What if... we saw the whole thing?
Replies: 17 - Last Post: Nov 5, 2012 8:30 AM Last Post By: SpiritBear
Nov 3, 2012 5:22 AM
What if... we saw the whole thing?Hello everyone,
Thought i'd throw a post out for suggestions along an itinerary myself and a friend are planning to do this coming January. We originally planned to cover the northern part of South America minus the Guyana's and Suriname, but with a push back a few months for better preperation, we looked down at the map and simply stated "What if... we just do the whole thing?".
Its ambitious, true, but we are decently seasoned travelers, and are not running on any type of set schedule. Simply having places that seem interesting along the way, maybe a few dates here and there for specific events (Carnival, a satellite launch, seasonal festivals, etc). We plan on doing this all within about 5 1/2 to 6 months, on a budget of about 5k each, stopping to work along the way as well as hopefully doing some help exchange.
Here is a map with the roughest of sketches done on it to show our general route. This is in its beginning stages with only a few definitive points, and we are filling in the space in between the more specific destinations (Red dots). We fly into Buenos Aries (or possibly Santiago, still working on that one) and make our way North. Will be in Rio for Carnival, have most of Peru figured out and have done a lot of research on the Amazon (will be heading down the whole thing hopefully). Leaving out of Quito mid-June to early July. No definite date set.
Green=Route of travel
Red=Key points already decided
What we are looking for is some suggestions of good places to stop along the way. Any suggestions as well, things that you've had from personal experience would be great, and any useful contacts we might be able to use along the way. Will be doing our own research, but would love some input.
Thanks a bunch,
Nov 3, 2012 7:17 AM
It's doable in six months but will be a little bit rushed. I personally would leave the last part open for changes, ie. after Iquitos (northern Brazil, Guyanas and Venzeuela). If it feels too stressful, you can proceed by boat from Iquitos to Tabatinga and Leticia, from there flight to Bogota and then south to Ecuador.
Take into consideration that when travelling for longer periods you won't enjoy it when you keep moving quickly. You'll feel at some point that you want to slow down and stay a couple of days longer in some places.
You can also redesign your route after Asuncion and go to Salta instead, and then enter Bolivia either going to Tupiza or from San Pedro de Atacama, and doing Salar de Uyuni tour from there.
Starting from Santiago would be more logical to avoid backtracking to BA.
Nov 3, 2012 9:03 AM
Welcome to TT!
Be aware you can't cross legally overland from Guyana to Venezuela (AFAIK) so you would have to review that part of your trip. In order to travel between both countries, you would need to make it overland through Brazil or by plane changing planes in Port of Spain (an overnight stay in Port of Spain could be required).
Nov 3, 2012 12:55 PM
3"Doing the whole thing" will take longer than 6 months even if you don't stop to work (doubtful, but not totally out of the question) or volunteer. It will also take more than US$5,000 (assuming you're American, since anyone else would know to specify their currency).
Unless you've got a year to spend and some deep pockets, you're going to have to pick and choose substantially. Even if you race around like madmen tagging countries for the sake of their passport stamps, you'll find that this mode of travel is exhausting, frustrating, uninformative and expensive. If your goal is to spend time getting to know areas of interest, volunteering, exploring, or pursuing new friendships you'll end up skipping huge areas of the continent. You might as well get ready to make some hard choices.
From my perspective, listing specific advice about routes and sights along the way would miss the point. First, you need a realistic sense of what can actually be done on your schedule and budget.
Hope that's helpful.
Nov 3, 2012 1:41 PM
4I very much doubt you could see all of Brazil inside of a year, let alone the rest of the continent. Judging by your map you have already made some big choices. Alas your route dispenses with th best parts of Brazil and much of the more notable aspects of countries like Argentina and Chile.
Less is more.
Nov 3, 2012 2:44 PM
5We've mapped out a route that will put us in the places we want for about a week or so. Honestly we've gotten to Guyana and were just taking the last few on for convenience of flying home. I am not a fan of rushing, or being rushed, which is why I am allowing this to be subject to change. I do understand the idea that less is more, and have planned accordingly to spend time in places longer if it seems fit and we enjoy it. Simply looking for suggestions come the time that we do stumble across a crossroads and want to check our options.
Thank you anillos, that is incredibly helpful and ill try to plan it accordingly.
Budget IS in US$ and includes flights. We're running on the idea that when the money runs out, we'll head home.
Thanks for the speedy replies!
Nov 3, 2012 3:07 PM
6Just out of curiosity why do see Curitiba as a must see destination? I note it's marked in red. Tranpsort hub or do know people there?
Nov 3, 2012 3:22 PM
Nov 3, 2012 6:29 PM
8@Djalma my friend has more info on that... i believe he has a friend there, and there is some special activity that goes on there.
Thank you for the help everyone, id just like to lay to rest that I do understand that this is ambitious, and that i wont be able to see everything if I cruise through. But im playing backpacking tourist this trip, not long staying volunteer. Ive done quite a few trips where I stayed in a different hotel every night, and its not very enjoyable. We'll go at our own pace, stop when we need to and get to where we get.
Please, suggestions only, I honestly dont need more advice about time. I am not putting any specific dates on my itinerary (other than Carnival of course), so i dont NEED to be anywhere.
To give you a bit of background, we love hiking, and will be equipped to do a lot of it. Probably will do many hikes into the jungle and mountains and just camp. Love sports activities like biking and swimming, will spend an extra buck to do some extreme sports if they present themselves, and love to just enjoy being within smaller sections of the culture within. We're vagabonding, not looking for a palatial spread.
Thank you all again.
Nov 3, 2012 10:17 PM
9Sorry, but your original post is pretty contradictory to your follow up posts. First it's can we do all this in 5 1/2 to 6 months, and then time isn't an issue. First you say stopping to work in places and then you say you'll be a backpacker tourist just travelling through.
But whatever. Realisically you'll need more like 8-10 months to even skim through this route, which apparently isn't an issue. What IS an issue is cost. I use $50 a day as a bare bones starting point for budgeting (without flights). So even at 6 months with no flights you're looking at around $9000. So you're probably going to need close to $15000 to do this route (ie, 9 months, including some flights).
If you really just have $5000 then stick to the cheaper countries like Ecuador Peru and Bolivia, combining some volunteering / work for keep with your travel. This will also minimise your distances travelled and therefore your costs. To even just pop across to Brazil just for Carnival is going to blow your budget - just your 7 nights of accommodation over carnival is going to cost at least $90 per person per night, so factor in $1000 for the week each, plus flights in an out of Brazil... You'll spend almost $2000 each on the whole exercise IMO.
Sorry, but you need more $ to realise your plan :-(
Nov 4, 2012 10:42 AM
10$5000 is not even half close for the route marked in the map. As others said with this budget it's pointless to even set foot in countries like Brazi and Guyanas - it will be consumed in about a month in best case scenario. Besides it's not "doing the whole thing" by flying over the whole thing - simply following the marked route is easy doable in 6 months. Seeing any things around in all those places can easily take 2 years.
Nov 4, 2012 4:19 PM
11So no suggestions at all? Not to be rude, but I dont think we can beat this horse any more. I think i've made it pretty clear that ill make it to wherever I get, and try to stretch my funds as far as they will go without sacrificing plans. Maybe I wont make to all of these countries, I havent ruled out coming back at some point in my life and doing the rest. I appreciate the realistic views on this, but the point has been stated, and I still have yet to hear a solid suggestion other than the first reply...
Please, suggestions for things to do along the route.
Nov 4, 2012 4:35 PM
12With this attitude I doubt you will even make it half way. My suggestion: go see the carnival and Guyanas, then gain ability of producing cash out of thin air or alternatively some good hobo skills.
You are not willing to listen to good advice given here and can't understand that you cannot sustain yourself with $900 for a month in a country where usual budget is $80 the lowest and in carnival rises to about $200-300. Just figure your absurd plan yourself and don't waste people time
You have been giver very solid and practical advice but you just won't listen - everybody is entitled to make their own mistakes, go and make yours, but don't behave like we are your tourist agent hence you demand the answers that suit your taste. Maybe I'm missing something I didn't notice you pay us for the advice
Nov 4, 2012 5:06 PM
13I'll speak only for myself: I don't want to take the trouble to make specific suggestions when it's clear there's been no solid planning about where you're going or how long you're spending. When you've got a realistic plan, I'm happy to fill in with recommended details.
There are folks here who know almost anything you could imagine about travel in South America. If you want access to that knowledge, you need to figure out how to encourage them to share with you. I'll offer the observation that you're not doing a very good job of it so far.
Hope that's helpful, as always.
Nov 4, 2012 5:20 PM
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