Top 5 Cheapest Countries to Visit in South America

by 22 Feb 2024South America

Exploring South America presents an unparalleled adventure teeming with vibrant cultures, breathtaking landscapes, and an array of UNESCO-listed sites. For travellers seeking to immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of Latin American wonders without straining their wallets, certain destinations stand out for their affordability and allure. Among these, five countries particularly shine as budget-friendly havens offering a wealth of experiences that promise both savings and splendour. In planning your journey across this diverse continent, consider leveraging Holiday Swap, a preferred accommodation option that not only ensures a comfortable stay but also significantly reduces your travel expenses, allowing you to allocate more of your budget to unforgettable experiences.


Bolivia: Unmatched Natural Beauty on a Budget

Bolivia is a treasure trove of natural attractions and cultural landmarks. From the surreal landscapes of Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat, to the rich indigenous cultures, Bolivia offers an affordable yet profound travel experience. The cost of living here is among the lowest in South America, making it an ideal destination for budget travellers. Highlights include:


  • Exploring Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, shared with Peru.
  • Venturing into the Amazon Basin for incredible landscapes and wildlife.
  • The cultural richness of La Paz, the world’s highest capital city, offering unique markets and colonial architecture.


Accommodation costs are surprisingly low, with options ranging from basic hotels to budget hostels, ensuring a comfortable stay without breaking the bank. Bolivia’s diverse landscapes, from the Andean mountains to the Amazon, provide backpackers and budget travelers with an array of memorable experiences and photo-worthy moments, all accessible via a well-connected public transportation system.


white and black mountain under blue sky during daytime

La Paz, Bolivia


Ecuador: Diverse Landscapes and Cultural Richness


Ecuador stands out for its incredible biodiversity, encompassing everything from Amazon rainforests to the peaks of the Andes, and the enchanting Galapagos Islands. Despite its small size, Ecuador packs a punch with its affordable travel experiences. Key attractions include:


  • The historic centers of Quito and Cuenca, both UNESCO World Heritage sites, famed for their well-preserved colonial buildings and vibrant cultural scenes.
  • The biodiverse Amazon Rainforest, offering unique wildlife viewing opportunities.
  • The adventure-filled Galapagos Islands, accessible through budget-friendly tours.


The daily cost of living in Ecuador is low, making it a paradise for budget travelers and those looking to explore without splurging. With a variety of accommodation options, from hostels to guesthouses, Ecuador caters to all types of travelers, ensuring a comfortable stay amidst its natural and cultural wonders.


green lake near mountain under blue sky during daytime

Quilotoa, Ecuador


Colombia: Vibrant Cities and Lush Landscapes


Colombia’s transformation and resurgence on the global stage have made it a must-visit destination for travelers drawn to its vibrant cities, lush coffee plantations, and Caribbean beaches. Colombia combines affordability with awe-inspiring experiences, such as:


  • The historic charm of Cartagena, with its colorful colonial buildings and cobblestone streets.
  • The coffee region’s rolling hills, offering tours and tastings in the capital of coffee country.
  • Medellín, once known for its bad reputation, now celebrated for innovation and culture.


Colombia’s cost of living remains low, with daily budgets stretching further than in many other countries. Accommodation options abound, from budget hostels to mid-range hotels, all offering excellent value. Colombia’s rich culture, friendly locals, and diverse landscapes make it a bucket list destination for many travelers.


buildings near mountain

Bogota, Colombia


Peru: Ancient Wonders and Culinary Delights


Peru is synonymous with the mystique of ancient civilizations and the culinary excellence of Latin America. It’s a country where the past and present coalesce, offering visitors a taste of its archaeological wonders and modern delights. Highlights include:


  • The iconic Machu Picchu, reachable via the scenic Inca Trail.
  • The culinary capital of Lima, where traditional flavors meet gourmet innovations.
  • The Sacred Valley, dotted with Inca ruins and traditional markets.


Despite its popularity, Peru remains an affordable destination, especially outside of peak tourist seasons. The country’s varied geography, from coastal areas to the Andes, ensures a plethora of activities suitable for every interest and budget. Accommodations range from budget-friendly hostels in Aguas Calientes to comfortable lodges along the Inca Trail, catering to adventurers and culture enthusiasts alike.


city on island during day

Lima, Perú


Paraguay: Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventure


Paraguay, often overlooked by mainstream tourism, is a hidden gem offering authentic South American experiences without the crowds. Its affordability, warm hospitality, and off-the-beaten-path attractions make it a unique destination. Key experiences include:


  • The Jesuit ruins of Encarnación, a testament to the country’s rich history.
  • The vast wilderness of the Chaco, perfect for those seeking adventure in unspoiled nature.
  • Asunción, the capital, blending colonial history with modernity.


Paraguay’s low cost of living and accommodation costs make it an ideal destination for travelers looking to explore South America on a budget. Its lesser-known status means that visitors can enjoy a more authentic experience, delving into the heart of South American culture without the usual tourist trappings.


Ñacunday Falls, Paraguay

Ñacunday Falls, Paraguay


Embarking on Your South American Journey with Holiday Swap


As you plan your South American adventure, consider making Holiday Swap your go-to for accommodation. Not only does it offer an affordable way to stay in comfortable homes across the continent, but it also allows you to immerse yourself in local cultures and communities, making your travel experience even more enriching and memorable. Whether you’re trekking through the Andes, exploring ancient ruins, or basking on sun-soaked beaches, Holiday Swap ensures that your journey through the top 5 cheapest countries to visit in South America is both budget-friendly and unforgettable. Start planning your trip today and discover the unparalleled beauty and diversity of this incredible continent.

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