Backpacking in South America - Guestbook Messages

Unfortunately due to excessive spam posting and attempts to send out spam messages, this guestbook is no longer accepting automated new entries. Old messages have been archived below along with various travel questions that I have answered, please do read them as there is some useful travel info. You can contact me via WebAlert

Message from: Nicolas Aguirre
From: Toronto, Canada
Date Added: 2006-02-10
Message: Finally found a page that is useful to me, I'm planning on leaving to South America from Canada in October for 6-8 months depending on how things go there, thanks for the site...


Message from: Spanish / French Translations
Date Added: 2006-02-03
Message: Can you make pages for foreign people? For example Spanish & French.

Nathan's Comment Download the Google toolbar - there is an option to translate a page into 'your language'


Message from: Luke Barclay
From: UK
Date Added: 2006-02-03
Message: Hi Nathan,
Really enjoyed looking at the site.
Am thinking of heading over to South America to do some travelling later in the year - after seeing your photos definitely want to go to Arequipa, Ica and Vilcabamba. Where is that toilet with the great view? What is the view of? I have to see it myself!
Thanks again for a great site.

A toilet with a view!Nathan's Comment Luke , it was taken from the mountain retreating during horse riding trek in Vilcabamba - Click on the toilet to see .... A toilet with a view!


Message from: Kat
From: Australia
Date Added: 2005-09-20
Message: Thanks Nathan, love the web site, so informative. I have been planning to go to SA for a few months and now it seems I will be travelling alone. Still looking forward to it just as much but a bit worried about girls backpacking alone in SA. Your thoughts.

Nathan's Comment Hi Kat, There are loads of backpackers doing similarish routes. You will meet someone going your way. As long as you are prepared to change your travel plans slightly you will always have a travelling patrner. I only spent 3 days travelling on my own (in the 4 months). I always found someone to travel with.

Amusingly, on 3 separate occassions I met and travelled with 3 girls travelling on their own. Then they met each other at different places and started to travel with each, and then at Christmas I met all 3 of them in the same hostel ! they all had stories about me but none realised they were talking about the same person.

The backpacking world isn't that big !


Message from: Katy Pownall
From: Kenya
Date Added: 2005-08-09
Message: Hi Nathan! Don't know if you remember me - Katy from England - part of the Katy/Lian/Collete (aka irish bird) travelling combo. We met in...erm...was it Banos? Can't quite remember the specifics but we were definitely present for the making of the pig pizza. Great website by the way...I haven't even put my pics into an album yet! Nice to re-live some memories. Am now living in Nairobi (and Lian is here too). Drop us a line if you get a minute. xx

Nathan's Comment Miss Pownall ... tut tut ... forget the 3 of you - not a chance ... it was in Quito not Banos (you were going to Banos next) we all went to Otavalo for the markets - which is where Collette more then helped me make the pig pizza - she did the eyes I think ! She certainly helped with the washing up ... or should I say washing it down with gallons of rum n cokes. Has Collette been found since her trip into the amazon ? Kenya hey I'll email you to find out more.


Message from: dan
From: australia
Date Added: 2005-07-12
Message: hey mate, great stories. i'm planning a trip in feb. for about 6 months, i would love to hear more and find out some must see places. once again, thanks

Nathan's Comment Dan, have a read through my diary, and also do a google search on south america backpacking travelogues and you should find quite a few 1st hand accounts as against reading tour guide books. You'll then get an idea of a 'must see' mini iternery .... and can suss it from there. I've also added comments to a lot of specific questions in the guestbook so have a glance through that as well.


Message from: Peter
From: Austria
Date Added: 2005-06-28
Message: Although I'm a Scottish laird possessing 20 acres of this wonderful country I was in South America last year going down from Santiago to Punto Arenas and up to Buenos Aires - a really great adventure! Your website gave me a good appetite to discover more of South America. Thank you!
Sorry, I do not add an email address because of the net pirates who are spidering email addresses but if you want to contact me please do it from my website.

Nathan's Comment Hi Peter,

for that very reason I do not allow the email addresses to be displayed
the email address request is to allow me to authenticate a posting as non-spam.

likewise I don't allow commercial url additions without the owner contacting me first.

That aside I'm glad you enjoyed the site. The trip you have done is my biggest regret about my time in SA - I got as far as Peurto Montt then headed back up North - time restrictions ! I am hoping to go again and do this trip - I reckon 3 weeks would be just about the right amount of time ?



Message from: patrick mulvey
From: london,uk
Date Added: 2005-06-08
Message: hi,bearing in mind that the police are bent as bananas,what precautions can be taken and are the general population like minded,this question is aimed at all the countries you visited as i would love to go but i dont want to end up in jail and have always been apprehensive about south america.thomas mcfadden s book only reinforced this.bye the way nice web site cheers..paddy

Nathan's Comment Hi Paddy, I wouldn't go over board on the worrying, I found the locals to be helpful and honest, wanting to show the honourable side on their country.

I never really had any problems - on my 2nd day in SA a mounted copper had a go at me for drinking in the streets - he just made me pour it down the drain. I only lost 3 things on my trip - my penknife, torch and a pair of walkman speakers ! All through my own drunkeness really. But do read my diary bit about the Aussie lad's Quito to Otavalo journey - he had a bit of a nightmare (but not disasterous).

All that's needed is a bit of common sense really. You'll find that your never really travelling alone - they'll always be another backpacker nearby.

I only read Marching Powder when I got back from SA - reading it first would have made the San Pedro prison tour even more interesting.



Message from: claire
From: northern ireland -- lisburn
Date Added: 2005-06-08
Message: hi there nathan ... great site the pictures are awesome ... i've just bought a ticket one way ticket to australia on my way though i'm stoppin in la then south america .. i arrive in lima on the 20th november and we r makin our own way through to sao paulo any help u could give us would be great we are spending two months altogether in south america ... any tips in helping us plan our route and what to do from someone with experience would be greatly appreciated .. thanks claire

Nathan's Comment Hi Claire, I can't offer any advise on Brazil, as I didn't go there, but a Lima to Arequpia to Cusco to Lake Tit and into Bolivia took me about 5 weeks (other way round though), that'll give you 2-3 weeks in Brazil. Do try and do the Unyini to San Pedro (North Chile) 4 wheeled drive trip - it's pretty awesome.

Have a look at some tour company pre-planned routes and suss a route from that.



Message from: Alan
Date Added: 2005-05-25
Message: Nathan,
quality website, i've been sitting in work for the whole afternoon going through your website and i have to say it is a quality read, can't view the photo's for obvious reasons (boss is about!!!)... anyway i just wanted to say that your website has made me make the decision to embark on the s.america trail in September. I am home from Oz and S.E.Asia a little over a year now and its only recently i've been getting itchy feet and was unsure about giving up job, selling car etc all over again but after reading your website i'm genuinely excited now about going.


Message from: Bethan Reardon
From: Wales - currently on The Great Ocean Road
Date Added: 2004-04-28
Message: Hi Nathan
Thanks Nathan, great website. I am three months into my backpacking trip of NZ, OZ, and Fiji. I am home in August but I will without a doubt be saving to go to South America next year. Thanks heaps....These are the days of our lives...enjoy!

Nathan's Comment Make sure you get up to Darwin ... Kakadu and all that. Major contrast to the rest of Australia.


Message from: stuart
From: england
Date Added: 2004-04-26
Message: hey dude,going to travel all over next year but unsure if a company like sta would be the best option as i want to have as much freedom as possible to do/be whenever,want to go for a year+ with work

Nathan's Comment Hi Stuart, I don't think it really matters where you buy you ticket from. As long as the travel agent is covered by the travel agents union stuff, you'll be okay. However STA may have more knowledge of backpackers travel jobs eg English Language Teachers.


Message from: Kev
From: Forest Gate
Date Added: 2005-04-04
Message: Cool site!
Who did you arrange the spanish lessons in santiago with? was it booked before leaving for the trip? How much was it for the week?
My spanish is non-existent so def need the lessons
Thanks beforehand for your help + for the other advice already given on your site

Nathan's Comment My language skills were and still are very much non-existant. Fortunately or unfortunately, I always managed to travel with a group where at least one of us could speak Spanish a bit better then me.

I was a dab hand at miming though - with the odd


Message from: Kev
From: London
Date Added: 2005-03-06
Message: Good website Nathan - seems like you had a quality time and got into some impressive scrapes! Me and my girlfriend are looking to head of to South America for 6 months in October - looking to cover Peru, Bolivia, Patagonia, Northern Argentina, bit of Brazil and then up to Venezuala - have you got any tips on top places/countries to go based on where you were, or what you heard while out there (there's too much to see and not enough time!). I'm tempted to do the Galapagos Islands and Easter Island but hear they are expensive. Also, what about Columbia - is it too dodgy to go there?

Nathan's Comment Hi Kev,

yeah it was total quality. 2 trip which must be done are:

Ignore the cost GO to the Galapagos - I had 7 days for $1000 (using Galasam - see info page) and then the Uyini Trip (San Pedro, Chile to Uyini, Boliva) 4 days $65.

Both extremely different but hard to say which was best ... seeing a blue footed boobie 'hatch' with a giant iguana casually crawling by was pretty specacular.

I didn't have time to go to Patagonia - and am now gutted by that I didn't ... Peurto Montt (Chile) there's a 4 day ferry in and around Patagonia - I think it was about $130. Columbia - I didn't go but heard from others that's it's safe - provided you don't take night buses on your own ... but really that's common sense throughout South America. Venezuala, I only had a few days at the end of my trip which was spent on a beach.



Message from: Kristian Voigt
From: Denmark
Date Added: 2005-02-28
Message: Hi there,
Thanks for the nice photos!!
As you have been travelling in South America you might want to have a look on a few more photos from down there. Me and my wife travelled in South America in 1993 for 7 months.
Take care :-)

Nathan's Comment ..... the photos on your site are much better then mine though !!! Note to others it's well worth flicking through the ""Voigt's"" volt of photos !


Message from: Sue
Date Added: 2005-01-08
Message: Dom wasn't too with it last night! Gave you the wrong email address!
His is ..... StaffordshireSleazeTerrier.

Nathan's Comment I've swapped Dom's email address for his fairground nickname !


Message from: Sue and Dom
From: New York and Edinburgh
Date Added: 2005-01-08
Message: Hey Nathan,
Dom and Sue from the carnie in Australia. We just googled ""Weston Roadshow"" and came across your website. What a great surprise to see it was you! We're sitting in Edinburgh looking at your site. Do you remember us from Weston's Roadshow?? We're still friends...Dom lives in Scotland and Sue in the States. Drop us a note.. Sue n Dom

Nathan's Comment yeah .... course I can ..... it did take a couple of flashback moments though .... who needs friendsreunited website when you've got weston's roadshow !!! I've still got a couple t-shirts from the fair.
Info for others - I spent 4 months working on a fairground travelling around the Aboriginal communities of Arnemland in Australia way back in 1991.


Message from: Laura
From: UK
Date Added: 2004-12-30
Message: Hi Nathan,
I ve been having a look through your photos they are very cool. Me and my 2 friends are currently planning a trip to south america this summer. Although we have done some backpacking through Europe none of us have been to South America so it will be a completley ne wexperience..any tips for places to go? Best ways to get around etc? We are planning on starting in Argentina and working our way up...

Nathan's Comment A more detailled answer has been sent to Laura, however for others ....
All I did was look through Tour Companies suggested itineries for trips to south america. I looked at trips between both 2 week and 2-3 month trips to get an idea of how much area you can cover over a period of time. I even phoned a couple up pretending to I was interested their glossy but expense trips ! basically halve travel company costs for DIY trips. The tour companies use the same public transport that I used a lot of the times.


Message from: Mark ( )
From: Australia - Whitsundays
Date Added: 2004-11-22
Message: Welldone on the creation of your website Nathan, you are quite a photographer! For backpacking information and sailing holidays around the Whitsunday islands check out my website:

Nathan's Comment Thanks Mark .... I only used an APS camera not one of those massive twirly whirly ones either ..... but I did spend quite a bit of time with a Swedish photography teacher .... she taught me a thing or two !!!
(This link was requested)


Message from: Kristen
From: San Francisco, California USA
Date Added: 2004-11-14
Message: Nathan, great website... one of my girlfriends and I are planning to take an excursion there next year and we were wondering how you went about planning to get from country to country (the bus system) did you just play it by ear? Let us know!! P.S. I agree more Americans need a sense of humor- our country is pretty much a joke :)

Nathan's Comment Kristen, I used all the local bus services to get around and about. To say I played it by ear is a major understatement. The only planning I did was to say about a month per country.


Message from: Richy Stranaghan
From: Northern Ireland UK
Date Added: 2004-10-12
Message: Great site mate! Its just inspired me to go back to south america! I was in chile and argintina in late 1999 and loved it. I am planning to start in brazil into argentina then chile, peru, bolivia and all places in between. Planning to stay the longest in patigonia, i absolutly love there.
Nice pics you have took.
If you dont mind me asking, what sort of money did your trip cost?

Nathan's Comment 4 months = £3.5k included plenty of steak, salmon and red wine plus a week in the Galapagos (which cost just under grand but was worth every 'Iguanas' penny !)


Message from: Jon
From: Sydney
Date Added: 2004-08-09
Message: Cool site - I like your sense of humour and a pity the Americans in the guestbook don't have one as well.


Message from: Mark Johnson
From: Oregon, USA
Date Added: 2004-07-02
Message: I liked the information but I really took offense to your comment about despising Americans and everything they have to offer. I am an American who lived with 5 Brits over the course of a year living in Indonesia and I found more abnoxious and annoying habits to come from then then any Americans I've ever met. The Brits were arrogant, rude drunks who were trying to hold onto a tradition and so-called dominant way of life long faded and gone. Also, remever that there are over 200 million Americans from all walks of life and for you to make such a sweeping statement about Americans and everything they have to offer is incredibly unfair. Anyway, what's so ""bloody"" great about the U.K. anyway. England was one of the most brutal and sadistic colonizers of all time. Is that what makes you so proud to be a Brit. For shame.

Nathan's Comment What's great about the UK .... the weather !

Mr Johnson from Oregon obviously doesn't understand the concept of a sense of humour.

My entire travel diary is written in a take-the-pxxx mode. And I do agree that it is a sweeping statement .... just as all English people drink tea all day (he says making another cup !)

Anyway I have met Americas who do appreciate humour; which is why I suspect an America has published part of my travel diary !

In future will whingers please leave their email address so they can be contacted directly.



Message from: Richard Hardy
From: mansfield
Date Added: 2004-05-16
Message: what about play off semi??

Nathan's Comment we woz robbed .... Cobblers rule ok !


Message from: Steve
From: New Zealand
Date Added: 2004-05-12
Message: Hey man I really enjoyed looking around your website. You've definitely inspired me to travel South America now.

Nathan's Comment Good good !!!


Message from: Unity
From: New Mexico
Date Added: 2004-04-18
Message: You know, the problem in the world is people hating people based on generalizations. I am an american, an yet I am not. Not all americans have the attitude that other cultures project upon us. Sure alot of americans suck! But certainly not all of them. By the way the dallas airport is the armpit of the world.

Nathan's Comment So I didn't miss much by being stuck in the dingy transit lounge in Dallas !!!

No offense is intended towards anybody in my travel diary - it should be read with amusement in mind !

The only serious bits are what I have written in the information section.



Message from: Gabby
From: Australia
Date Added: 2004-04-09
Message: Nathan - The pictures on this site were amazing!!!! I'm contemplating a 2 month trip, but don't know if I've got the courage. I think I'd miss my family too much and a female travelling around South America on her own mightn't be that safe. But gee the travel diary was a great read. Fancy being my tour guide??? (only kidding). Thanx for sharing all that info though - Gabby

Nathan's Comment Hi Gabby,

Are my tickets in the post !!! Seriously don't be put off by going on your own - once you're there you'll meet up with more people then you think to travel with.

I met and travelled with 3 girls who were travelling on their own (met them individually not altogether). Then on Christmas Eve met them all again .... in the same hostel .... in the same bar - they'd met each other at various different places and chose to travel together ...... all their strange stories about some odd person they'd travelled with all suddenly clicked into place .... so I chose to share a few bottles of vino with them !

As for my diary a little PS I'm quite proud of is that the Bolivan extracts are being published in a backpackers travelogue book and a couple of my photos are being used on the front and back cover of the book !



Message from: an american
From: America???????
Date Added: 2004-04-07
Message: hey why would you go to South AMERICA if you don't like American're quote as a reminder.... ""this has to be another good reason for despising all Americans and everything they have to offer"" !

Nathan's Comment Americans just dig their own grave don't they !!!

.... If I'd called an 'American' a 'South American' would they or would they not correct me .... I went to South America 'cos I wanted to go to SOUTH America !!!

If you send me your address I will send you a baseball cap with ""I need self a sense of humour"" on it !!!


Message from: Pete Roth
From: Naples Florida USA
Date Added: 2004-03-14
Message: Enjoyed your site very much---Thank You


Message from: Paula
From: Australia
Date Added: 2004-02-29
Message: Thanks for the great photos. We are going to go to Chile soon and looking forward to it


Message from: Iain
From: London(but from New Zealand)
Date Added: 2004-02-29
Message: Nathan,
great site - a excellent read. has confirmed my desire for at least 4 mths in Sth America!! your story has the perfect balance of jest and realism. but, I wanted to know if you could let me know how much it cost you for 4 mths over there?


Message from: Daniel
From: ohio, USA
Date Added: 2003-12-18
Message: Hi, i enjoyed the site, especially the pictures. ill be in south america (mostly chile, peru, bolivia, and ecuador) from jan 2 till march 6th. could you tell me what time of the year it was that you went to the inca trail? just wondering about the climate mainly... i noticed many people in the pictures wearing t-shirts and long pants. any help would be very greatly appreciated. thanks!


Message from: Darren
From: Herts
Date Added: 2003-12-16
Message: Great site, really informative, you make it sound superb. You visited many of the places i intend to visit from jan 04. 4 q's - What was the problem with US visa all about (I am staying 1 week in US then to Guatemala)? Would you advise a diving course b4 visiting Galapagos? Where did you book the Galapagos trip? How easy & how far in advance did you book inca trail? Would really appreciate any advice you have.


Message from: Paul Willis
From: England
Date Added: 2003-12-15
Message: Great site. I'm thinking of going to much of the same places in July 2004. Found some of your comments very interesting and then found out you are from the same town as me... Northampton, which made it even better!!!


Message from: Kay
From: Bristol
Date Added: 2003-11-23
Message: Nathan a very well constructed site, very glad you told me about it, I feel somewhat inspired!


Message from: Steve
From: England
Date Added: 2003-11-12
Message: Great site. I'm intrested in visting San Pedro Prison. Just wondered if you could E-mail me some information on the prison and how easy/ safe it is to stay there.
I'm almost finished reading ""marching Powder"" a book by Rusty Young. Was wondering if you ever meet Thomas McFadden? And who your guide/ bodygaurds were.

Nathan's Comment I never stayed overnight in the prison and didn't meet Thomas McFadden, but I have since read Marching Powder .... some of the things I saw on the tour all make sense now !


Message from: Coralie & Patrick
From: Lima
Date Added: 2003-10-14
Message: Great site. We've just arrived in SA and will be going to many of the same places. Thanks for the helpful tips. Lots to look forward to!


Message from: Karyn
From: Brisbane, Australia
Date Added: 2003-09-11
Message: What a great site... you sure do take some great photos. Found your site by accident searching for information on San Pedro Prison.

Nathan's Comment Karyn,

Thanks for the compliment.

I took well over a thousand pics. It cost me a small fortune to get them all developed and took me months to wittle it down to the 200 for the site.

My web stats show me that about since June san pedro prison has been the top search term finding my site .... which does seem odd but there again the prison tour was very odd (have a read of my diary for Boliva).



Message from: Gordon
Date Added: 2003-09-09
Message: Thanks for the quick reply, not daunted just excited!!!!!!!!!!!!


Message from: Bav
From: London, UK
Date Added: 2003-08-24
Message: Great site, planning to go next summer, sounds really great, was planning to do an overland trip with a tour operator but your experience sounds great.


Message from: Melanie
From: UK
Date Added: 2003-08-14
Message: Love the site - what fantastic photos! Hopefully I'll go there too one day - though I think I'll pass on the giant ants .. ;)


Message from: Michael Hilburn
From: Wilmington, North Carolina USA
Date Added: 2003-07-21
Message: Nathan, I really enjoyed reading your travelogue and seeing all of your awesome photos. It made me dream of my travels in South America. Very well presented website! Cheers!


Message from: Lucy
From: Wales
Date Added: 2003-06-30
Message: Well done for producing a great web site and thanks for your travelling advice


Message from: Gertraud & Erhard Kolbiger
From: Boliva
Date Added: 2003-06-19
Message: Thanks for the lovely pictures of your trip, it brought back nice memories. The trip too Galapagos is one that we'll surely never forget, but then again, who can ever forget America Latina...


Message from: Colin
From: Nottingham
Date Added: 2003-06-19
Message: Well impressed with your site.......You really aren't a stupid as you portray.....wondered what you get up to when your not sweating a lot at cricket !!!!
See you soon

Nathan's Comment Thanks Col !!!


Message from: Clive Baxter
From: Mansfield
Date Added: 2003-06-19
Message: You had to get a cricket reference in there somewhere, didn't you........!!!!!
Sledging .... sledging... !!!!!
What's wrong with ""barracking"", or ""criticising"", or ""swearing"" etc...etc... ???


Message from: Lian Bradley
From: London
Date Added: 2003-06-19
Message: Wow - this is fab - i am very impressed (and depressed that i am not still there!)
Oh god - i have nostalgia pains now. You have inspired me to buy heinz soup for lunch so that i can save up to go again.


Message from: Herbie from Holland
From: Holland
Date Added: 2003-06-19
Message: Nice web site and great pictures.
I guess I should go and visit South America too!


Message from: Huw Parry
From: Plymouth / Wales
Date Added: 2003-06-19
Message: Superb pics. Pretty nifty site too!


Message from: Nathan
From: Nottingham
Date Added: 2003-06-19
Message: I hope you enjoyed looking through my web site. Please leave me a message ...


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