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It's also a giant open-air festival of Brazilian music for free.
As with most things in Patagonia, so much depends on the weather.Take for example the journey from Rio to Recife - 38 hours by bus. Air: To really cover Brazil, those that can afford it may want to consider an air pass or much easier use this countries excellent budget airline network. You can check all their websites to get an idea of routes, times and prices. Six hours on a bus, Rio to Sao Paulo can be flown for less than 70US$ (not to mention that Rio's Santos Dumont and Sao Paulo's Congonhas airports are spectacular to take-off/land in).Booking on-line proves far more difficult, due to recognising or security checking non-Brazilian credit cards (this should change in the future), but these airlines have desks that can be found in shopping malls or airports where you can book.Equally a travel agent can do it for you, sometimes even hostels.Getting deep into the interior normally requires the use of a flight at some stage.Deluxe buses are sometimes very comfortable, but obviously pricier.
The cost of bus travel can however really add up and a hire car is an option if you have the money or are in a group. Many companies offer difference classes on longer routes, but the distances just go on forever!
And a more 'authentic' South American feeling with a great percentage of indigenous population (highest in Bolivia) and stereotypical scenery.
And lastly you have Brazil, which although often combined as part of a larger trip (typically Rio and/or the Foz do Iguaçu), needs to be treated separately due to its size and different vibe/language.
The most 'backpackery' countries are Bolivia and Peru with a clear 'trail' of attractions, 'party' hostels/towns/tours and lots of people to meet.
Tour mentality and the type of other travellers (certainly at the budget end) you meet can jade some, certainly in the case of Bolivia where you'll find the best value for money on the continent. If you have decided these are some of the countries you want to visit and need more planning information, you are strongly recommended to complement what you find here with a planning guide. It is worth looking, if you have not already, at the example layout to see the guidelines each section of information is based on - or for other travel advice and site home head for you are set on going and need a guidebook or reading material please see a list of recommended guides/books here (go on have a look! If you want to read fiction, you are in luck as some of the world's best writers were from South America.
Although largely ignored by the locals, it's popular among richer foreign tourists.