South America route: every country in 6 months

On a mission to see the entire continent of South America? I was for sure! This blog post will show you my South America route, where I visited all the countries. And inspire you to get off the Gringo trail and visit some of the less touristy countries like me.

I spent 23 weeks (just under 6 months) in South America and had to be in New York for Christmas so I had a time limit. I had to make it from Belém, Brazil to Cartagena, Colombia to catch my flight.

 

The Journey

It took me 53 buses, 23 taxis, 5 Internal flights, 4 free rides, 1 4×4, 3 tuk tuks, 1 mototaxi, 3 ferries, 2 wooden canoe boats and 1 Amazon riverboat.. to cross boarders and make it around this beautiful continent and into all the amazing countries in it.

 

The countries

I visited; Brazil, French Guiana (actually France), Suriname, Guyana, Venezuela, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia.

Here was my South America route. See below for more detail on stops and time spent in each place.

My main aim was to visit every country in South America, because why not? The smaller lesser known countries may be underrated and I want to see want beautiful places/ culture/ food they might have to offer. I think every country deserves for me to check it out, I want to help countries like this to promote tourism, and let others know how great/ (maybe not great) they are.. I truly had a local experience in the less known countries, completely different to my experience on the Gringo Trail. Check out this blog post on some other great routes around South America, including the Gringo Trail.

south america route

you can see I like the Lonely Planet guides..

On this trip I obviously planned to see the popular spots of South America;  Iguazú Falls, Machu Picchu, Torres del Paine, Bolivian salt flats, The Galapagos Islands, Amazon Rain forest. 

south america route

This map was my original rough plan.

 

I worked out previous to the trip if I could make it work in my time limit and it seemed I could. To be able to see the 3 Guianas (French Guiana, Suriname & Guyana) & Venezuela. I knew I had to fly into the north of Brazil and go overland. These countries are not the easiest or cheapest to fly into. There was an option to fly in Caracas but with the uncertainly of my trip to Venezuela I decided not to. These 4 countries really seem shut off compared to the rest of the continent so it wasn’t as easy travelling there. I only met 1 other traveller when I was in Guyana.

While on the road plans can change quickly depending on the people I met, money and time. The only 2 deadlines I has was I needed to be in Cusco for a certain date for my Inca trail hike. Which had to be booked 6 months in advance. And for my flight to New York from Cartagena to meet my mum on her birthday.

 

I had to skip The Galapagos Islands due to time and money constraints. You need at least a week there. I also skipped Brasilia as I didn’t see much value in me going there. Then I added quite a few stops which I had either heard about while on my trip or just as some of the groups I ended up in was going there too.

 

South America Route

Here are the places I visited and the days I stayed for roughly.

Brazil 

(had plans to head back into Brazil after)

Belém – 3 days

south america route

24 hour amazon riverboat

 Macapá – 1 day

French Guiana

Cayenne – 3 days

south america route

Suriname

Paramaribo – 3 days

Guyana

Georgetown – 2 days

Lethem – 1 day

Horse riding at a ranch on my birthday

Boa Vista, BRAZIL – (bus change)

Venezuela

Santa Elena de Uairén (bus change)

Cuidad Bolivar – 1 day

Canamia for Angel Falls – 3 days

Check out my post about the tour I did to Angel Falls

Brazil

Manaus – 2 days

Amazon Rainforest – 4 days

Rio de Janerio – 8 days

best places in South America

Bonito – 3 days

The Pantanal – 3 days

Campo Grande (bus change)

Foz do Iguaçu – 3 days

south america route

Paraguay 

Encarnación – 3 days

south america route

the Jesuit ruins at Trinidad

Uruguay

Ferry to Uruguay from Buenos Aries

Colonia del Sacramento – 1 day

Punta del Este – 2 days

Punta del Diablo – 3 days

south america route

Surfing in Punta del Diablo

Montevideo – 3 days

Argentina

Buenos Aires – 6 days

Puerto Madryn – 3 days

Rio Gallegos (bus change)

El Calafate – 3 days

south america route

El Chaltén – 4 days

Chile

Puerto Natales for Torres del Paine – 4 days

Punta Arenas (fly to Santiago)

Santiago – 5 days

Valparaíso – 1 day

San Pedro de Atacama – 3 days

best places in South America

Bolivia

4×4 tour Southern Boliva – 2 days

Uyuni – 1 day

best places in South America

La Paz – 4 days

Copacabana – 2 days

Peru

Puno – 1 day

Inca Trail – 4 days

Cusco – 5 days

Arequipa – 2 days

Huacachina – 2 days

Lima- 4 days

Máncora- 5 days

Ecuador

Cuenca – 2 days

Baños – 4 days

Quito – 4 days

Colombia

Ipiales (stop between buses)

Medellín – 5 days

Guatapé – 1 day

Salento – 3 days

Santa Marta – 5 days

Cartagena – 3 days

I hope my South America route to all the countries will help you on your own travels. It’s a beautiful place and If I did that trip again, I would travel slower and make some more stops that I missed before. Check out my South American Bucket list for some more inspiration!

Related Posts:

What to pack for South America: All the countries

Best Places in South America: Ultimate Bucket List

Vegetarian food in South America

About Hayley Crone

Hayley is a Digital Nomad who has spent the past few years turning her love for travel into a full time income & lifestyle. Head for Horizons is designed to give you the BEST tips to help you travel better and work online. CLICK HERE to read more about me and how I could help you!

6 comments on “South America route: every country in 6 months

  1. Pingback: What to pack for 5 months in South America.

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