Which Are the Favorite South American Backpacking Destinations this Year?

By | 22 October, 2020

It has been a topsy turvy year, with the COVID-19 pandemic ruining travel plans for many. The usual summer fun was missing this year as many people remained indoors worried sick. If you had travel plans, it is most likely that they were shot to hell, or postponed at best. But maybe all is not lost. You can still catch the warm weather in the Southern hemisphere. 

South America is an excellent destination for anyone planning to travel on a budget. It has hundreds of attractions to see. From sunny sandy beaches to cold towering mountain peaks, tropical forests to beautiful cities, there is a bit of fun everywhere you turn. The cultural experience is also memorable; great food and drinks, great music and vibrant nightlife in many cities. Which are the top destinations to visit this year on a shoestring budget?

Sucre (Bolivia)

Not many know that Sucre is one of the two capitals of Bolivia. It is the constitutional capital while La Paz is the commercial capital. Bolivia as a whole is off the popular tourist circuit, but international tourists almost ignore Sucre. It is a laid-back city with a population of around 250,000. 

Sucre is picturesque with beautiful whitewashed buildings giving it the name ‘White City.’ Visit Parque Cretácico and see the largest collection of dinosaur footprints. There is a dinosaur museum with life-size replicas. Bolivia is also a great destination if you are planning on hiking through the Amazon rainforest.

Cordoba (Argentina)

This Argentine city is the perfect backpacker’s destination. It hosts Argentina’s oldest university, and there is a lingering youthful atmosphere in the town. It is more of a college town with lots of young people about town. Prices for food and lodgings are among the friendliest in Argentina. 

You can enjoy the vibrant nightlife watching a game in this football-crazed town. You are likely to be challenged to wager a bet on Golden Nugget Online if the local team is playing. Make a point of visiting the Evita Fine Arts Museum to marvel at the Picassos on exhibition.

Quito (Ecuador) 

This historic city is also a UNESCO heritage site with lots of ancient architecture dating back to the 16th century. Walk down the beautiful cobblestone walkways taking in the views of the Basilica del Voto Nacional, and other old buildings.

Quito is a good launching pad if you are planning on visiting the Galapagos to the west, or the Andes to the east. The city is on the equator, which promises lots of open skies, good weather. Have a glass of fresh, delicious juice at Mercado central. 

Cartagena (Colombia)

This well-preserved colonial town is a great destination if you want to experience authentic Colombian culture. This port town had a bad reputation for a long time, but it has turned a leaf for the better. It is now safe and welcoming to tourists. It is cheaper because it does not receive many international visitors like Bogota, Cali or Medellin. You will love the ceviche offered at the stalls in the Old Town.

Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)

It is hard to imagine a trip to South America without a stopover in Rio. Its carnival is world-famous. But if you are planning to come to Cidade Maravilhosa on a budget, the carnival would be a wrong time. It is crowded everywhere with tourists who are here to have fun and not worried about money. 

You can visit Rio at any other time of the year because the weather is great all year round. There is plenty to see for free, including the great Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. Don’t miss a hike up the Sugarloaf Mountain to check out Christ the Redeemer. 

Are you planning to travel cheaply this year? South America has good destinations for the frugal backpacker. From the dense jungles of the amazon to the sandy beaches of Rio, you have plenty of choices. 


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