Hi I am planning a 6 mnth trip to S America Jan 11 hoping to do Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Columbia, Venezuala & the Galapagus Islands. How much money would I roughly need, baring in mind I will be doing the Brazilian Carnival, Galapagus Islands and all the tourist sites such as Machu Pichu and the water falls etc??? I am happy to eat cheap food take local transport and stay in cheap hostels?? Any help would be much appreciated.
Galapagos is an expensive side trip from the Ecuador mainland - depending on whether you take a boat trip around the islands or stay on one island and just take day trips, you'll be up for an additional $1500 - $2500 for the Galapagous portion of your trip. Having said that - I went last year and it is absolutely incredible!
If you exclude airfares to and from South America, I spent about AUD$6500 in 3 months travelling through most of the places you are intending to. I did take a few internal flights though (to save time), but stayed mostly in hostels.
I'm planning a similar trip to that suggested by claretrick and am also wondering what the budget would be.
If Galapagos was taken out of the trip, would you suggest AUD$5000 for 3 months would be stretching it, comfortable, or extravagant?
It's quite hard to say really, and I'm certainly no finance expert, but for me $5000 would be comfortable. It would mean staying in hostels and taking mostly buses with the odd flight or two for long hauls (read more than 40 hrs on a bus), but I found with this amount I was able to eat out most days (assuming you look for local or street food) and it allowed me to do the major tourist attractions and a few adventure activities (like paprgliding in Rio).
Galapagos and Brazil are expensive destinations, you keep that in mind.
Excluding those two, you can get by comfortably on US$30 pppd, excluding long-haul transport and excursions. US$20 pppd would be rock-bottom. For Brazil, it depends a little on where you go but I think you should count on US$40 pppd. Galapagos is a LOT more expensive.
For long-haul bus traffic, count on some US$10 per hour travelled and you'll be left with some money at the end of your trip.
So all in all, I think US$5000 is one awfully tight budget for 6 months...