‘How much does it cost to travel South America?’
Welcome to Part II of this VI part series, if you missed Part I on My journey across South America go back and catch it here. I’ll wait for ya!
This is honestly one of the most common questions I get regularly. It is really easy to give a quick figure like 50USD/day which works out really well (and mostly accurate) as an average, and this post has been such a long time coming sitting in drafts for months. But honestly it varies so much from country to country. I traveled 8 of 13 countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay) on the mainland of South America, leaving out Venezuela, Paraguay, and the 3 tiny almost unknown countries right at the top of the continent (Guyana, French Guiana and Suriname). For simplicity sake, the daily averages will be calculated in USD. After about 10 edits and even more page refreshes to check that I don’t sound like a crazy fool, let’s get to it shall we?
WHAT 8 MONTHS IN SOUTH AMERICA LOOKS LIKE ON A MAP
The numbers on the above map indicate the month of travel of my journey across the continent.
Black arrows are overland bus trips, which taught me a whole lot of patience, self-entertainment, multiple lessons in holding your pee, and how to sleep on overnight buses. My longest bus ride was a good 26 hours from San Pedro de Atacama, Chile to Valparaiso, Chile (yes, still within the same country, and not even halfway through)
Light blue dots are flights which I took, mostly in Brazil, and towards the end of my trip. Some people travel the entire continent without taking a single flight except in and out of South America. To them I say – you have my utmost respect!! Unfortunately I am not one of these people.
Brazil was where I took the most flights in, out and around. To say it is a big country is a major understatement. To put things into perspective, Brazil is approximately the size of Europe, minus the ridiculously fast and timely train network. Add in a language barrier, and travel can be a little challenging here.
Flights in Brazil are not cheap! In fact, they are quite the opposite. Budget flights don’t usually sell for under USD200.
I chose to fly north to Colombia from Bariloche, Argentina after my Patagonian adventures as it would have taken a good 72 hours of bus travel to get to the same place.
Purple arrows are my favorite and is definitely one of my most memorable travel experiences in South America, Hitchhiking.
I spent 5 weeks hitchhiking from Ushuaia, Argentina to Puerto Montt, Chile. Traversing the loneliest road in the world, the Carretera Austral or Ruta 7, in Chile. It is definitely one of the most memorable adventures of my 8 months in South America.
Total distance: 2,500km
It’s crazy that half of 2017 has just flown by like that. In my old finance life, it would be closing out Q2 and starting out Q3. Goals are to be re-evaluated, adapted and realigned for the end of the year. July is also slightly nostalgic for me as 2 years ago, July 2015, there I was, clearing out my desk, saying good bye to my 3 screens, sweeping my collection of farm animal soft toys into a box and bringing them home. Not knowing if this was the best or worst decision I would have made in my 26 years of life.
It is Summertime in Europe – and it is HOT. The days are long, sweaty and I question myself time and again how Europeans day drink those cold beers without getting tipsy or needing to pee every two seconds. Being on the road for a little while now and unapologetically Asian, I’ve seen many of the stereotypes time and again. I still laugh at them (partly because I can and partly because it looks so ridiculous at times) and even find myself being ‘that Asian girl’ but at the end of the day it is okay. Because summertime in Europe is really the best and we should each be able to enjoy it in our own different ways. I recently spent a good week hanging out in parks and people watching in the name of research. And while I’ve become a worldly chameleon of sorts, there are some instances where I just can’t escape being Asian and succumb to those stereotypes.
Feel free to add to the list or tell me you do some of these too (;
‘Yes hun, I’ll be right there after I’ve loaded the dishwasher and taken the clothes out of the dryer!’
Would not be in my vocabulary before traveling the world. None of those two things exist in Singapore and even if they did, would not be used by an Asian household.