Backpacking In South America: Value Of Journey Overview (2018)

South America cost of travel

The Salt Flats of Uyuni in Bolivia

Up to date for 2018 / 2019 by Robert Bell, traveler and enterprise analyst primarily based in Bolivia. All costs up to date + the most recent on the financial state of affairs in Argentina.

South America is an incredible continent to journey on a finances, although you’ll be improper to imagine that each nation in South America is affordable! 2018 has seen weakening foreign money in some international locations (significantly Argentina), although costs have additionally risen on the identical time.

The least costly international locations have historically been Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia, with every attracting giant numbers of finances travellers, adopted by Colombia which is kind of mid-priced. International locations like Brazil and Chile are comparatively dearer, generally approaching Western costs.

If you happen to’re travelling throughout South America, a superb rule of thumb is that you simply’ll want about $1000 a month, although this relies drastically on which international locations you’ll spend most of your time.

This backpacking in South America price overview is predicated on notes from my very own travels in addition to up-to-date analysis. The hostel mattress common is predicated on evaluation of listed costs on hostel reserving websites. In fact, not everybody will sleep in dorm beds: as a rule of thumb, double this worth and also you’ll roughly know the price of a primary personal room in a hostel, guesthouse, or small impartial lodge, probably with a shared toilet. Triple or quadruple the hostel mattress price and also you’ll have a ballpark estimate for a mid-range lodge room.

About finances estimates: the whole lot clearly will depend on your journey fashion and particular actions. Keep in rural village in Bolivia solely to volunteer, and you would spend as little as $15 a day — however this put up assumes a mean finances journey fashion, not final shoestring journey. As at all times, your mileage might fluctuate.

Native currencies on this put up are transformed to EUR and USD routinely primarily based on at this time’s trade charge. For different currencies, you may verify charges at

South America backpacking budgets

NationPrompt Each day Finances
Colombia$35 – $50
Ecuador$25 – $35
Peru$35 – $50
Bolivia$20 – $35
Argentina$30 – $50 (see notes)
Chile$50 – $70
Brazil$40 – $60

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Hostel mattress common: 31,500 pesos ($10 / €9)
Each day backpacker finances: $35 to $50 (€30 to 43)

Colombia backpacking information »

Colombia is mid-range by South American requirements — not the most affordable vacation spot however definitely not the costliest both. The falling worth of the peso additionally makes it cheaper for international vacationers than it was only a few years in the past.

The priciest location in Colombia is the attractive and historic colonial metropolis of Cartagena, as it’s the most touristy place within the nation. Past this, there are some anticipated worth variations between the cities like Bogota or Medellin and the countryside.

Actions are fairly reasonably priced by Western requirements. For instance, a paragliding session in San Gil prices 60,000 pesos  ($20 or €17) for a brief flight and 170,000 pesos ($55 or €48) for an extended one. An hour-long personal salsa dancing lesson in Medellin prices round 50,000 pesos. Museum entry is usually free or solely a few thousand pesos.

Colombia is twice the dimensions of France and bus journey is reasonably costly, so if you’ll be shifting across the nation loads then it will add to your bills. Viva Colombia is the primary finances airline and infrequently has particular gives that would work out nearly as good worth. For extra, learn my Colombia finances journey information.




Hostel mattress common: $12 (or €10)
Each day backpacker finances: $25 to $35 (€21 – 30) not together with Galapagos

Notice: Ecuador makes use of the US Greenback as its official foreign money.

Ecuador has a reasonably low price of residing. It’s astonishingly numerous and attention-grabbing nevertheless it’s additionally a comparatively small and compact nation, which reduces the necessity to spend on long-distance transportation the way in which you’ll in neighbouring international locations.

Actions are fairly low cost right here. For instance, a spherical journey on the beautiful Satan’s Nostril prepare will price $40 (€34). Mountain climbing journeys to volcanoes and mountains normally begin at round $40 (€34), with larger teams getting higher charges.

By way of lodging there are ample low cost personal rooms to be present in Ecuador, and infrequently the value distinction between a dorm mattress and a primary personal is minimal. Fundamental personal rooms price between $10 and $15.

The one factor that may actually tip the size is visiting the Galapagos Islands. That is comparatively costly as for a go to to those islands it is best to finances at the least $1000 per particular person (€860), although most likely a bit extra.




Hostel mattress common: 36 soles ($11 / €9)
Each day backpacker finances: $35 to $50 (€30 to 43)

Peru backpacking information »

Peru remains to be fairly reasonably priced with quite a lot of nice worth lodging and meals within the superb locations that each backpacker needs to go to; Cusco, Lima, Nazca, Lake Titicaca, and so on. Nonetheless, a resurgent financial system signifies that it’s not fairly the cheapie vacation spot it was.

Your greatest expense is more likely to be a Machu Picchu Inca Path trek, if this will probably be a part of your itinerary. It will set you again at the least $500 (the value is sort of at all times quoted in US dollars) in case you guide in Cusco and probably much more in case you organize it elsewhere. It’s price taking into account that the pricier businesses might supply higher meals and a extra snug tenting expertise. Additionally, many backpackers view $500 as being a superb worth for seeing one of many world’s most unbelievable sights on a multi-day trek. The Inca Path trek is proscribed to 500 individuals per day and must be booked nicely forward of time; alternate options such because the Salkantay Trek are cheaper and/or simpler to rearrange.

Bus journey shouldn’t be solely fairly reasonably priced however could be very snug as nicely. Travelling by bus from Lima to Arequipa as an example prices round 135 soles ($41 or €$35) for a ‘full cama’ (full reclining luxurious seat) and round 100 soles ($30 or €$26) for an everyday 2nd class ticket.

Most of the prices in Peru will probably be far greater in case you guide on-line whereas overseas. For instance, a brief flight over the mysterious Nazca Traces may price you over $250 (€215) in case you guide it from overseas however nicely below 270 soles ($80 or €69) soles in case you achieve this in Nazca.

Most of the prices in Peru will probably be far greater in case you guide on-line whereas overseas. For instance, a brief flight over the mysterious Nazca Traces may price you over $250 in case you guide it from overseas, however nicely below 270 soles ($81 or €70) in case you achieve this in Nazca.

You need to keep in mind that the general price of travelling in Peru could be excessive attributable to the price of the primary points of interest, which some travellers go to in very fast succession. A brief loop round Lima, Nazca, Cusco and Machu Picchu is more likely to price you greater than the identical period of time spent in neighbouring international locations. Nonetheless, it makes for an unbelievable expertise with quite a lot of fascinating tradition in a brief time frame. The day by day backpacker finances listed above assumes a decent itinerary hitting up all the most important points of interest. You’ll be able to, nevertheless, spend a lot much less on common in case you’re slow-travelling by way of Peru and together with extra native experiences. For extra, learn my Peru finances journey information.




Hostel mattress common: 98 bolivianos ($14 / €12)
Each day backpacker finances: $20 to $35 (€17 to 30)

Bolivia backpacking information »

Bolivia is the last word cheapie of South America. Though the nation’s current financial progress has seen some costs and the usual of residing rise, there are nonetheless bargains to be present in meals and lodging. You’ll be able to go for the very primary method and make your cash stretch a good distance, or else pay just a little bit extra on the upper high quality eating places and motels which might be springing in probably the most touristy locations.

Bolivia typically has the bottom costs for lodging and meals, particularly in poorer locations like Potosi and Oruro. However remember Bolivia shouldn’t be at all times probably the most snug nation. Cities like La Paz and Potosi are rugged and infrequently dreary, with the specter of protest marches and blocked roads virtually at all times current.

There are particular vacationer actions that you’ll want to bear in mind. For instance, a well-liked exercise is to journey a mountain bike down the so-called ‘Loss of life Street’ close to La Paz, which prices from round 500 bolivianos to possibly 860 bolivianos ($124 or €107) relying on the corporate and the standard of the bikes. A few of the cheaper corporations use previous bikes which might be most likely greatest prevented on such a demanding and harmful downhill journey.

A Three-day tour of the Salt Flats of Uyuni prices from roughly 700 bolivianos to possibly 850 bolivianos ($123 or €106), which is a steal for the unbelievable expertise you’ll get. Take a Three-day tour as an alternative of the shorter 1- or 2-day choices in case you can, as will probably be nicely price it.

Total, Bolivia is an adventurous traveller’s paradise at knock-down costs so long as you don’t thoughts roughing it just a little at instances. For extra, learn my Bolivia finances journey information.


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Hostel mattress common: 220 pesos ($6 / €5)
Each day backpacker finances: $30 to $50 (€26 to 43)

Argentina has been present process some severe financial turmoil for fairly a while now. Stability nonetheless seems frustratingly out of attain for this large nation, however the reality is that international travellers can get a cut price journey attributable to these difficulties. The nation could be comparatively cheap to journey in now, though costs and trade charges are topic to fixed change.

The infrastructure in Argentina is top notch and prior to now 1 peso was price 1 greenback, making it one of many continent’s historically most costly locations. Now, the peso has dropped by way of the ground, which means that you may stand up to 40 pesos for 1 greenback. Inflation runs at a staggering charge and has left the locals shell-shocked, however so long as the peso stays so low it’s nonetheless low cost to journey in fashion right here.

For instance, the meals in Argentina might be the among the many greatest you will discover wherever however a wonderful 2 or Three course set lunch in a superb restaurant ought to set you again not more than possibly 120 to 150 pesos ($Three or €Three).

The nation’s insurance policies on international trade charges has diverse just lately, so remember to verify the updated data earlier than travelling. It was that the “gray” charge for dollars was much better than the official one however on the time of writing it’s just about the identical. Nonetheless, ATMs right here don’t at all times appear to offer you an important trade charge, so taking money may nonetheless be a superb transfer.

Buenos Aires is a little more costly in some methods, whereas outer cities like Salta and Cordoba are cheaper. Stunning Mendoza and Bariloche are thought to be the costliest locations to remain. Overland travellers beware; distances in Argentina are enormous and lengthy bus rides should not unusual, so remember to issue bus journey into your finances. For example, a protracted journey from Buenos Aires as much as Salta will take you one of the best a part of a day and price you round 2000 pesos ($52 or €45). The excellent news is that the lengthy, flat roads right here imply that you may select a snug in a single day bus and save in your lodge invoice with out too many worries.

2018 has additionally seen the de-regulation of the home airline business. On the time of writing, you may fly from Buenos Aires to Salta about as cheaply as on that bus journey quoted earlier. Buses that cowl the identical routes as low-cost airways are beginning to drop in worth to fulfill this new problem.

Entry to the Iguazu Park prices some 600 pesos ($16 or €13) on the Argentine facet and also you stand up far nearer than on the Brazilian facet (though it’s actually greatest to see it from each factors of view in case you can).

Travelling in Argentina might be the closest that South America gives to the expertise of travelling in Europe. Offered that you’re sensible about the way you pay money for your pesos you will notice an impressive nation in consolation for a cut price worth. Whereas Argentina prices extra in absolute phrases than another international locations, it additionally gives a few of the greatest worth for cash on the continent.

The upper finish of my day by day backpacker finances assumes you’ll cowl many areas of Argentina, moderately than focusing solely on one or two areas.



Hostel mattress common: 12,000 pesos ($17 / €15)
Each day backpacker finances: $50 to $70 (€43 to 60) (not together with Easter Island)

Chile is the nation that the majority typically surprises individuals. It’s generally regarded as a creating nation but a traveller will discover that components of it are very trendy and never very low cost in any respect. In case you are on a decent finances, contemplate cooking your individual meals moderately than consuming out.

Transportation generally is a main price particularly if happening all the way in which to Patagonia, by which case flying may very well be a tempting possibility. If you happen to make it right down to the spectacular Torres del Paine Nationwide Park then the present entrance payment is a few 28,000 pesos ($31 or €26) within the excessive season and 11,000 pesos ($16 or €14) within the off-season. It is advisable pay in money. Tenting is comparatively low cost right here however the dimension of the park means that you’re more likely to have to pay to hop on a bus, boat or horse sooner or later.

The poorer north of the nation is normally cheaper than the south, however total it’s a nation the place you’ll want to hold a detailed eye in your spending. The Uyuni Salt Flats tour could be began in San Pedro de Atacama, taking you throughout the border into Bolivia. A Three day tour ought to set you again from 90,000 pesos to 140,000 pesos ($203 / €175).

One place the place you will discover it inconceivable to journey on a tiny finances is Easter Island. This splendidly enigmatic island with its unbelievable stone moai is formally a part of Chile however may be very removed from the mainland. On the time of writing, solely LAN fly there and you’ll be paying wherever as much as 700,000 pesos ($1,017 / €874) or extra for a return flight. As soon as you might be there, you’ll be doing very nicely certainly in case you handle to maintain your day by day residing prices below 35,000 pesos ($51 / €44).




Hostel mattress common: 47 reais ($11 / €10)
Each day backpacker finances: $40 to $60 (€34 to 52)

From the filth poor favelas to the high-rise places of work of Rio, Brazil is clearly a rustic of contrasts and has one of many highest ranges of social inequality wherever on the planet. Nonetheless, make no mistake; costs in Brazil are near ‘Western’ costs and it is best to finances accordingly.

Whereas the north of Brazil (for instance round Manaus) is an efficient deal cheaper, most backpackers observe a path within the south, both looping again to Rio or Sao Paulo to go dwelling or else crossing the border into Paraguay or Argentina to hunt out new adventures. Lodging and meals prices are normally greater in Brazil than elsewhere in South America.

Finances sufficiently for sightseeing as nicely. A cable automotive journey as much as Sugarloaf Mountain to see the bay of Rio de Janeiro prices 71 reais ($17 or €15), which might virtually be a day’s finances in Bolivia. Entry to the Iguacu Falls park prices 62 reais ($15 or €13). That is nicely price it after all, particularly in case you aren’t going to see the Argentine facet.

These on an even bigger regional backpacking journey are inclined to sustain a good tempo in Brazil with a purpose to hold prices down, however then take it simple in one among its neighbouring international locations.


Paraguay & Uruguay

Briefly: costs in Paraguay are very low and it is best to have the ability to get by on a backpacker finances of as much as $30/day. Uruguay may be very costly; use Brazil’s costs as a tough reference. The fashionable resorts on the Uruguayan Atlantic coast – reminiscent of Punta del Este and José Ignacio – are beautiful however the costs are eye-wateringly excessive. These locations are aimed on the native and worldwide celebrities who trip there, not backpackers on a decent finances.


First ask your self in case you actually need to go to Venezuela proper now, because it’s experiencing quite a lot of political and financial upheaval. Inflation is rife, sure merchandise change into unexpectedly unavailable, and crime is an actual difficulty, making Venezuela removed from a mainstream journey vacation spot at the moment. That mentioned, on the time of writing Venezuela could be mind-bogglingly cheap in case you herald onerous Western foreign money and trade it on the gray market. Some travellers report spending below $10 a day. The state of affairs in Venezuela is very changeable nevertheless.

Guyana, French Guyana, Suriname

As these international locations are the least-visited in South America and utterly off the backpacker radar, we’ll will cowl them solely briefly. All of them are on the costly finish of the size, with French Guyana being probably the costliest on the entire continent (as it’s a part of France and Euro is its official foreign money). Finances journey is on the entire harder in these international locations as there may be not a lot of a backpacker infrastructure, which suggests having to remain in dearer motels extra typically, or having to make use of taxis the place no public transportation is accessible. Buddies of mine travelled these three international locations on a finances by largely sleeping in hammocks, although this was not at all times attainable and a few € 50 / night time motels needed to be included as nicely.


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