Floris backpacked from Peru to Argentina via Bolivia and Chile. He cycled the deathliest road in Bolivia, got a bed bug, visited Machu Picchu, played with perspective at Salar de Uyuni, drank wine and ate beef in Argentina and partied in all four countries. In other words: he had an amazing time. So, how much money do you need for 2 months backpacking in South America? 

This article is part of the Money Matters series in which we ask travelers to keep their expenses for Bunch of Backpackers. Real travelers, real expenses.  


*These daily travel expenses are per one person per day.  Including all tours, domestic flights, souvenirs, lodging, food, drinks, entrance fees, tips etc. Excluding international flights.

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia ©Floris
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia ©Floris


Peru: 42,63 euro (52,10 USD)
Bolivia: 48,35 euro (59,08 USD) (Bolivia was unexpectedly quite expensive per day, but this can be explained by the many activities)
Chili: 40,50 euro (48,65 USD)
Argentina: 55,14 euro (59,08 USD) 

Some notable South America expenses 


Huacachina sandboarding and sandbuggy tour (5 hours): 9,6 euro (10,8 USD)
Daytrip Sacred Valley: 12,1 euro (13,7 USD) plus 19,0 (21,5 USD) euro entrance fee
Colca Canyon trip: 19,0 (21,5 USD) euro plus 19,0 euro (21,5 USD) entrance fee 
2-day trip to Machu Picchu: 81,8 euro (92,5 USD)


Death Road Cycling: 55,67 euro (63 USD)
3-day climb Huanya Potosi: 124,37 euro (140 USD)
Thermal underwear, clothing, head, scarf, gloves and snack for Huanya Potosi: 94 euro (106 USD)
Halfday tour silver mines in Cerro Rico in Potosi: 11,84 euro (13,4 USD)
3-day trip to Salar de Uyuni and southwest Bolivia ending in San Pedro de Atacama: 88,84 euro (100,5 USD)


Valle de la Luna half day tour: 13,56 euro (16,29 USD)
Full day bicycle hire: 4,07 euro (4,88 USD) (Tip Floris: check your bike. Getting a flat tire in the middle of the desert is no joke)
Stargazing in San Pedro: 20,34 euro (24,44 USD)


Raften in Salta: 54,52 euro (65,50 USD)
Tour naar Cafayate: 22,4 euro (26,9 USD)
Bicycle hire in Maipu for a wine tour: 6,8 euro (8,19 USD)

Flight from Buenos Aires to Lima: 814 euro

Machu Picchu, Peru. ©Floris.
Machu Picchu, Peru. ©Floris.


About the backpackers: Floris, the Netherlands, 28 years
Destination and travel period: South America in September en October 2014 for 58 days 
Visited places: Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina
Type of trip: Solo, independently
Accommodation*: budget (mainly hostels and guesthouses)
Transportation*: budget (cheapest available mode of transportation) 
Food*: budget and standard (local restaurants and western places)

*4 options: basic, budget, standard and luxury


  • One of my biggest expenses was beer/liquor during clubbing and in hostels. I think I spent at least 200 euro’s on this alone during my South America trip. Drinking/partying less could have been a way to save money!
  • Eating in hostels is easy and often good, but more expensive compared to local restaurants
  • Some of our favorite hostels include: Loki Hostel in La Paz, the Wild Rover Hostel in Arequipa and the Bananas Hostel in Huacachina.

Read the separate Money Matters articles and find out how much Floris spent in Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina?

Recommended further reading

Safety tips for the adventurous solo backpacker

How to pack your backpack? 

How to choose the ideal backpack without going crazy? 


Have you traveled in South America? Can you relate to these travel costs? 


  1. Really interesting to compare costs with what I did and see the varying travel styles. For three months I jumped around South America and tallied 6,000 miles within that timeframe without breaking $3,000USD (I spent around $2,800), but did so without paying for tours, museum entrances, or any extraneous gear rentals. The tradeoff, of course, was that I passed on a lot of the classic backpacking destinations listed here (such as the Death Road in Bolivia or rafting in Salta) and missed some wonderful hostel experiences (opting to couch-surf instead). What I liked about reading this article was learning that I could hit everything I want to see, “live it up” a little bit, and not break the bank – which is what I overly concerned myself with on a daily basis. Cool write-up and happy traveling! See you on the road.

  2. Hey Misha! Yes, that’s also one of the goals of the Money Matters series :) Obviously, everyone has different travel styles and wishes, but it’s fun and useful to compare once in a while. I’m also quite often overly worried about ‘expensive’ tours etc., but when you add it all up it doesn’t really matter much! Thanks for stopping by and lets stay in touch!! Manouk


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