Cheapest Countries To Travel In South America

The Most Affordable Countries to Explore in South America Argentina Looking for a budget-friendly adventure in South America? Look no further than Argentina! This diverse

Peter Lonsdale

Cheapest countries to travel in South America - Image

Table of Contents

The Most Affordable Countries to Explore in South America


Looking for a budget-friendly adventure in South America? Look no further than Argentina! This diverse country offers incredible value for your money. From the lively streets of Buenos Aires to the breathtaking landscapes of Patagonia, Argentina has something for every traveler on a budget. Affordable accommodations, delicious local cuisine, and convenient transportation options make it easy to explore this beautiful country without breaking the bank.


Among the most affordable countries in South America, Bolivia is a treasure trove for budget travelers. With its awe-inspiring landmarks like the famous Salt Flats and Lake Titicaca, Bolivia offers a unique blend of natural beauty and vibrant indigenous culture. The cost of living in Bolivia is remarkably low, allowing you to stretch your travel budget further. Find affordable accommodations, savor delicious meals, and embark on unforgettable adventures without worrying about expenses.


Home to the iconic Machu Picchu and the charming city of Cusco, Peru is another wallet-friendly destination in South America. Immerse yourself in ancient ruins, hike the legendary Inca Trail, and delight in the flavors of Peruvian cuisine—all without burning a hole in your pocket. Budget-conscious travelers will appreciate the abundance of affordable hostels, street food stalls, and efficient public transportation, making Peru an ideal choice for those looking to explore on the cheap.


Don’t underestimate the hidden gem of Ecuador—one of the smallest yet most affordable countries in South America. From the enchanting Galapagos Islands to the captivating colonial town of Quito, this country offers endless opportunities for exploration. Enjoy a lower cost of living compared to neighboring countries, allowing you to stretch your travel budget further. Affordable accommodations, reliable local transportation, and mouthwatering street food add to the allure of Ecuador as a budget-friendly destination.


Bursting with warm hospitality and diverse landscapes, Colombia is a haven for budget travelers in South America. Whether you’re exploring the vibrant streets of Bogotá or soaking up the sun on the stunning beaches of Cartagena, Colombia offers a rich cultural experience without breaking the bank. Affordable accommodations, convenient local transportation, and tantalizing Colombian cuisine ensure that your travel budget lasts longer, making Colombia a popular choice among budget-conscious adventurers.

Argentina - Cheapest Countries to Travel in South America

Discovering the Enchanting Argentina

Buenos Aires – A City of Culture and History

Immerse yourself in the captivating blend of history, culture, and architectural grandeur as you explore Buenos Aires, the vibrant capital and largest city of Argentina. Known as the “South American Paris,” Buenos Aires entices visitors with its European charm and lively Latin American spirit. Wander through the elegant Recoleta neighborhood or stroll along the vibrant Caminito Street in the colorful neighborhood of La Boca. Marvel at iconic landmarks like the towering Obelisco and the historic Casa Rosada. The city’s thriving arts scene, pulsating tango clubs, and delectable cuisine make it an irresistible destination for travelers.

Also read:
cheap travel insurance to america
cheap places to travel to in south america

Patagonia – Nature’s Majestic Haven

Embark on an awe-inspiring journey to Patagonia, a pristine wilderness nestled in the southern region of Argentina. With its towering mountains, crystal-clear glacial lakes, and breathtaking landscapes, Patagonia sets the stage for an unforgettable adventure. Traverse the awe-inspiring Los Glaciares National Park and witness the majestic beauty of the Perito Moreno Glacier. Explore the renowned Torres del Paine National Park, a true paradise for nature lovers. Patagonia offers endless opportunities for hiking, mountaineering, wildlife spotting, and immersing oneself in the natural wonders that abound.

Mendoza – The Land of Exquisite Wines and Breathtaking Scenery

Indulge your senses in Mendoza, Argentina’s premier wine region, renowned for its world-class wineries and stunning landscapes. Nestled at the foothills of the majestic Andes Mountains, Mendoza not only offers a delightful array of vineyards but also tantalizes taste buds with exceptional wines and gourmet cuisine. In addition to the thriving wine industry, the region boasts thrilling outdoor activities, including hiking, horseback riding, and whitewater rafting. Whether you’re immersing yourself in the flavors of a tantalizing Malbec or seeking an adrenaline rush in the great outdoors, Mendoza promises an unforgettable experience.

Iguazu Falls – Nature’s Spectacular Masterpiece

Prepare to be awestruck by the sheer beauty and power of Iguazu Falls, a natural wonder located on the border of Argentina and Brazil. Cascading thunderously and enveloped in mist-filled rainbows, this awe-inspiring waterfall system extends almost two miles, ranking it among the largest and most impressive in the world. Explore the surrounding national park to witness the falls from various viewpoints, embark on exhilarating boat rides, or hike through lush rainforests. The captivating allure of Iguazu Falls will leave an indelible mark on your memory.

Bariloche – Where Serenity Meets Alpine Beauty

Immerse yourself in the serene alpine beauty of Bariloche, a charming town nestled in the heart of Argentine Patagonia. Surrounded by the breathtaking Nahuel Huapi National Park, Bariloche entices with its picturesque Swiss-style architecture, snow-capped mountains, and pristine lakes. Adventure enthusiasts will revel in the wide array of outdoor activities, including skiing, hiking, fishing, and mountain biking. Indulge your taste buds with decadent chocolates and traditional Argentine pastries, adding a delicious dimension to your visit. Bariloche offers the perfect blend of tranquility and adventure for an unforgettable escape.

Bolivia - An Affordable Destination in South America

Discovering the Marvels of Bolivia

La Paz: The Enchanting Capital of Bolivia

Perched high in the majestic Andes mountains, La Paz serves as Bolivia’s administrative capital and is also the highest capital city in the world. This bustling metropolis blends together modernity and traditional culture, boasting vibrant markets, colonial architecture, and lively streets. To truly appreciate the beauty of the city and its surroundings, visitors can take a breathtaking ride on the Mi Teleférico cable car system, providing panoramic views of the cityscape and breathtaking mountain vistas.

Salar de Uyuni: Nature’s Spectacular Mirror

Covering over 10,000 square kilometers, Salar de Uyuni is the largest salt flat on the planet. This awe-inspiring natural wonder takes on a surreal ambiance, especially after rainfall, when its surface transforms into a colossal mirror, reflecting the heavens and creating a mesmerizing landscape. Travelers can embark on guided tours to explore this otherworldly expanse, visit Isla Incahuasi, an island adorned with towering cacti, and witness breathtakingly beautiful sunsets over the glistening salt crystals.

Titicaca Lake: The Sacred Waters of the Incas

Straddling the borders of Bolivia and Peru, Lake Titicaca stands as the world’s highest navigable lake and holds great cultural and historical significance in Inca mythology. Picture-perfect islands such as Isla del Sol and Isla de la Luna pepper the serene lake and are believed to be the birthplaces of the Sun and Moon according to ancient Inca legends. Explorers can immerse themselves in the local communities, interact with the inhabitants, and gain insight into their traditional way of life.

Potosi: The City of Silver

Potosi, once a thriving hub of wealth, is renowned for its historical importance in silver mining and colonial heritage. This UNESCO World Heritage Site played a vital role in the Spanish Empire’s economic prowess during the colonial era. Visitors can venture into the historic silver mines, wander through the exquisite colonial architecture, and delve into the fascinating history of the city at museums like the Casa Nacional de la Moneda.

Sucre: Bolivia’s Constitutional Gem

Sucre, recognized as Bolivia’s constitutional capital, boasts a UNESCO World Heritage Site status and captivates visitors with its abundance of colonial charm. With well-preserved architecture, whitewashed buildings, and a pleasant climate, Sucre exudes a magical ambiance that beckons exploration. Travelers can meander through the city’s multitude of churches and museums, including the Casa de la Libertad, where Bolivia’s independence was proclaimed, and bask in the city’s elegant and captivating atmosphere.

Peru: Unveiling the Charismatic Land of Ancient Marvels and Majestic Landscapes

Lima: An Energetic Metropolis Fusing Historical Heritage and Contemporary Dynamics

Lima, the capital metropolis of Peru, is a thriving urban hub situated along the country’s parched Pacific coastline. With a populace exceeding 9 million individuals, it stands as Peru’s largest city and acts as the primary entry point for numerous explorers embarking on their Peruvian endeavors. Lima showcases a rich historical background, evident in its colonial-style architecture and archaeological sites. Delve into the historical downtown area, marvel at the splendor of Plaza Mayor, and savor the exceptional gastronomic delights that the city is renowned for.

Cusco: The Gateway to Astonishing Inca Heritage and the Mystical Machu Picchu

Cusco, deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site, perches at a considerable elevation within the majestic Andes Mountains. Once serving as the capital of the mighty Inca Empire, Cusco now beckons countless visitors who yearn to explore its archaeological wonders and immerse themselves in its vibrant cultural tapestry. From Cusco, embark upon an extraordinary expedition to Machu Picchu, an esteemed member of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Allow yourself to be enraptured by the mystical aura of the ancient ruins as you behold the breathtaking panoramic vistas that unfold before your eyes.

Machu Picchu: Enigmatic Ruins Concealed within Historical Enigma

Machu Picchu, perched atop the lofty Andean peaks, stands as the jewel in the crown of Peru’s archaeological marvels. Constructed by the Incas in the 15th century, this ancient citadel had remained concealed until its rediscovery in 1911. Mesmerizing terraces, awe-inspiring temples, and intricate stone structures captivate explorers hailing from all corners of the globe. Embark on a trek along the Inca Trail, test the limits of your physical endurance, and be rewarded with a sight that will leave you in sheer awe – Machu Picchu emerges majestically through the ethereal morning mist.

Arequipa: The White City, Harmonizing Colonial Grandeur and Natural Scenic Beauty

Arequipa, positioned within the southern realms of Peru, exudes a distinctive charm exhibited by its picturesque white edifices constructed from volcanic material. This enthralling city finds itself nestled amidst breathtaking landscapes, with the imposing Misti Volcano serving as a picturesque backdrop. Wander through the historic city center and pay a visit to the vibrant Santa Catalina Monastery – an oasis of colors within the urban landscape. For those drawn to outdoor escapades, venture into the neighboring Colca Canyon, recognized as one of the most profound canyons in existence.

Amazon Rainforest: A Pristine Wilderness Overflowing with Vibrant Biodiversity

The Amazon Rainforest encompasses a significant portion of Peru’s terrain, rendering it a sought-after destination for nature enthusiasts and wildlife aficionados alike. Plunge into the unparalleled biodiversity of this lush jungle as you navigate its meandering rivers and traverse its verdant trails. Encounter captivating wildlife, including resplendent macaws, playful river dolphins, and elusive jaguars. Immerse yourself in the enchantment of this unspoiled wilderness and acquire a profound appreciation for the intricate interconnectedness that sustains its astounding array of life forms.

Ecuador Travel

Unveiling the Beauty of Ecuador

Quito: An Enchanting Capital

Discover the allure of Quito, the captivating capital of Ecuador. Situated amidst the breathtaking Andes Mountains, this enchanting city boasts a captivating skyline adorned with colonial buildings and magnificent churches. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Quito’s historic center is a treasure trove of cultural wonders including museums, art galleries, and iconic landmarks. Immerse yourself in the vibrant street markets, indulge in the flavors of local cuisine, and be awe-inspired by the panoramic views from the surrounding peaks. Quito is an absolute must-visit destination.

Galapagos Islands: A Slice of Paradise for Nature Enthusiasts

Embark on a journey to the renowned Galapagos Islands, a haven for nature enthusiasts from around the globe. Nestled in the Pacific Ocean, this archipelago mesmerizes with its unrivaled ecosystem and an astounding array of wildlife species. Immerse yourself in the mesmerizing world of Galapagos tortoises, blue-footed boobies, marine iguanas, and a plethora of other unique creatures that call this place home. Discover the wonders below the surface through unforgettable snorkeling and diving experiences in the crystal-clear waters surrounding the islands.

Cuenca: A Jewel of Colonial Majesty

Step into the captivating charm of Cuenca, a jewel nestled in the southern Andes Mountains. This picturesque colonial city invites you to wander its cobblestone streets and revel in its beautifully preserved architecture and captivating plazas. A testament to its rich cultural heritage, Cuenca showcases magnificent cathedrals, distinct “hanging houses,” and a thriving arts and crafts scene. Immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant museums, savor the delectable flavors of Ecuadorian cuisine, and take leisurely strolls along the serene riverbanks. Cuenca promises an unforgettable and delightful experience.

Banos: Where Adventure Meets Tranquility

Banos, aptly known as the “Gateway to the Amazon,” beckons with a perfect blend of adventure and relaxation. Nestled in a lush green valley ensconced by majestic mountains and cascading waterfalls, this charming town offers an abundance of outdoor activities for thrill-seekers. Embark on exhilarating hikes, pedal through scenic bike trails, or soar through the air on thrilling zip lines. For the daring, canyoning and bungee jumping are a must-try. After an adrenaline-filled day, rejuvenate your body and mind in the healing embrace of the local hot springs. Banos promises an ideal balance between adventure and serenity.

Mindo: A Haven of Biodiversity

If you are a nature enthusiast, a visit to Mindo should top your itinerary. Tucked away in the clouds of the Andes, this charming town offers an unparalleled paradise for birdwatchers and nature photographers. Be enthralled by the vibrant wings of over 400 bird species, including the mesmerizing hummingbirds and majestic toucans. Mindo also dazzles with its stunning waterfalls, exhilarating zip line experiences, and abundant butterfly and orchid gardens. Prepare to immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of biodiversity that Mindo has to offer.

Photograph of Colombia - One of the Most Affordable Travel Destinations in South America

Discovering the Marvels of Colombia

Bogota: The Energetic Capital

Bogota, the bustling capital of Colombia, is an energetic city nestled in the picturesque Andes Mountains. Renowned for its vibrant culture, captivating architecture, and lively ambiance, this metropolis offers a diverse array of attractions. From the historic La Candelaria neighborhood to the modern business district, Bogota has something for everyone.

Cartagena: A Jewel from the Past

Situated along the captivating Caribbean coastline, Cartagena is a true gem of colonial charm. Its well-preserved historic center, known as the Walled City, is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As you wander through its enchanting narrow streets adorned with vibrant buildings, the city’s enchanting charm will mesmerize you. Explore the Castillo de San Felipe, visit the museums, or unwind on its stunning beaches.

Medellin: The Eternal Spring City

Often referred to as the Eternal Spring City, Medellin boasts year-round idyllic weather and breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. This city has witnessed a remarkable transformation, becoming an epitome of urban innovation and progress. Immerse yourself in the vibrant local art scene, visit the Botero Plaza, or ride the cable car to Santo Domingo to discover the city’s hidden gems.

Coffee Region: A Paradise for Coffee Enthusiasts

Nestled in the heart of Colombia, the Coffee Region is a true haven for coffee aficionados. Renowned for its lush green coffee plantations, captivating landscapes, and picturesque traditional towns, this region offers a delightful experience. Embark on a coffee plantation tour, hike through the breathtaking Cocora Valley, or indulge in the rich flavors of Colombian coffee at one of the local cafes.

Tayrona National Park: A Hidden Gem of Nature

Situated along Colombia’s Caribbean coast, Tayrona National Park is an awe-inspiring natural paradise. This protected area showcases verdant rainforests, crystal-clear beaches, and ancient archaeological sites belonging to the indigenous Tayrona civilization. Embark on a thrilling hike along the park’s trails, take a refreshing swim in its turquoise waters, or spend a magical night camping under the starry skies – countless unforgettable experiences await visitors.

Image for 7 Frequently Asked Questions about the Most Affordable Destinations in South America

Frequently Asked Questions about the Most Affordable Countries to Travel in South America

Which are the most cost-effective countries to visit in South America?

Embarking on a thrilling journey across South America requires careful consideration of expenses. If you’re aiming to explore this diverse continent on a budget, rest assured that there are numerous economical travel options. In this article, we will address some frequently asked questions about the most affordable countries to visit in South America.

1. What is the most budget-friendly country in South America?

When it comes to affordability, Bolivia takes the lead as one of the most economical countries to visit in South America. With reasonably priced accommodations, budget-friendly transportation choices, and inexpensive meals, Bolivia offers exceptional value for money for travelers on a tight budget.

2. Are there any other inexpensive countries besides Bolivia?

Yes, there are several other countries in South America that offer excellent value for money. Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia are renowned for their affordability. These countries provide unique cultural experiences, breathtaking landscapes, and diverse cuisines, all at a fraction of the cost compared to other destinations in the region.

3. What are some recommended budget-friendly activities in South America?

South America is filled with thrilling and affordable activities for budget-conscious travelers. In Bolivia, you can explore the mesmerizing landscapes of Salar de Uyuni or participate in a local cooking class. In Peru, don’t miss the opportunity to hike the world-famous Inca Trail or wander through the vibrant markets of Cusco. Colombia offers incredible experiences like birdwatching in the Coffee Region or strolling through the colorful streets of Cartagena.

4. How much should I budget for a South America trip?

The cost of a journey to South America varies based on several factors, including the countries you plan to visit, the duration of your trip, and your travel preferences. On average, budget travelers should anticipate spending around $50 to $70 per day, covering accommodation, meals, transportation, and activities.

5. What are some money-saving tips for traveling in South America?

Indeed! Here are a few tips to help you save money while exploring South America:

– Opt for local street food instead of dining at upscale restaurants.

– Utilize public transportation or shared taxis rather than private transfers.

– Stay at budget accommodations such as hostels or guesthouses.

– Take advantage of free attractions and guided walking tours.

– Shop for souvenirs at local markets instead of pricey tourist shops.

6. Is it safe to travel on a budget in South America?

While it’s crucial to exercise caution while traveling anywhere, South America can be relatively safe for budget-conscious individuals. Just like with any travel destination, it’s advisable to remain vigilant, adhere to local advice, and take necessary safety precautions. Conducting thorough research about your chosen destinations beforehand and exercising common-sense precautions will ensure a secure and enjoyable trip.

7. Can I still have a memorable experience while traveling on a budget in South America?

Absolutely! Traveling on a budget does not mean compromising on experiences or missing out on unforgettable moments. South America boasts a wealth of culture, history, and natural beauty, and even with limited funds, you can embark on an incredible adventure. Embrace the local culture, engage with the locals, and explore off-the-beaten-path destinations to create unique and everlasting memories.

Related Post