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Travelling around South America june 98

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I'll be travelling around south america this summer for 2 months. I plan to go to Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela and from there to Trinidad..I'm travelling alone on a tight budget, and I speak very little spanish..
If anyone has any tips about places to go/not go, and things to do/not do it would be greatly appreciated...
Are there any particular areas I should avoid?? (like in Colombia for instance....)Are there places where I am more likely to meet up with other backpackers that I can travel with??
Thanks,
Marita

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    What an itinerary for two months - looks like you'll be travelling hard. I've never travelled that hard and can only speak about Colombia and Venezuela on your trip as I've not been to the others.

    In Colombia I was rather unfortunately robbed in Bogota bus station which is a very common occurrence. Police were meant to start dealing with this problem some time ago. As it was I had to spend more time in Bogota than I actually wanted to
    There is a good backpackers place called the Platypus off Avenida Jimenez in the Candelaria district - it's quite hard to find. There are lots of cheap accomodation here with backpackers. Trips from Bogota often include the salt cathedral at Zipiquira but you have to walk in large numbers through very uncomfortable streets to get to the bus starting point. I also went further afield to Medellin and Villa De Leyva both of which were much more pleasant than Bogota.

    Towards the north and amazon basin is where most political / drug type incursions occur. Try to keep up with local news and avoid hotspots is the best idea.

    In Venezuela I really enjoyed a massive party of backpackers and warm people at Merida at the northernmost tip of the Andes. It's really good to party here and you should never be short of backpackers if you go and stay at Hotel Italia. There are very good nightclubs here!

    In Caracas I never met any travellers and it's mad and chaotic but reasonable fun. The travellers all seem to go towards Canaima for Angel falls, Puerto Ayacucho and places in the north west like Coro.
    They seem to avoid the unrelentingly flat Llanos.

    Chances ( what do I mean chances ? ) - you definitely will meet other travellers to travel with but you will also palm them off when they go in a separate direction and travel with somebody else. There nearly always seems to be someone going to where you are going! So good luck.

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    A long way you are planning to travel!!!. I travelled from Bogota Colombia to La Paz Bolivia through Equador and Peru. It took me two months last summer and I even had to hurry. Peru is quite expensive(on a tight budget) compared to Equador and Bolivia and not THAT interesting. It was an experince but my best memories are definitely from Equardor. It is not that spoiled jet by tourists and the population is fare more friendly than in Peru.
    In Peru I wouldn´t stay too long in Areguipa(I can´t remember if it is spelled that way).
    It is difficult to give advises.....I would go to Equador, do a track in the jungel and ride on the roof of the train down the "devils nose" from Riobamba.Be careful with what you eat. I got very ill down there and I still got problems with my stomach - this is 8 months after!!!!
    Take care and have a wonderful trip !!!!
    You will find backpackers in nearly all big cities.

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    A long way you are planning to travel!!!. I travelled from Bogota Colombia to La Paz Bolivia through Equador and Peru. It took me two months last summer and I even had to hurry. Peru is quite expensive(on a tight budget) compared to Equador and Bolivia and not THAT interesting. It was an experince but my best memories are definitely from Equardor. It is not that spoiled jet by tourists and the population is fare more friendly than in Peru.
    In Peru I wouldn´t stay too long in Areguipa(I can´t remember if it is spelled that way).
    It is difficult to give advises.....I would go to Equador, do a track in the jungel and ride on the roof of the train down the "devils nose" from Riobamba.Be careful with what you eat. I got very ill down there and I still got problems with my stomach - this is 8 months after!!!!
    Take care and have a wonderful trip !!!!
    You will find backpackers in nearly all big cities.

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    Colombia has alot to offer. The caribbean city of Cartagena is very interesting, offering history, beautiful beaches, lively atmosphere, and security. In Bogota, is located the most important gold museum in the world. The salt cathedral in Zipaquira is worth a visit. Unfortunately, due to tensions between the government and outlaw delinquent guerrilla groups, the remote Amazon areas may be too dangerous to visit. Cali is also a city with wonderful atmosphere and a comfortable climate. Try a night on the 'Chivas', which is a traditional bus ride with a live band which goes club-hopping all night long.

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