5 Tips to Backpacking in South America
Learning Spanish is one of the best investments you can do to improve your trip! You don’t need to learn it perfectly, only knowing the basics will help you ask for direction, find your way at the super market and most importantly; Communicate with locals. South Americans are in general very friendly people! Don’t miss out on the opportunity to get too know them just because you can’t speak the language! Learning Spanish in a language school in South America can also be a very interesting and enjoyable experience!
Too many people that travel to South America tend to stick to the main cities like Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires with the only exception being top tourist spots like Machu Picchu. South American nature has a lot to offer, so make sure to include it in your plans! Go on a Wild-life expedition into the Amazonas or Live on a cowboy ranch in the Pantanals, Brazil. This may turn out to be one of the highlights of your trip!
South America is not all Carnivale and Fiestas. The continent also struggles with poverty, natural disasters and in general bad living conditions. Take the opportunity to give something back by volunteering! There are many hostels and companies that offers completely free volunteering where you can build sheds for homeless, work at a children’s home or work on a school in a favellah. Volunteering will give you a better impression of the real life in South America.
Planning to go to Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca or other historical sites? Prepare yourself before you go by reading literature and watching documentaries is a great way to educate yourself before you go. Visiting Machu Picchu is a lot more rewarding when you realize how much effort was put into the site and understand the architectural brilliance behind it.
Push Your Limits
Have you ever taken a Salsa lesson, biked down a mountain or done a Bungee-jump. Backpacking in South America will give you a lot of opportunities to put yourself out of your comfort zone, and you know what? You should! Afraid of heights? Afraid of Snakes? Do a Bungee-jump or go on a snake safari in the Amazonas. You haven’t really felt alive until you have pushed yourself beyond what you thought was possible and conquer your fears. It might sound like some cheesy self-help quote, but who cares. Just do it and experience the excitement of pushing yourself out of your comfort-zone!