. I fly into B.A and also plan to do classes as i have given up on teaching myself and hear its really feasible. Anyway, i have a chilean friend who is there at the moment and i plan to peck his brain so if you want to drop each other a email here and there up until the date with useful info let me know
cheers, good luck
To both of you,
Since I just came back, I might in some help for general info.
- decide on how long - 3, 6, 9, 12 months? then only you know how far and wide you can covered.
- decide where to go? Have a goal in mind. I set 6 missions for myself - Ushuaia, Torres de Paine/Perito Moreno Glaciar, Easter Island, Uyuni Salt Flat, Iquazo Fall and Inka Trail.
- budget. The price in 2010 is double those listed in lonely planet 2007 book. Chile costs like Australia, may be even more expensive. Brazil costs like Europe. Argentina and Peru is not cheap either.
Mendoza, waste of time if you are from Australia Wine country. Valpo is a beauty. Bolivia is not safe, but just becareful (the scam listed in lonely planet is very real, one of the dutch lady I travel with was scam exactly the same way) you should be ok.
Argentina and Chile is very safe except Buenos Aires have a lot of pick pocket.
Peru has quite a lot of scam taxi drivers, other than that, people are nice.
Bolivia official is non-trustable, but people are good people.
Buses in Bolivia is not so good, but buses in Argentina/Chile/Peru are good, some even with hot meal.
Yes, you can do the whole of Argentina/Chile/Bolivia/Peru/Ecuador bu bus. But as I said, bus in Bolivia is not so good.
In general, South America is wonderful to travel to. Just careful with your belonging, you should be fine. I travelled 3 months there without another major issues. My backpack got zip open twice in Buenos Aires but they steal nothing. I was scammed by a taxi driver (who are not a real taxi driver) in Lima, but nothing happen, he still sent me to the hostel and I paid him 12 soles. I got delay 1 day by Bolivia official and paid extra USD50 for another visa.
After all, the 3 months are the best of my life.
Read, plan, enjoy. Good Luck.
I agree with the poster above.
Decide on a couple of things you really want to see/do and note them on a map. Then just work out how best to link them up whilst being aware of the weather in the various places. I figure if you are gonna travel you might as well have the weather to go along with it.
With respect to safety issues I would say a place is as safe as the way you act. For example I got exceptionally drunk in Bs As one evening, got lost etc etc and have never felt less safe. On the flip side I was with my wife in Bolivia and Peru and we watched out for one another and all was well.
A top tip to consider would be making sure you arrive at places in daylight. It makes such a difference arriving at 10am as opposed to midnight. Perhaps seek out accomodation near bus stations or organise pick ups via the hostel you plan to stay at.
Certainly there are plenty precautions you can take but you'll soon recognise where you need to be more sensible.
The Spanish classes will defo help too. I took a few before I went and I went to a private tutor in Salta. Having the basics just makes you feel more comfortable. Even if it's just ordering food, organising your buses or accomodation.
One place to consider might be Cordoba by the way. It's a great city with a massive student population - 7 universities I think. Lots of great little towns nearby with plenty to do. I would recommend you check out Bariloche too.
Hola! : )
Best of luck to keurium and lukame! I'm a 24 y.o. girl from the states and I moved to Buenos Aires about 2 months ago with my job. My plan is to eventually travel my way north hitting as many South/Central American countries as possible.
From what I've seen internal flights are definitely expensive, so if you have the time/patience buses might be your best option. I haven't really done any travelling here yet but I've always felt pretty safe in BsAs and have actually heard more warnings about Chile than Bolivia/Peru... so I would say go the places that interest you but be cautious.
I'd be happy to help with anything (and would love to hear any other S.A. travel tips you find)! Buenos Aires is a very friendly and welcoming city (if a bit expensive) and I'm sure you'll love it!
Thank you so much for the replies everyone! Very reassuring! More replies always welcome .. I need all the help I can get!
[ Edit: Edited on 12-Oct-2010, at 21:03 by keurium ]