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First time to Central & South America. HELP!!!

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean First time to Central & South America. HELP!!!

1. Posted by Cams (Budding Member 2 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!


I'm planning a trip to C&S America. I plan to leave in Early March 06 and plan to spend 3/4 months (hopefully 4). I want to visit the following countries; Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Brazil and then back home. I dont mind missing a few places on the above list but my aim is to see as much as possible before starting my job where I'm unlikely to get time off to see the world. Firstly, do I have enough time to do the above and if not what countries can be left out without missing out too much? Secondly, is March a good time to go? And finally I am travelling on my own with no Spanish to date but plan to take some lessons when I get out there is this cool?

Any feedback/help would be much appreciated.



2. Posted by aleah (Full Member 400 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Hola Cams,

I did the same thing what your are going to do last year! I've been to Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia in 2.5 months. And I didn't know any Spanish at all.
I took a Spanish course in Quito Ecuador, which I can highly recommend! After a month Spanish course I was ready to hit the road, and I think it was worth investing a month in learning Spanish, because later I met many travellers which didn't know much Spanish and they normally had to pay higher prices in hostels and taxis, because they couldn't bargain with the locals...and even more important, people in South America really like to talk to foreigners and if the travellers know Spanish, you get a lot of usefull tips and a lot of new friends!

take care


3. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Hey Cams,

Sounds like a great trip.

It does sound like a lot to do in just 4 months, especially if you are planning on taking Spanish lessons (which will probably take a couple of weeks at the start). Of course, it depends on how much you plan on seeing in a country. I think probably a month in one country is enough to see it. Less than that, and you will be dropping some of the more interesting things in the country, or rushing too much.

As for what to drop, that's a hard thing to answer. Depends on what you are looking to see. What are you hoping to see in Central and South America? Are there any sites that you specifically want to see?


4. Posted by Cams (Budding Member 2 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Hi guys, Thanks for the reply its been very useful in helping me to prioritise my time. I def want to see the major sites in the countries listed below. I have decided to skip Cental America for another journey and my new plan is to fly into Brazil spend 3 weeks there and then head south to Argentina where I can do 2 weeks of Spanish before travelling up to Bolivia and Peru. I have been advised by the travel agents to try out one of the guided tours to get be accustomed. I'm not very keen as I think its a bit expensive, but due to my time constraint (3months)I'm seriously thinking about it. Is this a wise move?

Thanks again,


5. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

South America is definately doable for an independent traveller, even for a first timer. My first trip was to South America, and I spoke very little spanish. If you are planning on taking a course in Argentina, I think you will be fine and not need to take a guided tour.

Going independently will allow you more opportunity to interact with different people, both locals and other travellers.


6. Posted by wyre83 (Budding Member 47 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

I'm planning a similar trip in April/May this year. I think cutting down the country's you are visiting is a good idea. I'm doing Chile, Peru, Boliva and Brazil in two months and I feel that is going to be quite rushed. Its easy to forget how big S.America is, the travelling time from place to place is huge.
I agree, the tours are extreamly expensive. I have looked at alot of them and think I can do alot of the same routes by myself and I'm sure its easy to meet people along the way. The only thing I plan to do that is breaking the budget is the Inca Train in Peru!

All the best with your trip - maybe we'll cross paths somewhere along the way.