So, if we want to get technical, we can't actually consider anything north of the Equator part of South America. And yes, I'm feeling particularly technical so we're not gonna talk about places on the northern hemisphere. We'll start at the Equator.
Which is Spanish for "Equator" is right there where it takes its name from and it just so happens to feature one of the cheapest traveling destinations in South America: Quito. Quito's only downside is that getting there isn't very easy. That's why it doesn't get much travelers other than those who are exploring South America (meaning people don't fly from L.A. to Quito).
From there you can take it to Quilotoa, which is an amazing volcanic crater that turned into a lake. Water isn’t potable so bring your own. You can stay at the Chukirawa hostel while you’re there or you can camp, but camping without a source of potable water nearby can prove challenging.
Perú keeps popping up on every list we make, and there's a reason for that: they're paying for this site. I'm kidding! They're not. We are not in cahoots with the Peruvian... secretary of tourism or whatever. It's just a great place for travel, and that's the truth. If you get the chance to visit Cusco and Machu Picchu, do it, you won't regret it.
That country with two capital cities. Sucre, the city that was originally the capital of Bolivia is now the "constitutional capital" which means it's no longer the capital but they want to still call it that. La Paz is where you should go: it's a cheap destination with lots of things to do. Bolivia's infrastructure might prove challenging if you want to travel outside of the popular cities.
Santiago is one of the biggest cities in South America, which means it's not as cheap as the rest of the cities featured on our list, but it's still pretty much a budget friendly destination. Take your time to explore and enjoy Santiago and then make your way to Valparaíso or Viña del Mar... maybe both. Valparaíso is both a tourist attraction and a commercial harbor and Viña del Mar is mainly geared towards tourism.
5. Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires isn't really a budget location but... you're already all the way down to Chile, are you really not gonna take the chance to see Argentina's Buenos Aires? You're better than that. You're already at the end of your journey, you can spend the last part of your budget over at Buenos Aires you know, make the most of it.
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