So how much does it cost to travel South America for 50 days?
In an effort to make this blog useful, what follows is a spending summary to give fellow travelers an idea of how much it cost us to travel through Peru, Chile, and Argentina. We are frugal travelers which means we don’t spend a lot of money on things like souvenirs, fancy meals, fabulous hotels, or first-class tickets. We do, however, like to maximize the bang for our buck; this requires planning and research on our part. We are a couple, and this gives us an advantage when traveling as we can split everything 50/50. In fact, a shared double room often tends to work out cheaper than the cost of a dorm bed.
“Day Trips” includes admission fees, taxis, public transit fares, etc.
“Transport” is the cost of transportation between cities: buses, trains, boats, etc.
“Spending money” includes things like beer money, gifts, laundry, and sundries.
This budget is based on a trip we took. View the details of that trip here:
How We Conquered Half the Pan-Am Highway in 2 Months for $2000
The numbers which follow are on a per person basis.
|PEN (S/)||CAD ($)|
|Transport btw. cities||182.50||71|
|CLP ($)||CAD ($)|
|Transport btw. cities||65,152||138.20|
|ARS ($)||CAD ($)|
|Transport btw. cities||329||66|
South America Total
|Transport btw. cities||275.2|
February 9, 2013 @ 1:52 pm
Your costs were amazing low, and are a good model for others to follow.
There are a couple of things you did that I would not do:
1. Your trip to the Valley of the Gods and other places near Cusco, and
2. Your trip from Bunenos Aires.
The trip outside of the city of Cusco on all of the local transportation is just a little to open to mischief for me to talk. It was very interesting how you did it. I think that maybe in a bigger group, I would be willing to do it, but just two is not enough few people for me. However, you approach was very good to show how low the costs can be.
Buenos Aires to Lima is just too long a trip for me on a bus. Even at the low cost. From what I can see there are very many comfortable bus rides in South American. I have done Buenos Aires to Santa Fe, and Santa Fe to Rosario. In both cases, the buses were very comfortable. I have done other bus rides in Sao Paulo from the airport (GRU) to Sao Vicente by the beach. If fact in Sao Vicente, I forgot and left one of my bags at the bus station, and assumed it would be lost. I went back a few hours later and the nice people of Sao Vicente had taken it inside, and I was able to recover it. This sure increased by appreciation of how honest most people really are in Brazil. Anyway, buses can be a great low cost alternative for most people in South America. Luckily, my Spanish is pretty good, and I can also speak some Portuguese. However, even if you do not speak the local languages, and have some cards made up with addresses of where you want to go, most people in South America are friendly and will help if you are patient and try.
I have not been on this ride, but a great way to see the Andes is from Mendoza to Santiago, or the other way around. This is only an 8 hour trip, and a great way to see the Andes.
Thanks for your posting on the cost of visiting South America, and other posts of Latin American. They were most informative as are all of your postings.
February 9, 2013 @ 2:50 pm
Before we did this trip to the areas around Cusco, I would have completely agreed with you. We were a little nervous to travel to this area independently. Our travels around the Valley of the Gods were challenging at times, but for the most part the local people were incredibly helpful. There were also a few other like-minded travelers doing the same thing we were. I did not feel unsafe at any time during our trip, even on all the local transport that we took. Taking local transportation is preferable for us wherever we are. Of course you have to be mindful of your belongings, but I do that when I take a bus in Toronto. I often feel more of a target when travelling in larger tourist groups.
As for the bus ride from Buenos Aires; in fact, what we ended up doing was taking an overnight bus from Buenos Aires to Santiago which was actually quite comfortable: they served wine and dinner. We then stayed for a few more days in Santiago, Chile before we continued on to Lima. That bus ride was also very comfortable. It’s amazing how nice the buses were in Peru, Chile, and Argentina; we were surprised how easy a 12 hour bus ride was!
February 9, 2013 @ 3:23 pm
Your comments add a lot.
My the way, when you fly into Chile, at the airport they want $160 entry fee to stamp your passport.
Did you have to pay an entry fee when entering from Peru, or from Argentina?
February 9, 2013 @ 3:37 pm
We did not pay any fees when crossing the land border from Argentina to Chile.
We did pay a couple of (small) fees to cross from Peru into Chile, most of which I believe were fictional fees created by the man who organized our taxi across the border. We didn’t mind paying him the money as he organized everything very efficiently for us. Check out this post to find out exactly how much we paid. It was a lot less than $160.
February 10, 2013 @ 1:18 am
Cheers for this – I avoided Argentina and Chile because of the high(er) costs but would still LOVE to go back and visit, so this is really helpful. I have costs/budgets written up on my blog (travelola.org) for Ecuador and Bolivia (and Peru), if they’re of any help to you on your future adventures! Keep enjoying your journey 🙂
March 5, 2013 @ 12:05 am
This is an excellent break down! It’s amazing how inexpensively travel can be. So many people think that they can’t afford to travel to new places and you’ve proven that it’s possible.