As part of the third edition in our interview series, we’re going to be talking to Campbell & Alya from Stingy Nomads. With year’s of travel experience from around the world, let’s see what they have to say about exploring some of the most beautiful places that South America has to offer:
What advice would you give to people about to travel around South America together as a couple? Are there any tips for keeping one another sane on such a large trip?
Our best couple tip would be to have a sense of humor. Don’t plan to much ahead and be flexible, but definitely do some research before hand and know what you do not want to miss. Challenge yourself and go for it, the things you do that falls outside your comfort zone are the things that you will remember. Don’t stress too much if things go wrong, it makes for the best stories.
What budgeting tips would you give to people about to start their journey?
Our biggest money saving tip would be to buy food on markets and in supermarkets and to cook for yourself. Set a budget and try to stick to it. We wrote down everything we spent every night so it was easy for us to see when we were going over budget. It might not sound like a fun way of traveling, but for us traveling for years this is the only way to do it. Staying in dormitories in backpacker hostels is cheap, a great way to meet people and most hostels have kitchens so you can cook. We had a tent with us in South America and camped for months, we saw some unreal places and it was cheap.
How much did you find that public transport varied between countries? Was there any country that you found stood out for being particularly good or bad?
There are nice, comfortable long distance buses everywhere in South America, they are expensive in Argentina, Brazil and Chile. We did a lot of hitchhiking in these countries, this was easy and interesting to meet local people. Being able to speak Spanish makes this a lot easier. Alya is fluent, I smile, nod and understand some of it. In Venezuela we took a overnight bus across the country for about a dollar.
I see that you’ve enjoyed Iguazu falls from both the Brazilian and Argentinian side. If it came down to it, which side would you like to visit again if there could only be one?
Tough question, but I would say the Brazilian side, the panoramic views of 275 waterfalls spanning an area of 3km wide with rainbows everywhere was awesome, add to that walking almost into the Devil’s throat, it made for some spectacular photo opportunities.
You guys have travelled across stunning countryside, and your pictures are amazing. Which country in South America did you find to have the most breath-taking landscapes?
Pick one, your questions are not getting easier, we would go for Chile Patagonia. The glaciers and mountains on some of the hikes here were
truly breath taking.
How different is camping in South America compared to Europe?
We experienced camping as being more social in South America, we met so many people in the kitchen areas shared by campers in Patagonia. We have not camped all over Europe, but the handful of countries we have camped in people were more into doing their own thing.
Are there any special considerations that you must make for wild animals for example?
The animals that took the most work to avoid were mosquitoes and other insects, spray yourself with DEET and keep your tent closed. To keep bigger animals away when wild camping we always put all our food in a bag and hang it in a tree. The main considerations that took some planning and gear were altitude and cold, don’t go to high to quick and take a sleeping bag and clothes designed for the appropriate conditions.
Were there any considerable culture shocks in South America that you weren’t quite prepared for? Are there any etiquette tips you’d like share?
No real shocks for us, it would be difficult to travel here if you do not speak any Spanish, if you are planning a trip for a couple of months and you don’t speak any Spanish, try to start your trip with a course for a week or so, Colombia is a good place.