I am going to be traveling around South America, first Southern Chile, Argentina, and Brazil. I want to camp most of the time but I am wondering how safe the campsites are. Also during the day is it safe to leave your gear at the campsite without it getting stolen, and if not what do you do with your gear during the day when you are out in the city? Any info would be helpful.
I don't know about Brazil. In southern Chile and Argentina there are a lot of campsites and camping is a popular activity in the summer months. The private campsites have controlled entry points and it is safe to leave your tent/clothes etc. However, you should never leave valuables. Campsites vary from the simple to the luxurious (a key to your own private toilet/shower). The best ones require a reservation in the summer. Some are seasonal and will close by Easter. There are also campsites in national parks with little infrastructure. What you need to take into account is that many charge per site rather than by person, so they are not always a good deal if there are only one or two of you. Not all are easy to reach by public transport. There are not many anywhere near a city or large town.
Thanks this is very helpful. I will take all that into account.
Some of the private campgrounds have lockers, but would yet reccomend not to leave valuables in there. I would even say that most camping sites are very hard to get by public transportation! Then, if you go and rent a car - you have were to put your belongings during the day...most campsites we have been to did not have a communal kitchen or coocking facilities, so make sure you carry it with you.
We were in South America 10 years ago (doesnt seem that long) and carried our camping gear with us for a year. We only used it a few times, on the Inca trail (in the days when you could easily walk it on your own) and in Uruguay mainly, plus a few other times but not often. We checked out a few campsites and usually found them more expensive than getting a room in a hostel. We generally didnt pick the popular hostels from the guide books, but found nice, friendly and cheaper places by looking or asking around, and got some good deals on double/ensuite rooms. If we went back again now, we'd do the same and also couch surf. As much as we love camping, we'd rather save money and travel longer!
Thanks everyone. For anyone else that is interested I found a lot of campsites in a lot of cities in Chile that are in town and easy to get to. They are also a lot cheaper then the hostels in Chile, which are quite expensive compared to everywhere else. I think that this is going to work out the best for us because we are on a budget and want to make the most of our money. Also my boyfriend and I both love to camp.
you might want to get involved with an agency or a website that provide an all on or off camp.
I did a camping tour of South America and I'd have to say that the toilets are terrible. REALLY gave me nightmares. Electricity was also a rarity - prepared to have lots of cold showers. Luckily it was an amazing tour and I met so many great people, but camping in SA will certainly test you.
You cannot really generalise about SA. I think it depends which country in SA. Chile and Argentina both have a local camping culture, so you find a variety of campgrounds ranging from the simple to the luxurious (your own key to a bathroom just for you). Countries like Perú do not have a local camping culture, so choices are fewer and not as good.
I agree. I have been at some camp sites in Chile and they were really nice with plenty of hot water and the bathrooms weren't to bad either. I also have been all around SA and have found that some hostels can have no hot water and dirtier bathrooms then many campsites so it all depends on where you are.