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General Advice for travelling solo in South America

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean General Advice for travelling solo in South America

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11. Posted by Will1991 (Budding Member 18 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Again, lots of useful information.... even if you have thrown a spanner in the works with Colombia! ha.

I think taking a Spanish immersion course somewhere for the first part of my trip will be a good idea (hopefully meet some people and it gives me a starting point). Like you said Colombia is good for learning Spanish so maybe I'll do that there.

I agree the trip should be as open planned as possible, which is why I'm also looking at just booking a one way ticket from London (I'm hoping I can get a flexible return somewhere, that'd be ideal really). I will most likely get a cheap flight from London to Madrid then go from there (heard its the cheaper option).

Good idea about the Coach times, I'll have a look at this, also research some internal flights as this will save a lot of time! I did this in Thailand and they were so cheap and convenient! And surprisingly organised (Koh Samui airport was actually really nice).

The being robbed thing has been mentioned quite a few times, I've tried not to think about it but I suppose its something I will have to really think about. That must of been a low point for you Berner. What did they take? And yes I've heard you can't even fall asleep on coaches as you will get robbed then also?

In terms of money how much do you think is realistic for 6 months? I'm looking at around £6,000..... so $9,000

So Berner I think you're right about the whole fitting in too much could be time consuming and expensive, however relating to Terry's comments, Colombia does seem appealing (I could even just teach English there for a month, this should save some money).... maybe I'll leave Ecuador then. Ah I don't know!

Again would appreciate any more advice people have!


12. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 939 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Your budget is doable for six months. I wouldn't expect you to make much money, if any, teaching English, particularly if you're only going to be in Colombia or Ecuador for one or two months. You may encounter a problem with an immigration officer if you aren't able to show a confirmed way out of the country you're entering. So I suggest you look into buying an "open jaw" ticket, such as flying into Bogota; and flying out of Sao Paolo. The latter, with a population of about 11 million, is Brazil's and South America's largest city. So it is served my many airlines; and the fares to/from Sao Paolo often are lower than other cities on the continent. If you're traveling by coach, it pays to travel lightly. I'd try for no more than a total of 10 to 15 kilos. It's doable. You can always buy things you need while traveling. For example, well-made clothes can be bought in Peru at reasonable prices. I bought a cotton polo shirt for the equivalent of about $5US last year at a department store in Lima.

13. Posted by TheMiniExplorer (First Time Poster 1 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Hi there,


You'll absolutely love South America! I've been to Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina & Chile & loved them all. When I did my trip in 2012, I thought it would be the one and only time I visited. But I couldn't stay away and am now back, living and working here for the next year or so.

Happy travels & good luck! :)

Moderator comment: please see Forum Rules

[ Edit: Sorry, no self promotions in the forum please. Link to Forum Rules added. ]

14. Posted by Will1991 (Budding Member 18 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Yea I agree Berner, wouldn't be expecting to make much money teaching, if anything just enough to pay for my accommodation and food perhaps for the length of time I'm teaching. Thanks mini explorer, I had a quick look on some of the links on that page, seems a lot are in Spanish? I will have to draw up a CV and send off to some schools you posted. Do you know of any good Spanish immersion courses in South America?

I know what you mean about packing light, I will 100% be doing this. I way over packed when I went Thailand for 3 weeks. I can always wash clothes, and like you said buy some!

So apart from researching and listening to all the great advice you guys are giving, is there anything I actually need to look into booking this early on do you think? Like I know someone mentioned the Inca Trails and Machu Pichu? What other trips should I look at pre planning? Doesn't booking too much up kind of ruin the whole enigma and spontaneous attitude though? Thoughts.......

15. Posted by CheersT (Inactive 2578 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Are you TESL certified? If not, forget about making enough money to pay for accommodation and food... especially when you don't speak Spanish...


16. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 939 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

I wouldn't be too spontaneous about your travel plans. You should have a good idea of where you want to go; and what you really want to see and do. Identify your priorities. For example, if you really want to hike the Inca Trail, you need to arrange to get a permit soon, as access to the trail is capacity controlled; and there is great demand, particularly during the peak season when the weather is at its best (you want to avoid the rainy season). Some advise getting a permit three to four months in advance. There is a lot of information online about the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu. In sum, be flexible; don't be clueless.

17. Posted by nestorkelly508 (Budding Member 8 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

To help you decide on what places to go to during your travel, Heres a very clear references: That should you

18. Posted by Will1991 (Budding Member 18 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

I don't have a TEFL certificate Terry and don't speak Spanish either so yes I will lower my expectations. Appreciate you bluntness ha.

Berner well put. Also I will research more on these trips thanks.

Anyone know of any good company's that help you meet fellow solo travellers on the road in SA?


19. Posted by CheersT (Inactive 2578 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

You have to remember Will that you're going to very poor countries with lots of educated people who are teachers, working for what amounts to peanuts. You offer no advantage whatsoever to an employer when it comes to teaching English. You're basically just a English speaking foreigner with no skills, there's no reason to hire you over a local.

There is a very defined Gringo Trail throughout all the places you've mentioned. It's super easy to meet fellow travellers on the road, at hostels, etc.


20. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 939 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

You'll have no difficulty in meeting others as you travel. Some people will make perfect travel mates. Others won't. My motto when traveling with others is "caring and sharing." If your travel companions don't have those qualities, you could be in for a less-than-pleasant experience. Should it not work out, don't be afraid to exit. Some of the people I've traveled with have become lifelong friends. We still communicate; and sometimes visit each other. I've also had unfortunate experiences with others, including those who stole from me. One tip: Know as much as possible about your potential travel mates. That includes their interests, their budget, their personalities (including outlook on life), etc. I recently traveled with a small group that included a person who was self-absorbed, demanding, lacked social skills; and was disrespectful and condescending of the people and culture of the countries visited. It was a nightmare for other members of the group, who wound up not speaking to that individual shortly after the trip began. Travel is a voyage of discovery, about yourself, about others. It's amazing.