The Cheapest South American Countries For Backpackers

Long term travel is not always cheap, and for many backpackers they will expect to have to try and stretch their budget in many places, and there are several different techniques that can help you to take your money a little further.
However, it is a fact that some countries are just naturally cheaper than others for backpackers, and choosing to spend more time in these inexpensive countries can really help you to take your traveling budget much further. These countries are not necessarily boring or lacking in activities either, and by exploring in these countries you will find your budget provides a whole lot of bang for your buck.


Ecuador is a country where it is possible to spend a lot of money, or to travel on a shoestring, and in many places you will find that you can find hostel accommodation for $10 or under. As the US Dollar is the currency there is no exchange required if you are traveling there from the United States, while street food such as empanadas or a hot dog will usually cost under two dollars.
If you are looking to keep things cheap in Ecuador, then you will usually have to bypass the Galapagos Islands, which will increase costs significantly.

The capital Quito is one of the most interesting places to stay, and exploring the colonial center of the city is a free activity that reveals a lot about this great city. Montanita is a coast town that is famous for its surfing conditions, so if you are taking your own board and equipment you can surf all day in great surroundings without spending anything. Banos is another great town to visit in Ecuador, nestled among some high altitude volcanoes, and offering great hiking and other outdoor sports.


This is probably the least expensive country to explore in South America, as it is also the poorest country in the region, and is one of two landlocked countries on the continent. Tourism in Bolivia is a relatively small industry, so you can often travel on local buses which helps to keep transport costs down, while food costs are also fairly low, with most meals costing around $2-$3 or less. In some places you'll find hostel beds for just a few dollars, although there are also more expensive activities such as a 4x4 safari on to the Salar de Uyuni salt flats which can increase your costs.

The colonial architecture of La Paz is interesting to explore, while the city also has a good range of museums looking at the country's historical heritage and the culture, while exploring the Witches' Market offers a look at a very different type of indigenous culture. The historic site of Tiwanaku is another place worth visiting, and is home to some amazing ruins that date from up to 1,700 years ago, with the Gate of the Sun being one of the most dramatic parts of the site.


Peru is another country where you can either travel on a budget or spend a lot, depending on how you want to get around and the accommodation you choose. Hostel rooms in Peru can often be available for the equivalent of between $8-$10 per night, while food is another area where you are likely to spend a lot of your budget, while indulging in the great range of alcoholic drinks Peru has to offer can also see you add a lot to your budget.
Cusco is a city that was the capital of the Inca Empire for many centuries and there are some great sites that you can see in the city, along with the famous Sacsayhuaman ruins on a hilltop overlooking the city. If you are looking to relax on a beach, then Mancora is the place to go, as it is well serviced by public transport, and offers some great surfing conditions and lovely sandy beaches.

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Travel Magazine: The Cheapest South American Countries For Backpackers
The Cheapest South American Countries For Backpackers
Travel Magazine
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