Content South America

Country Guides & Cost Overview (2018)

South America cost of travel
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 based mostly in Bolivia. All costs up to date + the newest on the financial state of affairs in Argentia.

South America is a tremendous continent to journey on a price range, although you’d be fallacious to imagine that each nation in South America is reasonable! 2018 has seen weakening foreign money in some nations (notably Argentina), although costs have additionally risen on the similar time.

The least costly nations have historically been Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia, with every attracting giant numbers of price range travellers, adopted by Colombia which is kind of mid-priced. Nations like Brazil and Chile are comparatively costlier, typically approaching Western costs.

Should you’re travelling throughout South America, a superb rule of thumb is that you simply’ll want about $1000 a month, although this relies significantly on which nations you’ll spend most of your time.

This backpacking in South America value 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 unbiased lodge, probably with a shared toilet. Triple or quadruple the hostel mattress value and also you’ll have a ballpark estimate for a mid-range lodge room.

About finances estimates: every part clearly is determined by your journey fashion and particular actions. Keep in rural village in Bolivia solely to volunteer, and you may spend as little as $15 a day — however this publish assumes a mean finances journey fashion, not final shoestring journey. As all the time, your mileage might differ.

Native currencies on this publish are transformed to EUR and USD mechanically based mostly on in the present day’s change price. For different currencies, you’ll be able to examine charges at

Country Steered Every day Price range 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)
Every day backpacker price range: $35 to $50 (€30 to 43)

Colombia backpacking information »

Colombia is mid-range by South American requirements — not the most cost effective vacation spot however definitely not the costliest both. The falling worth of the peso additionally makes it cheaper for overseas vacationers than it was just some years in the past.

The priciest location in Colombia is the gorgeous 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 ($56 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 quite a bit then this can add to your bills. Viva Colombia is the primary price range airline and sometimes has particular provides that would work out nearly as good worth. For extra, learn my Colombia price range journey information.




Hostel mattress common: $12 (or €10)
Day by day backpacker price range: $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 value of dwelling. It’s astonishingly numerous and fascinating however it’s additionally a comparatively small and compact nation, which reduces the necessity to spend on long-distance transportation the best way you’ll in neighbouring nations.

Actions are fairly low cost right here. For instance, a spherical journey on the beautiful Satan’s Nostril practice will value $40 (€34). Climbing journeys to volcanoes and mountains often begin at round $40 (€34), with greater teams getting higher charges.

When it comes to lodging there are ample low cost personal rooms to be present in Ecuador, and sometimes the worth distinction between a dorm mattress and a primary personal is minimal. Primary personal rooms value 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 very least $1000 per individual (€860), although in all probability a bit extra.




Hostel mattress common: 36 soles ($11 / €9)
Day by day backpacker price range: $35 to $50 (€30 to 43)

Peru backpacking information »

Peru continues to be fairly reasonably priced with a number 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. Nevertheless, a resurgent financial system signifies that it’s not fairly the cheapie vacation spot it was.

Your largest expense is more likely to be a Machu Picchu Inca Path trek, if this will probably be a part of your itinerary. This can set you again a minimum of $500 (the worth is nearly all the time quoted in US dollars) should you guide in Cusco and probably much more should you organize it elsewhere. It’s value allowing for that the pricier businesses might supply higher meals and a extra snug tenting expertise. Additionally, many backpackers view $500 as being a very good worth for seeing one of many world’s most unimaginable sights on a multi-day trek. The Inca Path trek is restricted to 500 individuals per day and must be booked nicely forward of time; options such because the Salkantay Trek are cheaper and/or simpler to rearrange.

Bus journey just isn’t solely fairly reasonably priced however could be very snug as properly. 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 a daily 2nd class ticket.

Most of the prices in Peru can be far larger for those who guide on-line whereas overseas. For instance, a brief flight over the mysterious Nazca Strains might value you over $250 (€215) for those who ebook it from overseas however properly underneath 270 soles ($80 or €69) soles for those who achieve this in Nazca.

Most of the prices in Peru will probably be far greater in case you e-book on-line whereas overseas. For instance, a brief flight over the mysterious Nazca Strains might value you over $250 when you guide it from overseas, however nicely underneath 270 soles ($81 or €70) should you achieve this in Nazca.

You must keep in mind that the general value of travelling in Peru could be excessive on account of 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 value you greater than the identical period of time spent in neighbouring nations. Nevertheless, it makes for an unimaginable expertise with a variety of fascinating tradition in a brief time period. The every day backpacker finances listed above assumes a decent itinerary hitting up all the most important points of interest. You possibly can, nevertheless, spend a lot much less on common when you’re slow-travelling by means of Peru and together with extra native experiences. For extra, learn my Peru price range journey information.




Hostel mattress common: 98 bolivianos ($14 / €12)
Every day backpacker price range: $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 dwelling rise, there are nonetheless bargains to be present in meals and lodging. You possibly can go for the very primary strategy and make your cash stretch a great distance, or else pay slightly bit extra on the upper high quality eating places and lodges which are 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 have in mind Bolivia just isn’t all the time probably the most snug nation. Cities like La Paz and Potosi are rugged and sometimes dreary, with the specter of protest marches and blocked roads virtually all the time current.

There are specific vacationer actions that you’ll want to consider. For instance, a well-liked exercise is to journey a mountain bike down the so-called ‘Death Road’ close to La Paz, which prices from round 500 bolivianos to perhaps 860 bolivianos ($124 or €107) relying on the corporate and the standard of the bikes. A number of the cheaper corporations use previous bikes which might be in all probability 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 perhaps 850 bolivianos ($123 or €106), which is a steal for the unimaginable expertise you’ll get. Take a Three-day tour as an alternative of the shorter 1- or 2-day choices when you can, as it is going to be nicely value it.

General, Bolivia is an adventurous traveller’s paradise at knock-down costs so long as you don’t thoughts roughing it slightly at occasions. For extra, learn my Bolivia finances journey information.


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

Argentina has been present process some critical financial turmoil for fairly a while now. Stability nonetheless seems frustratingly out of attain for this large nation, however the fact is that overseas travellers can get a discount journey as a result of these difficulties. The nation might be comparatively cheap to journey in now, though costs and trade charges are topic to fixed change.

The infrastructure in Argentina is firstclass and prior to now 1 peso was value 1 greenback, making it one of many continent’s historically costliest locations. Now, the peso has dropped by way of the ground, which means you could rise up to 40 pesos for 1 greenback. Inflation runs at a staggering fee and has left the locals shell-shocked, however so long as the peso stays so low it’s nonetheless low cost to journey in type right here.

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

The nation’s insurance policies on overseas change charges has assorted just lately, so make sure you verify the updated info earlier than travelling. It was that the “grey” price for dollars was much better than the official one however on the time of writing it’s just about the identical. Nevertheless, ATMs right here don’t all the time appear to provide you a fantastic trade fee, so taking money might nonetheless be an excellent transfer.

Buenos Aires is a little more costly in some methods, whereas outer cities like Salta and Cordoba are cheaper. Lovely Mendoza and Bariloche are considered the costliest locations to remain. Overland travellers beware; distances in Argentina are big and lengthy bus rides usually are not unusual, so remember to issue bus journey into your price range. As an example, an extended journey from Buenos Aires as much as Salta will take you the perfect a part of a day and price you round 2000 pesos ($53 or €45). The excellent news is that the lengthy, flat roads right here imply that you would be able to select a cushty 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’ll be able to 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 satisfy this new problem.

Entry to the Iguazu Park prices some 600 pesos ($16 or €14) on the Argentine aspect and also you rise up far nearer than on the Brazilian aspect (though it’s actually greatest to see it from each factors of view should you can).

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

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



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

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

Transportation could be a main value particularly if taking place all the best way to Patagonia, by which case flying might be a tempting choice. In case you make it right down to the spectacular Torres del Paine Nationwide Park then the present entrance payment is a few 28,000 pesos ($30 or €26) within the excessive season and 11,000 pesos ($16 or €14) within the off-season. You have to pay in money. Tenting is comparatively low cost right here however the measurement 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 often cheaper than the south, however general it’s a nation the place it would be best to hold an in depth eye in your spending. The Uyuni Salt Flats tour might 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 unattainable to journey on a tiny finances is Easter Island. This splendidly enigmatic island with its unimaginable stone moai is formally a part of Chile however could be very removed from the mainland. On the time of writing, solely LAN fly there and you’ll be paying anyplace as much as 700,000 pesos ($1,zero17 / €874) or extra for a return flight. As soon as you’re there, you’ll be doing very nicely certainly in the event you handle to maintain your day by day dwelling prices underneath 35,000 pesos ($51 / €44).




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

From the filth poor favelas to the high-rise workplaces of Rio, Brazil is clearly a rustic of contrasts and has one of many highest ranges of social inequality anyplace on the planet. Nevertheless, make no mistake; costs in Brazil are near ‘Western’ costs and you need to finances accordingly.

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

Price range 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 properly value it in fact, particularly in case you aren’t going to see the Argentine aspect.

These on a much bigger regional backpacking journey are likely to sustain an honest tempo in Brazil so as to maintain prices down, however then take it straightforward in considered one of its neighbouring nations.


Paraguay & Uruguay

In short: costs in Paraguay are very low and it is best to be capable of get by on a backpacker price range of as much as $30/day. Uruguay could be very costly; use Brazil’s costs as a tough reference. The fashionable resorts on the Uruguayan Atlantic coast – resembling 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 price range.


First ask your self when you actually need to go to Venezuela proper now, because it’s experiencing plenty of political and financial upheaval. Inflation is rife, sure merchandise grow to be unexpectedly unavailable, and crime is an actual challenge, making Venezuela removed from a mainstream journey vacation spot presently. That stated, on the time of writing Venezuela might be mind-bogglingly cheap for those who usher in arduous Western foreign money and change it on the gray market. Some travellers report spending beneath $10 a day. The state of affairs in Venezuela is very changeable nevertheless.

Guyana, French Guyana, Suriname

As these nations 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 nations as there’s not a lot of a backpacker infrastructure, which suggests having to remain in costlier motels extra typically, or having to make use of taxis the place no public transportation is accessible. Buddies of mine travelled these three nations on a price range by principally sleeping in hammocks, although this was not all the time potential and a few € 50 / night time motels needed to be included as properly.


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