Cities in South America: Travel Cost Rankings

What are the cheapest cities to visit in South America?

The following travel cost rankings for cities in South America are calculated based on the travel budgets of real travelers. Also referred to as a Travel Cost Index, or a Backpacker Index, the cities below are in order from least to most expensive by their average daily travel price, per person, per day

Cusco

The Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of the Virgin, Plaza del Armas, Cusco, Peru

Cusco is most famous as the historic capital of the Inca Empire. It is in the southern Sierras and is one of the most popular travel destinations within Peru. The city is located at 3,400 meters above sea level so it is best to acclimate yourself slowly to avoid altitude sickness. (Read this advice about managing the altitude in Cusco and Machu Picchu.) Cusco is the starting point.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires, federal capital of Argentina, also known as “The City of Tango”, is best known for its energetic and unpredictable character. Like a restless child, Buenos Aires is a dynamic and modern city full of surprises. While its French-style palaces, rooftop restaurants, wide avenues and green plazas resemble European-style architecture, Buenos Aires preserves its musical, literary and culinary traditions. You can’t miss dining in front of a Tango show.

Ushuaia

Ushuaia, Argentina

Ushuaia is a city on the Tierra del Fuego island of Argentina on the Beagle Strait. The city is considered to be one of the southernmost cities in the world and is often used as a base for cruises to Antarctica. Ushuaia’s close proximity to Antarctica and their amazing hiking trails have made it a popular tourist destination over the past few decades. Although Ushuaia is the southernmost city in.

Rosario Islands

Rosario Islands, Colombia

The Rosario Islands, also referred to as Coral Islands of Rosario, is an archipelago located off the coast of Colombia, approximately 100 kilometres (62 miles) from Cartagena. The Rosario Islands are integrated by 28 islands and all of them form one of the 46 Natural National Parks of Colombia, created to protect one of the most important coral reefs in the Colombian Caribbean Coast. Only three of these islands are.

Rio de Janeiro

The beaches of Rio

Rio de Janeiro is the most popular travel destination in Brazil. It is the second largest city in Brazil and the sixth largest in the Americas. A portion of the city has been designated a World Heritage Site. The peak time to visit is during the city’s famous Carnival festival, which is one of the most famous festivals in the world. However, Rio’s appeal as a travel destination.

Santiago

Santiago, Chile

Santiago is the capital city of Chile. It is centrally located in the long and narrow country, making it a good jumping off point to explore everywhere else. It’s convenient location means that you can go skiing in the Andes one day, and hang out at the beach the next. Santiago has a cool semi-arid climate that is similar to Mediterranean climates. The summers, which are between November and March.

The Cheapest Cities for Other Regions
Country Rankings for Other Regions
What are the cheapest cities to visit in South America?

The most affordable cities for travel in South America are currently Medellin (Colombia), Cali (Colombia), Santa Marta (Colombia), and Salento (Colombia).

Affordable Travel in South America

Whether it is for a short vacation or a long term trip, there are so many reasons to visit South America. When it comes to amazing wildlife, visiting the tropical rainforest of the Amazon basin is certainly one of the best experiences. Along with the Amazon, South America has many other places where you can see magnificent natural attractions, with the Galapagos Islands ranking high on many bucket lists. There many other celebrations to enjoy in South America, such as the Inti Raymi festival held at an Inca site near the city of Cusco or the annual carnival celebrations in Rio de Janeiro, with over two million people flocking to the city to join the party every year. While the indigenous cultures in South America provide some of the most interesting historic sights to visit in the region, you also have some fascinating colonial architecture and sites that are worth visiting too. When it comes to indigenous culture, the Inca sites such as Sacsayhuaman and Machu Picchu are certainly among the highlights, but there are many sites across the region which have amazing ruins to explore. Some of the best food in the world is in South America, especially if you love seafood. The South American cuisine mainly refers to the delicacies from Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Peru, and Bolivia. The speciality of these cuisines is that they are prepared using a myriad of spices and condiments like chili, guacamole, mole, pico de gallo, pebre, and chimichurri. Many people will associate South America with adventure and visiting mythic cultures, but there is also a number of family activities and attractions available on the continent. When it comes to spectacular scenery, whether you look for amazing mountain views, the white glare of glaciers or stunning beaches and coastlines, there is plenty to be enjoyed here. While international travelers immediately think about Southeast Asia when looking to go backpacking on a budget, South America certainly offers a lot for those looking to explore on a shoestring. There is a wealth of affordable hostels to be found in many countries. The low costs of living in Bolivia and Ecuador particularly make them really attractive destinations for backpackers looking for cheap thrills. Although the flight fares to any of the countries in South America can be expensive, once you get there, it’s a highly affordable place.

South America is on the whole, budget-friendly and certainly much cheaper than North America and Europe but that said travel costs can easily mount up. Countries like Brazil, Chile and Argentina are developing quickly and as a result prices are going up. Of course cities are usually more expensive than smaller towns for accommodation, so staying outside cities can help you to trim your budget even further. It is also a very large region so trying to see it all is both time-consuming and expensive. Even relatively short-distance airfares are high here so unless you fancy hitchhiking, buses and coaches are pretty much the only way to get around. One of the priciest location in Colombia is the beautiful and historic colonial city of Cartagena, as it is the most touristy place in the country. Beyond this, cities like Bogota, Medellin and especially the countryside are very affordable. Buenos Aires is quite expensive whereas outer cities like Salta and Mendoza are cheaper. Quito in Ecuador and La Paz in Bolivia are some of the cheapest cities to travel to in South America.

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Cheapest Countries in South America To Visit in 2022

cheap countries south america

What is the cheapest country in South America to visit?

This is the most common question among backpackers and savvy travelers who are looking to explore South America on a budget.

It is important to have a solid plan or itinerary when traveling to South America so you can make the most of your time without breaking the bank.

This article will help with that since I have spent time rounding up a list of the cheapest countries to visit in South America.

Table of Contents

Cheapest Country in South America

Let’s be honest, cheap can imply much more than one thing, right?

However, in this case study, I was to show you the places in South America where you can get the biggest bang for your buck.

Let’s look at transport first, since, without it, we wouldn’t be able to reach many of the destinations we desire or be able to fully enjoy the continent.

Transport in South America

No matter which South American country you visit transportation is one of the things that can make a huge dent in your budget.

Luckily, traveling to South America by bus is the cheapest way to get around. Although the road conditions can change drastically between countries, you will find that bus travel is king in South America.

willys colombia

As a popular transport option for backpackers, it is relatively safe to use buses in South America. This is true, as long as you travel on the right buses at the right times.

You still have to follow basic travel safety tips, but traveling by bus is great. You don’t only get to save money, you get a more authentic experience.

You’ll be elbow to elbow with locals, take in the beautiful scenery along the way, and learn more about the culture and way of life.

Now let’s look at which places you can visit in South America on a budget.

Cheapest Countries in South America

Traveling to South America on a budget is perfectly okay because there are many cheap places to visit. Here’s a list of the top options starting with:

Bolivia

Bolivia is one of the cheapest places in South America. You can get by with $25 to $30 a day, which is great.

la paz bolivia

Most backpackers agree this is the cheapest country in South America and there’s plenty to see and do.

The food in Bolivia is filling and super inexpensive, depending on where you go. So is the beer, which is always good news.

One of the best things about Bolivia is that it’s home to some of the coolest places to visit in South America. There are so many tourist attractions you’ll have trouble choosing which ones to go to.

To give you an idea, you can visit the Amazon rainforest and take a tour of the Uyuni salt flats, two of the most unique places in the world.

Additionally, you can visit La Paz, go to Sucre, explore the Train Cemetery, visit a wide variety of National Parks, and more.

Colombia

Colombia is one of the most popular destinations. It’s not only one of the cheap places to travel in South America, but it also provides some of the best sightseeing opportunities.

best colombian towns

In and outside of the Colombian cities and towns you have a diverse, beautiful country full of friendly, vibrant people.

There’s a lot to see and do, even if you’re on a budget.

You can get by with $30 a day and still have an unforgettable experience in South America as a backpacker.

Colombian food is inexpensive and super yummy. That’s true of both street food and restaurant food, though there are fancy restaurants where the prices go up.

As one of the cheap places to learn Spanish in Latin America, lessons are affordable. Plus you’ll get to try some of the most delicious coffee.

When it comes to adventure, you won’t be disappointed. You can explore cities like Bogota and Medellin, walk the Cocora Valley, visit a wide variety of national parks, trek to the Lost City, and more.

Paraguay

Paraguay is quite underrated and it’s often overlooked by travelers. However, it is one of the cheapest places in South America.

is paraguay safe

There’s a lot you can do with a daily budget of $30 to $40. The main cities are more expensive, which is true for most countries both inside and outside of South America.

That means that you will be able to stretch your budget quite a bit if you stay within countryside areas.

The food in Paraguay is inexpensive, especially for vegetarians. Street food is super accessible and yummy, and it will allow you to stay within budget.

When it comes to sightseeing in South America, Paraguay offers access to a few hidden gems.

You can visit places such as the Itaipu Hydroelectric Dam, the Museo del Barrio, the Jesuit Ruins, San Jose Beach, and much more.

Peru is easily one of the best destinations for backpackers. It’s one of the top cheap places to travel in South America and you can have a good time with a daily budget of $30 to $40.

iquitos amazon peru

This is one of the most popular countries among travelers because it’s home to the Inca Ruins, which draw a lot of people in. Additionally, Peru is known for its great variety of landscapes and world-class hiking trails.

Peruvian cuisine is known around the world and you’ll find cheap, authentic meals to stay within budget. Especially in local eateries and street food stalls.

There is a lot to see and do in Peru. For one, you can visit Lima, the capital, or Cusco, a gorgeous colonial city that serves as the gateway to the Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley, and Inca Trail. Arequipa, Nazca, Ica, and Paracas are also worth visiting.

Ecuador

Ecuador is well-known for the biodiverse Galapagos Islands, so it’s quite a popular destination among travelers and backpackers.

quito ecuado

It’s one of the cheapest places in South America and you’ll only need around $30 a day on the mainland.The country is known for its biodiversity, exotic wildlife, breathtaking beaches, and incredible volcanoes.

The best way to take in most of Ecuador and also save money is to book group tours, which are a lot cheaper than private tours.

You can always explore the country on your own. Consider visiting the city of Quito, hiking Iliniza, visiting the Cotopaxi National Park, going to Guayaquil, seeing the monument Mitad del Mundo, and much more.

Cheap Places to Travel in South America

Now that we’ve discovered some of the cheapest countries in South America, let’s look at some of the places you can visit for a well-rounded experience on the continent.

bacano meaning colombia

South America has a lot to offer when it comes to landmarks, activities, nightlife, and more. So, it can be difficult to narrow down the options.

Especially when you’re on a budget. To help with that, I have also compiled a list of the coolest, cheapest places I could find.

Cheapest Places in South America

This continent is bursting with opportunities for fun, adventure, and authentic cultural experiences. Here are some of the cheapest places in South America for a memorable trip!

Medellin, Colombia

For travelers looking to connect with a more exhuberant lifestyle, Medellin is one of the most popular destinations in Colombia.

parque explora medellin

It used to have a bad reputation back when Pablo Escobar was wreaking havoc, but it has since rehabilitated its image.

The city’s transformation is astounding and travelers from all over the world enjoy what it has to offer.

Even if you’re on a budget, you will find many incredible things to do.

For one, you can visit the Laguna de Guatape and enjoy the views, go to Parque Explora, visit El Castillo and other museums, and plenty more.

Read Post  15 Best Spring Break Destinations for Families in 2022

Montanita, Ecuador

Whenever you’re ready for a beach break during your South America travels, Montanita is the right destination.

This beachside town is defined by an authentic bohemian vibe and it offers amazing breaks. The low cost of living suits backpackers really well.

If you enjoy surfing or you want to learn how to do it, Montanita offers the best opportunities.

Additionally, you can head to the boardwalk and buy from street vendors. Visiting the Mirador Santuario de Olon is a must as well, so add it to the list!

Arequipa, Peru

After the capital, Lima, Arequipa is the second-largest city in Peru.

things to do in arequipa

The historical center offers amazing sightseeing in South America, but there’s many more things to see in Arequipa. Known as the “White City”, there’s a lot you can do here.

You can start at the Plaza de Armas, which is the main city square, and there’s a lot to see.

Taking a free walking tour of the city is worthwhile because you’ll get to see the highlights, such as the Alpaca Museum, views of the nearby volcanoes, and more.

Cochabamba, Bolivia

Cochabamba is full of life and it’s right in the center of Bolivia.

It’s one of the cheap places to travel in South America and there’s a lot to do there. For one, you can visit El Cristo de La Concordio, which is the highest Cristo on the continent and provides the best views.

You should also visit La Cancha, an open-air market bursting with a variety of stalls. You can get food, souvenirs, and take stock of the locals. If you enjoy hiking, the Cerro Turani is also a must-visit!

Asuncion, Paraguay

This is the capital of Paraguay and it’s one of the cheapest places in South America. Paraguay is one of the most mysterious and less visited South American countries.

asuncion paraguay

The city was founded by Spanish colonialists and it has a rich story, as well as a combination of colonial and modern architecture.

If you love art, one of your first stops should be the Museo del Barro, which is free to visit.

The National Pantheon of the Heroes is also worth visiting. It’s a popular attraction and a symbol of hope and determination.

There’s also a Zoo and a Botanical Garden, and plenty of parks, such as the Parque de la Salud.

Cheapest Country in South America

As you can see, you don’t need a big budget to experience South America at its best. Not to mention, when cutting back on certain luxuries, you allow yourself to have a more authentic experience.

It’s not easy to choose the cheapest country in South America because there are many options and usually very little time!

I really hope this guide can help you plan an affordable and super fun trip without breaking the bank too much.

You have made it this far… Why not read my epic post on backpacking South America for even more travel inspiration for visiting the continent?

Like this article? Pin it…

cheap places to visit south america

countries to visit south america

Did this help you discover the cheapest country in South America?

Leave a nice comment or let’s start a conversation below!

“ Dear friend! Some links in this post contain affiliate links. Meaning, if you click through and make a purchase, book a hostel or sign up for a tour, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you . Your support means a lot and helps me to keep traveling and maintaining the quality of this site for you.”

Daniel James

Helping thousands of people worldwide with independent travel in Latin America. Layer Culture means to dig deeper into the ideas, customs, and behavior of a group of people.

Primary Sidebar

Meet Dan

south america travel with dan

After spending years on the road Dan is now offering to help you find your feet in Latin America; inspire you to learn Spanish and get you started on your adventures. Learn how to travel longer and stronger!

Cheapest Countries in South America To Visit in 2022

cheap countries south america

What is the cheapest country in South America to visit?

This is the most common question among backpackers and savvy travelers who are looking to explore South America on a budget.

It is important to have a solid plan or itinerary when traveling to South America so you can make the most of your time without breaking the bank.

This article will help with that since I have spent time rounding up a list of the cheapest countries to visit in South America.

Table of Contents

Cheapest Country in South America

Let’s be honest, cheap can imply much more than one thing, right?

However, in this case study, I was to show you the places in South America where you can get the biggest bang for your buck.

Let’s look at transport first, since, without it, we wouldn’t be able to reach many of the destinations we desire or be able to fully enjoy the continent.

Transport in South America

No matter which South American country you visit transportation is one of the things that can make a huge dent in your budget.

Luckily, traveling to South America by bus is the cheapest way to get around. Although the road conditions can change drastically between countries, you will find that bus travel is king in South America.

willys colombia

As a popular transport option for backpackers, it is relatively safe to use buses in South America. This is true, as long as you travel on the right buses at the right times.

You still have to follow basic travel safety tips, but traveling by bus is great. You don’t only get to save money, you get a more authentic experience.

You’ll be elbow to elbow with locals, take in the beautiful scenery along the way, and learn more about the culture and way of life.

Now let’s look at which places you can visit in South America on a budget.

Cheapest Countries in South America

Traveling to South America on a budget is perfectly okay because there are many cheap places to visit. Here’s a list of the top options starting with:

Bolivia

Bolivia is one of the cheapest places in South America. You can get by with $25 to $30 a day, which is great.

la paz bolivia

Most backpackers agree this is the cheapest country in South America and there’s plenty to see and do.

The food in Bolivia is filling and super inexpensive, depending on where you go. So is the beer, which is always good news.

One of the best things about Bolivia is that it’s home to some of the coolest places to visit in South America. There are so many tourist attractions you’ll have trouble choosing which ones to go to.

To give you an idea, you can visit the Amazon rainforest and take a tour of the Uyuni salt flats, two of the most unique places in the world.

Additionally, you can visit La Paz, go to Sucre, explore the Train Cemetery, visit a wide variety of National Parks, and more.

Colombia

Colombia is one of the most popular destinations. It’s not only one of the cheap places to travel in South America, but it also provides some of the best sightseeing opportunities.

best colombian towns

In and outside of the Colombian cities and towns you have a diverse, beautiful country full of friendly, vibrant people.

There’s a lot to see and do, even if you’re on a budget.

You can get by with $30 a day and still have an unforgettable experience in South America as a backpacker.

Colombian food is inexpensive and super yummy. That’s true of both street food and restaurant food, though there are fancy restaurants where the prices go up.

As one of the cheap places to learn Spanish in Latin America, lessons are affordable. Plus you’ll get to try some of the most delicious coffee.

When it comes to adventure, you won’t be disappointed. You can explore cities like Bogota and Medellin, walk the Cocora Valley, visit a wide variety of national parks, trek to the Lost City, and more.

Read Post  9 Fictional Places That Children Would Love To Visit

Paraguay

Paraguay is quite underrated and it’s often overlooked by travelers. However, it is one of the cheapest places in South America.

is paraguay safe

There’s a lot you can do with a daily budget of $30 to $40. The main cities are more expensive, which is true for most countries both inside and outside of South America.

That means that you will be able to stretch your budget quite a bit if you stay within countryside areas.

The food in Paraguay is inexpensive, especially for vegetarians. Street food is super accessible and yummy, and it will allow you to stay within budget.

When it comes to sightseeing in South America, Paraguay offers access to a few hidden gems.

You can visit places such as the Itaipu Hydroelectric Dam, the Museo del Barrio, the Jesuit Ruins, San Jose Beach, and much more.

Peru is easily one of the best destinations for backpackers. It’s one of the top cheap places to travel in South America and you can have a good time with a daily budget of $30 to $40.

iquitos amazon peru

This is one of the most popular countries among travelers because it’s home to the Inca Ruins, which draw a lot of people in. Additionally, Peru is known for its great variety of landscapes and world-class hiking trails.

Peruvian cuisine is known around the world and you’ll find cheap, authentic meals to stay within budget. Especially in local eateries and street food stalls.

There is a lot to see and do in Peru. For one, you can visit Lima, the capital, or Cusco, a gorgeous colonial city that serves as the gateway to the Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley, and Inca Trail. Arequipa, Nazca, Ica, and Paracas are also worth visiting.

Ecuador

Ecuador is well-known for the biodiverse Galapagos Islands, so it’s quite a popular destination among travelers and backpackers.

quito ecuado

It’s one of the cheapest places in South America and you’ll only need around $30 a day on the mainland.The country is known for its biodiversity, exotic wildlife, breathtaking beaches, and incredible volcanoes.

The best way to take in most of Ecuador and also save money is to book group tours, which are a lot cheaper than private tours.

You can always explore the country on your own. Consider visiting the city of Quito, hiking Iliniza, visiting the Cotopaxi National Park, going to Guayaquil, seeing the monument Mitad del Mundo, and much more.

Cheap Places to Travel in South America

Now that we’ve discovered some of the cheapest countries in South America, let’s look at some of the places you can visit for a well-rounded experience on the continent.

bacano meaning colombia

South America has a lot to offer when it comes to landmarks, activities, nightlife, and more. So, it can be difficult to narrow down the options.

Especially when you’re on a budget. To help with that, I have also compiled a list of the coolest, cheapest places I could find.

Cheapest Places in South America

This continent is bursting with opportunities for fun, adventure, and authentic cultural experiences. Here are some of the cheapest places in South America for a memorable trip!

Medellin, Colombia

For travelers looking to connect with a more exhuberant lifestyle, Medellin is one of the most popular destinations in Colombia.

parque explora medellin

It used to have a bad reputation back when Pablo Escobar was wreaking havoc, but it has since rehabilitated its image.

The city’s transformation is astounding and travelers from all over the world enjoy what it has to offer.

Even if you’re on a budget, you will find many incredible things to do.

For one, you can visit the Laguna de Guatape and enjoy the views, go to Parque Explora, visit El Castillo and other museums, and plenty more.

Montanita, Ecuador

Whenever you’re ready for a beach break during your South America travels, Montanita is the right destination.

This beachside town is defined by an authentic bohemian vibe and it offers amazing breaks. The low cost of living suits backpackers really well.

If you enjoy surfing or you want to learn how to do it, Montanita offers the best opportunities.

Additionally, you can head to the boardwalk and buy from street vendors. Visiting the Mirador Santuario de Olon is a must as well, so add it to the list!

Arequipa, Peru

After the capital, Lima, Arequipa is the second-largest city in Peru.

things to do in arequipa

The historical center offers amazing sightseeing in South America, but there’s many more things to see in Arequipa. Known as the “White City”, there’s a lot you can do here.

You can start at the Plaza de Armas, which is the main city square, and there’s a lot to see.

Taking a free walking tour of the city is worthwhile because you’ll get to see the highlights, such as the Alpaca Museum, views of the nearby volcanoes, and more.

Cochabamba, Bolivia

Cochabamba is full of life and it’s right in the center of Bolivia.

It’s one of the cheap places to travel in South America and there’s a lot to do there. For one, you can visit El Cristo de La Concordio, which is the highest Cristo on the continent and provides the best views.

You should also visit La Cancha, an open-air market bursting with a variety of stalls. You can get food, souvenirs, and take stock of the locals. If you enjoy hiking, the Cerro Turani is also a must-visit!

Asuncion, Paraguay

This is the capital of Paraguay and it’s one of the cheapest places in South America. Paraguay is one of the most mysterious and less visited South American countries.

asuncion paraguay

The city was founded by Spanish colonialists and it has a rich story, as well as a combination of colonial and modern architecture.

If you love art, one of your first stops should be the Museo del Barro, which is free to visit.

The National Pantheon of the Heroes is also worth visiting. It’s a popular attraction and a symbol of hope and determination.

There’s also a Zoo and a Botanical Garden, and plenty of parks, such as the Parque de la Salud.

Cheapest Country in South America

As you can see, you don’t need a big budget to experience South America at its best. Not to mention, when cutting back on certain luxuries, you allow yourself to have a more authentic experience.

It’s not easy to choose the cheapest country in South America because there are many options and usually very little time!

I really hope this guide can help you plan an affordable and super fun trip without breaking the bank too much.

You have made it this far… Why not read my epic post on backpacking South America for even more travel inspiration for visiting the continent?

Like this article? Pin it…

cheap places to visit south america

countries to visit south america

Did this help you discover the cheapest country in South America?

Leave a nice comment or let’s start a conversation below!

“ Dear friend! Some links in this post contain affiliate links. Meaning, if you click through and make a purchase, book a hostel or sign up for a tour, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you . Your support means a lot and helps me to keep traveling and maintaining the quality of this site for you.”

Daniel James

Helping thousands of people worldwide with independent travel in Latin America. Layer Culture means to dig deeper into the ideas, customs, and behavior of a group of people.

Primary Sidebar

Meet Dan

south america travel with dan

After spending years on the road Dan is now offering to help you find your feet in Latin America; inspire you to learn Spanish and get you started on your adventures. Learn how to travel longer and stronger!

Source https://www.budgetyourtrip.com/south-america/cheapest-cities

Source https://www.layerculture.com/blog/cheapest-countries-south-america/

Source https://www.layerculture.com/blog/cheapest-countries-south-america/

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