The most common public transportation in southamerica is the bus to connect cities and countries. Inside the towns smaller busses (called micro or combi in Peru or micro and trufis in Bolivia) are common next to taxis. Big cities are surely crowded with private cars as well. In Chile, Peru and Bolivia the train is almost 100% replaced by the big bus enterprices.
Away from the big cities it´s also very common to use a truck for public transport as there are also smaller busses (micros) as in the picture for farer transports.
But in general the long distance busses in all of these three mentioned countries are quite modern, furnished with television and sometimes toilet as well.
Argentina > Ushuaia:
Take a ride in the former prison-train !
This train is also the southern-most train in the whole world. It was constructed between 1902 and 1909 as a train used by the prisoners to transport the wood of the felled trees to the town of Ushuaia. The bigest part of the rail-track of the prisoner-train does not exist any more, just a small museum-train uses a part of the original track of the former prisoner-train, and it uses locomotives and also wagons that were never used by the prisoners. The locomotive on my main picture was built in 1938 in Germany.
You will find this museum-train in a distance of about 10 km from Ushuaia and you will go through a part of the National Park, you will pass by the "cemetery of the trees" and go to Macarena Waterfalls, where a short stop of 10-15 minutes will give you enough time to step up to the waterfalls.
In case that you are interested to see the original train that was used by the prisoners, see my last picture here or take a look at the original train in the museum-prison in Ushuaia. That train used to go to the woods, where the prisoners had to fell the trees for the heating of Ushuaia's population. This narrow-gauge train with a track of just 60 cm width was at that time going from the prison to the port and finally through the village to that part of the track, that is used still for the museum-train nowadays.
You will be able to see this train close to the maritime-museum in a part, where you dont have to pay an entrance-fee and dont have to obey the opening-times of the museum.
There is a small airport in Ushuaia and you will find it at the opposite side of the bay, when you arrive by cruiseship. In principal the airport is in walking-distance from the town, maybe 25 minutes to walk or 3 minutes by taxi. When you enlarge my main picture, that I took from the place where our cruiseship was docked you will see the halls of the airport and even a small airplane across the bay.
Something you should know about this airport:
most shops, rental-offices etc. will open their counters only at a time around the arrival or departure of a large airplane, so be prepared to find the airport almost empty between such flights!
Ushuaia is also a great place for a local flight on a sunny day, use the link below for reservations and infos about flying-excursions in the area of Beagle-Channel, Cape Horn etc.
This web-page seems to have an english-version as well, but at the moment it is not in function !
By public bus from Santiago de Chile to Valparaiso ?
This is a standart-question in the Chile-forum and this is the answer:
According to my guidebook there is an efficient and fast public bus-service from Valparaiso to Santiago de Chile and vice versa. the ride takes just about 90 minutes and the buses are quite comfortable as well. 6 $ / 5 euros is the fare for one way. The buses are leaving in Santiago next to the subway-station Universidad and in Valparaiso they are ending next to the Parliament-building and it would be the best to take a taxi for the remaining 800 meters or so to the cruiseship.
Yes, you can walk as well, but have to get across several roads with heavy trafic and (hopefully) a taxidriver will know where to take you, while for ordinary tourists the place to enter the ships in Valparaiso is not always really clear, because the place to enter the ships is about 3km from the ships-port !!!
Compared with the transportation by private taxi (126 euros one way), the buses are really cheap !
I had such a taxi booked in advance by my travel-agent and there was a driver only speaking spanish and a seperate tourguide, speaking excellent german, explaining a bit of the landscape, BUT somehow I would have prefered to have an ordinary taxi.
That was the only offer that was made by the tour-agency in Germany that had organized my cruise from Valparaiso and I accepted it in order to be on the safe side and spare some time to get to the cruise without a lot of hassle and stress.
Driving-time is 1,5 hours, almost all of the way you will drive on the highway and the best is that they will take you directely from your hotel to the cruise-port, make sure your luggage is taken over by the right people etc---
I asked about other possibilities of such a transfer and also at the hotel-reception of Hotel Majestic in Santiago the price of 126 euros would have been the same for a taxi ordered the night before my departure.
It's the best way to know a country, to discover the hidden best places and to meet people, it's not new, of course !!
C'est le meilleur moyen de connaitre un pays, de decouvrir les meilleurs coins caches et de rencontrer des gens, je ne vous apprendrai rien !!
Buses in South America are a cheap way of getting around and know well the continent , but be aware of the big distances; so the best is to plan some interesting stops on your way.
Some distances with direct bus from Rio de Janeiro:
Assuncao ( Paraguay ) - 1519 kms
Belem ( Brazilian Amazonia ) - 3251 kms ( I've made this trip several times)
Bolivia/Brasil border - 27 hours in bus
Brasilia ( Brasil capital ) - 1180 kms
Buenos Aires ( Argentina) - 2870 kms
Florianopolis ( Brasil ) - 1142 kms
Fortaleza ( Brasil ) - 2704 kms
Foz do Iguacu ( Brasil,Argentina and Paraguay frontier) - 1345 kms
Ouro Preto ( Brasil ) - 460 kms
Salvador ( Brasil ) - 1700 kms
Santiago ( Chile ) - 5280 kms
Sao Paulo ( Brasil ) - 412 kms
In the web site below you'll find links to many bus companies inside Brasil and from Brasil ( Rio or Sao Paulo ) to Argentina, Uruguai, Chile or Paraguay; to Bolivia you have to go to Corumba and cross the border.
This site is from a company which manages bus terminals in Rio, São Paulo and other brazilian cities ( you'll see which in cidade de origem )
Portuguese bus glossary :
Consulta de horarios = Schedule search
Consulta de viagens = Trip search
Cidade origem = Origin city
Cidade destino = Destin city
UF = brazilian state or south america country
( MG for Minas Gerais
RA for Argentina for example )
enviar = send
empresa = name of the bus company
Ok, I admit the photo is rather far-fetched: there are better ways to move around Southern Chile than a cargo ship! I know, I know..but @ least once in our life, you oughta experience the Pacific's waves denying your sleep! What a dark cold southern night..
Anyway, here's the tip: from Bolivia to Brazil, from Argentina to Chile, there are buses everywhere; major national lines, small regional lines, buses with beds, buses with comfortable seats, buses with wooden seats..you name it.
Every major (ca.50.000 people) town has daily connections to other major towns, 10,20,30 even 40-hour rides. They are safe, mostly - if they're covering large distances - quite comfortable and - surprise!! - usually on time.
Did I say on time?
Well..they LEAVE on time!
The most scenic way to go from Argentina to Chile and cross the Andes is to make the cross of the lakes; you can make the cross from Bariloche ( Argentina ) to Puerto Montt ( Chile ) or from Puerto Montt to Bariloche; I did the cross from Bariloche to Puerto Montt; you can sleep on the way in 3 places : Puerto Frias , Peulla or Petrohue ( I stayed in Petrohue near the Osorno volcan ). you cross 3 lakes ( Nahuel Huapi ( photo ), Frias and Todos os Santos ) in ships and make other parts of the trip by bus . The trip is inside national parks in the Andes and the natural beauty is hard to believe.
Be aware of Caracas. I would not recommend overniting there. We overnited in Miami. the biggest mystery about MI is leaving the country and what departure tax one will be charged. It is still a mystery to me!!! I have since learned that one can catch a plane to Aruba or other neighboring islands, thus avoiding Caracas all together.
Rent a car!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Many brazilian backpackers in 70's took this train from Brasil to go to Peru via Bolivia and it was the radical experience at the time.
Things have changed a lot and now you take only 18hs to go from Quijarro ( bolivian city next to Corumbá in Brasil ) to Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia and the trip have become more comfortable and safe.
It runs daily:
19hs on Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun
15hs on Tue, Thu, Sat
It costs US$25 on Super Pullman, US$20 on Pulmann and US$3 on second class.
It is easy to get to Paraguay,if you fly. Most major airlines fly into Asuncion.
Driving in Paraguay can be somewhat dangerous, at night especially. In the rurual districts livestock is often on the road along with oxcarts etc. The average Paraguarian driver has little training to get license, Best to hire a car with driver guide, which is not to expensive. Passenger boats from Asuncion go up the Rio Paraguay river to ports up river
There are Taxis in Asuncion and a good bus service. Try the old wood-burning train, cheap slow and fun .Take a ride.
the easy way, definitly by Plane and its the most populare choice and saves time too. around, you could chooose from coaches, train and why not......hiking. the Inca trail comes to mind. for the adventurous, getting around..horseback riding in Argentina, Paraguay, Brasil would enhance your travels.
I find any recognised airline should do the trick. I wouldn't recommend a carrier pigeon unless you are only taking hand luggage.
I travelled across the Andes in my motorised buggy, not disimilar to the pope mobile it must be said, and I was accompanied by my guinea pig Degsy.
bus very nice ride
here is the official site in Spanish,all is there just show up and buy the ticket, many buses per day to from
The best way to get to BA from KL is Malaysian Airlines and having flown them a couple of times on this route I would highly recommend them. you may be able to get a good one way ticket with them from Oz to BA with a stop over in KL and even perhaps in CPT.
if you want freedom of travel, it is better not to book tickets before hand. You can enter BA and then decide where you wish to go. airfares within south america are not cheap but you may be able to make use of the south america pass or Lan pass which allows you to travel within south america.
with the arrival of etickets they are not insisting on return tickets especially if you are holding AUS passport (some rare exceptions in the Americas)
Within asia if you are flying into KL, it is better to fly Malaysian since they have now introduced very attractive fares to various destinations in Asia. this sounds like an ad for MH, but I have flown them to Yangon, Singapour, Siem Reap, Pnom Penh, Hanoi, Saigon and Melbourne as well Bangalore and Cennai and without any complants. They also serve a decent meal!
To my knowlege the only direct flights to BA from CPT are with Malaysian. South African if I am not mistaken flies into Brasil.
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