Many airlines travel to South America from the US and Europe, including American Airlines and United Airlines. Major cities like New York and Miami have many flights to South America.
Most Latin American countries have flights within the country and if you plan to cover large distances, flying is a relatively inexpensive and fast way to get from country to country.
Land TransportationRoad transportation is the main way of getting around in the region. In developed countries like Argentina, Brazil, and Venezuela the roads are paved and well kept, but in poorer countries most roads are unpaved and in very bad condition, especially in sparsely populated rural areas.
Many Latin Americans use buses as a means of travel on extended journeys. Buses vary widely among countries, but the conditions of the roads usually coincide with the quality of the buses. In more developed countries the buses are modern and comfortable and with few delays, but in poorer countries a bus ride can be exasperating or adventurous, depending on the traveler. Long delays can be bothersome for a planned itinerary but can give you a chance to catch a good look at the landscape.
Although trains have been on the decline in South America, they can offer a more comfortable way of traveling than buses and is a great way to see the country. On some train rides, the journey is the best part. Some of the best train rides are Cusco to Machu Picchu, which is the only way to get to this ancient lost city without walking the Inca trail. The route from Uyuni to Calama will take you through the dramatic landscape of the high Altiplano and through snow-capped volcanic peaks. The Copper Canyon Railway runs through the 2,000m deep Copper canyon, then to the mountains of Sierra Madre, and finally to the city of Chihuahua. The Old Patagonia Express is a classic South American train route, complete with an old steam train that slowly chugs through the beautiful northern Patagonia region.
Most often boat rides are more inexpensive than flying and in some places it is the only way to get around. Some of the best boat trips are on the Amazon River, the Panama Canal, a Galapagos cruise, and the boat ride to the San Rafael Glacier.
Many Latin America bus systems are very disorganized. Popular tourist destinations are easy to find by bus, however, and details can be found in most tourist offices. Taxis are relatively inexpensive and provide a safe and convenient way to get around.