7 months in south america
Replies: 10 - Last Post: Nov 13, 2012 8:40 AM Last Post By: pauljs
Nov 11, 2012 4:50 AM
7 months in south americaSo I hate my job, have been saving for a while and have always wanted to see south america. I was thinking 7 months from around march/ april 2013, and wanted to try and see bits of Argentina and Brazil, but especially Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Columbia. I've spent 6 months around Asia/ Oz/ New Zealand before, but this time I'll be on my own. I reckon I have just under $1500 per month after booking my flight over. I was planning on getting buses around everywhere. No idea what/ where/ how much time to spend in each place but want to see places like the salt flats, the Inca Trail, Patagonia, the Iguazu Falls and to try some snowboarding in Chile. I was planning on trying to learn a little bit of Spanish before I go out too, just enough to get me by.
If anyone has any tips on time frames for each country (I've read before that you need a month for each country?), tips on how much money you'll need for 7 months away, what other awesome places there are to see (I'm guessing lots?!), any idea's on what the best route to take is (was thinking of flying into argentina, going to chile, then bolivia, then peru, then columbia and then brazil) and how much Spanish I'll need to know beforehand.
Any advise would be awesome!
Nov 11, 2012 5:50 AM
1Not sure about the $1500, are they US Dollars? Chile and Argentina aren't particularly cheap. Peru and Bolivia will probably be fine on that. Learn as much Spanish as you can. Learning enough to get by is great but if you can manage enough for a basic conversation it would make it far more enjoyable.I found that in many places my fellow travellers were Argentinian and they didn't speak much English. Being able to have a basic chat in Spanish made it a lot more fun.
Nov 11, 2012 12:14 PM
2You will be fine on 1500 per month in most places. Brazil and Argentina are super expensive (Brazil due to its financial situation and Arg due to inflation). They are generally cheap to buy food etc in. Its the accom and transport that hits your pocket. For example, BA to Iguazu is about 600 or so pesos (roughly 150 USD). And you'll be lucky to find a flight for that cheap as well.
Keep to the cheaper places and you'll be fine.
Don't move much. In that I mean, stay in places for at least 3 nights (in a place that warrants it). Though somewhere like Uyuni (the town) or Puno I would advise to get out as soon as you can.
Learn some spanish. English isn't really spoken that much there.
Nov 11, 2012 12:16 PM
3That is $1500 US dollars yeah. I was going to try and not spend too much time in Brazil and Argentina, more in the other places ideally. Definitely going to try and learn as much Spanish as possible before getting out there. How long did you spend in each country? Reckon 7 months will be enough for those countries? Thanks
Nov 11, 2012 12:30 PM
4Mate, my budget time wise was mental and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. We spent just shy of 2 months seeing parts of Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Argentina (The parts of Argentina we saw were the highway from Santa Cruz in Bolivia to Buenos Aires, ha ha). That time was no were near long enough for my liking and isn't what was planned initially, I'll be back though. 7 Months sounds great to have a good look around though.
Nov 11, 2012 2:53 PM
5This is the problem, I planned to spend about a month in each country on my last trip (longer in Brazil). And I did spend about 3 months there - a great place but you need 3 months at least to do it justice.
A lot of people on this forum suggest about 1 month per country as a starting guide. The bigger the country the more time need. Hence why Brazil you need 3 months. Somewhere like Bolivia is doable in a month due to it size.
Definitely spend more time in the cheaper countries. And book a return flight which you can change at a whim if funds run low or in case of an emergency (the latter is what happened to me and I'm glad I had it at the time).
In terms of Spanish - you need to be practicing every day. If you can't do that, you should consider perhaps a month learning somewhere (you have 7 months) and being in one place for a month is a good way to save a bit of cash too.
Nov 12, 2012 1:29 AM
6$1500 per month is fine as a budget - some countries will be more, others will be less.
The whole "1 month per country" thing is just a rough guide for the MINIMUM amount of time in the smaller countries. I'd say spend 2 months in each of Bolivia Peru and Colombia and then allow 6 weeks for Argentina / Chile / Brazil, just to pop in and see some highlights.
I suggest this because the first 3 countries are cheaper, you'll be able to travel them at a reasonable pace, and you'll have enough time to stop for a few weeks and learn some Spanish. If you could commit to 4 straight weeks of classes near the start of your trip you'd be able to hold a half decent (but not gramatically correct!) conversation and be able to handle most situations in one way or another. If you can't bear the thought of 4 straight weeks, try for 3 sets of 2 weeks. Studying over there is SO much cheaper and more effective than doing a short course at home.
Nov 12, 2012 1:01 PM
7Where would you say is the best/ cheapest place to learn Spanish out there? Sounds like a better plan than to learn it in London, and cheaper. I could do 4 weeks somewhere, but would need to be somewhere relatively cheap I think.
I'll definitely book a return flight home, was hoping though I'd be able to extend my time there but guess that depends on how much I spend at the end of the day. I'd like to spend more time than 6 weeks in Argentina/ Brazil/ Chile but again that depends on the money situation.
Nov 12, 2012 1:50 PM
8Cheapest place is definitely Bolivia - private lessons can be as low as 3-4 dollars an hour. And living expenses aren't expensive.
The last 3 countries Brazil/Chile/Argentina are expensive and will be more towards 2,000 per month.
Again, book a flexible flight home. Remember holidays such as Carnival and Holy Week.
Nov 12, 2012 2:27 PM
9Bolivia is the cheapest for sure, but you need to choose a place which you'd actually LIKE to stay in for 4 weeks. You only book your lessons as you go, so you can initially sign up for a week, and then see how you like the area and your teacher. (Don't book a school online as they charge $$$ in things like registration fees, and the hourly rate is usually more as well).
Sucre in Bolivia is a lovely sunny little town to study in (at a lower altitude than most other places) and they have lots of schools. However, it's a reasonably quiet place, and you might get bored with 4 weeks there (depends what you like). Peru is next cheapest, and then Colombia. There are schools basically everywhere there are tourists, so pick a town you like the sound of, and just start there.
Bear in mind that while you'll be spending money on lessons, you'll also be saving money by not moving around or doing many other activities. If you like to self cater, you can also do that more efficiently when you're in one place for a while as well. You should also be able to get a little discount on your accommodation if tell them you're staying for x number of weeks.
Although 4 consecutive weeks is the best way to get up to speed fast, it's your holiday, so if you get bored after a week or two you can move on to the next place and start again! It's definitely cheaper, more effective, and more fun than learning at home!!
Nov 13, 2012 8:40 AM
10Awesome thanks very much for the advise! One final question... weather wise... when would you say is the best time of the year to travel? I was thinking to start off around April in Argentina, but spending a few weeks in Bolivia to start off learning Spanish sounds like a good idea, so that plan will probably get scrapped.
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