Transportation is usually pretty cheap, but activities that include transportation can be pricey. White-water rafting, horseback riding, guided hikes, surfing lessons, etc. Not bad! Colombia is extremely far from Chile. And everything in Chile costs more. You may decide to take a plane between countries to help you get along faster. Plan on needing a few hundred dollars for each flight. These questions can be answered with some careful planning and research ahead of time.
On holiday in Mexico's murder capital - what it's really like down in Acapulco
Packing sheep is important, but not essential! Many blogs and guides will warn you about the danger of over-packing on your trip.
Taking this advice to heart, I actually made the mistake of under-packing. The heat wave that hit me in Panama was a theme that continued for much of my time abroad. As a big sweaty guy, I went through clean clothes extremely fast. Multiple pairs of shorts and T-shirts are a must. The good news is that if you forget something, you can usually buy it wherever you are.
Overall, be prepared to do a fair amount of exchanging along the way. I found some cheap clothes in thrift stores in Panama that were extremely helpful in hotter climates. Once I got to Ecuador and went to the mountains, I discarded some of the lighter clothes in favor of longer stuff. If you want to see a full suggested packing list for long-term travel in hot countries click here. There are very few ways to answer this question incorrectly. The formula for how often you move, and where you go, depends on a few factors:. The good news is that through much of South America, there is a suggested path to follow for each country.
The Gringo trail covers the main highlights of each country in places that cater to tourist infrastructure.
Most major cities in each country on the Gringo trail. It exists for a very good reason. Allowing yourself at least one month in each country you visit will give you a chance to appreciate its diversity. I could have spent five months in Colombia or Peru — those countries are really that epic. But six weeks in each was still enough to give me a thorough appreciation.
Ecuador, a smaller country, offers an incredible array of beaches, mountains, and jungle experiences. I could have spent months there as well, but my four full weeks — including one unforgettable one in the Galapagos islands — were terrific too. Intrepid travelers often plan on going from Colombia all the way down the continent to the Patagonia region of Chile and Argentina.
Theoretically, this is doable in five months. But it means a more rushed experience trying to get through the countries on the way. Colombia is large. Peru is enormous. A hour bus ride may only take you a fraction of the way through some of these regions. These are all more-or-less part of the Gringo trail, and should be easily doable by spending weeks in each country:. Bungee jumping at San Gil. The Galapagos Islands. Machu Picchu.
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Your family and friends may raise an eyebrow when you tell them your daring plans to explore this developing part of the world. When people think of Colombia, they think of drugs and crime and machetes and machine guns. Disaster is easily avoidable. And you avoid disaster with common sense.
Okay, okay, you probably already know to avoid these things. But on my trip, I witnessed many other travelers who set aside common sense for too long, and had a negative experience because of it. The number one thing to be concerned about in these countries is small-scale, petty crime. Pickpockets and people who want to snatch-and-go when you let your guard down.
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