Travelling around South America on a budget? These are the cheapest cities in South America, based on Price of Travel’s Backpacker Index. It calculates costs based on the best budget sleeping, sightseeing, eating, drinking and public transport options available in each city.
While main hotspots can be notoriously expensive, there’s so many beautiful cities to see where your cash will go that bit further.
The Cheapest Cities to Visit in South AmericaHow do these rankings work?
Average daily cost on a budget: $20.95
Granada is picturesque colonial town on the banks of Central America’s largest lake. The city is full of pastel-coloured buildings and a great buzz. Plus, with plenty of budget hostels and bites to eat, it’s perfect for travelling in South America on a budget.
Average daily cost on a budget: $21.90
Ecuador is famous for being home to the Amazon jungle, Andean highlands and Galápagos Island. You know, where those amazing turtles live!
Quito is known for its Spanish colonial centre and is a stunning city. There’s so much colour to capture here. You’ll soon see why it’s one of the cheapest cities in South America.
Average daily cost on a budget: $26.29
Bolivia is an incredible country in South Central America. From the Andes Mountains to the Atacama Desert – and even Amazon Basin rainforest – this is a country that has something for everybody.
As for La Paz? At 3,500m it is the highest capital city in the world. It’s full of welcoming locals, backpackers and things to do.
Average daily cost on a budget: $29.37
A city filled with cobblestone streets and colourful colonial buildings? We love it already. It’s not hard to see why Cartagena is one of the best South American destinations.
The city’s position on Colombia’s Caribbean coast makes it a tropical paradise that’s actually inside a 16th-century fortress. You won’t want to leave this charming spot.
Average daily cost on a budget: $30.24
One of the most popular cities in Peru, Cusco is an Inca jewel that’s the gateway to Machu Picchu. It’s a lively spot with stunning cobblestone streets, busy squares, valleys and towns. You could easily plan to spend at least a few days exploring this beautiful bargain city.
Average daily cost on a budget: $30.49
With a fast growing reputation for adventure tourism, San Jose is a wonderful place to visit. Because San Jose is the cultural hub of the country, there are plenty of museums, art galleries, parks and dining options for visitors to choose from. It’s so much more than just a pit-stop!
Average daily cost on a budget: $32.05
Mexico City is a vibrant place to visit, with a historic centre, known as Zocalo, that’s a World Heritage site. Exciting neighbourhoods are full of art nouveau and art deco features. It’s a buzzy city with endless things to see and do on a budget.