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At least in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay you don't need any membership, they are mostly private-run hostels. I guess there are some hostels which are members of the international youth hostel organization, but I don't know how they handle it there.
Oh, I remember, when I was in Bariloche, I asked in a hostel which was member in the youth hostel organization and they didn't ask me for a membership card. So don't worry about that. But in the end I went camping most of the time anyway... :-)
Actually it's quite easy & cheap to get a room. In most towns and villages you will find a tourist information which offers addresses & prices of rooms. So you can select what suits you (and your budget) best. Besides that you will com past buildings with a "Hospedaje" sign. These are (usually) cheap and often very basic hotels, sometimes together with a restaurant.
So - no worries. The road maps e.g. COPEC maps of Chile boast city maps which guide you to the local tourist info.
according to my experiances, it is the easiest way to just ask the people where to stay cheap and with a safe "Estationamente" for the bike. We made the experiance that Tourist information offices often lead you to more expensive hostals with which they have a deal or which are owened by person of the same family.
So ask maybe taxidrivers or just the people on the streets. Do not hesitate to refuse a location which you dont like, its a buisness as all others too. And always ask for a discount. Some of them will agree, others not. It is not nasty to ask for a lower price, but you might safe quite a lot of money.
Have a nice ride
I think the very best source for Hostel info is right here on this forum. You've got folks all over S. and Central America reading this board every day, many who have been to where you want to go.
Pick a town or a series of towns in a
country and ask away. I'm sure you'll get
accurate and current info.
Or, do it the old fashion way. Every time you meet other travellers, ask about
places to stay. This works best with folks going the opposite direction as yourself.
Tourist info ofices often are OK but you may not fiind the real jewels out there.
I've been dissapointed by these a few times. Taxi's are really hit and miss. I've
found some amazingly good ones, and
some horrendous ones.
Only in Brasil. You can still stay at an HI hostel without membership but will pay a surcharge (typically 4 reais/night) which adds up to the cost of membership pretty quick. Outside Brasil there is no need for the card.
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