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How Much Does it Cost to Travel in South America for 3 Months?

This is a very, very, rough guide, but should help you construct that all important ball park figure when saving for your trip. All prices were, to the very best of our knowledge, were correct at the time of publishing.

Remember, there are so many variables, including where you go, how long you are staying for, how much comfort you prefer, what you want to do, and, how much you can party, so the general rule for travelling is – the more money you can take, the better!

What can you Expect to get in South America for your Money?

Ok, so we’ve chosen an amount of time, let’s break it down. For the purposes of this post we’re dividing the time up as follows: 5 weeks in Brazil, 3 weeks in Argentina, 2 weeks in Bolivia and 2 weeks in Peru.

Brazil

Average Cost of Accommodation in Brazil

The average cost of rooms in Brazil is around £12 per night (Rio and Sao Paulo bump the price up) so for 5 weeks will average out at approx £420.

Average Cost of Food in Brazil

Meal on the go: £4
Sit down 3 course meal for two people: £20
McDonalds meal: £4.50
500ml bottle water: £0.40
Bottle of Coke: £0.70
Local beer: £1.10

So, if you based your budget on eating three ‘meals on the go’ a day, as well as a couple of bottles of coke and a couple of beers that would cost you around £16 a day on food, which would total around £546 for 5 weeks in Brazil.

If you did want to push the boat out and swap a ‘meal on the go’ for a sit down meal say, 3 times a week, and add an extra couple of beers to your treat too, you can expect to add around an extra £123 to your total making it £669 for 5 weeks.

A Few Activities in Brazil

My choice of the must do activities in Brazil include:

- Rio to Ilha Grande fr £183 for 4 days
- Rio Favela tour fr £22
- Take a Christ the Redeemer tour and watch the sunset at Sugarloaf Mountain
fr £36

Bringing your total for 5 weeks in Brazil to: £1,171
(with the cost of 3 hostel nights taken off your total as accommodation is included in the Ilha Grande tour).

Argentina

Average Cost of Accommodation in Argentina

Argentina is one of the more expensive, if not the most expensive, country to visit in South America. You can expect to pay, on average, £14 for a night in a hostel but expect this to rise if you visit the larger cities and decrease slightly as you get off the beaten track.

Taking his average, 3 weeks in Argentina would cost around £294 for hostels.

Average Cost of Food in Argentina

Meal on the go: £6
Sit down 3 course meal for two people: £22
McDonalds meal: £5
500ml bottle of water: £0.90
Bottle of Coke: £1.10
Local beer: £1.20

Again if you based your budget on eating three ‘meals on the go’ a day, 2 bottles of coke and 2 beers that would cost you around £23 a day on food, which would total around £475 for 3 weeks in Argentina.

Stretch your budget even further and swap a ‘meal on the go’ for a sit down meal 3 times a week, and add an extra 2 beers and you can expect to add around an extra £57 to your total making it £532 for 3 weeks.

A Few Activities in Argentina

My choice of the must do activities in Argentina include:

- Tango show with dinner fr £53
- Visit the vineyards of Mendoza fr £90 for 3 days
- Visit the end of the world Patagonia fr £191 for 5 days

Bringing your total for 3 weeks in Argentina to: £1,005
(with the cost of 7 hostel nights taken off your total as accommodation is included in the tours).

Peru

Average Cost of Accommodation in Peru

Cuzco is the most expensive place to stay in Peru, closely followed by Lima. £10 a night is a realistic average price for accommodation here, meaning for a 2 week visit you’d be looking at around £140.

Average Cost of Food in Peru

Meal on the go: £2
Sit down 3 course meal for 2 people: £13
McDonalds meal: £3
Bottle of 500ml water: £0.30
Bottle of Coke: £0.45
Local beer: £1

If you’re looking to stick to basic meals then 3 ‘meals on the go’ a day, plus 2 bottles of coke and 2 beers would cost you somewhere in the region of £9, meaning you would spend around £126 for 2 weeks in Peru.

If you want to treat your self a little more, then swap a ‘meal on the go’ for a sit down meal 3 times a week, add an extra 2 beers and you’ll add around an extra £45 to your total making it £169.60 for 2 weeks in Peru.

A Few Activities in Peru

My choice of the must do activities in Peru include:

- Visit Lake Titicaca 1 day homestay fr £45
- Inca Trail fr £599 for 7 days
- Colca Canyon fr £123 for 3 days

Bringing your total for 2 weeks in Peru to: £952
(with the cost of 9 hostel nights taken off your total as accommodation is included in the tours).

Bolivia

Average Cost of Accommodation in Bolivia

Bolivia is one of the cheapest countries to visit in South America. Capital La Paz is the most expensive place to stay as you would expect, but if you head out of the city, the price of hostels drops considerably a good ball park figure for a night in a hostel in Bolivia is £8 per night.

So, 2 weeks at an average of £8 a night will cost you £112.

Average Cost of Food in Bolivia

Meal on the go: £1.30
Sit down 3 course meal for 2 people: £8
McDonalds meal: £3
Bottle of 500ml water: £0.55
Bottle of Coke: £0.55
Local beer:
£1

Here we go again, three ‘meals on the go’ a day, 2 bottles of coke and 2 beers would cost you approximately £7, meaning you would spend around £98 for 2 weeks in Bolivia.

Splash out a little more and swap a ‘meal on the go’ for a sit down meal 3 times a week, add 2 extra beers and you’ll add around an extra £28.20 to your total making it £126.20 for 2 weeks in Bolivia.

A Few Activities in Bolivia

My choice of the must do activities in Bolivia include:

- Visit the Salt Flats fr £173 for 3 days
- Cycle the ‘Death Road’ fr £86

Bringing your total for 2 weeks in Bolivia to: £453
(with the cost of 2 hostel nights taken off your total as accommodation is included in the tour).

If you’re looking to live the dream in South America make sure you take a look at our cheap flights and our huge selection of adventure tours – most of which include transport, accommodation and activities making budgeting super easy!

Need more inspiration? Head over to our Latin America guide and take a look at our tours.

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Showing 24 Comments

  1. Paul

    I have read the previous “how much” articles on Asia and Australia which have been fairly accurate. I appreciate this is all subjective depending on what you want and expect, however the South America article is really wrong. Brazil is by far the most expensive country in south america, this is excepted by all. Domestic travel in Brazil will be one of the biggest costs if staying 5 weeks in Brazil unless you are suggesting you spend all the time in Rio an Ilha Grande. Also Argentina is not so expensive and Peru is cheap with the hugh exception of Cuzco which is very touristy hence very expensive.

    1574 days ago
    • Lisa Crowther

      Thanks for your feedback Paul. As you’ll have noticed, travel isn’t included so this is an extra cost, the aim of the article is to provide a very general idea of basic living costs. Brazil is indeed expensive but I’ve averaged out the cost.

      1571 days ago
  2. Javier Aranda

    In the last 6 months we´ve travelled to Colombia (Cartagena, Medellin, Bogota), Ecuador (Quito, Baños, Cuenca, Guayaquil) and Lima in Peru.
    These are the figures from 6 months of travelling in South America: £18 a day per person.
    That´s £ 126 a week and £540 a month including accommodation and transport. Forecasting £6,480 a year.
    ———————————————————————————

    En los últimos 6 meses hemos viajado a Colombia (Cartagena, Medellín, Bogota), Ecuador (Quito, Baños, Cuenca, Guayaquil) y Lima en Perú.
    Estos son los números de 6 meses viajando por Sudamérica: 21€ por persona al día. Eso son 147€ por semana y 630€ al mes incluyendo transporte y alojamiento. Previendo 7.560€ al año.

    1574 days ago
    • Lisa Crowther

      Thanks for sharig Javier – that’s really helpful!

      1571 days ago
    • Amos Kimani

      Javier, for your projections have you included everything i.e transport ,accomodation etc

      1570 days ago
  3. sonia Morbey

    I agree with Paul, Brasil is a not cheap country that most of people think. I would like to know what kind of accommodation costs only £ 12 per night. I am Brazilian and know how much things cost there. My advice is do a deeply research b4 travel! South America is a worth visit!!!

    1574 days ago
  4. Lucy

    I have spent a lot of time in South America, travelling all over. You have predicted £1171 for 5 weeks in Brazil, but only included 5 days worth of activities in this budget. Are you expecting to fill the rest of the 4 weeks with completely free things. It’s great that you are trying to give people an idea of how much they may need whilst in SA, but I think these predictions are pretty unrealistic.
    An incredible continent and much cheaper than Europe or North America, but definitely not as cheap as this article would suggest, unless you are planning on doing and seeing very little.

    1574 days ago
    • Lisa Crowther

      Hi Lucy, as you can imagine a entire blog devoted to how you could fill everyday of a 3 month trip would be more of a book! This is just an idea. as you’ll notice it doesn’t include transport and most activities. But, hopefully, it should help people grasp an idea of the difference in prices between some of the countries in South America. It’s just a basic guide for those first time travellers with no idea what to expect.

      1571 days ago
  5. Slightly confused as to where my comment has gone?

    But thank you Javier, for giving a more accurate/up to date view. As I said, I have booked South America on my upcoming trip and no matter how much I research on travel sites/forums, I see mixed article reviews on how much south america costs.

    1567 days ago
  6. I have found many advisors who are providing cheapest packages to travel South America. The longer you stay the bigger is the opportunity you can get to negotiate with the prices given by the vendors. As minimum you can get 2$ per meal and $7 per 24 hours stay.

    1227 days ago
  7. Elizabeth Bateman

    Is this approximation based per person?

    1211 days ago
  8. Dan

    Hi can any body tell me if £3000 in English money will be enough to back pack South America for 2 months

    1061 days ago
  9. Dan

    Hi can any body tell me if £3000 will be enough to travel 2 months in South America?

    1061 days ago
  10. Dan, £3,000 for 2 months should be fine provided that doesn’t include your air fare there and back from Europe.

    935 days ago
  11. Imogen

    That’s not all there is to South America! In South American… What about Chile, Suriname, Guyana, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Paraguay and Bolivia. All lovely countries that have a lot to other, don’t just visit the tourist countries expand, you will love it.

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