Here’s the top 10 reasons to travel to South America. As if you really needed ten whole reasons.
After spending over three months in South America it would be unfair of me not to provide a summary list of the reasons to travel South America.
So, whether you’re hitting the North or South. Like the jungle or love the coast South America has it all.
Here’s why you should travel to South America.
South America travel
10. The Transport
The transport in South America could feature on many lists. I’d also be unashamed to admit that if I wrote a list on reasons not to visit South America transport would definitely make that list too.
With chicken buses, mini buses, taxis to tuk tuks every journey in South America is an adventure.
There’s overnight busses and rogue boat rides to secluded islands far from shore. You’ll be truly surprised at all the weird and wonderful ways you can get around in South America.
9. The landscapes and views
The ever changing landscapes of South America are certainly one of the reasons you should travel to South America.
One day you’ll find yourself on the coast, the next in the jungle and somewhere in between you have spent a night at an Altitude 3,000 meters above sea level.
The picturesque landscapes of South America offer an endless series of exploration and photography. I never expected to find myself in a Peruvian desert or on the shores of a man made lake named Guatapè but I did.
The climate changes as quickly as the landscapes but that’s simply the joy of this vast continents ecosystems. You can travel from the jungle to the beach in just a few short hours.
8. The Pacific coast of South America
Speaking of beaches, let’s discuss why the Pacific coast is one of the best reasons to travel to South America.
From Ecuador through to Peru the coastal towns are a plenty and the good time beach bar vibes are many.
Watch out for the waves and the dangerous rip tides but enjoy the atmosphere that rolls in with each Pacific coast swell. Try Huanchaco, Peru the ultimate family holiday destination Peru style.
I’m not a surfer but at sunset, along the Peruvian coast I struggled not to admire the surf. If you like surfing the Pacific coast of South America is your Mecca.
7. The People
What top 10 list would be complete without a mention of the people in South America.
It almost goes without saying but the people you meet along your way shape your trip and if you experience South America travel you’ll see why.
The vibrant cultures and communities throughout South America make any tricky situation or travel disaster worth while.
The welcoming arms of indigenous families and the hospitality of every locally run business is the bloodline that runs through South America from North to South.
Here’s to the people of Latin America that shape the culture and day to day life of this continent.
6. The endless possibility of adventure
If there was ever a reason for a fun-loving adventure junkie to travel to South America the possibility of adventure should surely be it.
Whether it’s a scuba dive off the Caribbean coast, a trek through the jungle or a bike ride down Death Road in Bolivia the adventure is endless.
Patagonia should make your list along with a stint in the Amazon and a Volcano or two. If you dream of canoeing down tropical rives or imagine feeling the spray of Iguassu Falls on your face South America travel is for you.
5. The travellers
A guide covering reasons to travel to any destination would not be complete without a mention of travellers.
These are the non-South American people of South America who become your friends and family on the road.
Whether you call it a ‘Gringo Route’ or not, the other backpackers travelling in South America are bound to leave a lasting impression.
In an area as popular to backpack as South America, other travellers are always readily available to offer you advice. Don’t be shy, share tips for the best places to stay, the cheapest eats and any other travel hacks.
From all the tourist hot-spots to the quiet jungle towns that nobody is ever actually meant to visit, you’ll be shocked if you don’t come across another eager traveller looking for their own authentic and fulfilling South American adventure.
4. The wildlife
Now I’ve never professed myself as an animal lover, but its hard to be on a continent for so long and not find yourself in awe of its diverse plant and animal life.
South America is a haven for animal lovers. Especially when there are so many activities you can do with wildlife. So whether you decide to go whale watching, bird watching or even take that “once in a lifetime trip” to The Galapagos Islands, South America has it all.
Please note I do not include the abundance of wild dogs in this list. As anyone travelling South America will have to adjust to all the wild doggos.
3. Latin culture and history
The culture, the colours, the music and the atmosphere. Need I say more?
That unstoppable Latin energy that pulsates through the continent like a soundtrack is enough to captivate anyone.
Upon arrival you’ll witness the full spirit of South America instantly as you are swept up in a flurry of exotic sounds, smells, flavours and feelings.
Combine all that with a turbulent and mesmerising history and you may have the most intriguing continent in the world.
The America’s are renowned for their history and South America is no exception. If that isn’t a reason to travel to South America then I don’t know what is.
2. The food
Almuerzos, Menu del Dias and Passion fruit!
The food in South America is a fusion dream, even for us veggies. Before I visited South America I was warned about the lack of options for non-meat-eaters but I was pleasantly surprised at the vast choice.
Plenty of Vegetarian options and even Vegan options in most countries. In the more authentic local eateries you’ll struggle to eat Vegan, but in the more established restaurants you’ll find a dish for all.
Most Almuerzos (lunch) include either pasta or rice and meat, Veggies and Vegans ask for no meat and add veg or salad instead. All of the food is very budget friendly for budget backpackers.
1. The cost
Number one and the ultimate reason to travel to South America is the cost.
South America is very accommodating of all budgets! If you are looking for luxury there are enough options at a low cost to travel forever.
If you’re on a budget trip you’ll be pleased to know that everything in South America comes at a reasonable price. Sleeping is your biggest expense but when dorms range from $5-$15 and your average private room costs anywhere between $15-$50 a night you’ve got the freedom of choice.
Looking for a pool? How about a beach side cabana? Maybe camping is more your style, all this and more is well within an average daily budget of $60-$100 for two people.
South America budget breakdown
Daily budgets by country for South America travel
The below budget breakdown covers the four countries I travelled to in South America. The average is based on one person travelling over a month and averaging out transport costs over the month.
So if you take a long distance bus that costs $50 the cost split out over a week would be $7.14. This is the same for ‘fun’ as it’s likely you won’t go out or do an activity everyday.
The above budget breakdown also includes sleeping in dorm rooms and eating local cuisine such as popular Menu del Dia options.
10 reasons to travel to South America now
In South America whether you’re visiting one country or five, it doesn’t really matter there is a trip to suit all budgets.
If you like to travel for long periods of time or simply want to dedicate two weeks you now know all the reasons to travel to South America.
Can you think of another reason to travel to South America? Leave me a comment below and let me know.
A 20-something travel blogger based in Liverpool. Covering all things from Latin America to Liverpool local guides and everything in between.