This beautiful Road Trip in South America has been planned only 6 days before departure, so my organization was minimal
Therefore, we arrived without having a clear itinerary in mind. The only thing we knew was that we will arrived in Chile and will leaved 1 month later from Peru, and in between we wanted to go to the Salar D’Uyuni in Bolivia!
Now that I’m back from my Road Trip I can tell you that I love the freedom of not having a real itinerary! It allowed me to be flexible and to switch my plans based on travellers’ feedbacks!
Let’s go, I’ll make you travel with me through 3 beautiful countries for 1-month Road Trip in South America!
Road trip in South America: The context
$2 900 CAD/pers (1 900€)
* To discover the detailed budget of my one-month road trip through Chile, Bolivia, and Peru, here it is > Budget South America: Road Trip 1 month in Chile, Bolivia and Peru
Map of my one-month itinerary in South America
Days 1 et 2 : Santiago
Days 3, 4, 5 and 6 : Valparaíso
Days 7, 8 et 9 : Caldera
Days 10, 12, 13, and 14 : San Pedro de Atacama
Days 15, 16, 17, and 18 : Bolivia and Sud Lipez region
Days 19, 20, 21, and 22 : Puno and night on the Titicaca Lake
Days 23, 24 and 25 : Trek Canyon del Colca
Days 26 and 27 : Arequipa
Day 28 : Lima
Road trip in South America: Detail of the itinerary
Days 1 and 2 : Santiago
$220 CAD/pers (146€)
We started our Road Trip in South America by the Chilean Capital and the least we can say is that this big city has many different atmospheres according to the neighborhoods you’d visit. That can leave you with a mixed opinion, or totally enchanted!
To optimize our visit and discover the city in a minimum of time, we chose to visit the city with Tour4Tips, which are tours done by locals who share all their little secrets!
Funicular of Santiago, Chile
Wine tasting at Bocánariz, Santiago, Chili.
Days 3, 4, 5 and 6 : Valparaíso
$189 CAD/pers (126€)
Here is a beautiful example of improvisation and itinerary adaptation! Initially we thought we would spend a day or two in Valparaiso and we ended up staying there 4 days! We immediately fell in love with our hostel and with this colorful city.
Valparaiso is located 96 miles north-west from Santiago and is easily accessible by bus from Santiago (about $10,5 CAD (7 €) for the one-way ticket). If I had to describe the city in two words, it would be: Hills and Streets Art.
If you only have to visit one neighborhood, go to Cerro Alegre! It’s pretty! Between its sloping stairs and its thousands of graffiti, you will have a nice artistic walk that you can end with a Piso Sour cocktail at Taulat and enjoy the view of the city from their rooftop.
Streets of Valparaíso, Chile
View from the rooftops of Valparaíso, Chile
Days 7, 8, and 9 : Caldera
$239 CAD/pers (160€)
We left Valparaiso the night before and took the night bus to reach Caldera located more than 13,5 hours away. We paid $48,5 CAD/ pers (32 €) with the company Pullman Bus.
Concerning the transportation, throughout our Road Trip in South America, we traveled as much as possible by night bus. That allowed us to save money by saving one night at the hostel and to enjoy the days to visit instead of travelling.
We chose to stop at Caldera to cut the road for San Pedro de Atacama located to the north. Caldera was also our little “beach break” with Bahia Inglesia.
Caldera is located in the desert of Atacama. The high temperatures make the city calm with its fishing port (and their sea lions) and its artisan market. That was the perfect atmosphere we were looking for after having visited 2 busy cities! The next day we rented bikes and went 3,5 miles away for a beach day at Bahia Inglesia.
Harbor of Caldera, Chile
Bahia Iglesia, Chile.
Days 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14: San Pedro de Atacama
$510 CAD/pers (340€)
We took a night bus to San Pedro de Atacama located more than 10 hour’s drive from Caldera. (Budget of $42 CAD/pers (28 €) with the company TurBus)
We were looking forward to this stage of our journey! Indeed, San Pedro de Atacama was THE spot where we will discover the natural beauty of the Pacha Mama (aka the mother earth)! We spent there 5 busy days, hiking in the mountains, visiting the Geysers at 4am, admiring the sunsets in the desert, the flamingos and so on! San Pedro de Atacama is full of activities and excursions to do which worth to stay there minimum 4-5 days to get enough time!
However, be careful with your budget because San Pedro de Atacama is expensive! Indeed, SPA is a very small village in the desert with one or two mini-markets at exorbitant prices. The restaurants are also a little bit pricier that somewhere else in Chile. Finally, the excursions’ budget represents an important part of the total budget: $237 CAD/ pers (160€) over 4 days.
Chili.Geysers del Tatio, Chile
Valle de la Muerte, Chile
Lagunas Miscanti and Miniques, Chile
Days 15, 16, 17 and 18: Bolivia and the Sud Lipez region
$287 CAD/pers (178€)
Our Road Trip in South America continues with a new country! After about 12 hours of night bus and a crossing of the border in the middle of nowhere, here we are in Bolivia! (Budget $46 CAD/pers (30€) with the Bus company Frontera del Norte)
We first went to Uyuni, an uninteresting city except for being the starting point of all the excursions tours in the South Lipez region!
And we could hardly go there! Indeed, due to the bad weather of the previous days, most agencies refused to go on excursions!!
Fortunately for us, we were able to find an agency, and we spent 3 fantastic days in the middle of an unbelievable nature 🙂
Salar d’Uyuni, Bolivia.
The calm before the storm, Bolivia
The Bolivian lagoons, Sud Lipez region
Sud Lipez region, Bolivia. Photo credit Laura
Days 19, 20, 21 and 22: Peru, Puno and the Titicaca lake
$169 CAD/pers (108€)
Once again, we left Bolivia with a night bus and after a short stop at the La Paz train station, we continued the road toward our 3rd and last country of our Road Trip in South America: Peru!
We took the Cruz del Sur Bus company from Uyuni to La Paz, then the Panasur company from la Paz to Puno, with a total price of $40 CAD/ pers (24€)
Delighted with the attractive Peruvian prices, and quite dirty after 3 days in the middle of the Bolivian nature, we took the « luxury » of a room with a private bathroom and a laundry… The happiness! 🙂
After 3 days constantly on the road + 17 hours to reach Peru, we were happy to rest a bit and to slow down the pace.
Therefore, we rested a bit in Puno with a lighter program for 2 days and then we spent 2 days and 1 night on the Titicaca lake.
The Uros island, the Titticaca lake, Peru
Prayers on the Titicaca Lake, Peru
Days 23, 24 and 25: Trek in the Canyon del Colca
$151 CAD/pers ($97)
A trek in the Colca Canyon is a classic of the region of Arequipa. The Canyon being located between Puno and Arequipa, we decided to take an agency directly at Puno and to sleep one night in the village of Chivay before doing our 2 days of Trek in the Canyon of Colca. We paid more than if we booked our trip from Arequipa, but we saved time, which was becoming more and more valuable at the end of our trip! (Price of the 2 days / 2 nights excursion + transfers: $90 CAD/ pers (57,5 €)
If you have time and want a small sporting challenge and especially if you want to be surrounded by beautiful landscapes, then I urge you to go trekking in the Colca Canyon. On a two-days trek you will go start early on the Day 1, walk +/- 4 hours, and then you will walk down into the Canyon and spend the night in a small and charming wooden bungalow. Early on the next day, at about 4am you will start walking up the mountain for about 3 hours! Frankly that was hard, but I loved it! 🙂
Being alone (the people of the group walked each at their own pace) at dawn and in the Peruvian mountains was fantastic. On top of that I love personal challenges! The only thing I hated was my bag! Well too heavy lol!
Trek in the Colca Canyon, Peru.
Trek in the Colca Canyon, Peru.
Days 26 and 27: Arequipa
$100 CAD/pers (64€)
Arequipa my love …. I immediately fell in love with this city! This is the 2nd largest city in Peru and despite the crazy traffic and the clouds when we were there those days, the crush was immediate!
I do not know if it was because I was missing Europe, but I fell in love with its little alleys and pedestrian streets, its squares, its cathedrals, and its cafes and restaurants! I felt so good in this city that I decided to come back alone 1 month later to take Spanish lessons, and to discover deeper this beautiful city… but I will talk you about this second trip in Peru later soon!
In the meantime, I recommend you to start at Arequipa 2 to 3 days according to your timing and then to continue with a trek in the Canyon del Colca.
Plaza de Armas, Arequipa, Peru.
Day 28: Lima
$136 CAD/pers (89€)
Unfortunately, the month of February is a little bit shorter than the other months, and the 29th was the last day of our 1-month Road Trip in South America! We spent this last day in the Peruvian capital: Lima!
The city is huge and neighborhoods can be separated by almost 10 miles! So, we decided to only visit the neighborhood of Barranco. Its street art made us think of Valparaiso in Chile!
And we ended our Road Trip in South America as we started it: by a Free Walking Tour! We had the privilege of doing a private tour with a globetrotter on the roads for the past 15 years and who fell in love with Peru! We spent a beautiful moment!
Lima, Barranco, Peru
Lima, Barranco, Peru
Here we go! Now you know all the details of our Road Trip in South America! You can find out more about this beautiful continent with my articles on the budget by countries or cities, as well as other travel stories!
Articles on South America
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Discover my detailed budget and itinerary through Chile, Bolivia and Peru …
Welcome to my travel and budgets blog 🙂
My name is Cyrielle, and I created 6sous-to-Travel to share with you my passion for travel, but also to help you prepare your next vacation by sharing my detailed budgets by destination.
Expatriate in Canada, in Toronto, since 2015, I will give you the budgets in three currencies: The local currency, the Canadian Dollar and the Euro … just that!
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The most beautiful trip is the one we have not done yet. Loick Peyron