Ultimate South America Backpacking Travel Guide 2020
South America at a Glace
Countries I visited
Top 5 Things to See and Do in South America
Other Things to See and Do in South America
1. Vinicunca, PeruKnown as Montaña de Siete Colores, the Rainbow Mountain is the national trademark of Peru. Only a two-hour drive from Cusco, the colorful mountain is a popular tourist attraction. Deep in the Ausangate Mountain range, the striking colored mountain is hard to find. The six day hike is, however, a very enjoyable experience for adventure lovers.
2.Rio De Janeiro, BrazilFamous for its large urban forest, with magnificent peaks, this city holds numerous secrets. A fascinating blend of European-African culture has amazing sceneries, magnificent beaches, and crazy parties. Explore the mesmerizing mountains through dozens of hiking trails.
3. Vharbour Island, BahamasThis small island is packed with charming beaches, beautiful pastel cottages, amazing hotels, and restaurants. But it is mainly famous for its pink sand beaches along the eastern shore. The tropical oasis consists of miles of endless pink sand beaches. The western coast is also home to several marinas and beaches. The outlying coral reefs are home to some amazing variety of marine life. With its amazing resorts and various beautiful beaches, Harbour Island is one of the most desired destinations in South America.
4. COTOPAXI NATIONAL PARK, ECUADORAn deal winter destination, the Cotopaxi National Park is located just outside Quito and is a perfect destination for a day trip. Hike beautiful Laguna Limpiopungo Lake; watch the hummingbirds, tiny bunnies and Andean Gulls; or bike down various mountain trails. Indulge in beautiful sceneries and enjoy it to the fullest. If you are not much of a hiking fan there are also jeeps available to take you to the mountain top, with some nearby lodges to spend the night. Enjoy the stunning early morning view of a volcano like you will not find anywhere else.
5. CARTAGENA DE INDIAS, COLOMBIAWith energetic vibes and friendly people, the city is so full of Caribbean energy. The city is home to some of the best preserved colonial sites of South America, which were once the biggest slave ports of the Spanish colony. Stroll in the beautiful town and explore the amazing castles, old churches and colorful streets of the colonial architecture.
6. TORRES DEL PAINE, CHILEHome to diverse landscapes, Torres del Paine soars above the Patagonian steppe. Three granite towers are the main attraction other than the golden grasslands, blue glacier, and high mountains. Surrounded by beautiful clear water lakes, the huge granite mountains with various amazing hiking trails are the dream of any adventurous hiker.
7. BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINAThe big cosmopolitan city has the most European touch and is the hub of various art galleries, museums, cultural centers, and theaters. Enjoy the tasty cuisine, the steak especially, and the red wine while exploring the historical sites, museums, plazas and dining establishments of the city. Witness and learn the seductive, bustling and captivating tango dance with its exciting energy. The thumping nightlife will keep you captivated the whole night.
8. PANTANAL, BRAZILSprawled across three countries, i.e. Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia, the largest tropical wetland is spread on more than 42 million acres. The pristine wetland is visited by almost 1 million tourists every year. The iconic wildlife and plant species are the major attraction of this tropical wetland. The presence of around 4,000 animal and plant species has made it very important to be conserved.
9. GOLD MUSEUM, COLOMBIAOne of the most fascinating museums in South America is the Gold Museum in Bogota. There are more than 55,000 art pieces made of gold and other materials which are an indication of Colombia’s pro-Hispanic cultures. Descriptions are written in English and Spanish but I suggest you get audio guides to have a better understanding of the stories associated with these art pieces.
10. PARQUE NACIONAL DOS LENÇÓIS MARANHENSES, BRAZILThe perfect white sand dunes and crystal clear freshwater lagoons make this place popular among the tourists, especially during the rainy season. The priceless beauty of the place is impossible to be captured justly in a picture. You can only witness its true beauty with your naked eyes. But be prepared with proper equipment. Don’t forget to pack a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and water. Walking boots or trainers can be a good choice to walk on the varying sand of the park.
11. THE WITCHES’ MARKET, BOLIVIAThe weird Witches’ Market is a lively tourist attraction despite its strangeness. You will find numerous vendors selling potions, magic charms and strange ingredients like dead frogs, etc. These ingredients and products that are used in various rituals are said to be done in order to call on the spirits. You will also find yatri, also known as the witch doctors, in black bowler hats, who provide spiritual services in exchange for a small amount of money.
12. CORICANCHA, CUSCOAlso written as Qoricancha, Koricancha or Qorikancha, the beautiful temple was once the most important and sacred place of the Inca empire. The Coricancha complex was used to be the heart of the sacred land of Cusco and was a major point for the religious activities of the city. When the Spanish arrived in the region they demolished most of the temple and built the Santo Domingo Church on its foundations. Only a small part of the temple with the remaining walls was preserved.
|Country||Accommodation (per night)||Food||Transportation||Activities ( per activity)||Daily Cost|
$5.00 - $15.00
$5.00 - $10.00
$5.00 - $10.00
$10.00 - $15.00
$30.00 - $60.00
$25.00 - $35.00
$15.00 - $20.00
$10.00 - $20.00
$20.00 - $30.00
$60.00 - $90.00
$25.00 - $40.00
$20.00 - $30.00
While some expenses are inevitable you can still save money in different ways. Here are some tips that might help you save some extra pennies while you are in South America.
1. TOURS: BOOK THROUGH YOUR HOSTEL, OR FROM A LOCALI find that hostels typically have good deals for their occupants, though I can usually find cheaper prices by just wandering about the tourist areas, you always take a gamble with this, but you’ll find that people pay different price points for the exact same tour.
2. ACCOMMODATION: AIRBNB, COUCHSURFING AND HOSTELSTry CouchSurfing and Airbnb. Helps a lot to get good and cheap accommodation. In a continent so huge and beautiful, camping an ideal way to enjoy the beauty as well as saving some accommodation cost. Hostels are always cost efficient. In some countries, you will find a dorm room for even $4.00. Just need to look carefully.
3. EAT LOCALYou will find many international restaurants around in the region but what is the point if you don’t enjoy the local food while exploring a destination? Besides, international food is very expensive and you might want to leave it for when you are back home. Go to a local restaurant and choose from a variety of soups, pasta, salads, beans, meat, etc.
4. COOK YOUR FOODAlthough local food is not very expensive in South America you can still save the cost if you do all the cooking.
5. PRE-PLAN YOUR TRIPWhile on a trip, things usually don’t go the way we had planned them to be but still planning helps you keep things in order. Pre-plan your trip so that you might have a cost estimation as well as an idea of where are how you are going to travel. Keep an eye on the flight schedules and you might get some cheap opportunity.
6. TRAVEL LOCALCheck out for national bus ride passes to save more money. Many countries like Argentina offer a national bus pass in as low as $160.00 for unlimited rides nationwide.
7.TRAVEL AT NIGHTYou can use night buses to travel long distances, it saves you the cost of housing.
Where To Stay
Hostel Achalay in Bariloche
Wild Rover In La Paz
Santa Catarina State
How To Get Around
Car rental places don’t allow cross-border renting, so it is not possible to travel through rental cars in this region.
Train travel is not much of an option as there is no reliable international train service.
The roads in South America are not in very good condition but they have a really good bus network. The bus travel might be time-consuming but is a reliable, cheap and easy way of traveling.
I personally prefer traveling through buses as it gives me more opportunity to explore the beauty of the region in detail and to interact with locals. Traveling by bus is cheap but comfortable, even the lowest standard is relaxing and easy going. If you go for better quality service they might also serve you some refreshments during the long journey. Usually, the routes are company specific, but for a popular destination, there might be more than one bus company offering the service.
Apart from the bus route, flying is a good option especially if you have a short time. But for flying you need to have a better budget capacity, whereas, buses are cheap and economical.
When To Go
How To Stay Safe and Aware of Scams
1. SEPARATE VALUABLESKeep your spending money separate from the important stuff like passport, credit cards, etc.
2. BE CONFIDENTBe confident, informed and purposeful. Usually, people who are confused and don’t know much about their surroundings are targeted.
3. DRUGSAvoid drugs. Getting involved with drugs in South America might get you in lots of trouble.
4. MONEY BELTKeep your belongings safe and close to you while traveling. It is more appropriate to use an under-belt wallet to keep your money and passport.
5. BE VIGILANTEBe aware of your surroundings. Don’t be too paranoid but remain conscious if you feel anything suspicious around.
6. BE SMARTEven if after all the precautions you encounter a robber, DO NOT RESIST! They usually have weapons which they don’t hesitate using. Safe your life first.
7. TRAVEL INSURANCEMost important is to get travel insurance during your journey. This insurance can help you a lot in case of some injury, theft, cancellation, etc.
2 Pairs of Shorts
5 long sleeve
8 pairs of underwear
Medicine: ANT (Its hot) Medicine: Tums, Aspirin, Pepto , Antibacterial Cream, Hydrocortisone cream
1 Pair of jeans
Toiletries: Toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, floss, shampoo and body wash
Locks: Some hostels provide locks for a fee, so bring your own Laundry Bag Hand Sanitizer
Quick dry towel
8 pairs of socks
Did I Miss Something? Let Me Know In The Comments!
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