South America Budget: The context
During our road trip in South America we went through 3 countries which have drastically different budgets! We started with Chile, which is one of the most expensive country in South America, and ended with Bolivia and Peru, which are well-known to be cheaper countries.
Overall, even though South America is a continent that is more expensive than Asia, it does remain affordable to travel there if you choose to eat « local » or to sleep in economical places.
Let’s go my lovely Travellers, I share with you the details of my South America Budget !
Most of the time grocery, and cheap restaurants
Chili: How many days?
Bolivia: How many days?
Peru: How many days?
Budget: Which style?
It’s always a little hard to know if we have the same way of traveling and therefore the same type of budget …. But let me help you a bit!
I’m no longer in the « student travel » with reduced comfort at a reduced price, but more on a thirty-year-old style. I pay attention to my expenses but appreciate a little bit of comfort here and there. I like to go near to the local population and run away from too touristy places as much as possible. Sometimes, I appreciate a nice bottle of wine or good restaurants, but I always stay on the lookout for good deals and the best value for money.
With that being said, it’s up to you to adapt my budget up or down according to your own style
South America Budget: The detail
$2900 CAD per pers. (1900€)
$104 CAD/ day (68€) (*Flight Excluded)
BUDGET for 3 FLIGHTS: Toronto->South America
$1055 CAD per pers. (673€)
We paid our plane ticket 50% more than normal-prices, which brings our flights to equal 40% of my South American Budget! Given the spontaneity of the departure for this trip (decided 6 days before!) We paid the last-minute price! But above all, we took a multi-destination flight with a departure from Toronto to Santiago in Chile, and a return from Lima in Peru to Toronto. On top of that, we booked an internal flight from Arequipa to Lima for $95 CAD (61 €) which saved us 15 hours of bus!
If you want to visit several countries during your road trip in South America, you have two options: either you know your return dates and can purchase a multi-destination flight; or, you’re not sure of when and from where you will go back, and you only buy a one-way flight. Be careful though, sometimes the immigration of some countries might require a round trip ticket upon arrival on the territory.
Just for the record, a « classic » round-trip Toronto-Lima averages around $600 CAD (380 €) and a Paris-Lima $ 1200 CAD (750 €)
BUDGET for CULTURAL VISITS
$619 CAD per pers. (400€)
$22 CAD per day (14€ / $10 700 CLP)
The expenses for cultural visits are unsurprisingly the # 2 expenses of our South America Budget. Indeed, even though this continent is full of very pretty cities, the truth is we primarily go to SA to explore its landscapes and wide-open spaces.
Since most excursions have entrance fees or are done through an agency, prices go up fast! As I explain in my article (coming soon) on San Pedro de Atacama, Chile has represented a big part of our expenses. Especially at the desert of Atacama where we could have done things differently for cheaper. We’ll know for the next time, or in any case, you’ll know
BUDGET for ACCOMMODATION – 25 Nights –
$450 CAD per pers. (297€)
$16,6 CAD per day (12€/ $9 150 CLP)
About accommodation, our final score is about $16 CAD per day per person! Not so bad, right? Again, keep in mind that half of our trip was in Chile where everything is 2 or 3 times more expensive than in Peru.
What type of comfort? Well …thirty-year old passed and you become … how would I say … a little more demanding! So, we wanted to pay attention to the budget while maintaining a minimum of comfort. To give you an idea we spotted the hostels on Booking and did not go below the ratings of 7/10 given by previous travelers. Most of the time we took private double room with shared sanitary (except in Caldera, Chile where we stayed in dormitory for 2 nights and in Peru where we had a little higher comfort)
BUDGET for TRANSPORTATION
$256 CAD per pers. (168€)
$9 CAD per day (6€/ $4 600 CLP)
The transportation expenses are unsurprisingly our expenses # 4 of our South America Budget. However, transportation in South America does not cost that much compare to the distances you travel and the comfort of the buses. Honestly, I was more comfortable sleeping in the bus than sleeping in the plane! Most long-distance buses offer « cama » or « semi-cama » seats, which means that their seats can be inclined by 90° to become beds. Most agencies also provide blankets. and sometimes sellers go up for breakfast or snacks.
Overall, it is an economical way of transportation to get around. However, you obviously have to have time ahead of you. I advise you to take night bus to avoid wasting too much time on the roads and to save one night at the hostel. However, if you have time, sometimes the scenery might worth to take a day ride bus.
Finally, last advice: sometimes it may be worth looking at any internal flights! We had met tourists in San Pedro de Atacama (North of Chile) who had paid their plane ticket $46 CAD from Santiago to San Pedro! Unbeatable in terms of time and money! Not even by bus!
BUDGET for RESTAURANTS – SNACKS
$248 CAD per pers. (163,5€)
$9 CAD per day (6€/ $4 600 CLP)
Overall, we had breakfasts at the hostel in the morning, snaking during the day, and mid-range/cheap restaurants for dinner. Depend of the country, it may cost more to go shopping than to eat at cheap restaurants.
Indeed, even if it was worth saving money while shopping in Chile, this rule was not at all true in Peru! We could eat for really cheap outside while the products at the supermarket were quite expensive!
On average I ate dishes (starter + main course + drink) in Peru for about 10-15 Soles, or $5 CAD (3€). I can tell you that after the Chile, these Peruvians prices were a good new for my finances
BUDGET for GROCERY SHOPPING
$136 CAD per pers. (90€)
$5 CAD per day (3,2€/ $2 500 CLP)
In Chile, most of the time we went shopping and cook at the hostel to save a bit of money. Eating at restaurants can become fast expensive in Chile, especially in tourist places such as San Pedro de Atacama. The grocery Budget also includes all mineral waters and snacks purchased daily for our nature or city breaks!
BUDGET for DRINKS AND PARTY
$73 CAD per pers. (48€)
$2,5 CAD per day (1,7€ / $1 300 CLP)
Well, at $2,5 CAD a day, we can say that we did not go to South America to party! lol It’s true that for our first trip to South America we were cautious and avoided going out too late. But we enjoyed our daily cocktail or beer after long hours visiting.
BUDGET for OTHER PURCHASE
$68 CAD per pers. (45,5 CAD)
$2,4 CAD per day (1,6€ / $1 220 CLP)
Once arrived at the desert of Atacama we had to equip ourselves correctly! My fancy glasses were not going to be enough, so I bought polaroid sunglasses and we bought caps, sunscreen, selfie stick + multiple purchases all along our road trip!
BUDGET for SOUVENIRS
$30 CAD per pers. ($19,6€)
We strategically waited for Peru to make our shopping souvenirs. One, to avoid carrying them during the whole trip and second, for the attractive prices! To give you an idea, with this budget I got gloves, socks, sweater and small memories.
Includes any alcoholic beverages or aperitif.
Includes small purchases such as Deo – tissues – sunscreen – glue …
Map of my 1-month road trip in South America
Jours 1, 2 et 3 : Santiago
Jours 4, 5 et 6 : Valparaíso
Jours 7, 8 et 9 : Caldera
Jours 10, 11, 12, 13, et 14 : San Pedro de Atacama
Jours 15, 16, 17 et 18 : Bolivie et la région Sud Lipez
Jours 19, 20, 21, et 22 : Puno et nuit sur le lac Titicaca
Jours 23, 24 et 25 : Trek Canyon del Colca
Jours 26 et 27 : Arequipa
Jour 28 : Lima
Articles about South America
That’s it, you better know my South America Budget!
If you wish to discover more about each visited country, or about their detailed budgets, it is here! (coming soon)
In the meantime, you can also discover the details of itinerary in South America via Chile, Bolivia, Peru!
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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!
Never without my SLR Pentax K-50, I share on social networks my photos of trips, come and don’t be shy to follow!
The most beautiful trip is the one we have not done yet. Loick Peyron