Hitchhiking in South America – Statistically conclusions of my South America crossing

Trampen in Südamerika
Trampen in Südamerika

Geeks gonna geek. For the closing of my South America crossing, i want to write a short summary about hitchhiking in South America, based on my hitchhiking documentation. Let the hard facts talk. I am writing this simply, because i can.


Since 20th October 2014 i hitchhiked more than 36968,2 km. I had more than 405 Lifts, had to wait in average 23 minutes and 34 seconds and waited in total 182 hours and 39 minutes (which is about 7,5 days). I don´t wanna miss any of those minutes.

Warten in Argentinien
Waiting in Argentina Argentinien

The Best

Is…Tenerife. 21 lifts i catched together with Hanna on this beautiful island. 8 minutes and 12 seconds we had to wait in average. I think Lanzarote was even better, but it was before i started with my documentation.
For South America the country with the best statistics is Ecudaor. 14 minutes and 30 seconds in average, till a car stopped and picked me up. 21 lifts in total and nearly 1000 km might not be that representative. But anyway.

Team Traktor Vorwärts
Team Traktor Vorwärts. DTSG Legends.

The Positive Suprise

Brazil felt like Spain and Italy together. Totally shit. But the numbers speak another message. 15 minutes and 15 seconds average waiting time are close to the values of Ecuador. I catched 44 Lifts and did 6550 km through Brazil, which has definitely a higher represantation than Ecuador. Feelings might be wrong, numbers aren´t in this case. I don´t know how this can be so good, but during my Brazil crossing i felt like i had to walk at least one hour for every lift. Seems like i didn´t.

Pick-Up trampen
Hitchhiking Pick-Up Trucks in Uruguay. Best of it all.


Totally overrated was Argentina on the other hand. For me one of the best country for hitchhiking in South America. Probably because of the Free WiFi in the gas stations and the comftable mix of warm roads, acceptable food, long ways and Internet. But the numbers are quite sobering. 34 minutes and 50 seconds average waiting time is the second worst for all my countries so far. I have to add, that i did alot of night hitchhiking in Argentina and this might have affected this value. With 8045 km it is also the country which i hitchhiked the biggest distance in. Also 84 lifts represent a big part of my catched cars so far.

Warten in Uruguay
Waiting in Uruguay

The Worst

Definitely Colombia. Not even in the stats, but also how it felt. Don´t get me wrong, Colombia is a beautiful country, nice people, stunning landscape but moving here is just a pain in the ass. 48 minutes average waiting time. Can´t get worser. Allthough i had only in Venezuela less lifts than in Colombia. 943 km is the least distance i did from all countries in South America. But honestly, i doubt that this stast would get better if i make more distance here. Just a feeling. The reasons for this „hitchhiking-disaster“ im going to discuss in my „Hitchhiking in… – Colombia“ article.

My Secret Favourite…

…for hitchhiking in South America is not Chile…..but Uruguay. 88 Lifts: Its the country where i had the most cars and with 2689 km we find it in the upper midfield of the distances. The average waiting time was with 19 minutes and 42 seconds quite good. Even better if we take in account, that most of the time i was with Ralf together as a men/men team. Fucking good time, good job buddy. Also the country where i hitchhiked my first Cargo Train (hitchhiked and not hopped) and beside Syria the place where i got the most of my lovely Pick-Up rides. Unfortunately riding with Pick-Ups is freshly banned by the government, but let´s hope, that the Uruguayans take this law with the same „We don´t give a shit“-attitude as they take the rest of their lifes and still stop to pick up hitchhikers. Just so much fun there.

Unseren ersten Zug trampen in Uruguay
Hitchhiking with our first train in Uruguay. Posing on our blue baby.


Country Average waiting time (sec) Covered distance (km) Waiting time total (min) Number of lifts Lifts*av. Waiting time
Till Venezuela 10398
Teneriffa 493 360 216 19 9367
St. Martin 612 43,2 143 14 8568
Venezuela 1868 1089 218 7 13076
Brazil 916 6550 2112 44 40304
Uruguay 1182 2689 1734 88 104016
Argentina 2090 8045 2833 84 175560
Bolivia 1484 1329 1163 47 69748
Chile 896 1804 254 17 15232
Peru 1484 2754 1163 47 69748
Ecuador 871 964 306 21 18291
Colombia 2883 943 817 17 48960
Total 1414 36968,2 10959 405 572870
In Time 23 min 34 seconds 182 hours 39 minutes

This table is fucking nice, isnt it?

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  • Great, more of that stuff & a bit more discussion (& data if available: km/lift, time of day & in car, background of driver, m/f driver, no. cars passend until lift, type of car …)!

    • Check my “Hitchhikin in…” – articles, there you can find a detailled documentation. But i keep it very simple. Gender, Occupation, passed cars etc. are not included. 😉

      • no worries, just a suggestion for the future! 😉
        yes, i know about the details, but i like summaries.

        btw, when do you plan being back?

        • I hope to make it till June next year. But it depends mostly on the fact, when (and how) i make the Pacific crossing. And also what route im taking home. I am highly sympathizing with making a “short visit” to Iran, then head back north on my Russia/China route and also make a circular track around the baltic sea, before coming back to the point where i started my trip.

  • How do you keep track of your rides? Smartphone? Netbook/Notebook? Paper?

    And how do you process your numbers, spreadsheet, self-written software, or just paper and pencil?

    Anyway, quite interesting, and comparable to what Fverhart and Prino do on Hitchwiki, although some of Fverhart statistics are somewhat silly(ish), he seems to be unable to change thresholds and Prino seems to be just running silly circles in Germany.

    BTW, be careful, don’t let happen to you what happened to Benoit Grieu!

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