South America

February 13, 2017

South America is a continent located in the western hemisphere, mostly in the southern hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the northern hemisphere. It may also be considered a subcontinent of the Americas, which is the model used in nations that speak Romance languages. The reference to South America instead of other regions (like Latin America or the Southern Cone) has increased in the […]

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  1. Time your trip wisely

    With about two-thirds of South America near the equator or the tropic of Capricorn, visitors to most destinations can expect a tropical or subtropical climate all year round. Temperatures rarely drop below 20°C, while rainforest regions average maximum temperatures of about 30°C. As you get further south (and don’t forget the southern hemisphere reverses the seasons), you’ll find colder winters from June to August and milder summers from December to February, with the extreme south of the continent freezing between April and October. It’s important to plan around the rainy season in each country, particularly when travelling in the Andes.

  2. This Is non profit site simply to help backpackers around the world, it also cost me £150 a month on goggle witch comes out my wages in the hope people would write about there travels!!!!

  3. I’m not sure where you are getting your information, but great topic.

    I needs tto spend some time learning much more or understanding more.

    Thanks for fantastic information I was looking for
    ths information for my mission.

  4. Top 10 Cheap Backpacking Tips
    Pack Light. With backpacking, your mantra should always be pack light. …
    Camp Out. …
    Get a Hostel with a Kitchen. …
    Bring Your Own Snacks. …
    Buy a Train Pass. …
    Walk, Don’t Take a Cab. …
    Be Careful of Pickpockets and Scam Artists. …
    Visit the Liquor Store.

  5. If you want to experience the full diversity this South America Packing list helps you to prepare for your trip – be it hiking in Patagonia, city sightseeing in Buenos Aires or discovering old inca ruins in Peru. This list not only helps you to pack everything you need it also saves you a lot of time!

    When you prepare for a big trip it can become pretty stressful in matters of packing. Mostly it’s when you realize that you forgot some essential things you haven’t thought of earlier. Sounds familiar?

    The following South America Packing List is based on my experience of traveling 7 months through South America – from the very hot areas like the Atacama desert down to the windy, but beautiful Patagonia with it’s amazing glacier landscapes. Therefore this list is very universal and usable for diverse trips, no matter if they are long or only short.

    You need much less than you might think. Trust me.

    During my trip my luggage became less and less – I got rid of things I never used and focussed on essential, lightweight stuff instead. This list is what I came up with after this process. Don’t worry: even if there is something missing for you, you can always buy stuff all around the world when you need it – this way you save space and weight.

    Moreover I included links to certain products on Amazon to save you the time searching for it – there you can also find more information and reviews of others.

    1) Backpack & Bags

    [checklist]
    Travel Backpack – e.g. the Deuter Aircontact or the Osprey Farpoint 40 are great choices
    Daypack – to use for day trips or small hiking tours (like these on Amazon)
    Drybag – keeps your technical equipment dry (overview on amazon)
    ZipLocs, helps you organizing
    plastic bags – for shoes and dirty clothes
    optional: compression bag to save even more space (like these ones on Amazon)
    [/checklist]

    2) Clothes

    In general I packed for more or less one week to keep it easy and to leave enough space for other essentials – at the end of the week I did laundry in the Hotel/Hostel I was staying in or went to a laundry center in the city.

    [checklist]
    7 x underwear
    3 x socks
    1 x hiking socks
    4 x regular T-Shirts
    1 x Longsleeve
    2 x Sport T-Shirts (mid layer) – I recommend using breathable sport shirts
    1 x Shirt for dinner & special occasions
    1 x shorts
    1 x Hiking Pants, with the option to turn into a short pant (overview on Amazon)
    1 x Jeans
    1 x Board Shorts, usable for swimming as well as regular shorts (overview on Amazon)
    1 x Fleece Jacket (mid layer) – highly recommended for colder parts and the evenings! (overview on Amazon)
    1 x breathable, waterproof Jacket as shell layer (overview on Amazon)
    1 x pair of flip-flop (e.g. Havaianas)
    1 x Sneaker – comfy boots for traveling (e.g. Nike Free Run on Amazon)
    [/checklist] >> find more Outdoor & Trekking Gear in the Outdoor Packing List for Patagonia!

    3) Toiletries

    In this list I just stick to the basics – you should extend it to your own liking (especially female readers).

    [checklist]
    Hanging Toiletry Kit e.g. the one from Victorinox on Amazon
    1x toothbrush and toothpaste
    Deodorant
    1x basic skin cream
    shower gel
    mini fingernail clipper e.g. this one from Seki Edge on Amazon
    set of cotton buds
    1x sunscreen
    1x micro fiber towel, dries super fast, lightweight and small (e.g. Travel Towel)
    medicine: headache pills, Imodium, charcoal tablet and your medicine
    travel First Aid Kit e.g. this light weight kit by AAA on Amazon
    optional: comb/hairbrush, hair gel
    [/checklist]

    4) Camera & Technical Gadgets

    [checklist]
    Universal Compact Interchangeable Lens camera e.g. the Sony Alpha
    GoPro – great waterproof camera for outdoors
    Smartphone or iPod Touch for Apps
    eReader for eBooks (travel guides) e.g. Kindle eReader
    Memory Cards (take a few with you) – here you’ll find an overview on Amazon
    charger
    spare batteries
    headphones
    waterproof cell phone case e.g. this top rated one from FRIEQ
    external battery – to charge camera/devices, I use the one from EasyAcc
    optional: MacBook Air, external portable HDD (Office)
    [/checklist]

    5) Travel Gadgets

    [checklist]
    World Travel Adapter e.g. this one from FosPower on Amazon
    Sleeping Mask – checkout top rated sleeping masks on Amazon
    Ear Plugs (for hostels, plane or bus)checkout top rated ear plugs on Amazon
    Electric Outlet Wall Adapter – mostly there aren’t enough plugs when you travel to charge your stuff, then a Power Cube comes in handy!
    Sun glasses – e.g. HQ glasses from Ray Ban
    Padlock – to use for Lockers in Hostels (overview on Amazon)
    Travel Pillow (top rated travel pillows on Amazon)
    Multi Tool – to fix stuff or for preparing your meal (e.g. this Leatherman)
    [/checklist]

    6) Documents, Money & Security

    Store your important documents safely to avoid getting pick pocketed.
    [checklist]

    waterproof document bag (overview on Amazon)
    passport / visa
    plane / bus / train tickets
    cash in local currency (mostly you can exchange money at your home airport or bank)
    money belt, I’m using the one from Eagle Creek
    print of booking confirmation (Tour, Hotel, Transfer)
    a good travel insurance – here I recommend the one from WorldNomads (see calculator below)
    [/checklist]
    I highly recommend to get a good travel insurance as in almost every case your current health insurance won’t work in most of the countries. During my time I used the awarded Travel Insurance by WorldNomads which you can easily purchase online for the exact time needed:

    Travel Insurance. Simple & Flexible.

    Which countries or regions are you traveling to?

    What’s your country of residence?

    Start date

    End date

    Enter Traveler’s Age

    Get a Price

    7) Travel Guides

    First of all you should check out all the free South America travel guides I published. If you want to come well prepared the following guides are great resources to take with you (mostly also available as eBooks) for your time in South America:

    backpacking in chile ebookBackpacking in Chile: my Chile Travel Guide

    This is a clear and concise 100 page eBook based on my experience from 4 months traveling through Chile.

    It includes travel guides for each region of Chile as well as a complete trekking guide for Torres del Paine, plus route itineraries. Checklists are included to help make sure you don’t forget anything.

    This eBook is designed to save you a lot of time & make your trip much easier. Download it now and take it with you!

    more information >>

    backpacking in argentina ebookBackpacking in Argentina: my Argentina Travel Guide

    This is a clear and concise 100 page eBook based on my experience from 3 months traveling through Argentina.

    The book includes travel guides for the several regions of Argentina as well as a tiny trekking guide for El Chaltén and Ushuaia. Checklists are included to help make sure you don’t forget anything.

    This eBook is designed to save you a lot of time & make your trip much easier. Download it now and take it with you!

    more information >>

    lonely planet chileArgentina, Lonely Planet

    The travel guide for Argentina covers also Patagonia and lines out the most popular things to do, comes with small maps of the covered cities/villages and gives recommendations on restaurants and places to stay.

    buy it on Amazon >>

    lonely planet chileChile & Easter Island, Lonely Planet

    The Lonely Planet for Chile covers also Patagonia and lines out the most popular things to do, comes with small maps of the covered cities/villages and gives recommendations on restaurants and places to stay.

    buy it on Amazon >>

    dk chileDK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Chile & Easter Island

    The fully updated guide includes unique cutaways, floorplans and reconstructions of the must-see sites, plus street-by-street maps of all the fascinating cities and towns. The new-look guide is also packed with photographs and illustrations leading you straight to the best attractions on offer.

    buy it on Amazon >>

    lonely planet patagoniaTrekking Patagonia, Lonely Planet

    This is a must if you plan to hike a few times in Patagonia as this guide has itineraries for several parts of Patagonia and even for Tierra del Fuego. It’s a good resource for the popular spots like Torres del Paine and Chaltén as well as the lesser known parts. Highly recommended!

    buy it on Amazon >>

    lonely planet south americaLonely Planet South America on a shoestring

    This Lonely Planet is also available as Kindle eBook and covers the highlights in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru etc. Essential info at your fingertips – including hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, and prices.

    buy it on Amazon >>

    lonely planet spanishLonely Planet Latin American Spanish Phrasebook & Dictionary

    Get More From Your Trip with Easy-to-Find Phrases for Every Travel Situation – the Lonely Planet Phrasebook helps you to order the right meal with the menu decoder and comes with a 3500-word two-way dictionary. Moreover you’ll find shortcuts, key phrases & common Q&As

    buy it on Amazon >>

    Anything to add to this South America Packing List?

    Tell us! I’d like to collect more useful advices – simply comment on this article.
    Moreover let’s spread the word as sharing is caring: share this post with your friends on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus by using the related buttons.

    Disclaimer: This universal South America Packing List contains Affiliate Links for services and products I’m using on my travels – therefore I can highly recommend using them. By using this links you won’t pay any additional fees but support me to keep this site running!

    Tagssouth america
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  6. My Cost for 6 months backpacking South America
    Flights 705.16 9.62%
    Sailboat from Panama 550.00 7.50%
    Accommodation 1086.85 14.83%
    Eating Out 1555.89 21.23%
    Groceries 377.66 5.15%
    Tours & Fees 749.99 10.23%
    Booze 756.81 10.32%
    Bus Rides 598.19 8.16%
    Surfing and Biking 256.41 3.50%
    Scuba and Snorkeling 200.00 2.73%
    Taxis 116.19 1.59%
    Boats and Ferries 100.54 1.37%
    Train Rides 34.77 0.47%
    Laundry 30.52 0.42%
    Other expenses 211.04 2.88%
    Grand Total 7330.02 100.00%

  7. On the whole, South America is a low-cost destination that’s great for budget backpackers and their wallets. However, costs vary a lot between countries (your money will stretch twice as far in Colombia as it will in Brazil) and even between regions of the same country (good luck visiting the Galapagos islands on a mainland Ecuador budget!). Most travellers find that their money goes far in South America, and that they can sleep comfortably, eat well, and see amazing sights without breaking the bank. And the occasional splurges (such as a tour of Machu Picchu, partying the night away at Carnival, or a trip into the Amazon) are usually well worth it!

    The lowest budget for cheap countries such as Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Uruguay is around $25 per day, or $775 per month. This will cover accommodation, transport, food, and most activities. Though guided multi-day excursions will bump costs up significantly.

    For the more expensive countries of Brazil, Chile, and Argentina, you’ll need at least $30-35 per day, or around $930- $1,085 per month.

    Iguazu Falls

    Accommodation
    Hostels are the cheapest form of accommodation in South America. Most hostels are of a high standard, with clean dorms, kitchens, hot showers, and a sociable common area. Many offer private rooms at very reasonable rates, too.

    It’s best to book accommodation a day or two in advance during the busy seasons, and for events such as Carnival it may be necessary to book weeks or even months in advance to be sure to get a decent place.

    In low seasons, however, it is very possible to arrive at a hostel without a prior booking. In large cities, a taxi driver should know of a cheap hostel to take you to, and in smaller towns and villages you can simply walk until you find accommodation that suits you (quite often, the hostel owner will find you before you find them).

    Budget Tip: For a fun experience that also keeps accommodation costs down, try Couchsurfing, where you can stay with locals for free.

    Machu Picchu

    Country Breakdown
    Argentina – Hostels throughout Argentina cost between $7 and $15. Most are of a good standard, though in cities you may find that the cheapest places are dingy dives- it’s up to you to decide if it’s worth it!

    Bolivia – A dorm bed in Bolivia will cost $6-10, and a private room costs significantly more.

    Brazil – Prices vary throughout Brazil. In Rio, for example, a hostel may cost as little as $6, but a similar hostel in a beach town outside the city may cost twice as much. And during Carnival, you can expect prices to skyrocket to a minimum of $40 per night for a dorm. Book online to compare prices.

    Colombia – Dorms in Colombia usually cost $7-10, or you can sleep in a hammock for as little as $5. Double rooms often cost the same as two dorm beds.

    Chile – A dorm bed in Chile will set you back $12-20.

    Ecuador – Hostels are less common in Ecuador, instead you’ll find guesthouses with double rooms for around $16. On some trekking routes, a double room will cost $30, but will include meals.

    Peru – Dorms cost roughly $10. In Cusco, dorms are less common, and private rooms start at around $20 per person.

    Uruguay – While Uruguay is cheap overall, accommodation is surprisingly expensive, at $15-20 for a dorm, and a minimum of $20 per person for a private room.

    Blue Macaw,

    Food
    As in most places, the cheapest way to eat in South America is to do as the locals do. In Bolivia, Ecuador, and Colombia, a cheap set lunch will only cost $2-3 (though expect to get sick of rice and beans pretty quickly!). In Brazil, buffets are charged by the weight, so it’s easy to fill up for under $5.

    The street food is also pretty cheap in most countries, and you can usually grab an empanada or a meat skewer for a dollar or two.

    When you feel like splurging on a restaurant meal, you can usually do so for under $10 (maybe $15 in an expensive country such as Chile).

    Budget Tip: Cooking in your hostel’s kitchen is a great way to keep food costs down, especially if you join up with other travellers to make group meals.

    Llama

    Transport
    Buses are the main mode of transport for both domestic and international journeys, though short flights can be fairly cheap, too. Major cities have decent public transport systems, and taxis are used for short journeys within cities and towns.

    Buses
    The buses in South America are very comfy, with many operators offering semi-cama (partly reclining) or full-cama (fully reclining seats). Taking a long journey overnight is a great way to both pass the time by sleeping, and to save on a night’s accommodation.

    These buses aren’t always as cheap as you would expect, however. While you may find a ten hour journey costs just $20 in somewhere like Colombia or Ecuador, a similar journey may cost up to a whopping $70 in a country such as Argentina, Brazil, or Chile.

    Flights
    Some operators offer domestic flights that are the same price as long distance buses. Bear in mind, however, that you need to factor in the costs of getting to and from the airport, and some airlines have a very small baggage allowance, so you may get slammed on excess baggage fees.

    Taxis
    The price of taxis varies from country to country. In countries such as Peru, Uruguay, and Ecuador, taxis cost around $1 per kilometre, but in Brazil and Chile, they cost at least twice this. In some places, taxis drivers adhere strictly to their meters, while in others you can bargain the price down.

    Public Transport
    Many major cities have decent public transport links. Local buses usually cost just $1-2 per journey, though they can be confusing to figure out. Metro systems are usually the easiest way to get around a city, as they have easy-to-read maps and cost a similar price to buses.

    Budget Tip: If you find yourself walking alone late at night, get into a taxi. No amount of money saved is worth putting yourself in danger.

    Excursions
    The price of excursions will depend on whether you can undertake them independently or whether you need to go as part of a tour. The Pantanal in Brazil, the salt flats of Bolivia, and the Lost City Trek in Colombia are just three examples of amazing regions that can only be reached via a guided tour. These tours can take an massive chunk from your budget.

    Sometimes you’ll just have to figure out if it’s worth it. A four-day tour of Machu Picchu, for example, costs around $600, but is a once-in-a-lifetime tour that can obviously only be undertaken in Peru.

    Other times, you’ll find you can do a similar tour in a cheaper place. While a tour of the Amazon wetlands in Brazil costs around $250 for a three-day trip, a similar tour in Bolivia costs less than half of this.

    Of course, there are countless independent excursions to be undertaken in each country, and most are completely free. So, when budgeting, you’ll need to determine your priorities. For example, is it worth paying $200 for a guided trek to the Lost City in Colombia, or should you trek independently and for free around Salento instead?

    Mountains

    Why South America Can Become Expensive
    The biggest hit to your budget in South America will be undertaking expensive guided trips, or visiting expensive regions. For example, one week in the Galapagos can cost as much as a month in a cheap country such as Uruguay.

    The other major expense is transport. If you decide you want to see all of a massive country such as Argentina, the costs of getting around will quickly add up. If you stay in one area for longer, however, you’ll keep costs down substantially (as well as getting to know the region better).

    Related
    Budget List: Central America on a Shoestring
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    What To See In Quito, Ecuador
    March 6, 2017
    In “Ecuador”

  8. No one understands the phrase “Sticking to a Budget” quite like a seasoned backpacker. And if you’re next
    destination is South America. this phrase should be no exception.
    Regardless of whether this is your first trip to Bali or your twentieth, as a traveler you will know that there is
    always something more to see or do. The real secret to getting by cheaply as a backpacker, and making the
    most of your time, is following what the local Indonesian’s do when travelling and backpacking. You’ll
     discover that exploring the island as the locals do has a beautiful way of revealing Bali in its most pure and
    authentic form; a side of the island that is truly untarnished from the demands of tourism, remarkably loyal
    to its own culture and traditions.
    With this handy guide to budget eating, living and travel, money no longer has to be the defining factor in
    making this trip the adventure of your life.
    As one of the world’s most popular holiday destinations, the sheer mass of people bustling around the
    island should come as no real surprise. Everyday thousands of tourists arrive ready to party, shop or be
    pampered in massage salons right round the clock. With no scarcity of high class shopping malls, a strip of
    clubs that could challenge Las Vegas, and more 5 star hotels than you could ever dream, you would be
    forgiven for thinking that the only tourist market that Bali caters for is people with money to burn.

  9. The first thing I need to tell you about so called solo travel is that you’re hardly ever alone!

    That’s the great thing about backpacking – it’s a social thing to do.

    No matter where in the world I’ve been it’s never been an issue to meet new people – hell I even met a guy on my first flight to Australia and ended up travelling with him for 2 months!

    I took a 3 week trip to Thailand before I started my current adventure and literally spent no more than 45mins without someone to talk too during the who thing.

    Unless you really can’t talk to strangers or you put yourself across as cold, boring or super weird making new friends on the road is no worries at all, and more often than not you’ll join these new faces to explore with – whether that’s on a day trip or making your way around an entire country or continent you’ll never be short of friendly faces.

    And the people you spend time travelling with will more often than not become some of your greatest and closest friends – travelling is a very intense and unique thing to share.

  10. I precisely needed to appreciate you again. I do not know what I might have done without these concepts shared by you relating to that area. It was before a real alarming crisis in my circumstances, however , understanding a specialized technique you handled that forced me to leap over contentment. I’m just happier for your guidance and even hope you recognize what an amazing job your are carrying out instructing other individuals using your web blog. I am certain you have never met all of us.

  11. Thank you so much Barvest, We are trying to make this site the go to site for backpackers? For information on travel and cheaper flights and hostels, we will not stop in getting to our goal.xx

  12. If you’ve ever wanted to explore South America, backpacking your way from country to country is a great way to see the sights and mix with the locals. It’s a different kind of trip though. Depending on how you do it, you may have to forgo a shower on occasion, be willing to sleep in slightly less than 5-star hotels, and get used to long bus rides. But the benefits of backpacking may just be worth the occasional inconvenience or discomfort. These expert tips will give you the advice – and confidence – to try it yourself while staying safe and healthy throughout the journey.

    Why backpack when you can just as easily book a nice hotel, fly to your destination with multiple suitcases, and enjoy most of the luxuries of home? It depends on the type of experience you want. Backpackers place more emphasis on the travel experience, not just the destination. This involves the fun (or difficulty) of actually getting there and the people you meet along the way. The overarching philosophy is to travel cheap and economize on accommodations so you can spend money on the things that really matter: the food and the experiences that immerse you in the culture of your destination.

    Backpackers come in all shapes, sizes and ages. While the majority of them are younger, that’s about where their similarities end. Some travel to learn about a part of the world they’ve never seen before. Others immerse themselves in foreign cultures to learn a new language. And some use travel as a way to volunteer and learn a new skill that will help them find a job.

    For backpackers, “tourist” is a 4-letter word. The point of backpacking is not to travel the beaten path and rack up a lot of sightseeing and photos that you can post on your favorite social media account. However, even those who call themselves “backpackers” are falling into the same rut as other backpackers by taking the road more traveled.


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