Best Cheap Vacations in Central and South America

While planning a budget-friendly trip, it's easy to cross Central and South America off your list due to generally high airfare and pricey accommodations. But, with advantageous exchange rates and a variety of free first-class attractions awaiting exploration, you shouldn't consider this part of the world out of reach. According to experts and U.S. News readers, these locales are where travelers can get the best bang for their buck.

SUMMARY

Best Cheap Vacations in Central and South America

  • Cusco
    View 17 Photos
    Belongs on List?

    Cusco

    #1 in Best Cheap Vacations in Central and South America

    Opulent temples, soaring cathedrals and heavenly Machu Picchu – Cusco provides access to premier sites all for relatively low travel costs. Visit in spring or fall for the best hotel rates, fewer crowds and pleasant temperatures.

    Read More
  • Machu Picchu
    Belongs on List?

    Machu Picchu

    #2 in Best Cheap Vacations in Central and South America

    Since 1911, culture hounds from far and wide have made the pilgrimage to see Machu Picchu's mystical temples. Exploring the grounds will cost you (as will the train from Cusco); however, a visit between September and November will yield affordable accommodations.

  • Lima
    View 15 Photos
    Belongs on List?

    Lima

    #3 in Best Cheap Vacations in Central and South America

    Filled with rich history and buzzing culture, Lima is an excellent destination for a South American vacation. It's free to stroll through the plazas and parks (and admire their impressive architecture), or you can relax on the beach. You'll find flights and lodging rates at their cheapest in April, May, September and October, plus pleasant average temps in the 60s during those months.

    Read More
  • Costa Rica
    View 45 Photos
    Belongs on List?

    Costa Rica

    #4 in Best Cheap Vacations in Central and South America

    If you book early enough, you're bound to find a deal in this tropical hot spot. Those looking for a place in the sun should head to Nicoya Peninsula's cream-colored sands. Or, lay your head in Jacó, a relaxed surfing town with easy access to the country's inland rainforests.

    Read More
  • Bogotá
    Belongs on List?

    Bogotá

    #5 in Best Cheap Vacations in Central and South America

    Colombia's capital is an up-and-coming destination with several key assets: gorgeous architecture, delectable food and a raging nightlife. With all this going for it, Bogotá may not be cheap for very long. You'll also find yourself free to splurge here thanks to low exchange rates.

  • Santiago
    View 20 Photos
    Belongs on List?

    Santiago

    #6 in Best Cheap Vacations in Central and South America

    Chile's capital and largest city offers an urban blend of old and new at the base of the Andes Mountains. Plus, many of the city's top attractions are either free or have low admission rates, making Santiago an ideal location for budget-conscious travelers.

    Read More
  • Argentine Patagonia
    View 19 Photos
    Belongs on List?

    Argentine Patagonia

    #7 in Best Cheap Vacations in Central and South America

    Those that plan ahead should have no problem finding affordable digs in Argentine Patagonia. You'll have to share the frontier with tuxedoed residents and sea lions, but you won't be fighting (with humans anyway) for a glimpse of the area's spectacular natural wonders.

    Read More

Vote to Add these Destinations to the Rankings

You May Be Interested In

When purchasing from our site, we may earn commissions. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

Recommended

The Cheapest Ways to Travel: 15 Tips to Save Money on Your Next Vacation

These cheap travel tips can help you save big on your next getaway.

July 18, 2019

The 9 Best San Francisco Wine Tours

Taste some of America's finest wines on one of these daytrips.

July 18, 2019

The 6 Best Sedona Jeep Tours

Take a rollicking ride through Sedona's natural beauty in a rugged SUV.

July 16, 2019

The 12 Top Florida Keys Beaches

Relax on the sandy shorelines from Key West to Key Largo.

July 15, 2019

The 15 Best New Orleans Walking Tours

Take on the Big Easy with a stroll through its streets.

July 15, 2019

The 8 Best Charleston Ghost Tours

Experience the Holy City's history and haunts on one of these excursions.

July 12, 2019

The 5 Best Oahu Helicopter Tours

Tour this picturesque island from the air on one of these excursions.

July 11, 2019

The 15 Best Los Angeles Tours

Maximize your time in Los Angeles with the insider tips and historical context provided by the best local tours.

July 3, 2019

The 15 Best Las Vegas Tours

See a different side of Sin City – its attractions go beyond gambling.

July 2, 2019

The 10 Best San Diego Boat Tours

Explore this coastal city's sights with a relaxing boat excursion.

July 1, 2019