True story: on my first backpacking trip, I went around South America, leaving Sao Paulo, Brazil, and getting as far as Peru to do the Machu Picchu trail. All using ground transportation only, and spending roughly US$700 on the 40 days trip.
This was my itinerary:
São Paulo – Iguazu Falls (Brazil) – Asunción (Paraguay) – Tucumán – Salta – La Quiaca (Argentina) – Villazón – Tupiza – Uyuni – (Bolívia) – San Pedro de Atacama – Arica (Chile) – Puno – Lago Titicaca – Cusco – Machu Picchu (Peru) – La Paz – Tiahuaco ruins – Santa Cruz de La Sierra (Bolivia) – Puerto Quijarro – Corumbá – São Paulo
Things I learned on this trip:
- Backpacking means moving around. You must be actually using a backpack to easily do that.
- Overnight buses are a great way to save on accommodation while getting from one place to the other.
- Dividing your budget on daily allowances and keeping track of your costs is the best way to make it happen.
- Planning is good, but be prepared for changes as things will probably not go exactly as planned.
- Have an open mind, listen to other backpackers and let everyone know you are traveling on a tight budget: it will open doors as people love to help adventure-travelers
I wrote a little diary, and although that was more like a cute young girl storytelling notebook than a valuable travel record, there are some fun and perhaps useful information that I will share in here on future posts. If you are planning to go around South America by bus and train, follow me and feel free to contact me for questions. I’ll be happy to help, and happier to know that someone is actually reading this. Beijos!