5 months South America

Old Jun 12th, 2013, 08:12 PM
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5 months South America

Hi fellow travellers!
I am just beginning my planning to South America for 5 months next year and have no idea where to start. I have no idea how much much I will need however have been saving so should have plenty for this trip however am going to Europe after I leave. I aim aiming to come over early Feb and would love to start with Carnivale and finish with the Soccer World Cup but don't plan on staying for the whole thing.
I want to explore Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Uruguay. I dont want rush through it. I will do a few tours, particularly through the most unsafe places but would like your opinion on this too as at this stage am travelling on my own. I would love to know approx. costs for the whole time, best ways to get around (cheapest & best experience), hostes etc.
Any suggestions would be super helpful
Thank-you!
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Old Jun 12th, 2013, 09:20 PM
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Some guidebooks would serve you well at this point. They'll give you ideas of places to go and what things will cost. It's difficult to answer such general questions. Big cities will turn out to be a lot more expensive. There'll be a minimum you should spend for lodging in places like Rio, Sao Paulo, and Lima. Anything below probably won't be safe. You'll pay a premium if you want take in big events like Carnival and the World Cup. Lodging prices skyrocket for events like those.
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Old Jun 12th, 2013, 09:26 PM
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As Jeff says, this question is impossible to answer. The costs will be different in each country. They will be different in big cities vs. small ones. They will depend very much on how you chose to sleep and eat and travel - how much (dis)comfort, how many restaurant meals, how much alcohol, planes vs. long distance buses, etc. etc.

You can get a rough idea of per country budgets from the Lonely Planet website, but you need to spend some serious time with a pile of guidebooks. Once you have determined a rough itinerary, you can come up with a better idea of your budget, and maybe ask us some questions we can answer. I could tell you how much my two months in South America last year cost me, but it wouldn't do you very much good, because you likely won't travel where or how I did, and some of the costs have probably already changed.
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 04:10 AM
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Good advice from Thursdaysd and Jeff above. You need to suit down with a guidebook and do some serious research . LP Sooth America on a Shoestring and Fodors own Sputh America are good starting points.

We are currently in Ecuador at the start of a 6 month trip but have travelled extensively in SA before. Guide books are only a guide to prices as the are out of date as soon as they are printed.

We are finding Ecuador to be pretty cheap and understand that Bolivia is even less expensive. We are staying in hostel and getting nice double rooms, mostly with private bath for less than $20 pn. In those same hostals it is possible to get a bed in a dorm room for $5-8.

It is easy enough just to arrive in a town and find a place to stay on arrival ( although NB jeffs point re safety in some big cities and cost around big events)

Bus travel is very cheap ( in Ecuador it works out at around $1 per hour which means that you can get to most parts of the country for <$10)
Food is cheap. a massive set lunch with soup, main course, drink and dessert costs $2.50 ( you won't wan much at night!
For a single traveller on a budget in Ecuador I would estimate $ 25 for food and accomodation less if you really want to scrimp. Bus fare around Quito are 25c anywhere. Tours tend to be cheaper if you shop around and go last minute and maybe hook up with other travellers.
A few websites which may help:

http://www.artoftravel.com/ mostly about how to stay safe - extremely important

Good hostel sites:

www.hostelword.com
www.hostelbookers.com

For Peru www.andeantravelweb.com

It may joining www.saexplorers.org as they do have some discounts which will probably cover the cost of membership and more for a 5 month trip.

As the other posters have said, formulate some basic plans and come back with more specific question and we will all be delighted to offer advice. Probably the first thing you should do is to sit down and plan a rough route and once that is done sort out the detail, places to see etc. LP has some draft itineraries at the front of its guidebooks and I think online.
Have fun!!
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Old Jun 16th, 2013, 04:00 AM
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Thanks everyone! Have had a busy weekend of planning & will go to a travel agent this week to get some rough prices. Its hard when I want to factor in Carnivale but not too fussed now on the soccer but wait & see
When I have some more direct and appropriate questions I shall post again. Thanks again and I hope you continue to enjoy your travels

Hannah
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Old Jun 16th, 2013, 09:36 AM
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Travel agent??? What for? What do you expect her to do that you can't do yourself?
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Old Jun 16th, 2013, 06:04 PM
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Well I just thought it would be an easier way to find out the costs of things;
I have a basic route I would like to take now which should ensure I make it to both Carnivale and World Cup if I choose that but if it's going to be too expensive might head to Europe at the beginning of July!
So my (roughly worked out) route:

- Mid Jan fly from Aus to Chile

- make my way to Argentina to arrive early Feb

- Fly to Rio for Carnivale Feb 27 stay in Brazil for a month, making my way up to Colombia

- do a tour in Colombia, stay for 2 weeks approx.

- Head to Ecuador mid April for a week

- make my way to Peru from there and do a small tour on Inca Trail/Machu Pichu - stay for a further 1 week after tour

- Early May make my way to Bolivia then to Paraguay

If this sounds completely un-doable and ridiculous please let me know!!
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Old Jun 18th, 2013, 01:05 AM
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I would not recommend visiting 8 (for the most part, large) countries in 5 months.

I think you are rushing too much.

For example, two weeks in Colombia is not enough to see it properly. One week in Ecuador seems a bit pointless.

Are you planning on going overland from Brazil to Colombia? If so, with Carnival and the World Cup, you will be hard pressed to do all this in one month.

In 5 months, I would limit it to 4-5 countries. How about just Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Colombia? You can fly to Europe from Bogota. Peru and Bolivia are awesome but I would prefer to see the countiries I visit properly rather than little bits of all of them. Just a personal preference.
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Old Jun 18th, 2013, 10:57 AM
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I agree with pgriffin's comments. our first trip to South America was for 5 months and we visited Peru, Argentina, chile and Uruguay but by no means covered all of those countries. This time we are spending a couple of months in Ecuador followed by Peru, Bolivia and northern Chile with maybe a brief foray into NW Argentina and already we are thinking of maybe delaying our return flight. Do not underestimate the distances and how long it takes to get around. As someone once said, " it is better to travel than to arrive" do take your time and you will be rewarded with a much better experience.
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Old Jun 18th, 2013, 11:06 AM
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Hi there.
Well, if you want really good advices for your trip in Colombia then I think I can help you. I'm from Colombia, and I Have visited almost all the regions in the country. If you are staying two weeks aprox in here then You won't be able to visit all you should visit when visiting this country, but you'll be able to visit some fantastic places. If you want to visit the coast then Cartagena and Santa Marta are a Must! In Cartagena you should visit the historic city and you definitvely should g to Baru and Playa Blanca. Boats leave to these places every day, every 20 minutes. The roundtrip cost is about $10 dls (around 20.000 colombian pesos). There you can snorkel, swim and rest in perfectly white sand beaches. If yoy go to Santa Marta then you should visit Tayrona Beach Park. This place is simply amazing. It has the most beautiful mix of beaches and mountains you'll ever see. You can even stay there for a night or two so you can hike the whole park and enjoy all the beaches (there are a lot of them on the park). Oh, I forgot, you can also camp on Baru if you want.

Medellin is a very cool city to visit. Despite what people think, this city is very amazing, and it's full of museums, parks, malls and a lot of places to visit. You can move within the city by bus, metro or taxi, depending of where you're going. If you are traveling for the first time then I think Metro and Taxi are your best options, since taking the bus requires a little of knoledge of city's streets and neighborhoods. while in Meellin don't miss Plaza Botero (Botero Park), Parque Berrío (Berrio Park) and El Pueblito Paisa (Little Paisa Town)

In the inside of Colombia you can also find very amazing places to visit. Laguna de Tota (Tota Lagoon), in Boyacá (one of the Regions of colombia) is the seccond highest lagoon in the continent after Titicaca in Bolivia. It's a very beautifull and quite place, with amazing landscapes.

Of Course if you are traveling to Colombia you can't miss Bogotá. I live here and believe me you have one different thing to do for every day of the year. I don't know hoy many days are you going to stay in here but while in Bogotá you can't miss Monserrate (a huge mountain east of the city, with a church in the top of it. You can see the whole city from here). You can get to the top paying a really small fee to get to a kind of cable car, or you gan hike the mountain. It takes about 40 minutes to get to the top and it's my favourite way to go there.
You also have to go to Museo del Oro (The Gold Museum). It has the largest and most spectacular collection of pre-columbian gold pieces in the World. The entrance to this museum is free some days, or $2dls on another days.
You can move trhoughout the city by bus or by taxi. I strongly recommend: DO NOT RENT A CAR!. It's super expensive and driving in here is not easy.

There are a lot more things I could telll you you could do in here, but I don't want to fill the forum, jeje... One more thing. Plann your visit carefully with several days in advance, and plan how are you getting from one region to the other. Taking the bus is a good way of traveling from north to the center of the country, but take into account its a 20hr trip. And from the center to the south is a 11hr trip. I think if you don't want to miss days of your trip traveling from one place to another then taking an airplane is your best choise. If you plan carefully your trip you can find air tickets for the same price of the bus (I can help you with tips to get this low fares).

Hey, and one more thing: If you visit Bogotá and need a guide or someone to help you visit the best spot in town, I'd gladly join you.

Enjoy Colombia: The risk is you want to stay!
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Old Jun 18th, 2013, 02:59 PM
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hrm okay, thanks everyone, you have given me a lot to think about. There is so much I want to see and do whilst I am there but I do not want to waste it travelling rather than seeing. I am not too fussed on Carnivale but now Australia have made it to the World Cup I am very interested in seeing atleast one game!
I really want to see the beautiful beaches of South America, there is a great Colombian Tour I want to do which begins in Bogota then Cartagena, Tolu with a boat tour to the San Bernardo Islands then to Santa Marta/Tangana/Tayrona National Park- Bogota - it is only 12 days so I realise I would be rushing through it but I think I'm too scared to do Colombia on my own but really want to experience all I can whilst there

I guess I would like advice on the best things to do whilst in South America if you think that I will be rushing too much as that is not what i want to do; I really want to do Machu Picchu as I feel this is something I should do whilst there but other than that I am open to suggestions of where to go and how long to spend it each place now you know the countries I want to travel I am happy to chose the best out of those! Thanks everyone
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Old Jun 21st, 2013, 02:05 AM
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Give or take I would work to an itinerary of one country per month. They all very big (except Uruguay and Paraguay) and do not warrant a flying visit, especially given how much time you have.

Highlights for me were the following, although these will obviously vary greatly depending on your interests.

Ilha Grande
Rio
Iguazu Falls
Amazon

Cuzco
Machu Picchu
Lake Titicaca
Nasca Lines (check safety first though)

Death Road
Salt Flats

Salta
BA
PM Glacier
Mendoza

Valaparaiso

As you can see, these are all fairly well trodden places! Anyway they were my favourites.
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Old Jun 25th, 2013, 05:51 PM
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Thanks for your help pgriffin! Much appreciated!
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