How much does it cost to travel South America by bike? It all depends on your goals and your comfort level, but if you’re looking to do it on the cheap, here’s how to ride South America on a budget.
Generally, $50 a day, including food, fuel, and accommodation, is enough for one person if you’re staying at the lower-end hotels or AirBnBs and mostly prepare your own food or eat street food. $30 a day is also doable if you camp a lot and have a smaller bike with great fuel economy. Add extra costs of getting there, like crossing the Darien Gap (anywhere from $600 going with a local boat or up to $1,500-2,000 if you’re flying or crossing on a sailboat), visa fee if you’re going to Bolivia, travel and bike insurance, and an emergency fund for repairs or breakdowns, and you have a rough idea of how much you will need.
If you’re hoping to ride South America on a budget, there are a few things you can do:
Avoid More Expensive Countries
Chile and Brazil are among the more expensive countries in South America, whereas Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia are still relatively cheap. Argentina is on the more expensive side, although this is prone to change as the inflation in Argentina fluctuates back and forth. If you mostly just want to ride the Andes and see the Amazon region, generally, Bolivia and Peru are more than enough.
This has been repeated already, but I’ll say it again. The slower you travel, the more you save. Slow travel means you’ll spend less on fuel and accommodation (hotel owners are more likely to offer deals if you stay longer), and you’ll likely see more.
End of the World, End of the Budget
Ushuaia seems to be the ultimate motorcycling destination in South America because it’s the southernmost city on Earth, and that makes it a neat bucket list item. But the reality is, although Patagonia is stunning, you don’t need to go all the way to Tierra del Fuego to experience South America. Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru can be more than enough if it’s your first time motorcycling south.
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