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Updated 2019. I spent just over 3 months in South America at the start of 2015. When I booked the trip I really wasn’t too sure how much money I would need, I knew I wanted to go and once I have an idea in my head there’s no stopping me!
I knew it was going to be more expensive than South East Asia where I had travelled for 5 months before but I hoped it wouldn’t be European Prices.
I visited 6 different Countries and it turned out that the way I had booked my trip meant I started with the most expensive countries (Brazil, Argentina & Chile) and ended with the cheaper Countries (Bolivia, Peru & Ecuador) which worked out pretty well and less stressful than the other way round.
I was on a budget in South America and travelled South America in a backpacker way but I tried to not miss out on too much because of my budget! After all, who knows when I’ll go back!
2019 Update: My friend Danielle from the travel blog Escaping Essex visited South America for 3 months at the start of 2018 on a ‘flash packers’ budget. For up to date costs and a great 3 month in South America itinerary, make sure you check out her posts:
How I travelled South America on a Budget:
I always stayed in hostels in a shared dorm. I did most of the trips available. I didn’t spend much money on alcohol as it really isn’t that cheap in South America. On average breakfast was included in the hostel rate, I would eat a lunch out and then cook dinner in the hostel from food I brought in the markets and supermarket, I also did this for snacks. I didn’t spend much money on clothes or souvenirs. I didn’t take any flights apart from to get there and leave. I took all buses to get around ranging from 4 hours to 10 hours to 22 hours.
In fact, I spent a lot of time on buses so I wrote a post on how to best survive buses in South America which you can read here!
Here is a break down of how much I spent in each country in South America, along with how long I was there for:
Days Spent: 9
Money Spent: £478
Days Spent: 11
Money Spent: £415
Days Spent: 10
Money Spent: £400
Days Spent: 12
Money Spent: £389 including £126 on the 3 day Salt Flats trip.
Days Spent: 21
Money Spent: £670
Days Spent: 21
Money Spent: £555 including £149 on the 4 day Amazon trip
Days Spent: 6
Money Spent: £130
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My flights from Birmingham UK > Rio Brazil and Lima Peru > Birmingham UK were £750 with Lufthansa. Have a look at Skyscanner to see what deal you can get!
As I mentioned the countries definitely got cheaper as I went along. I think the main thing that effected how much I spent were the prices of the buses- in Brazil, Argentina and Chile they were very expensive, whereas in Bolivia and Peru they were perry reasonable for the distance travelled and in Ecuador they were very cheap- $1USD per hour!
Day trips were another thing that I hadn’t thought about, in most places a day trip is involved in order to see the full area and its attractions and you can’t really go all the way to South America and not do them!
Some of the day trips I did and would recommend are- Rio city tour, Iguazu Falls, Wine tour in Mendoza, visiting moon valley and geysers in North Chile, the Salt Flats tour, biking death road in La Paz, visiting the floating islands on Lake Copacabana, Sand boarding, Machu Picchu, Glacier tour in Peru, Amazon tour in Ecuador.
Overall I loved South America and the money I spent in South America was totally worth it!
More Posts from South America:
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