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3 Months in South America Budget! How Much I Spent!

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I spent just over 3 months in South America a few years ago. When I booked the trip I really wasn’t too sure how much money I would need to budget for 3 months in South America but I knew I wanted to go so I booked a ticket and hoped it wouldn’t be too expensive.

I visited 6 countries in South America in 3 months and as it turns out, the way I 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 as a backpacker on a budget but I tried to not miss out on too many South America activities because as I quickly realised these are the best things to do in South America and if you say no to expensive day tours, you miss out on a lot. But I’ll explain that more below in my 3 months in South America budget post!

3 Months in South America Budget

3 Months in South America Budget
Keep Reading for my 3 Months in South America Budget!

2020 Update: My friend Danielle from the travel blog Escaping Essex visited South America for 3 months more recently than me on a ‘flashpackers’ budget. For more up to date costs and a great 3 month in South America itinerary, make sure you check out her posts:

How to Travel South America on a Budget?

I always stayed in hostels in a shared dorm which South America as plenty of.

I did most of the day trips available because if you don’t do them, often there is no point in going to the town, village or city you travelled to.

I didn’t spend much money on alcohol as alcohol isn’t that cheap in South America.

On average, breakfast was included in the hostel rate, I would eat lunch out and then cook dinner in the hostel from the food I brought in the markets and supermarket, I also did this for snacks. Buying food at the local markets was cheap and a great experience.

I didn’t spend much money on buying clothes or souvenirs in 3 months in South America.

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 which also ranged dramatically in cost between the countries!

Look for the best flights here!

I use Skyscanner to book all of my flights! I’m a huge fan of Skyscanner because I love how easy it is to compare different dates and routes to help me find the best flight at the best price! 

Open Skyscanner by clicking here and search for the best flights as you read this post.

South America Budget Per Country

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

Here’s my 3 week Ecuador itinerary!


Days Spent: 6
Money Spent: £130

Have you booked your flight yet??

I use Skyscanner to book all of my flights! I’m a huge fan of Skyscanner because I love how easy it is to compare different dates and routes to help me find the best flight at the best price! Open Skyscanner by clicking here and search for the best flights as you read this post.

3 Months in South America Budget

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 affected 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, Sandboarding, 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! I hope this helps you plan your South America budget and work out South America prices!


Friday 3rd of March 2023

What months did you travel during your 3 month stint?

I'm planning travelling to South America for the same duration but hear that from April/May - August/September it's wet season in that region so was thinking doing it between December - February (I just don't want to miss out on days in case there's heavy rainfall/monsoons and being stuck inside all day).


Monday 13th of March 2023

Hello, I went from January to March which was a great time to go! :)


Friday 1st of May 2015

I'm currently planning my trip around the world and I have to say that places like Brazil and Argentina are off my list at the moment, due to the high cost. :/


Saturday 2nd of May 2015

It's a shame that this is the case but yes they are SO much more expensive than a lot of countries and what I found is I went but couldn't even do much there because of the prices so better off visiting other countries and seeing more I think!Hopefully this post helped you to decide :)


Friday 24th of April 2015

This is such an informative post and really useful! It's good to know how much things cost and especially the more expensive countries.


Friday 24th of April 2015

Glad you liked it. This is the sort of thing I was trying to find when working out how much the trip would cost me so I thought I should then put my spendings out where onto the World Wide Web lol :)