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Filipino Solo Backpacker in South America | Cost Breakdown For A 14-Day Trip

Filipino Solo Backpacker in South America | Cost Breakdown For A 14-Day Trip

Dan Travels Filipino Solo Backpacker in South America | Cost Breakdown For A 14-Day Trip

By DAN FORTEZA

‘Isn’t it expensive to go to South America?’ – you probably are asking this question to yourself now. To simply answer it – yes, it is. I find it very expensive, but it doesn’t mean you can’t save some more dollars prior to or during your trip. If you plan it in advance, you definitely will save a lot! In this blog, I’ll show you the breakdown of my expenses before and during my trip in South America, particularly in four countries I’ve visited – Brazil, Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador. You may use this as your guide to gauge your finances or in order for you to complete your travel budget. Because why not? Let’s make it happen!

Dan Travels Filipino Solo Backpacker in South America | Cost Breakdown For A 14-Day Trip
Christ The Redeemer in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil | Dantravels.org

A person like me who got fascinated with geography and languages at such a young age always dreamed to set foot in every continent on earth. But I’ll be honest – South America is my favorite continent amongst the seven. I’ve always wanted to go to South America ever since I was a kid. I understand it is halfway around the world from where I live, but I guess it’s one of the ‘go-for-it’ factors why I always eyed for South America.

If you don’t know my story yet, feel free to read this article where I talked about myself becoming a digital nomad. This article was also featured on TripZilla Philippines.

So how did I plan it? How did I manage to visit 4 countries in only 14 days? Yep, only 14 days!!! Take note that that was my 2-week Christmas holiday break. I can consider it the grandest solo backpacking adventure in my entire life (to date)!

NOTE: For Philippine Passport holders, visiting Brazil, Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador do not require visa. Yep, these countries are visa-free for us!

Dan Travels Filipino Solo Backpacker in South America | Cost Breakdown For A 14-Day Trip
Ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru | Dantravels.blog

BEFORE THE TRIP: TIMELINE WITH COST BREAKDOWN

1. FLIGHTS

  • March 31, 2018

927.80 USD – Booked a roundtrip flight ticket from Manila, Philippines to Sao Paulo, Brazil via Ethiopian Airlines. This is a SEAT SALE from Ethiopian Airlines!!!

NOTE: This includes the travel tax of 31 USD (1,620 PHP)

TIP: Book at Ethiopian Airlines mobile app to get a 10% discount (I have an extra 10% discount in using the mobile app).

  • April 19, 2018

301.40 USD – Booked flight ticket from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil to Lima, Peru via Trip.com booking app (Avianca Airlines).

  • May 31, 2018

94.25 USD – Booked flight ticket from Lima, Peru to Bogota, Colombia via vivaair.com (Viva Airlines).

  • August 6, 2018

58.84 USD – Booked flight ticket from Lima, Peru to Cusco, Peru via Kayak.com (Peruvian Airlines).

70.33 USD – Booked flight ticket from Cusco, Peru to Lima, Peru via Orbitz.com (LC Peru Airlines).

  • October 25, 2018

313.50 USD – Booked flight ticket from Quito, Ecuador to Sao Paulo, Brazil via Trip.com booking app (GOL Airlines).

  • November 12, 2018

314.90 USD – Booked flight ticket from Bogota, Colombia to Quito, Ecuador via Kayak.com booking app (TAME Airlines).

  • November 15, 2018

92.18 USD – Booked flight ticket from Sao Paolo, Brazil to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil via Trip.com booking app (LATAM Airlines).

SUBTOTAL: 2,173.60 USD

2. FINAL ROUTES IN SOUTH AMERICA

  • December 22, 2018 to January 5, 2019 (actual travel date) 
    • Manila – Sao Paulo (Layover at Hong Kong and Addis Ababa)
    • Sao Paolo – Rio De Janeiro
    • Rio De Janeiro – Lima
    • Lima – Cusco
    • Cusco – Lima
    • Lima – Bogota
    • Bogota – Quito
    • Quito – Sao Paulo
    • Sao Paulo – Manila (Layover at Addis Ababa and Hong Kong)

3. HOSTEL / ROOM ACCOMMODATIONS

  • April 19, 2018

18.90 USD – 2 Nights in Cusco, Peru. Booked room accommodation via Booking.com.

TIP: If you intend to go to Machu Picchu + hike at Waynu Picchu, you need to book your ticket in advance (the hike at Waynu Picchu is limited to 200 hikers per day so I recommend you book ticket at least 3-6 months prior to your hike). One problem I encountered was my credit/debit card not being accepted by its booking website. So I booked my hostel in Cusco in super advance and then requested the hostel owner to assist me in paying the Machu Picchu ticket. The hostel owner was very kind enough to help me.

  • November 20, 2018

24.33 USD – 2 Nights in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Booked room accommodation via AirBnB.com.

  • November 21, 2018

36.40 USD – 2 Nights in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Booked room accommodation via AirBnB.com.

28.36 USD – 2 Nights in Lima, Peru. Booked room accommodation via AirBnB.com

12.00 USD – 1 Night in Cusco, Peru. Booked room accommodation via Booking.com

12.60 USD – 2 Nights in Machu Picchu Pueblo (a.k.a. Aguas Calientes), Peru. Booked room accommodation via Booking.com

  • December 12, 2018

18.92 USD – 1 Night in Bogota, Colombia. Booked room accommodation via Booking.com.

SUBTOTAL: 151.51 USD

4. TRAIN TICKETS

  • November 20, 2018

79.00 USD – Booked train ticket from Cusco, Peru to Machu Picchu Pueblo (a.k.a Aguas Calientes), Peru via Incarail.com.

  • December 4, 2018

76.00 USD – Booked train ticket from Machu Picchu Pueblo (a.k.a Aguas Calientes), Peru to Cusco, Peru via Incarail.com.

SUBTOTAL: 155.00 USD

5. OTHER TICKET FEES

  • April 23, 2018

60 USD – Bought Machu Picchu + Waynu Picchu ticket c/o my hostel owner at Cusco, Peru.

  • December 10, 2018

31.50 USD – Booked a ticket online for Rainbow Mountain (in Peru) tour via Rainbowmountaintravels.com.

SUBTOTAL: 91.50 USD

BOOKING ESSENTIALS

    • Hotel / Hostel
    • Booking.com (click HERE for general room accommodation)
      • La Casa De Ingrid in Cusco (click HERE to book)
      • Pirwa & Waca Machu Picchu, now Illapa Inn Machupicchu (click HERE to book)
      • Hotel San Francisco de Asís in Bogota (click HERE to book)
      • Blue Door Housing in Quito (click HERE to book)
    • Airbnb. Try Airbnb in finding comfy and cozy rooms for your Shanghai itinerary! I have used Airbnb on some of my other trips and I loved it!

Have you tried Airbnb? Sign up with my link and you will get up to 42 USD (2,200 Php) off your first stay. Click this link to get that discount.

  • Flights
    • KAYAK. All of my flight bookings are all from KAYAK. Kayak is one of the world’s leading travel search engines and searches hundreds of travel sites.

I suggest you check Kayak (click HERE) as they usually offer cheap fare rates compared to other booking sites.

  • Package tours
    • Viator. Viator is the world’s leading resource for researching, finding and booking the best travel experiences worldwide.

Find the best Viator deals in:

  • Machu Picchu Train Tickets (click HERE to book)
  • Machu Picchu Ticket (click HERE to book). Click HERE if you want to add Huayna Picchu.
  • Rainbow Mountain Tour Ticket (click HERE to book)

TIP: Just to be insured while traveling, I highly recommend you guys getting a travel insurance. I bought one from the World Nomads where most travelers get their travel insurances. Click HERE to get yours.

DURING THE 14-DAY TRIP: COST BREAKDOWN

BRAZIL 🇧🇷

Language: Portuguese
Currency: Brazilian Real (BRL)
Exchange rate: 1 USD  = 3.9030 BRL (Dec 2018)
Prefer mode of transportation: Uber Taxi
Int’l Airports: GRU, GIG

DAY 1:

  • BRL 156 – Regular Taxi: Guarulhos (GRU) Airport to Paulista Avenue, Sao Paulo
  • BRL 64 – Uber Taxi: Paulista Avenue to GRU Airport

TIP: You should integrate your credit / debit card as your primary payment method when using the Uber app, so you won’t have to worry about paying in cash. Your Uber app will also adapt to the local currency of your location.

NOTE: My flight from Manila to Addis Ababa got delayed. As a result, I arrived in Sao Paulo with a one-day delay. I even canceled my 2-night room accommodation in SP. Also, I wasn’t feeling well the day I arrived in SP. Thus, I didn’t do anything much in SP except roaming around Paulista Avenue.

DAY 2:

  • BRL 16 – Fried Chicken & French fries at KFC (GRU Airport)
  • BRL 7 – Cup of Choco at Baked Potato (GRU Airport)
  • BRL 50 – Sim card (GRU Airport)
  • BRL 10 –  Top up for Internet use (GRU Airport)
  • BRL 52 – Uber Taxi:  Rio De Janeiro (GIG) Airport to Copacabana (Airbnb apartment)
  • BRL 42 – Uber Taxi: Apartment to Cristo Redentor Entrance Building
  • BRL 43 – Entrance fee at Cristo Redentor Monument
  • BRL 10 – Van from Cristo Redentor to Bus stop
  • BRL 13 – Bus from Bus stop to Copacabana (Airbnb apartment)
  • BRL 19 – Food (Chicken, Rice, Fries)

DAY 3:

  • BRL 32.4 – Food (Chicken, Rice, Salad, Fries)
  • BRL 25 – Share of Gas (Car with a friend to Pedra do Telegrafo)

NOTE: A Brazilian friend took me to Pedra do Telegrafo this day. It was an awesome hike!

DAY 4:

  • BRL 40 – Uber Taxi: Copacabana (Airbnb apartment) to GIG Airport

SUBTOTAL: BRL 539.4 = USD 138.2

PERU 🇵🇪

Language: Spanish
Currency: Peruvian Soles (PEN)
Exchange rate: 1 USD  = 3.3580 PEN (Dec 2018)
Prefer mode of transportation: Uber Taxi
Int’l Airport: LIM, CUZ

DAY 4:

  • PEN 195 – Sim Card with Internet (Lima Airport)
  • PEN 37.5 – Uber Taxi: Jorge Chavez (LIM) Airport to Airbnb Apartment in Lima
  • PEN 2 – Bread
  • PEN 1.5 – Bottled Juice
  • PEN 12.5 – Uber Taxi from Apartment to Lima Square
  • PEN 16 – Lunch: Chaufa con Pollo (Fried Rice, Chicken, Potatoes)
  • PEN 16 – Dinner: Chaufa con Pollo (Fried Rice, Chicken, Potatoes)
  • PEN 2 – Bottled Water
  • PEN 9.5 – Uber: Taxi somewhere in Lima to Apartment

NOTE: You probably will notice that I had been eating ‘Chaufa con Pollo‘ in my stay in South America. It means Fried Rice with Chicken. Well, as an Asian, I love rice! Since I am not so familiar with their food or how it tastes like, I prefer going for anything with RICE!

DAY 5:

  • PEN 3.5 – Some Coffee near my apartment
  • PEN 3 – Laundry Detergent and Fabric Conditioner
  • PEN 1.5 – Bottled Water
  • PEN 9.2 – Uber Taxi: Apartment to Lima Square
  • PEN 16 – Lunch: Chaufa con Pollo (Fried Rice, Chicken, Potatoes)
  • PEN 16 – Dinner: Chaufa con Pollo (Fried Rice, Chicken, Potatoes)
  • PEN 11.5 – Uber Taxi: Lima Square to Apartment
NOTE: Yep, I did the laundry that day. My Airbnb host was very kind to assist me in my laundry needs.

DAY 6:

  • PEN 33 – Uber Taxi: Apartment to Jorge Chavez (LIM) Airport
  • PEN 10.5 – McBreakfast at LIM Airport
  • PEN 25 – Regular Taxi: Cusco (CUZ) Airport to La Casa De Ingrid Hostel
  • PEN 5.05  – Uber Taxi: Hostel to Plaza Mayor
  • PEN 20 – Sightseeing bus tour around Cusco City
  • PEN 0.2- Toilet fee
  • PEN 1 – Bread
  • PEN 7 – Food (Chicken, Rice, Potato)

DAY 7:

  • PEN 4.92 – Uber Taxi: Hostel to Plaza de Armas (then walk to Incarail office)
  • PEN 25 – Food (Chaufa con Pollo) with Bottled water at Machu Picchu Pueblo
NOTE: I was in transit to Machu Picchu Pueblo (a.k.a. Aguas Calientes) this day. Good thing the train ticket includes food for lunch and snacks for us, passengers.

DAY 8:

  • PEN 3 – Bottled water
  • PEN 40 – Bus ticket: Pueblo to Machu Picchu ruins
  • PEN 50 – Tour guide fee
  • PEN 2 – Toilet fee
  • PEN 40 – Bus ticket: Machu Picchu ruins to Pueblo
  • PEN 6 – Bottled Water
  • PEN 25 – Some Hamburger
  • PEN 48 – Food (Chaufa con Pollo)

TIP: Food is very expensive in Machu Picchu Pueblo. I recommend you bring or pack some food if you’re on a tight budget.

DAY 9:

  • PEN 22 – Food (Chaufa con pollo)
  • PEN  21 – Food (Chaufa con pollo)
  • PEN 4.14 – Uber Taxi: Cusco drop-off to La Casa De Ingrid Hostel

NOTE: Later that day, I was in transit from Machu Picchu Pueblo back to my hostel in Cusco City.

DAY 10:

  • PEN 1 – Toilet fee at Rainbow mountain
  • PEN 3 – Coffee at Rainbow mountain
  • PEN 6 – Photo Op with natives at the Rainbow Mountain summit
  • PEN 1 – Toilet fee at Rainbow mountain

NOTE: Breakfast and Lunch were included in the Rainbow Mountain Tour.

DAY 11:

  • PEN 3.4 – Bottled Water and Doritos
  • PEN 16.59 – Uber Taxi to Cusco (CUZ) Airport
  • PEN 839.5 (USD 250) – Flight from Cusco to Lima (due to canceled flight)
  • PEN 16.5 – Coke and Doritos Snacks
NOTE: My flight Cusco-Lima via LC Peru Airlines was canceled. Basically, all LC Peru Airlines were canceled on that day. I just knew when I arrived at the airport (well I had a feeling it could be canceled since I was having a problem doing a web check in!). So then I booked a new flight Cusco-Lima via LATAM Airlines (it’s expensive!) and in order to catch another flight Lima-Bogota via VivaAir. You have no idea how frustrated I was.
 
TIP: For VivaAir flights, ensure that you print your boarding pass between 72 to 2 hours before your scheduled departure time, otherwise, there will be an extra cost when checking in at the airport. More details HERE.

SUBTOTAL: PEN 1632.5 = USD 486.15

COLOMBIA 🇨🇴

Language: Spanish
Currency: Colombian Peso (COP)
Exchange rate: 1 USD = 3,248 COP (Jan 2019)
Prefer mode of transportation: Uber Taxi
Int’l Airport: BOG

DAY 11:

  • COP 25,498 – Uber Taxi: El Dorado (BOG) Airport to Hotel San Francisco de Asis

DAY 12:

  • COP 50,000 – Extra fee for room extension until 8:00 PM
  • COP 6,000 – Ticket fee at Bolivar Museum
  • COP 6,000 – Bottled Water
  • COP 6,000 – Food: Tamal (share with a friend)
  • COP 11,100 – Taxi: Somewhere near Monserrate to Plaza Bolivar
  • COP 2,600 – Bottled water
  • COP 26,400 – Uber Taxi: Hotel to BOG Airport

SUBTOTAL: COP 133,598 = USD 41.13

ECUADOR 🇪🇨

Language: Spanish
Currency: US Dollars (USD)
Prefer mode of transportation: Uber Taxi
Int’l Airport: UIO

DAY 13:

  • USD 27 – Uber Taxi: Mariscal Sucre (UIO) Airport to Mitad Del Mundo
  • USD 3.5 – Food (Arroz con Pollo)
  • USD 0.75 – Soda Apple Drink
  • USD 5 – Entrance fee at Mitad Del Mundo monument
  • USD 0.75 – Soda drink
  • USD 13.51 – Taxi to Hostel
  • USD 12.8 – Booking fee for my Hostel in Quito
  • USD 2.25 – Food (Arroz con Pollo) with soup
  • USD 1 – Doritos snack and Water
  • USD 26.6 – Uber Taxi: Hostel to UIO Airport
  • USD 2.5 – Bottled Juice at UIO Airport
  • USD 4 – Food (Empanada con Pollo) at UIO Airport

NOTE: I ended up booking a room in Quito as carrying bags all day would be very tiring (I am already very tired and with no enough sleep).

SUBTOTAL: USD 99.66

BRAZIL 🇧🇷

Language: Portuguese
Currency: Brazilian Real (BRL)
Exchange rate: 1 USD  = 3.9030 BRL
Prefer mode of transportation: Uber Taxi

DAY 14:

  • BRL 25.14 – Some Chocolates
  • BRL 24.25 – Uber Taxi: Guarulhos (GRU) Airport to Hostel Vitoria
  • BRL 37 – Hostel Vitoria booking fee in Guarulhos (near GRU Airport)
  • BRL 2 – Bottled water
  • BRL 1.6 –  Bread
  • BRL 2.5 – Bottled Juice
  • BRL 0 – Taxi: Hostel to GRU Airport (free c/o my hostel roommate!)
  • BRL 17 – Starbuck Frap caramel (for wifi haha)
  • BRL 18 – Starbuck Frap caramel (for wifi again)

NOTE: I booked a hostel near GRU Airport just to get some good rest prior to leaving Brazil.

SUBTOTAL: BRL 126.49 = USD 32.41

And here is my over-all expenses! Drum roll please!!!

TOTAL: USD 3,369.16

Phew!!! There you have it! I thought I couldn’t finish it today!

Though I went beyond my travel budget, for me it was totally worth it. The experience was PRICELESS! The next time I visit South America, I will definitely take it slow (I know, I feel like I was rushing the whole 14-day trip).

I hope that by the guide and tips I’ve laid out, you’d find them informative. If you have any questions on your mind right now, feel free to leave a reply in the comment section below. Don’t be shy. I’d be more than happy to answer all your queries to the best of my knowledge.

Good luck and happy travels!

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Marj
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Marj

Hi! Kung Philippines to Peru na flight, mga magkano kaya? Macchu Picchu and Rainbow Mountain + places nearby lang muna ang target ko. Thank you!!

Elma
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Elma

Hi Dan, thanks for this info. Ask ko lang, i noted that you used trip.com for booking the flights. Wala ba hassle? Also, how many months did you booked your flight prior to your trip? I plan to travel this Jan 2020 to Chile, Bolivia and Peru. Nag check ako ng flight like Lima to Santiago, and mostly 800 to 1000 Us dollars ang price direct sa website nila like LATAM. And lastly, any recommended vaccinations? Yellow fever, hepatitis A…etc

Thanks in advance.

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