Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile- Charlotte
While planning my trip, I browsed through countless blogs trying to decide the best itinerary and modes of transport to best navigate through everything I wanted to see. I was originally only concerned with seeing all of Chile from top to bottom, but plans changed when I realized I would save $350 on airfare by flying into Lima, Peru instead. After much deliberation, I ultimately decided to take an overland budget tour from Lima, Peru to Buenos Aires. Spent 2 weeks on my own there, with a 5 day stopover in Uruguay. A 1-hr ferry ride from Buenos Aires takes you into Uruguay! I then flew down from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia to start my next budget tour interweaving between Argentina and Chile through Patagonia. After the tour ended in Santiago, I traveled with a friend I made along the way through Northern Chile and into the desert. Through all of this, my fluency in Spanish was a huge asset! From purchasing bus tickets to crossing border customs, interacting with locals in their own language really helped smoothen countless interactions. I highly recommend taking a Spanish class while in South America to make the most of your trip!
Where to stay
I stayed in various hostels, hotels and even camped out in tents. Overall, make sure that the place is sanitary above all else.
Best way to get around
South America is easily navigable by public buses. Go to the closest bus terminal and purchase your tickets straight from an agent.
Anything you wish you knew?
When traveling thru Northern Chile, take into account the lunar cycle. The desert offers extraordinary views of the stars, however it is difficult to enjoy when the moon is nearly full.
What advice can you pass along?
Come to South America with an open heart and a patient mindset. The lifestyle in every country is much more laid back than in the Western world. There will be many places where workers do not speak any English, so just have fun playing some charades and using any means necessary to communicate