My boyfriend and I are setting off to Latin America April 2010 for approx 4-6 months and originally planned to start in Costa Rica and work our way down as far as possible in Argentina (Patagonia) mostly overland. Due to finances our trip has been delayed slightly (we originally planned to set off in Jan) and after reading about the climate in this region (Patagonia) it looks like we may not get very far due to the fact that it will be Winter if we arrived 4 months down the line in Aug.
This got us thinking that we could maybe reverse our plans and start in Argentina instead in April (I think this is classed as Autumn so are hoping to see more) and work our way North - however we have a couple of concerns that:-
* We may be travelling in the opposite direction to everyone else as North to South seems more popular? We are keen to meet others and travel with them as otherwise will get very bored of only each other for company!
* The weather when we reach Costa Rica (again August approx if we reverse the trip) will be the rainy season and looking at the fantastic beaches it would a shame to visit in the rain! On the otherhand I have seen posts where people have said that this season can be more pleasant in terms of humidity, temperature, and only rains a few hours a day???
Does anyone have any knowledge advice on these issues or can let us know their thoughts would be really grateful! I'm a first time backpacker and blogger so any advice would be really handy!
We went travelling from July to December in 2009 and we decided to go from Colombia (Bogota) to Brazil (Rio) as we figured the weather would be better that way round! We were worried that everyone would be going the other way (to me it seemed more popular to go from BA or Rio up to Lima/Quito) but it wasn't a problem at all. In Colombia we did meet a lot of people for whom it was their last stop, but they tended to be doing a similar loop to us.
Once we go to Quito in Ecuador, it was half and half, i.e. half going up to Colombia and half heading down and it was pretty much the same throughout the rest of South America. We never had a problem with meeting people and the route worked better for us, as it was nice treating ourselves to steak and wine in Argentina after all the rice and beans before that!
We have a blog, if you're interested and happy to answer any questions!
South America is fantastic and don't miss out Colombia!
Thanks Clare this is really helpful info - sounds like we will be fine meeting people either way we go as people are going in both directions, so will probably let the weather factor decide!
Thanks for the advice about Columbia - although I didn't mention in my post, this is one place I have been really unsure about travelling to. All of the info I have read says not to miss out, but I'm quite worried about security being a first time traveller! Did you travel overland through Columbia? Can you recommend transport/routes?
Have a look at our blog for more info but here's a bit...
We actually started our trip in Bogota and then headed North to the Caribbean coast - Tayrona National Park is one of the most beautiful beaches we have ever been to! Cartagena was superb, Medellin was a great place to party, Salento for terrific walks, San Gil for superb (and cheap) adventure sports, and loads more!
It really is such a great country. The people are the friendliest in South America, it's the least touristy, it's very cheap, and we felt really safe there (obviously you need to be careful but that's the same everywhere).
We travelled overland throughout Colombia and had no troubles - we took a few overnight buses.
I really think you would be missing out of you skipped Colombia. Now is the perfect time to go before too many people flood in and it ends up like Peru - fantastic to visit but tiring because of the way they fleece tourists! Let me know if you have any questions!