Realistic Budget

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Realistic Budget

1. Posted by shaunigus (Budding Member 32 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

G'day all,
I'm sure this has been asked a few times but i cant seem to find a good thread in the archive.
A rough guide to monthly or weekly expenditures would be great if anyone can offer such advice. To be morse specific, in my case i will be heading through Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Brazil.
I've read some pretty far fetched threads stating $2000 for 6 months and you'll live like a king!! I dont see how that is possible as that only works out to about $12 / day!!
As far as i can work out from my research, i reckon about US $40 / day is sufficient, which includes lodging, food, transport, the occasional splurge, and of course (hopefully) plenty of beer in the belly!!
Thanks in advanced.


2. Posted by bentivogli (Respected Member 2398 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Hi Shaun,

Believe it or not, 12 USD a day is a feasible budget, but that would exclude transport and the proverbial beer would have to be supermarket brew...

Including the good things of life, 40 USD is really plenty; imho, you should be able to spend considerably less without much of an effort, especially if you don't fly your way around, which one shouldn't anyway.

have fun,
Niels (Amsterdam)

Note: last time I visited was in 2004. Since then, SA currencies have started shifting considerably wrt the USD, so my info may not be entirely accurate...

3. Posted by Degolasse (Travel Guru 823 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

I think $12/day is pretty unrealistic, even for me who is the tighest traveller i know. Though in Bolivia you will come really close to that as it's a very cheap country. In Peru you can plan on more like $25 and in Chile 30-40 as a rock bottom budget. I'm not sure about Argentina and Brazil as I've never been.
I would say if you can afford $40/day then you will be doing really well. You won't live like a king, but you can drink all the beer you want.

4. Posted by gier (Budding Member 14 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!


I spent 2 weeks in Cusco, Sacred Valley & Aquas Calientes last September. My daily expenditures varied between US$15 and $35 in the first 2 and around $55 in AC (more if you plan to visit Machu Picchu - recent prices can be seen in other threads). Cusco has many hostals in safe areas under US$10/night including breakfast - there are so many places in this price range and the service & quality will vary greatly. Make sure that you see the room you are getting before you pay for it (some places will show you a room and then put you in a different room that is smaller, right next to the common area, etc, etc). It helps to be able to converse in Spanish if you are staying in many of the lower priced places - one that I stayed in last year didn't have any staff that could speak English. I will be in cusco again this September and plan to stay at Hostal Marani - a really nice place in San Blas(Carmen Alto) - $18/nt for simple with private bath and breakfast.

Meals in cusco cost anywhere from a couple of soles in markets or small restaurants to over US$20 in places such as Monasterio(without drinks). There are some places in San Blas where you can get a great meal with a pisco sour or glass of wine for about 15-20 soles with tip. Two that I can recommend are La Bodega (Carmen Alto) and Witch's Garden(Carmen Bajo). There was another place in the same price range on Carmen Alto that I think was called Cafe Andina. A bit less expensive, but still pretty good was Gypsy Pub (also on Carmen Alto). There are a bunch of inexpensive restaurants on Procuradores (across the Plaza de Armas from La Compania de Jesus) - everything from pizza to mexican to italian. I had a really good meal at Ukuku's - at the far end of Procuradores from the plaza. It was less than 15 soles for the meal and a couple Cuzquenas.

There are less options for hostals & restaurants in the various towns in the Sacred Valley (for example, I only know of one hostal in Chincherro). I would recommend just wandering around the towns and finding a place that appeals to you. Prices are about the same as in Cusco. One place that stood out for dinner was Mayupata in Ollantaytambo.


5. Posted by shaunigus (Budding Member 32 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Thanks for the insight everyone. I am planning to do my best with around $40 / day - it is my first trip abroad in the backpacker sense so it'll be an interesting learning experience. Im sure i will start off spending a bit more - but hopefully will figure it all out and settle in my budget!!
Cheers & thanks again for the advice,


6. Posted by cat009 (Budding Member 28 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

I just spent 2 months in Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru.
Everything including flights, accom, meals and quite a few expensive excursions averaged out at $50 per day.

But we did do quite a few organised trips which really bumps the average up. We stayed in hostels but mainly private rooms. I reckon $40 per day would give you a decent budget.