Public transport in south and central America

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Public transport in south and central America

1. Posted by JoCush (Budding Member 6 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

My boyfriend and I are traveling to central and south America in Oct. We fly into Belize, and plan to see belize and guatemala in 3 weeks. what would be the best way to get around each country and across the boarder? Is public transport safe and/or readily available?

We then fly from Guatemala to Lima, Peru. We will be in South America for 6 weeks, and will only have time to see Peru, Boliva, and parts of Chile and Argentina (we fly out of Buenos Aires, Argentina). What would be the best mode of transport to cross the borders? Is it cheap?

I know we have a very short time to experience these countries, if anyone who has favorite parts or highlights, it would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

2. Posted by spootnik (Full Member 62 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Buses are the best way (if not the only one) to travel around central and South America.
I traveled in the countries (except Belize which we only went through) you mentioned with my husband and didn't have any trouble.
Crossing borders is pretty easy (as long you don't possess any illegal item) but can take some time at certain posts.

As for our highlights, we particularly liked:
- Tikal, Antigua in Guatemala
- Cuzco + Machu Picchu, Arequipa + Canyon de Colca in Peru
- Potosi, salar de Uyuni in Bolivia
- Mendoza, IguaƧu Falls, Patagonia and and Tierra del Fuego in Argentina
- Valparaiso in Chile

Obviously, you won't have time to do it all, so you'll have to make choices...
Hope this helps!

3. Posted by mariaines (Budding Member 39 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

the crossing from mendoza to chile (los andes) is beautiful, specially in october ;) the bus trip is not expensive and not long from mendoza to santiago.
Public transport is good in most of chilean cities; an exception would be Santiago, but all touristic places are reacheable by metro so you would be just fine. People are very friendly if you get lost or confused about what bus to take ;)
If you have time, i'll recomend you to go to Valdivia (10 hour bus trip from santiago)'s very rainy but a really beautiful city, you can discover it by foot or boat; there're nice hotels, restaurants, beer

4. Posted by bentivogli (Respected Member 2398 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

What you plan to do sounds like a fairly standard SA itinerary; there's a large number of suggestions posted in this forum, also for a six-week trip.

happy travels,

5. Posted by ppereira (Full Member 25 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Welcome to Guatemala!!!!


to see schedules go to:


6. Posted by mike65 (Full Member 27 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

I agree on Guatemala - fantastic country.
I think that you can go from Belize through Tikal, to Guatemala City. Later you can do a small round trip - Guatemala City - Antigua - Atitlan - Quetzaltenango - Retalhuleu - back to Guatemala City using the other parallel continental road. I did this, it was fantastic experience. You'll notice that Antigua is lot more expensive than other places, and that Xela or Quetzaltenango is one fantastic and friendly town. Around Xela you can do a lot of trips, I did laguna Chicabal with Adventure tours, not expensive, mayan guide, not so hard - it is a lake in a vulcano cone, alt. about 2.800 m.
Around Reu (Retalhuleu) you'll find some Mayan monuments and mayan water park (!). Looks like this:
From there you can take a day visit to coastal town of Champerico and take a swim in Pacific. When in Guatemala city i reccomend - friendly place in beautiful Zona 10. Not so expensive. Can cook your own food, market is not far.
Want pictures: guatemala2005/pics.htm
Really like Guate!!!

Six weeks in south America:
One: Lima - Arequipa - Lake Titicaca - border crossing - La Paz (Bolivia) - Oruro - Salar de Uyuni - into Chile - Antofagasta - Santiago -into Argentina - Mendoza - Buenos Aires
in this one you have additional possibility to make turns like Lima - Chiclayo - Lima vith a visit to the peruvian north (Senor de Sipan, Mochica culture Chan Chan), or to Cuzco with Machu Picchu (good train service from Puno to Cuzco and back), to Valparaiso from Santiago, and so on. Do not miss one day excursion to Tiwanaku from La Paz.

Two: differs from La Paz - Cochabamba - Santa Cruz (in nearby place they had killed Che) - train to Yacuiba, crossing into Tartagal (small pleasant argentinian town for good rest) - Buenos Aires
This one offers you turns into Asuncion (Paraguay) - Ciudad del Este - Iguazu falls, going back to Argentina.
But, lot of bus rides, long ones.

Hope it all helps.