18th May 2012
Backpacking is all about discovering the most awe-inspiring and breathtaking places in the world, but doing so on a budget. Treating your eyes to the wonders of the planet; while securing cheap options for accommodation, food and travel.
With some of the most stunning places to visit in the world and a huge variety of distinct cultures, it’s no wonder South America continues to be a haven for backpackers.
Popular destinations include Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Chile, and Ecuador meaning travellers rarely limit their trip to just one country. Although you’d struggle to explore even just Brazil in one trip, try and make the journey across various borders during your time on the continent. Just ensure you keep up to date and compare foreign exchange rates of each country when changing currency and that you plan ahead in terms of any immunisations you may need.
Where to go
South America is full of incredible places all of which will leave lasting memories. You can’t see it all in one go, but missing something on one trip just gives you an excuse to come back.
Here’s a quick guide to some of the most popular spots:
Machu Picchu, Peru
The Inca site of Machu Picchu in Peru is not only a must see in South America, it is one of the most iconic sites in the world.
The imposing falls can be viewed from either Brazil or Argentina, with each vantage point providing a unique spectacle. From the Brazilian side you can feast your eyes on a spectacular overview of the length of the falls while over the border in Argentina you can get up close even dipping your foot in the water.
The Road of Death, Bolivia
Located just outside the capital, La Paz and given its name due to the number of lives lost on the tight mountain bends, the road is now closed from traffic, but provides an exhilarating downhill mountain biking experience.
Other famous destinations include Salar De Uyuni, Bolivia; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Christ the Redeemer in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil; Ilha Grande, Brazil; and the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.
Where to stay
There are numerous options for budget backpacker accommodation throughout South America. In the cities, hostels will bounce with a vibrant party atmosphere while small wooden huts can be found on delicious white sand beaches. Whatever your backpacking needs you’ll know they’ll be met with the Latin American hospitality.
Although you don’t need to be fluent in Spanish – Portuguese in Brazil – it certainly helps to learn a few phrases before you go. Although you’ll be able to find locals with a little English try and throw yourself into the culture and learn a little of the local language, it’ll be sure to enhance your time on the continent.