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Travelling South America: Bus vs Plane

Way of travelling: Bus vs Plane

Looking through different travel forums, I have noticed that many people ask themselves whether taking a bus or a plane while travelling South America. After living for almost a decade in Latin America I can most certainly say that bus travel is the best choice.

Unless you are extremely short on time and you have that extra cash to buy plane tickets, crossing the South American continent by bus is a lot more fun and a richer experience than flying around. Here are my top 3 reasons why:

1. Buses are cheaper and more comfortable

The seats on the long distance buses in South America are just like business and first class seats on planes. They are spacious, comfortable and reclinable to almost 180 degrees. Besides, the advantage of travelling by bus is that you don’t have to be waiting for the long and painful boarding time, nor you will have to be at the bus terminal 2 to 4 hours in advance, nor you will arrive kilometres away from the city centre.

2. Enjoy the view

Going from Lima to Buenos Aires is definitely a long trip – approximately 3 full days by bus – but the vast amount of the continent that you get to see while travelling at ground level as opposed to high in the sky is unbeatable. Imagine passing through the desert side by side with the sea, crossing the snowy Chilean Andes onto the vast Argentinean Pampas… words are not enough to describe the amazing sceneries and the feeling of visibly moving from one culture to another.

3. Meet people

It is quite often that you get to know like-minded people travelling in the same direction when you are on a bus and have so many hours at your disposal to talk with them. They may have great travel tips about your next destination that can affect the rest of your travels in a positive way. The environment is a lot friendlier on buses than on planes, making it easier to meet the people around you. Who knows, they may turn out to be your new best friend, husband or wife…

Although bus travel is the most common form of public transportation in South America, do keep in mind that both for short-distance and long-distance travels, the quality of bus travel varies enormously depending on the route, the region, and the country in which you are travelling. 

What kind of bus experiences have you had?  Tell us about it…