Recently, someone asked me which country gives the best value for money. Not which one is the cheapest overall, but which one is the optimal place to spend little, see and experience a lot, and generally have an epic ADV ride.
To me, it’s not just one country, it’s an entire continent – and that’s South America. Here’s why.
South America is an insanely diverse continent, both culturally and geographically, and you could easily spend years just riding Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, and Brazil. From the Caribbean down to Tierra del Fuego, from the high Andean plateaus to the lush green rainforests on the Amazon side, South America is full of surprises everywhere you go.
South America may have countless diverse cultures and peoples, but what they all have in common are hospitality and generosity. Whether you’re in Medellin or Uyuni, Arequipa or El Calafate, people will generally welcome you, help you out of you’re in trouble, and be friendly. In fact, having been stuck in Europe for over three months now, I miss South American people and hospitality so bad I’m considering riding there again once the lockdown is over.
Some South American countries are cheaper (Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia), and some more expensive (Brazil, Chile, Argentina), but if you’re riding the entire continent and spending more time in cheaper countries, it all balances out and is still very affordable, especially if you don’t mind camping and have a fuel-efficient bike. The best part is, with very few exceptions, you do not need any visas for the countries in South America, nor do you need a carnet de passage for your bike. This makes traveling in South America a lot cheaper than, say, Asia or Africa.
Which country or continent is the best value for money for you? Let me know in the comments below.