Search
Recommended Products
Related Links


 

 

Informative Articles

Planning your Trip using Travel Tips
No matter where you're traveling or whether you're traveling by car, plane, or train, you'll want to make sure that you arrive there with everything that you need. You'll also want to save as much money as you can in getting there. If you're...

SportsGroupie.com: Travel Search for Spring Training and Bowl Games
Sports market planners can search dozens of travel sites at once to plan their sports outing to any spring training game or the BCS bowl games. SportsGroupie.com, an innovator in sports travel search, has added coverage for Major League...

Travel Agency Software - The Travel Jungle
Travel Agency Software - The Travel Jungle Charles Darwin was one of the most traveled people in history. Can you imagine the commissions his travel agent earned? How many times have you been held up trying to book a flight or hotel...

Travel Light: The How And Why
I learned how to travel light from lightweight backpacking, then found it was just as useful to keep it light on trips overseas or driving across the country. The last time my wife and I went to Ecuador, I had 10 pounds of luggage, all in one...

Travelling light - How to pack light travelling with toddlers
Whether you're packing to go for a walk to the park or your planning a trip across country, when your travelling with toddlers packing poses a problem. How to pack light travelling with toddlers is a little more difficult than packing for an...

 
Travel to South America: How to Start

You set your mind and you're ready to travel to South America, a magical place of immense beauty where myth and legend continue to walk hand in hand. I've traveled 18 months in South America and can give you some tips on how to prepare yourself for an unforgettable adventure.

Common Sense

We all hear the unpleasant stories and South America has a fame of being dangerous. I traveled thousands of miles traversing cities, jungles, islands and mountains. I survived 6 weeks in a street child care center in the favelas of Salvador da Bahía (Brazil) and had the party of a lifetime during carnival. Nothing, I repeat, nothing happened. Use your common sense. Avoid badly lit streets at night and if your sixth sense is giving you the "something is wrong" sign then take a taxi to your destination.

Travel Guide Book

The first thing that you will need is a travel guide book. It will be your best companion in your search for adventure. I can highly recommend Lonely Planet´s South America on a Shoestring to get you started. The book covers all you need to know to get the most out of your trip and is ideal to plan your journey ahead. I've used the guide extensively during my 18 month adventure. They offer excellent separate travel guides of all the countries (besides using the Lonely Planet Shoestring I've used their separate travel guides of Peru and Brazil). Their guides are the most popular among backpackers.

Other popular guides are The Rough Guide to South America and the South American Handbook. Ideal, but not practical because you want to travel light, would be to enjoy the adventure with a Lonely Planet and either the Rough Guide or the Handbook.

Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese

The most rewarding thing for me was the fact that you can travel in a huge continent like South America with only 2 languages. Spanish and Portuguese. If you plan to travel just for a few weeks you can invest in a Spanish and/or Brazilian Portuguese Phrase Book. English is not widely spoken and even a basic knowledge of Spanish and/or Portuguese makes the trip so much more rewarding (they're extremely willing to help you, so don't worry, be happy).

If on the other hand you're planning to travel for a few months I can highly recommend taking a language course. Ideal would be in a school in South America (I took lessons in Quito, Ecuador, and had a private teacher for $2.50/h).

Walking Shoes

South America's nature is overwhelming. You'll walk for many hours day after day. It would be a shame to walk in the footsteps of the Incas with blisters on your feet. My biggest recommendation is to invest in high quality walking shoes with Gore-Tex.

Health Vaccinations

Yellow Fever (if you plan to go to the Amazon Basin), Typhoid


(consists of two injections taken 4 weeks apart), Diphtheria-Tetanus, Polio, Cholera (only when necessary), Smallpox

Medical Kit:

Depending on what you plan to do you can include the following: Antiseptic cream, aspirin, lomotil for diarrhea, antibiotics, throat lozenges, ear and eye drops, antacid tablets, motion sickness medication, alcohol swabs, water purifier, lip salve, foot and groin powder, thermometer (in a case), surgical tape, assorted sticky plasters, gauze, bandages, butterfly closures, scissors and last but not least, first-aid booklet

Note: malaria pills are required in the amazon basin, please be aware that those pills are very strong and you should check with your doctor before departure

Traveling Gear

Backpack:

Obviously a high quality backpack is a must. Choose the type that has different compartments that can be opened separately. Very handy if you need something quickly. Travel as light as possible. A heavy backpack is destined to undermine your traveling pleasure.

Clothing:

Depends on where you go. If it's the mountains and the jungle, get some quality clothing from home. If it's the beach, buy your t-shirts there (cheap).

Camping and Climbing Gear:

You can rent camping and climbing material in South America but the quality may be questionable. Always check the material. Bring your own gear if possible. I traveled 18 months with my own tent and various camping utensils.

Photography

Pictures are something personal. Some people just want some snap shots, others want to publish in the National Geographic. All my pictures were taken with a cheap Nikon F50 camera. Have a look at some amazing photographs.

I had two zoom lenses, a 35-80 mm. and a 70-210mm. I also dragged a tripod and an excellent flash with me. I used FUJI slides (100 ASA) but you definitely need 200 to 400 ASA if you plan to go to the jungle. A polarize filter enhances the colours tremendously on sunny days.

Conclusion

South America will embrace you with open arms. It's nature, people and history is overwhelming. With the right preparation and set of mind you're ready for an unforgettable adventure.

Mark Van Overmeire Travel Amazing South America
About the Author

Mark Van Overmeire is an experienced traveler, composer and photographer.

Released his first full CD Impresiones in 2004 with compositions based on his 4 year stay in South America.

Founder of Travel Amazing South America, a travel website with many wonderful photographs, stories and tips.