Has anyone had any experience of living or working/volunteering in south america in a gap year?im going to be working till feb and undertaking some language classes in spanish and getting few books out from library,do you think it owuld be possible to get cheap flights over to s america then explore mexico,peru and those countries whilst planning it as i go along and maybe doing a bit of work along the way to get some money?how dangerous/difficult would it be to travel across a few counrties for a month or two on my own with only basic spanish?
my brothers just come back from brazil and columbia...I'm hoping to go to south america this year aswel, would definitely not advise you to go on your own, at least not to brazil/columbia/peru - the (majority) of girls are working for pimps, police are corrupt and will arrest you for nothing and demand money, saying that most of the locals are friendly...my brother got saved at least 3 times by three locals telling him to duck while bullets went over his head...it really is mad out there, but other than that he said its a gorgeous place! Definitely worth visiting, just be careful and if your going to Rio in brazil make sure your with someone who knows the place well!
I did it for six months all on my lonesome.
Flights aren't cheap.
Plenty of others I met were travelling alone, including lots of girls. It depends on you as a person.
If you've got some specific questions I'd be happy to answer, but I'd kind of need to know where you're going and what you want to do. The volunteer network is pretty well established out there so anything's possible.
Hmm which border towns?and i was thinking a bit more north such as Honduras,Peru and those sort of countries,meixco even.Would you say these countries are a bit safer then or not than columbia and brazil(where they speak portugese,no?) also how easy would it be to travel between those countries,is the railyway system cheap/reliable?
Honduras/Mexico and Peru are thousands of miles away from each other in completely different parts of America.
I can only comment on SA but yes it's incredibly easy. Tourists are catered for. Rail isn't great. Most people use planes or coaches.
You can't say if one country is safer than another. Everywhere has its dangerous parts. But you shouldn't be worrying about safety too much. Most places get bad reputations, a few incidents and it all gets blown out of proportion. Just use your common sense.
Those two countries are thousands of miles apart! Peru is generally a "dangerous" place, but only because of opportunistic crime - camera snatching etc. Keep your wits about you and you should be fine. Brazil has its reputation for gun point shooting, yes they speak portugese there.
Border towns; Puno (peru/Bolivia), Huaquillas (ecuador/peru) and you shouldn´t really be getting a bus from Colombia to Ecuador lol. Bus is the way to go almost everywhere, the rail system is virtually non existent. Flying domestically is cheap, but between two countries is a lot more expensive.
"tourists are catered for" - not true in a lot of places in South America, most of ecuador no one could speak english, in Peru cusco obviously is very touristy, but other places not so. Colombia, forget about being catered for, just expect warm locals.
I travelled for a month in Bolivia with my brother who was on his gap year, He was out there working and travelling for 7 months and had no problems.I went to Bolivia, one of the poorest countries. I would travel alone there, although I would b much much more careful, and company is appreciated.
It is very cheap once you are out there, accommodation for as little as $2 a night, and a good dinner for $1.50.
One thing we did find though was that many of the travellers out there were graduates or older. There were not that many school leavers around and the ones we did meet were 'interesting'. i tihnk this also depends on where you go, places in Brazil would be much more popualr too.