I am going to be in south america for 4 months, and am wondering about the cheapest, easiest ways to get around. Is there a particular bus line that runs all over?
Not any particular bus line, there are plenty to choose from and all very competitive.
Buses are the cheapest way to get around, trains don't exist or are very limited in their coverage. Planes are expensive but the fastest.
The bus system is the most convenient and the cheapest, during the off-peak season you can basically walk in to the bus station and buy tickets to go somewhere that day. I suspect that in peak season you might have to plan ahead by a few days (but there will probably be more buses too so not so sure about that)
You will be an expert on South American bus companies by the time you are finished :P almost 10 years ago
As Nicholas says, buses are the way to go in South America! The quality (and cost!) varies a lot depending on which country you are in. Bolivia, unsurprisingly, has some of the worst buses (no lights on -inside or out-, bad suspension and Reggaton pumping into the early hours of the morning), but they can be an experience in themselves. The buses in Argentina and Chile come in various forms : cama ('bed') is the most expensive and you'll generally get a fully reclining bed with leg support, a meal, a film (sometimes in English, or you can ask them to put on the subtitles) and even wine or whiskey! Semi-cama ('half bed') is next down, with a reclining seat, a film and slightly less luxury. It's still pretty amazing though.
Often in a bus station, there are many different companies that go to the same place, just walk around all of the ticket desks either looking at the written destinations (ok) or asking people (better!). It's good to learn a little bit of Spanish as it really comes in handy - the Lonely Planet can give you a starter for buses etc... Use it and your experience will be much more fulfilling!
Something to remember is that in South America the distances that you travel by bus are huge, so you'll need to get used to travelling overnight (saves on accommodation too!).
Over all, don't worry about things too much - as with any travel, all will become clear when you get there, and everything falls into place.
Enjoy South America, it's an awesome ride!! almost 10 years ago
Before you travel it's easy to get worked up by how you're going to get around. I've just travelled for 9 months in South America, it is easy and cheap to use buses, don't worry about it, cross those bridges when you get to them.
Not being able to say "I'd like a ticket for X" in spanish is poor form, learn how to! Take a phrase book, it doesn't have to be perfect but get stuck in. Anyway, the destinations will all be on MASSIVE DAY-GLO SIGNS, and there will be people outside each ticket office shouting their destinations. Just remain calm, look at all the options, and in general go for the most expensive company. Saying things like "the buses in Bolivia are bad" is not quite true, it's more true to say that some companies are better than others and in Bolivia the minimum standard is lower than average for south america. almost 10 years agoAnswered by Chris via WorldNomads.com
It´s easy to travel by bus in Ecuador, Peru, and Columbia.. I´ve been here fro two years and haven´t been in a car more than five times..
There are also a lot of other people travelling so it´s not that hard if you don´t speak a lot of Spanish!
Good tips are to keep your belonging that you take on the bus on your person.. Bags underneath are safe but people tend to have stuff swiped from the overhead bins or under the seats!
http://savvyroundtheworld.wordpress.com almost 10 years agoAnswered by jon via WorldNomads.com
In my experience the majority understand you if you speak slowly in English but they appreciate it much more if you speak the local language and then throw in the English word if you really can't think of the translation.
Well if you go to Brazil:
I want 1 ticket to
Eu quero um bilhete para
eeoo kearo oong bill-hyet para ...
I will let someone else give you Spanish for the majority of other SA countries. almost 10 years ago