I was wondering if anybody could give me the names of some good bus companies to use for travel through South and Central America.
I'm trying to "map out" my travel route and stuff but I'm having a but of trouble finding bus companies the run in the region.
Also if anyone has a review of bus travel through the area that would be fantastic. I'm aware of the long trips and the not so fantastic roads, but anything else you can think of would be fantastic to hear about!
Thanks for any info! --Kayla.
Kayla, your question is unanswerable because you're asking about a region almost 70 times larger than your home country of New Zealand, with about 20 different countries, many of which have wildly varying level of transportation infrastructure.
There are literally hundreds and hundreds of different bus companies, many of them with no internet presence or really crappy websites in Spanish or Portuguese that don't even accept advance reservations. I trust you can understand how it's simply not possible to map out everything in advance.
Play it by ear as you go, no worries. Have fun.
As for a few tips regarding bus rides... travel with a carry-on sized backpack so you don't have to check anything underneath in the luggage racks... if you are hauling so much stuff that you need a separate backpack that gets checked and a daypack with you on the bus keep the daypack with you at all times... don't accept food/drinks from other passengers, especially in the northern areas of South America... always have water/snacks with you of course... have a fleece or something to keep you warm, some buses are air conditioned meat lockers... a small sealable plastic container is handy for keeping left-over meals for later, as well as fruit and snacks that you buy while you're travelling... in some places prices are set, others (like Colombia) prices are very negotiable... have your own toilet paper and handy wipes... I like to sit on the passenger side, somewhere around the rear wheels, you're away from oncoming traffic, have unobstructed views for photos, can see what goes in/out of the luggage compartment, etc.
Lastly, be prepared for a HUGE range of comfort/speed, everything from thoroughly modern tour coaches to chicken buses to minivans to taxis, etc. etc. etc.
Tika Bus out of Costa Rica used to be one of the best companies in Central America. However they only do certain routes. Chicken buses as they are called in Central America are always the slowest and the worst. In Chile and Argentina there are very good first class long haul buses, some with sleeper seats. Anyway, it all depends on where you are. Most times you don't have to book in advance and probably shouldn't since that will tie you down unless you are going for a very limited period of time. Good Luck Jonshapiro, Vagabonding at 60