Traveling through these South American countries doesn’t seem expensive. However, after doing a tally of my LA, Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador spending, it seems they were more expensive than I thought!
It all came down to the activities and sight seeing that we did that made it pricy. If we had simply stayed in the city and looked around, it would be a lot cheaper for sure.
Regardless, when you go to Bolivia or Peru, you need to see the Bolivian Salt Flats and Machu Picchu and those are definitely going to raise the price of your trip quite a bit. No regrets; though, my trip through these South American country has been an unforgettable journey.
Complete 3 days Los Angeles, USA spending breakdown:
- Cathay Pacific First Class Flight from Hong Kong to Los Angeles (also a business class flight from Bali to Hong Kong) – $371.74 CAD ($272.08 USD) + 70,000 Alaska Miles
- 3 nights staying in a Starwood Aloft Hotel – 30,000 Starpoints
- Mail – $5.63 CAD ($4.10 USD)
- Shaving razor – $9.65 CAD ($7.06 USD)
- Food – $45.74 CAD ($33.48 USD)
Total Los Angeles, USA spending: $432.76 CAD ($316.72 USD)
Total Los Angeles, USA spending without flight: $61.02 CAD ($44.64 USD)
Average daily Los Angeles, USA spending: $144.24 CAD ($105.57 USD)
Average daily Los Angeles, USA spending without flight: $20.34 CAD ($14.88 USD)
Total points and miles spent: 70,000 Alaska Miles + 30,000 Starwood Points
On my way to South America, I had a brief three days stopover in Los Angeles, California before connecting to my flight going to Bolivia. The stopover allowed me to eat a lot of burgers which I missed greatly while traveling through Asia.
It also allowed me to upload a lot of my pictures onto dropbox because who knows when I’ll have good internet access again. I truly savoured my three days in LA as it allowed me to relax and decompress before continuing in my journey.
I’d have to say, if I didn’t use my hotel points to stay in LA, I would get killed by the insane prices for accommodation in this city. USA is expensive for us Canadians at the time of writing this article because of our weak Canadian dollar. Hopefully that changes in the future because I love visiting the USA.
Complete 10 days Bolivia spending breakdown:
- Bolivia Hop – $71 CAD (359 BOB or $51.95 USD)
- Bolivia Salt Flats one day tour – $41 CAD (208 BOB or $30 USD)
- Hostal Reinar de Salar (2 nights) – $38.50 CAD (194 BOB or $28 USD)
- Tip – $2.75 CAD (14 BOB or $2 USD)
- Hotels in La Paz and Copacabana Lake Titicaca – $140 CAD (708 BOB)
- Laundry – $12 CAD (60 BOB)
- Food and water $89 CAD (445.5 BOB)
- Airport Exit Fee – $2.20 CAD (11 BOB)
- Taxi – $22.50 CAD (113 BOB)
- Flight from LA to Bolivia (connecting in Mexico City and Bogota) – $7.60 CAD (39 BOB) + 30,000 Aeroplan Miles
- Amaszonas Flight – $27.34 CAD (138 BOB or $20 USD)
Total Bolivia spending: $453.89 CAD (2,289.50 BOB)
Total Bolivia spending without flight: $418.95 CAD
Average daily Bolivia spending: $45.40 CAD (228.95 BOB)
Average daily Bolivia spending without flight: $41.90 CAD (211.25 BOB)
Total points and miles spent: 30,000 Aeroplan Miles
Bolivia was great! I was reunited with my sisters and Karen for the start of my South American journey. My sister Eunice is doing really well in her online affiliate marketing business and helped me out by subsidizing our Amaszonas flight and cost of hotel. I only ended up paying $20 USD for the round trip flight to the Bolivian Salt Flats and $20 CAD per night staying at a nicer hotel.
It was also a heartfelt reunion with my girlfriend Karen who I haven’t seen in four months since parting ways in Hong Kong.
But, even if you do budget travel in Bolivia, taking a bus to the salt flats, the country isn’t terribly expensive. I really enjoyed my time in Bolivia and will return here again one day.
Complete 5 days Peru spending breakdown:
- Peru Rail to Machu Picchu – $248.75 CAD (598.69 Soles or $182 USD)
- Machu Picchu Tickets – $63.15 CAD (152 Soles)
- Rainbow Mountain Partial refunded ticket price – $7.27 CAD (17.50 Soles)
- Round trip bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu – $33.79 CAD (81.32 Soles or $24.72 USD)
- Massage – $19.23 CAD (46.29 Soles)
- Hotel – $27.33 CAD (65.69 Soles or $20 USD)
- Food – $56.65 CAD (136.34 Soles)
- Taxi – $2.91 CAD (7 Soles)
Total Peru spending: 459.08 CAD (1,104.83 Soles)
Total Peru spending without flight: 459.08 CAD (1,104.83 Soles)
Average Peru spending: $91.82 CAD (220.97 Soles)
Average Peru spending without flight: $91.82 CAD (220.97 Soles)
I heard so many bad things about Peru that I was a little paranoid going here. My boss over at LivingtheDreamRTW.com got robbed in the city of Puno and lost all his stuff. I’ve also heard of stories where taxi drivers would drive away after you pay them and stealing your belongings from the trunk of the taxi.
Thankfully, none of these bad stuff happened! The locals were friendly and actually spoke really good English. Because Cusco is a tourist spot, it was more expensive than Bolivia. And of course, Machu Picchu is the most expensive of all the New Seven Wonders of the World so expect to have a lighter wallet when you return back home from this country.
Complete 9 days Ecuador spending breakdown:
- Flight from Cusco to Quito for Karen and myself – $120.28 CAD ($88 USD) + 24,000 Avios Miles
- Taxi – $44.08 CAD ($32.25 USD)
- Food and water – $85.50 CAD ($62.55 USD)
- Tip for tour guides – $109.35 CAD ($80 USD)
- Tip for hotels and taxi drivers – $6.15 CAD ($4.50 USD)
- Musician tip – $2.73 CAD ($2 USD)
- Bus from Quito to Tulcan – $8.61 CAD ($6.30 USD)
- Zipline – $27.34 CAD ($20 USD)
- Sakti Hostal B&B – $29.9 CAD ($23 USD)
Total Ecuador spending: $433.94 CAD ($318.60 USD)
Total Ecuador spending without flight: $313.66 CAD ($230.60 USD)
Average daily Ecuador spending: $48.22 CAD ($35.40 USD)
Average daily Ecuador spending without flight: $34.85 CAD ($25.62 USD)
Total points and miles spent: 24,000 Avios Miles
Karen and myself joined a tour with Ecuador Purelife when we travelled to this country. The tour took us to several adventure spots in Ecuador including a homestay in the Amazon Rainforest.
Because I work for LivingtheDreamRTW.com, my boss managed to secure my a free tour spot in exchange for writing five articles and 16 social media images for Ecuador Purelife. The end result is savings for doing so many adventure activities and we only had to pay for food and tips for the tour guides.
Overall, South America has not been cheap up until I finished my trip in Ecuador. It’s mainly because of the touristy spots we visited. If you travel slower in South America, it can be quite cheap as food is decently priced and they always give you massive amounts of portions.
South American people are very warm and always curious to learn more about you. It’s important to know some basic Spanish words before coming to this continent; otherwise, it will be hard to get around in some parts.
My time in South America is definitely in my top three favourite moments while I’m traveling thus far. I highly recommend you to visit this continent should you decide to travel around the world.
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