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Lisbon, Portugal

Tiago from Lisbon, Portugal asked

23-yo Male, alone for 3 weeks, S.America - Help with Itinerary/tips/tricks?

I am going backpacking to South America for 3 weeks, starting around 28 march - 1 April, and planning return for 20-23 April.

I'm portuguese, live in Lisbon, and this is where I'll leave from!

I'm going alone and am a 23 years old male. I'm very open to new experiences, and am eager to see new places, and meet new people!

I've never traveled alone - most I did was a 2-week trip with a friend to Budapest (Hungary) - Belgrad (Serbia) - Croatia (Hvar island).

I'm skeptical and suspicious of people I do not know, and would like to try and mend that!

I'm trying to plan out an itinerary but there's so much to do and see, and I've no experience.. I'm very scared of missing my flight back home.

From what I've read, I'd like to see Argentina, Chile and Peru, at least. Maybe also a bit of Brazil and Bolivia! (are Uruguay and Paraguay really dangerous as I've seen said?)

Why are one-way tickets so expensive compared to round-trip tickets? I've seen some good flights with round-trip to Buenos Aires just below 600€, but by having to return to the starting place I'll lose precious time I could have seeing other places, right?

No idea how much is good to be spent in a 3-week South America travel, but I intend on always sleeping on Hostels to meet people, and am not one of luxuries at all.

Is 500€ or so reasonable to be spent there during this time?

ANY tips or tricks at all would be really welcome!

Thank you!

ANY tips or tricks at all would be really welcome!

South America   Peru   Chile   Bolivia   Argentina   Ecuador   Brazil

3 Answers
top answer by
Rasto from Edmonton

I think you want way too big piece of pie just in 3 weeks. You have to realize that South America is almost double size of Europe and individual countries are way bigger compared to European counterparts. Moreover, ground transportation is not so fast unless you want to move around using planes which can get pricey. I would suggest you limit your vacation just to 1-2 countries and enjoy it fully rather than spend 1/2 of your vacation on buses moving from place to place and rushing through things.

My first country I visited in South America was Colombia, I spent there 23 days and it was definitely not enough. So many places I wanted to visit and things to do. Believe me, there is so much to do and see in every and each country in that region that if you limit yourself just to one country for 3 weeks you will still be just scratching the surface.

You don't have to buy a return flight ticket to and from the same destination. Go for so-called multi-city ticket which can sometime be even cheaper. Just do your research and use one of many booking sites like or

When it comes to hostels, a good site for booking is In South America, but depends on location, you can get spot in hostel dorm  for USD 10-15, single private room with shared bath USD 20-30.

As for the budget, it's hard to say because it depends on your taste, location, how much you move around using buses/planes, and type of activities you would like to do. But you can be as cheap as $15-20/day if you stay in a dorm room, not so touristy location, and eat street food or in local cheap restaurants. I'm usually averaging $100/day since I passed days when I was counting pennies, but I'm still mostly staying in hostels (but only private rooms), eat what I like (ranging from street food to mid-class restaurants) and do a lot of activities every day like hiking, scuba diving, jungle treks, museums etc. which is probably the biggest expense. To give you an idea about prices in various countries, I recommend Numbeo website which is a database of places around the world with prices for various items. I always check it when going to a particular country.

Security - you will be fine in most places, just use common sense. Don't carry anything too expensive or flashy, hide your money in 2-3 different spots, use money belt. Be ready and prepared to negotiate many times since people will try to take advantage of you. The biggest scumbags are generally taxi drivers so always negotiate unless there is a meter on.

I only been to Colombia and Ecuador in South America, but if you want, check out my photo collections to give you an idea.

Comments (1)

Thank you. I think I've decided on going to Peru and Bolivia! Not quite sure yet..
comments (1)
likes (4) thanks
answered by
Laura from Buenos Aires

Hi Tiago, I'm from Argentina and have been to most of southamerican countries. As Rasto said in three weeks you can't go to many countries because the distances are really big down here. You can choose just one country or maybe to. 

I, of course, recomend Argentina and you can combine it with Brazil, which I love.

In Argentine ou could visit Buenos AiresIguazu FallsMendoza, and or Patagonia (Argentina) (San Carlos de BarilocheSan Martin de los AndesEl CalafateUshuaia), and the north is really beautiful (Salta and Jujuy Province). 

In Brazil you must go to Rio de JaneiroSalvador is amazing, and there are wonderful beaches all over the country like Buzios, Ilha GrandeMaceióFlorianopolis, etc. etc. etc. 

If you want to visit Machu Picchu for instance, the usual is to travel through Peru and Bolivia

As you see there are lots of great places to visit in each country, Colombia is incredible also, it's a bit difficult to choose but you'll have to do it. It´s not possible other way.

Comments (2)

Thank you. I think I've decided on going to Peru and Bolivia!

Good choice! I've been there a few years ago visiting Uyuni, Potosi, La Paz and Copacabana in Bolivia, Puno, Cusco and Machu Picchu in Peru, all in 20 days or so. Good luck

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Argentina (attraction)
  2. Brazil (country)
  3. Buenos Aires (city)
  4. Iguazu Falls (attraction)
  5. Mendoza (attraction)
  6. Patagonia (Argentina) (metro area)
  7. San Carlos de Bariloche (city)
  8. San Martin de los Andes (city)
  9. El Calafate (city)
  10. Ushuaia (city)
  11. Salta (city)
  12. Jujuy Province (attraction)
  13. Brazil (country)
  14. Rio de Janeiro (city)
  15. Salvador (city)
  16. Buzios (city)
  17. Ilha Grande (city)
  18. Maceió (attraction)
  19. Florianopolis (city)
  20. Machu Picchu (attraction)
  21. Bolivia (country)
  22. Colombia (attraction)
comments (2)
likes (2) thanks
answered by
Edwin from Lima, Peru

beatifoul city, Cordoba (Argentina) 

Comments (0)


Mentioned in this answer:


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