If you’re searching for an epic journey, one which is the human equivalent of a Lord of the Rings style Hobbit adventure, then you need to be looking towards South America.
This huge landmass has more nature, culture, drama, and scenery than most places can ever dream of, and if you do decide to travel your way around it, you need to put a serious planning stage into action.
You shouldn’t do South America by halves, you need to pay it more attention and do it more justice than that, because it will give back to you so much more. It will be tiring, it will be emotional, but my oh my, it will be truly epic.
If this is getting your feet twitching to head off and explore, here’s a few things you need to bear in mind when you’re planning your South American adventure.
Find the cheapest way to get there
The biggest cost is getting from your home country to South America in the first place. Flying indirect is probably the cheapest way, and if you can throw in a few stop-offs you may save money. Once in South America, getting around is fairly easy, with internal flights, trains, and long distance buses. Be aware that certain parts of the area don’t have an infrastructure that is as well developed as some other westernised countries, so it may take a little longer to travel.
Check visas and passport requirements
You’re obviously going to be passing through borders, so make sure you check your visa and passport requirements pertaining to your country of origin. There are too many quirks and differences to mention here for various countries, so for the most up to date information, head to your Embassy website.
The weather may be an issue
Because we are talking about such a huge landmass, it’s hard to pin-point when to go in terms of the best weather. It’s probably better to say when you shouldn’t go to certain parts of the country, but check weather expectations against your potential itinerary. For instance, if you’re planning on hiking the Inca Trail, be aware that it is closed during February, which is also the rainy season in the area. If you want to hike this historic region during July and August, you need to apply for your permit well ahead of time.
On top of this, if you’re heading into the amazing Amazon, January to May is the rainy season, and if you’re heading to Patagonia, then June to August is winter, and a few services will be closed.
Keep up to date with safety news
Obviously it’s important to stay abreast of any developments in terms of safety, and the best way to do this is by heading online and checking your Embassy website again, where up to date travel information and advice will be available. It goes without saying that you should always follow this advice.
Spend plenty of time on your itinerary
You need a rough guide on where you’re going and how you’re going to get there, and this will mean plenty of research. Identify your areas of interest; is it Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail you want to see? In that case you need to apply for permits for your trip to Peru. A stay in Cusco should also be in there somewhere, as well as Colca Canyon, which is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon!
If you’re heading to Bolivia, be sure to throw in a tour of the jungle, as well as visiting La Paz, which is the highest capital city in the world. Again, check safety news before heading here.
Argentina is another very popular stop off on a South America expedition, and is literally a country where you will find the end of the world, with epic scenery befitting of this title. Buenos Aires is a definite must visit, with a spot of tango dancing too.
Perhaps Chile is on your agenda, and Santiago is a foodie’s dream, as well as amazing trekking in Torres del Paine. On top of this, we know that Brazil is a colourful and amazing country to visit, with Rio a definite stop off, and the amazement of the Amazon.
The list goes on, and this is why it is important to draw up an itinerary, and plan your adventure carefully.