Bus Trip in South America

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    Jun 08, 2014 11:17 PM GMT
    Hey,

    Just wondering if anyone has ever done a backpack in South America by bus.

    I was thinking about a road trip in USA but now is changing the plan to use my 40 days time off to do a backpack in South America. The plan is to flight to a city and then will take the bus travel through a few countries then flight back to SF.

    Any advises or previous experiences are welcome!!!

    If you want to join me, even better!
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    Jun 08, 2014 11:34 PM GMT
    South America is too big to do it all by bus.
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    Jun 08, 2014 11:47 PM GMT
    David3K saidSouth America is too big to do it all by bus.


    This.

    I've been in Argentina for 3 trips for a total of 12 weeks in the last 18 months. And, every time I've considered a bus or train trip to another city, I've realized (with the help and insight of the locals) that I'm going to either waste time and/or waste money "for the experience".
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    Jun 09, 2014 12:14 AM GMT
    David3K saidSouth America is too big to do it all by bus.


    I agree. icon_smile.gif I am only going to travel to a few cities, not the whole South America.
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    Jun 09, 2014 12:18 AM GMT
    GAMRican said
    David3K saidSouth America is too big to do it all by bus.


    This.

    I've been in Argentina for 3 trips for a total of 12 weeks in the last 18 months. And, every time I've considered a bus or train trip to another city, I've realized (with the help and insight of the locals) that I'm going to either waste time and/or waste money "for the experience".


    Interesting! Can you please elaborate a bit more? Some people suggested travel by bus for the beautiful scenery along the road. As I am not in a hurry to go from one to the other city, I don't feel it's wasting time. Are you saying the bus ticket is actually more expensive than the flight ticket?

    Thanks!
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    Jun 09, 2014 12:39 AM GMT
    This will be great. I'm also interested to go to South America some day. (Probably in a few years while I'm saving up for it.) icon_biggrin.gif
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    Jun 09, 2014 12:49 AM GMT
    eddiesf said
    GAMRican said
    David3K saidSouth America is too big to do it all by bus.


    This.

    I've been in Argentina for 3 trips for a total of 12 weeks in the last 18 months. And, every time I've considered a bus or train trip to another city, I've realized (with the help and insight of the locals) that I'm going to either waste time and/or waste money "for the experience".


    Interesting! Can you please elaborate a bit more? Some people suggested travel by bus for the beautiful scenery along the road. As I am not in a hurry to go from one to the other city, I don't feel it's wasting time. Are you saying the bus ticket is actually more expensive than the flight ticket?

    Thanks!


    An example was a train trip to San Carlos de Bariloche from Buenos Aires. It would have taken at least 18 hours. And, it's not quite as sceneic as you might think. Many of the trains have old plexiglass protections over the windows becuase they don't trim the trees next to the tracks, and some people like to hurl rocks at the train as it goes by. Also, the train only runs once a week. And, if something goes wrong with the train (or a bus for that matter)...you're stuck literally in the middle of the Pampas. There's not another Muni, Caltrain, taxi, rescue vehichle, or any other train/bus coming to get you anytime soon. Don't bother looking for the number of signal bars on your cellphone either (Zoom out and see just how sparce cell service is in all of South America outside of the major cities).

    The risk of having an outstandingly fucked up vacation was just not worth the "excitement" of the over rail/road experience.

    It only took a couple of hours to get to Bariloche by plane. Yes, it was a bit pricier because I did not have a DNI. But there are some things which are worth the money. Avoiding misery is one of them. Also, take LAN even though it's more expensive than Aerolineas Argentina because that's avoiding another whole world of drama/travel misery altogether.

    Some people really like the gritty backpacking experience to the max. You just better be prepared for all kinds of travel drama if you really want to go for it.

    In the end, I've had great trips to Argentina. I'm going back again the end of the month for about a month. I'll probably go back in early February 2015 for another 8 weeks as well.

    Finally, why keep going back to Argentina? It's super cheap for U.S. citizens with US$ (bring cash), and it's a GINORMOUS country. I'll probably even hop over to Uruguay, or Cerro Catedral for some July skiing this next trip. I've now got local friends who take me places tourists don't know about and would probably fear treading.

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    Jun 09, 2014 12:52 AM GMT
    P.S. Busses break down. I didn't even bother checking the price of bus tickets. Sorry I can't/didn't answer your question regarding relative pricing on bus tickets.
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    Jun 09, 2014 12:53 AM GMT
    P.P.S. DO take the collectivos around town no matter which city you're in. The value of the ride and the entertainment is worth it!
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    Jun 09, 2014 12:59 AM GMT
    What months will be the best time to go? Just for fun I checked the airfare in September, and it's about $1,000 from Los Angeles to Buenos Aires.
  • KepaArg

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    Jun 09, 2014 1:02 AM GMT
    I lived in Buenos Aires for 4 years. As others have said I would recommend flying as bus/train take way too long.

    You can hope over to Uruguay by ferry from Buenos Aires quite cheap.

    If you plan to do Mar Del Plata that's doable by bus about 4 hours from Buenos Aires. It had a good night life, and while the beaches aren't great there is a lot of activities if you go in the summer.


    As Gamrican said having a DNI does get you cheaper fares and definitely use LAN. I had a DNI, but had friends who booked their tickets through the LAN Argentina website to get local prices and checked in online prior to flight to avoid a check in counter. You can give that a go.
  • KepaArg

    Posts: 1721

    Jun 09, 2014 1:06 AM GMT
    You can check bus prices at OmniLineas.com
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    Jun 09, 2014 1:28 AM GMT
    Bring a knife. And be prepared to shank a fool, when he tries to rob you.
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    Jun 09, 2014 2:07 AM GMT
    polfsky saidWhat months will be the best time to go? Just for fun I checked the airfare in September, and it's about $1,000 from Los Angeles to Buenos Aires.


    September will be early spring in Buenos Aires.

    I've been there February, March, April, May, early June. February (late summer) was the best weather I've experienced so far. March was good weather for the trip to Bariloche, again with late summer and some early signs of autumn color. Early June in BA got a bit rainy and there was definitely a change cooler in the weather.

    $1,000 (RT all taxes and fees included) is a very good price. My first trip was $960RT from SFO to EZE. My second trip was about $1200 and my most recent trip was about $1300. I'm facing $1450 for the trip coming later this month, but the client is paying so I'm not really that concerned.

    AirBnb is a great way to save money and get great accommodations. Don't book/pay too soon in case the peso devalues.
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    Jun 09, 2014 2:11 AM GMT
    GAMRican said

    September will be early spring in Buenos Aires.

    I've been there February, March, April, May, early June. February (late summer) was the best weather I've experienced so far. March was good weather for the trip to Bariloche, again with late summer and some early signs of autumn color. Early June in BA got a bit rainy and there was definitely a change cooler in the weather.

    $1,000 (RT all taxes and fees included) is a very good price. My first trip was $960RT from SFO to EZE. My second trip was about $1200 and my most recent trip was about $1300. I'm facing $1450 for the trip coming later this month, but the client is paying so I'm not really that concerned.

    AirBnb is a great way to save money and get great accommodations. Don't book/pay too soon in case the peso devalues.


    Thanks for the info. icon_biggrin.gif
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    Jun 09, 2014 6:20 AM GMT
    Are there any boat trips up or down the Amazon river? I'd like to do that. And pass myself off as a decendant of Lord John Roxton.
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    Jun 09, 2014 5:07 PM GMT
    GAMRican said
    polfsky saidWhat months will be the best time to go? Just for fun I checked the airfare in September, and it's about $1,000 from Los Angeles to Buenos Aires.


    September will be early spring in Buenos Aires.

    I've been there February, March, April, May, early June. February (late summer) was the best weather I've experienced so far. March was good weather for the trip to Bariloche, again with late summer and some early signs of autumn color. Early June in BA got a bit rainy and there was definitely a change cooler in the weather.

    $1,000 (RT all taxes and fees included) is a very good price. My first trip was $960RT from SFO to EZE. My second trip was about $1200 and my most recent trip was about $1300. I'm facing $1450 for the trip coming later this month, but the client is paying so I'm not really that concerned.

    AirBnb is a great way to save money and get great accommodations. Don't book/pay too soon in case the peso devalues.


    How about July to early August? This is the only time I have, I guess it's considered winter there. Probably not the best time to go to Argentina?

    And thank you for the information about the bus/non-bus. I will definitely take that into consideration. The thing is, I am planning to be spontaneous with my plan except the departure and arrival date. So I probably wouldn't book the domestic flight ahead. Would it be a problem for me to book the flight as I decide where I want to go next? I guess I am a pretty hardcore backpacker in this sense...I don't usually look for the luxury or beach kinda vacation. I like just get lost in a country and see how the real people live.

    Argentina sounds great however, I was thinking also some other countries such as Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Paraguay... if I can not go to Argentina. Of course, I am not trying to go to all those countries but I am wondering, what are the requirement to go to most south american countries, do I just get a VISA at the custom when I pass or I have to apply ahead? Some said some of the countries require proof of vaccination, is it correct?

    I am not worried about the physical condition. I remember once I was on the train in China many years ago. It was so jam pack that another guy and I had to stay in a single stool bathroom for the whole 20 hours. We smelt like shit after. However, I am more concerned about the safety in terms of robbery. One of my friends were robbed and beaten up when he was down there a couple years ago. Any tips and suggestions?

    Thank you for everyone else for the great information... please keep it coming.