Jul 20, 2023|
Updated July 17th, 2023
In times of inflation and full aircraft, we all are still eager to travel and see the world. With the old dream of traveling to South America still being alive, we wonder: Can we still afford a trip to South America?
Flying to South America is still a great deal. Southwest and JetBlue for example are flying to the North of South America, including Peru. A lesser known Brazilian budget airline, Azul, is flying to Brazil. Therefore competition is intense and brings overall prices down.
Whereas flight prices to Europe are becoming more and more expensive as airlines merge or work together in alliances, new airlines from SouthAmerica, especially from Chile and Colombia are adding competition.
And of course, South America is closer! Remember, Colombia is just 2 hours flight away from Florida, the Amazon is just 4 hours from Miami!
Hotels are generally less expensive in South America! And what makes it easy for us to shop around for a nice hotel is the fact, that by law all taxes must be included in the advertised price. NO hidden fees! So-called resort fees are either mostly absent or just illegal. You can still find a room in a nice 4star hotel in Lima for 80 USD – no problem!
You might have to fork out US prices for US chain hotels. Why would you stay at Holiday Inn, Marriott or Radisson, when you can stay in a less expensive equivalent place with some local flavor, right? But are those hotels in safe areas? Generally yes, because otherwise they would go out of business!
Hostels are not a good deal, again mostly. Hostels upgraded their rooms and services in past years and during the pandemic and now costs almost as much as 3-star hotels. But in essence are still hostels and no hotels with all the services usually attached to them.
South American Cuisine
Now, to the food in South America: That can be extremely cheap or extremely expensive: Some of the world’s best restaurants are in South America now. Think meat in Brazil and Argentina or the sophisticated fusion cuisine of Peru, where they bring together the flavors of the rain forest, the ingredients from the high lands of the Andes and everything you can think of from the sea. Many of the “super” foods that we started to eat only recently come from Peru: Quinoa, Avocados, Chia, Maca, Lucuma etc…
You can eat these in fancy places or in rather modest establishments. Just make sure your meal was freshly boiled, cooked or roasted!
Comparing the cost of visiting different countries in South America, Argentina is still a great deal. (Beware of sudden exchange rate changes!) Chile and Uruguay are probably the most expensive places to visit. Peru is very reasonable, especially for the quality you get. Colombia too, to a certain extent. Bolivia and Paraguay come out at the affordable end. In Brazil, it depends where you go! Rio and São Paulo can get quiet expensive, whereas inland and in the North East of Brazil you can find bargains.
So, yes, South America is still very affordable, not quite as much as it once was, but still a great place to visit for your wallet. And remember: You generally stay within the US time zones going there, so you do not lose a day because of a jet lag!