As this portal is aimed at the entire traveling community -or future travelers, nomads and tourists- of Spanish-speaking, the starting point of each of you will be different, as well as the conditions of entry to countries (visas) and the requirements of your international vaccination card, so this first approach to South America will be a little general, then you can look for detailed information in the section for each country.
✏️ How do I get there?
Finally you have decided to take the first step: make the decision that you will travel to one or several countries in South America. Now you open a planisphere, locate this geographical area on the map and you are relieved to see that it is not too far from “home”. Even for my Spanish readers or those Spanish speakers who read to me from other cities in the world outside of Latin America, this subcontinent does not give the feeling of remoteness.
√ The first thing you should do is The citizens of the following countries do NOT require a visa to enter Argentina for tourist or family visits:
– Visits not exceeding 90 days: United States (pays reciprocity rate), Germany, Andorra, Australia (pays reciprocity rate), Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada (pays reciprocity rate), Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Spain, Finland, France, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Ireland, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Suriname, Thailand, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Uruguay.
– Visits not exceeding 60 days: Venezuela
– Visits not exceeding 30 days: Grenada, Hong Kong (with British passport B.N.O.), Jamaica and Malaysia.
✏️ For more information on visas to enter Argentina in many destinations, the best option to move around the cities is to rent a car, especially in destinations such as Colombia, Uruaguay, Argentina, etc..
✏️ In all cases, you can always book the means of transport from the hotel/hostal where you are staying, from a travel agency – which is full of agencies, it will not be difficult for you to find one – or directly at the train/bus/boat stations. The difference will lie mainly in the price you pay, being obviously the cheapest in the stations, because then there will be no mediator and therefore there will be no commissions.
✏️ VERY IMPORTANT: If you cross by land, don’t forget to stamp your passport – both at the exit of one country and the entry of the other. It seems like trivial information, but I have known more than one who for “forgetting” to stamp the passport at the exit or entry has had many problems and have even been fined.
☀️ What is the best time to travel to South America?
The area that covers South America is very extensive and cannot be generalized; and I would like to clarify that “it is not hot all year round in the whole area” as many think for associating South America with Brazil, the equator and the Caribbean area.
Yes, you can find tropical climate in the Caribbean zone, humidity and heat in the Amazon zone, but the climate of the Andes mountain range presents great thermal differences according to the altitude as well as the dry cold that you will find in the Patagonian zone. Another aspect to take into account are the holiday dates, since they will be times of greater tourist influx, inflated prices and more difficult to find accommodation or transport. Broadly speaking, I’m going to divide the subcontinent into regions:
√ Caribbean Coast: Comprised of Colombia, Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela and French Guiana. This region enjoys a tropical climate, with temperatures that do not vary much throughout the year, with maximums of 30º in summer (December-March) and minimums of 22º in winter (June-September).
✏️ Best time to travel in general: between December and early April.
√ Andean Zone: Comprised of Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador. In the area the tropical mountain climate predominates, while in the warm and humid valleys the equatorial tropical forest is given. The temperature ranges from 28° to 0° C below zero in snowy conditions.
✏️ Best time to travel in general: from June to September (dry season in the Andes Mountains); but if you go to the coast maybe the best time is from December to March.
If you travel to Peru to visit Machu Picchu, then I recommend you travel in the dry season (April to October). However, if you’re on a tight budget, travelling during the rainy season (November to March) will be cheaper – accommodation, transport, food, etc. – and there will be fewer people.
√ Brazil: Brazil is the largest country in South America and therefore has important climatic differences within the country. Even so, it can be mentioned that the dominant climates in the country are: equatorial rainy and tropical dry and humid. The rainy season depends on the region: in the north the heaviest rains fall between January and April, in the northeast between April and July and in the south between November and March. Even so, temperatures are warm all year round, with the north being warmer than the southern part of the region.
– In the North of Brazil the climate is tropical, hot and humid. Rainy season: January to May.
– In the Northeast (e.g. Bahia) the climate is temperate all year round (22°-28°C). Rainy season: December to March.
– In the South we can distinguish two climates: the coast with its warm summer and mild winter and the mountain area with cold winters and even temperatures below zero degrees.
– In the Southeast of Brazil (for example Rio de Janeiro) winters are not very cool, although some cities such as Sao Paulo refreshes quite a bit at night.
– In the interior of Brazil, the climate is warm and quite dry.
Best time to travel to Brazil: It will depend on the area, but avoid April and May which are months of heavy rains throughout the country.
√ Southern Cone*: Comprised of Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Chile. Being such an extensive region, the climate changes – from north to south – from tropical to glacial cold, with mountain climate in the area of the Andrina mountain range. The northern area of the region has a mostly tropical climate, but to the west of northern Chile possesses a desert climate. Towards the center of Argentina and Uruguay the climate is mainly temperate, while the southern part of Chile is Mediterranean climate, with no rainfall during the summer. In the south, the climate is cold oceanic rainy / snowy; however, eastern Patagonia presents a cold arid climate. The southern end of the region has a cold climate with even temperatures throughout the year. The coldest regions of the Southern Cone are the south of Chile and Argentina in which the winter is longer and more noticeable.
✏️ Best time to travel in general: Autumn (March to June) or spring (October and November), which does not have extreme weather.
✏️ If you are interested in the climate of a particular country, click on the “Guides” section of this portal and select the country on which you want to consult. If I haven’t written about it yet, a very useful weather forecast website is The Weather Channel.
💰 How much money do I need to have to travel?
The subject of the travel budget countries you would visit a lot depending on the infinite variables: rás (not the same Bolivia as Colombia, nor Chile as Paraguay), hotels where you stay, means of transport you use, places where you eat, excursions you make, purchases you make, etc., etc., etc.. Not all countries in South America are “cheap” and the “expensive” concept is not the same for everyone (except when we talk about Australia, Japan, Switzerland or Iceland, hehehe).
If your plan is to go backpacking, eat in the street stalls, sleep in inexpensive accommodations – or even in campsites or do couchsurfing, move in local and/or cheap means of transport, know how to bargain and take the time to compare offers for the excursions, your budget will be between 15 and 45US$ daily (there are cities more expensive than others being Chile for example an “expensive” country in the area, as well as Argentina or Brazil). In this approach I have left out: air tickets and purchases (souvenirs, clothes, etc.). From this general and economic base you can make an idea for your trip according to your tastes and needs.
✏️ If you want to know how to make a travel budget, be sure to read this post.
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Whenever I am told this my first sentence is blunt: if someone as “small, fearful, disoriented, distrustful, impatient and phobic” as I can travel… anyone can do it!
I understand and understand the fear that such an adventure can generate: a trip alone to a destination far away from “home”, but I almost dare to guarantee you absolute satisfaction if you dare to take the step.
Well, it’s not that I want to convince you to do something you don’t want to do, but you have to admit that if you’re already reading this article, it’s that the adventurous little bug has stung you and the only antidote is: travel.
Travelling alone gives you a unique freedom. The advantages of traveling unaccompanied are:
√ A complete control and dominion over absolutely all the decisions: next destination, time you will stay in that beautiful little town, means of transport to get to the next country, where to eat, where to stay… all this you will be able to decide by yourself.
√ You become more open and sociable, so you will know a lot more people than if you travel accompanied.
√ You will know yourself better.
√ You will be more attentive and receptive to your environment, so you will learn more about the culture in which you find yourself.
The disadvantage? It is usually more expensive to travel alone, because room prices are usually on a double basis -almost always-, taxis and other means of transport are more expensive when the fare is shared between two, three or more… and even when haggling over prices for excursions it will be easier if it is for two or more people. But hey, if you’re doing [email protected] along the way surely a lot of these expenses can be shared.
You have to put it this way: nothing is definitive and if at any time during the trip you have a hard time, you miss home a lot or you feel that “that” is not for you… you simply take the first flight back home and that’s it!
You can read the following articles I’ve written about fears:
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✏️ Demystifying Some Popular Fears
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💤 Accommodation in South America
I always say there’s a type of trip for every traveler. We are unique and, when it comes to travel, everyone has different tastes and needs.
But not only this, but as many areas of South America are growing by leaps and bounds due to growing tourism demand, hotels, hostels, guest houses and other types of accommodation change ownership, close, open new ones that do not advertise in guides or on the Internet … some have been improved and others have been left “to be” and now fall to pieces. And the reality is that, in my opinion, the best hostels do not appear in any guide and the “vibrations” of each hotel can only be felt by yourself, in person.
This is why I consider accommodation to be “very personal”. So what I propose is that, on the one hand, read my experiences in the hotels of the cities (soon in the travel guides) and, on the other hand, I provide a list of three accommodation search engines that in my opinion work very well and have a tab with “reviews of other travelers”, so you can know exactly what state the hotel is in and if you think it will be to your liking.
I have written a very complete post about accommodation and how to choose the one that best suits your tastes, needs and budget that you can read by clicking here. To search for hotels around the world, I always use the Booking website which has good prices and a huge offer of accommodation from the cheapest to the most expensive.
Don’t let me tell you… do you dare to live it?
♣ Colombia travel guide
♣ Argentina travel guide
♣ Ecuador travel guide
♣ Peru travel guide
♣ Bolivia travel guide
* Weather data in the Southern Cone collected in part from wikipedia. ** Data collected from Forbes Review.
Did you find the travel guide useful? I hope so! Do not hesitate to share it with your acquaintances or recommend it to those who will travel to South America.
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