South America may not be as well-known for camping as Europe or North America, but the continent is overflowing with opportunities. Exploring the incredible countries via RV is becoming easier as more immigration offices are relaxing border control. Check out these amazing sites for an unforgettable trip! The best route through Central America for RVs generally follows the Pan American Highway (CA-1/CA-2) from the Mexican border all the way to Panama City, Panama. The majority of the highway is above the good rating and no common problems have been found.
Unless otherwise posted, campsites are open year-round and reservations are not required. For boondockers, there are a few simple rules: Arrive early with plenty of daylight, find your desired spot and then ask a local if it is allowed for you to stay there. This is actually a great way to meet the locals who are typically very hospitable and protective of your safety.
Camping Clube do Brasil is a network of more than 30 sites with member and non-member rates.
Beach sites are easily found but can get very busy in the January/February peak season. Campsites can be found in Rio De Janerio, Parana, Goias, and many more cities. You can have the best of both worlds—comfort in your own home while being a tourist in a new world. Camping Pousada Do Mundaí is a campsite that has gained great reviews for being a top motorhome park and campground. Being right on the beach and within close distance of Bahia’s many other beautiful beaches, which are some of the very best in Brazil, you will never forget this stop.
Refugio y Camping Las Torres, in Torres del Paine National Park is a huge, clean site that is sure to bring the perfect mix of relaxation and adventure. This park is at the start of a hike to the trio of peaks from which the park takes its name. There are hot showers, drinkable tap water and easy road access, but be sure to bring a camp stove as open fires are banned.
Most Argentinians don’t simply overnight in campsites, but often pitch up just for the day to grill unbelievable amounts of food and to enjoy family time. As well as having hundreds of private campgrounds, Argentina is the only country in South America where municipal sites—typically simple, well-cared for public spaces—are guaranteed in the majority of towns. It’s also acceptable for campers to park at no charge at petrol stations. For something a little more secluded, try Camping Luz y Fuerza, in Cafayate. This site is in the northern wine country and is within walking distance of several vineyards. Tastings at El Porvenir and Bodega Nanni are much enjoyed, as are the cafes of the quaint Cafayate town plaza, where wines with cheese-and-chorizo platters can be found a plenty.
Camping Quinta LaLa is a site with only the basics, but what it lacks in luxury it makes up for by being peaceful, safe and within walking distance of Cusco, Peru’s most beautiful colonial city. Cusco was the capital of the Inca empire during the Spanish conquest and is also very close to the Sacsayhuaman ruins. Quinta LaLa’s kind owner is knowledgeable of trips and logistics. You can even store your rig here if hiking or taking the train to Machu Picchu.
Belize has several developed campsites as well as some nice boondocking sites, including Hopkins beach, the Baboon Sanctuary and on the river in Orange Walk. If you have a smaller RV or van visit the Cayes of Ambergris or Caye Caulker for snorkeling, diving and/or fishing off the world’s second longest barrier reef. If you have a larger RV, an alternative destination is on the Mexican side of the border called Xcalak and you can boat to the reef from there. Xcalak has cabanas but typically welcomes your RV if you use their restaurant and bar. Be sure to call in advance. However, you can boondock by the pier for as long as you like.
Panama has a high standard of living, the highest of any Central American country. The Pan-American Highway is a surprisingly good (and the only) route through the country, but it has been known to have several speed traps so beware. RV park XS Memories has 12 full hookups and a touch of North American ambiance and food. Adventure Caravans stop here and bus people the 60 miles to Panama City for sightseeing. The owners of the park are very hospitable and will arrange kayaking trips, and even help hook you up with a shipping agent if you want to ship your rig to South America. South America is all about the freedom of the great outdoors and is a paradise campers and outdoor lovers. So embrace nature and head off into the countryside!