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Top 10 Best and Cheapest Places to Visit in South America

Landscape of Machu Picchu

If you are looking for a cheap and fun holiday in South America, you might consider visiting the poorer parts of Bolivia. The cities of Potosi and Oruro are very poor, and you are likely to find cheaper accommodation there. You should also avoid visiting the expensive city of Buenos Aires. These cities will not only disappoint but will also leave you with a great memory. But before you book your trip, make sure that you know the best places to visit in South America.

1. Cartagena

If you are planning a trip to Colombia, you will have plenty to see and do. Cartagena is a great place to start, but the city offers so much more than just a beach. It has so much history and culture to offer that a visit is worthwhile no matter what your budget is. Here are three things you should see and do during your stay.

The Palacio De San Felipe De Barajas is the seat of the Spanish Inquisition and is considered one of the best things to see in Cartagena. This massive building dates back to 1639 and was completed 150 years later. It is the crowning landmark of the city and is a fascinating place to explore. You can explore the palace’s underground passages and marvel at its magnificent architecture. Audio guides are available if you want to learn more about the castle’s history.

2. Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina and is a vibrant cosmopolitan city with a European feel. With great nightlife, wonderful food, and vibrant culture, Buenos Aires is a great place to travel with children. Whether you’re looking for a romantic weekend away or an exciting adventure, there’s something for everyone in this South American city.

Landscape of the Madero Port in Buenos Aires/South America
Madero Port in Buenos Aires

Located in the Rio Negro province, Bariloche boasts a diverse landscape. The city is surrounded by a thousand-year-old forest, a snow-capped mountain range, and crystal-clear lakes. Visitors will find plenty of outdoor activities and exciting nightlife, as well as rich gastronomy and cultural scene.

3. Cordoba

If you’re interested in experiencing a subtropical climate without breaking the bank, Cordoba is the place for you. It’s only $562-$622 per month and has plenty to offer, from good food to great shopping. The city also has reliable WiFi and more than half a dozen co-working spaces. You can also enjoy a nice night out with your travel companions in one of the numerous pubs and restaurants.

While you’re in Cordoba, don’t forget to play a round of golf. The city is becoming a mecca for golf enthusiasts and offers beautiful resorts. You can choose between traditional and English-style courses. There are also Nicklaus-designed golf courses, including the famous Valle del Golf. In addition to great golf courses, Cordoba also has several other activities that you can enjoy outdoors.

4. Guatape

Its colorful buildings and murals make the city a lively place to explore. While you’re here, you can enjoy a “Menu del Dia” lunch, which consists of rice, beans, and meat. Or, you can try a local veggie sandwich at a “Namaste Cafe”.

There are plenty of artisanal boutique shops in Guatape, and the main square is a popular spot for souvenir shopping. But don’t expect cheap souvenirs: souvenir prices are usually quite high. The area is also famous for producing some of the world’s best coffee. In addition to coffee, Guatape also offers jet ski rental. While you’re in town, you can visit the infamous Pablo Escobar mansion and rock called “El Penon de Guatape”.

El Penon de Guatape in Colombia
A observation tower called El Penon de Guatape

If you’re looking for cheap accommodations in Guatape, you’ll be pleased to find that it is an affordable, beautiful, and scenic destination. A stay in Guatape is only $13 US per night at the Galeria Guatape Hostel, which is located on a terrace overlooking El Penon rock. There are also hammocks on the terrace for you to relax in.

5. La Paz

While the weather in Quito is often too cold for tourists, La Paz’s climate is pleasant and is similar to that of the highlands of Bolivia. The city’s nightlife is diverse and offers everything from banging techno nights to cozy wine bars and rooftop pool parties. While there are fewer tourist infrastructures in La Paz than in other South American cities, the city is still worth a visit.

The country’s culture is fascinating, and the scenery is simply breathtaking. There are numerous activities that visitors can participate in, and many attractions are relatively inexpensive. You can also save money by using a free travel planner. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money, you can even try a few of the more popular destinations in South America. Listed below are some of the most inexpensive and best places to visit in South America.

6. Bolivia

When it comes to bargain destinations, Bolivia is up there with the rest. This diverse country boasts some of the world’s highest peaks and ancient Tiwanaku ruins, yet the country is surprisingly cheap to travel around. Street food is affordable and the country’s hostels are some of the cheapest on the continent. There are also cheap bus rides, so you can get to the most exciting sites while saving money on transportation.

Landscape of Tiwanaku ruins in Colombia
Ruins of Tiwanaku

Travelers to Bolivia should expect to spend less than $20 per day, but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t do so. Travelers should be aware that Bolivia is a Spanish-speaking country, and that they may have a difficult time negotiating prices. As such, learning basic Spanish phrases can go a long way in getting better prices. For this purpose, it is a good idea to take a Lonely Planet Spanish Phrasebook and Dictionary with you.

7. Quito

If you’re looking for a place to visit in South America that’s historically rich, you should consider visiting Quito, Ecuador. Its historic center is one of the best preserved and least changed in Latin America, which is why it was the first city declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Despite the city’s modernization and earthquakes, the architecture and cultural importance of Quito’s Old Town remain intact. It’s Plaza Grande is a popular attraction and a must-see while in Quito.

Quito the capital of Ecuador in South America
Quito the capital of Ecuador

Another place to visit in Quito is the Cotopaxi volcano. The volcano is active and is the second highest peak in the country. You can hike up to the peak from the base camp, but this will require an overnight stay. If you have a car that can get you to the summit in a day, you can take it on a day trip from Quito. The trek begins with a drive through the cloud forest, and you can often spot wild horses in the park.

8. Atacama Desert

The Atacama Desert is a high-altitude region that is full of things to see and do. You’ll want to plan to spend at least a week enjoying everything that this area has to offer. You may even be able to do a bit of mountain climbing. In addition to hiking, there are several other attractions in the region. You’ll want to check out the Yerbas Buenas petroglyphs.

The Atacama Desert is one of the most unique places to visit in South America. The desert features craters and otherworldly textures. It’s also dotted with enormous volcanoes and spouting geysers. There are a few towns in the area that have a charming, rustic charm. San Pedro de Atacama is one such town. It’s an oasis town where you can enjoy lively markets and adobe houses, and first-class desert lodges. You can also visit Copiapo, which is located south of the Atacama Desert. You can also visit Valle de Elqui, Chile’s largest lake, and see the incredible night skies.

9. Lake Titicaca

To access Lake Titicaca, most travelers begin their journey from the Bolivian capital of La Paz, about an hour’s drive away. Many travelers also opt to make a day trip to Copacabana and the Islands of the Sun and Moon. In addition to flying into La Paz, visitors can also fly into the world’s highest airport, El Alto International Airport.

Boat at Lake Titicaca
Beautiful view of a boat in Lake Titicaca

When visiting Lake Titicaca, it is important to take time to see both sides of the lake. The Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca has more archaeological sites, islands, and lakes, and is deeper than the Bolivian side. It is possible to tour both sides of the lake, and it is well worth it. But if you are interested in a broader cultural experience, you may want to visit the Peruvian side of the lake.

10. Sacred Valley

The Sacred Valley is a stunning landscape, and there are several ways to experience it. You can take a multi-day tour to see more places and towns, or you can opt for an independent trip, based in a town. If you decide to travel independently, you can base yourself in Ollantaytambo or Pisac and explore the Sacred Valley on your own.

A unique feature of the Sacred Valley is the Maras salt pans. Here, local residents divert mineral-laden spring water into shallow terraced ponds. The salt evaporates, leaving behind the minerals and making the ponds a beautiful white hue. The beauty of the salt pans makes them the perfect backdrop for photographs and exploration. If you’re looking for something a little different, head to the Sacred Valley for a memorable visit

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