I've travelled a lot in Asia but never been to Central / South America so I'm thinking of a 3-4 week backpacking adventure there in 2013. I'll be going by myself and would like to go to fairly sociable places (but not overly touristy) and hopefully see a festival or two (as I've always planned my travel in Asia around local/national festivals).
My question is - where should I go?
I'd like to spend half a week or so near a beach but other than that would be happy to live out of my backpack as long as I can meet people en route.
Where would you suggest I go? Should I stay in just one country or cross borders? Are there any cheap airline (like the equivalent of Air Asia) that would serve me well?
All suggestions / comments are really appreciated!
Oh and I really love to learn about the history / politics of a country and love things like climbing and kayaking
I must say that I'm overwhelmed by all these replies! I may just head to Myanmar and Cambodia instead!
I guess there's much more interest in south east Asia and aus on here than anywhere else :-/
I've not been further down than Colombia so I can't offer personal recommendations. But my friend spent a few months in South America and said speaks highly of Ecuador and Bolivia; from my own research Peru looks most interesting.
The only beaches that I can recommend are in Central America - Roatan's fine, seemed quite a backpacker place. Also enjoyed nice snorkelling and beach time based in Belize City but further up than that and I've the impression it gets to be more of an American vacation area.
Flights all seem expensive with no deregulation allowing AirAsia type operations in. :-(
I too am looking into a similar trip next year so can sympathise in that there is so much to do and see in Latin America, that with limited time, it's hard to know where to start.
I would suggest visiting Machu Picchu. It's a major attraction to the continent and as you like climbing maybe look at one of the more adventurous alternative routes that are less crowded.
Again as duration is an issue, perhaps look at neighbouring Bolivia or Ecuador. The Salt Flats or Galapagos again are big highlights.
I work in the airline industry and agree with the above post, internal flights can be very expensive, so where possible, I never recommend clients to fly internally unless they are short on time or prefer flying to overland travel. When you look into flights, look at an international carrier that can offer the South America airpass.
I'm afraid i'm not sure about beaches, but yes, I am moving to Honduras this year so agree that the islands off the coast offer stunning beaches and great diving opportunities,
I don't know about these other posts but I personally would love to land in Guatemala City and bus it to every country until you get to Panama. That would be the most epic trip in Central America i think. I will be in Guatemala and Belize this coming may so I would probably fly into El Salvador or Nicaragua then bus it to Panama and see the landscapes along the way happy travels
Hi everybody! I live in Guatemala City, I can give you a little orientation where places you can visit here so, I speak and write english at 60% well, perhaps you can understand me
I can help with all your doubts
Thanks all - great suggestions all round.
I really like the Guatemala - Panama idea that Jerseyboy suggested but I think I'd need longer for that journey (and to actually get the feel of each of the countries) but if you disagree please tell me. I also imagine the overland travel is extremely time-consuming (which I don't mind as long as I get to spend some time in the country!)
I'm also quite keen on visiting just one country like Guatemala, Honduras, Peru or Bolivia. I've thought about Michu Picchu and it'd be great to see but I don't want one tourist site to dictate the country I go to (although I would love to see it). I'm really not interested in Australia I'm afraid - I'd happily live in Melbourne or Cairns but that's about it.
I'm now trying weigh up central vs. south and I think central is winning.
Continued advice is welcome
Would three tourist sites sway you. MP + Colca Canyon + Nazca Lines make Peru very appealing to me.
I've nothing against Central America but I don't know that it has any wow factor big hits?