Now that our trip has come to an end we would like to share our best moments in an nutshell.
Note that while some of our best campsites listed below actually are hostels, they have separate areas and facilities to welcome overlanders sleeping in their own vehicle.
Colombia is a country that is very easy to travel in. People are extremely friendly, beyond anything we have experienced elsewhere in South America. Campsites are good and easy to find. This all makes up for the relatively few real highlights considering its size.
Ecuador probably has the best roads on the continent, something which does not really add to the real off road experience. Being located at the equator it is a relatively green country and receives quite a bit of rain. We did not catch the best weather while we were there. Nevertheless we enjoyed a few great highlights here.
We were positively surprised by northern Peru and not disappointed by the touristic southern part of the country. Peru is the Andean country per se and as such we quickly fell in love with its mountains and culture.
Best campsites: Camping Guadelupe - Caraz / Wild Camping in the mountains (!)
Bolivia remains a country offering highlights in abundance for us, especially considering that we only visited half of the country on this trip since we have seen the other half some ten years ago. And still we have not seen it all. While people are more reserved at first encounter, it is very easy to communicate with them after short time. They also speak one of the most comprehensible variants of the Spanish language.
We only cut through a very small part of Brazil. Yet it was absolutely worth the detour. Friendly people everywhere and excellent wildlife watching.
Paraguay ended up being mostly a transit country for us. We did enjoy some of the best campsites of the trip here though.
Chile just did not live up to our expectations that had been set by other travelers in terms of highlights. Too many forests and too much resemblance to our home country may be the cause. Nevertheless, we spent a relaxing time in all parts of Chile enjoying some of the best food in South America. On the upside, the people where nowhere close as unfriendly as we had been warned by many travelers. In our opinion this is a prejudice that does not become more true through reiteration.
Best campsites: Andes Nomads Desert Camp - San Pedro de Atacama / El Rincón Tofino - Valle de Elqui / Suizandina Lodge - Malalcahuello / Camping Olga - Huerquehue / Ballena Azul - Pumillahue/Chiloé / La Nutria - Valle Exploradores
The far north and far south of Argentina are among our biggest highlights. Those places also offered some of the best wild camp spots. Official campsites are a mixed bag though. While they are available in abundance, the regular municipal camping is of mediocre quality and mostly geared towards the typical Argentinian party crowd.
Uruguay was always going to be the place from where to ship back our vehicle and spend a few days at the beach before doing so. While it is often touted as the South American country where things actually work, we did not notice much difference to say Argentina or Brazil, except for a considerably higher cost of living.