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I went for the trip of my life last year: Backpacking South America alone with some savings and my camera. On this trip I met numerous amazing people who welcomed me with a friendly “Hola Gringo”. This video sums up an epic 7 month adventure in Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile!
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What a smart move it was to learn spanish before I left Europe – otherwise I'd have been screwed at some places. Especially due to the fact that I started in Peru with the hustling & bustling city of Lima.
In comparison Cusco and Puno have been more relaxed but also much more touristy. Sadly I didn't have time to visit Mancora or Arequipa, places I've heard many good stories of.
Bolivia was absolutely different from all other countries: the transport, costs, people. For Backpackers it's like heaven if we speak about the costs, it can be hell if we speak about organizing your trip. Nevertheless the landscape in Copacabana, La Paz and Uyuni have been worth all the efforts!
If you'd ask me for my favorite country I'd answer: Argentina, followed by Chile. Argentina offers a big diversity and great outdoors: Glaciers and stunning national parks from Tierra del Fuego to Patagonia, the lake region in the center and the lively Buenos Aires not far away from the coast.
Uruguay has been a little summer getaway for a few relaxing days at the beach and in the capital Montevideo. As said Chile I'm also a big fan of Chile, therefore I spent a lot of time in this country. This time I explored the south with the highlight Torres del Paine and hitchhiking the Carretera Austral – adventures I'll never forget!
What has been the best after all? The people. I was overwhelmed how warmhearted, friendly, helpful and sometimes a bit ‘loco' (= crazy) they have been. I got invited to boat trips and meals, told about europe, have been a guest on privat parties and got treated very well even in difficult situations. Moreover I improved my spanish, learned words that are actually not existing, danced to music I've never heard before and saw animals I only knew from the Zoo. What a ride!
My tips for Backpacking South America
You might already know a few – here is a handy overview of all important useful articles to plan your trip.
Safety – 30 Tips and Ways to Stay Safe While Traveling
Gear – soon
Cheap flights – Checklist: How to book the cheapest long-haul-flight – a beginners guide
Argentina Travel Guides
Bolivia Travel Guides
Peru Travel Guides
Chile Travel Guides
- San Pedro de Atacama – complete
- Santiago/Valparaiso – complete
- Pucon – complete
- Torres del Paine – preparation
- Torres del Paine – hiking the W
- Torres del Paine – hiking the circuit
You did Backpacking South America?
Feel free to share your experience in the comments below. You're welcome to recommend this post by giving me a thumbs up or a plus, also sharing is possible and very appreciated ;)
With Babbel I learned Spanish within 3 months for my South America trip. It's a fun & inexpensive way to learn languages.
You can choose from 14 languages and courses created by language experts. I really like the option to sync it on all my devices – with this I'm able to learn everywhere.