Cheapest Countries in Latin America, Ranked
Money certainly makes travel easier, but you don't need to be rich to see the wonders of the world. If you're on a budget, set your eyes on Latin America.
Made up of countries that speak romance languages, this region spans from Mexico to South America and the Caribbean. You'll find mouthwatering food, incredible biodiversity and picturesque colonial towns — all at an affordable price!
We've rounded up the 10 cheapest countries in Latin America, ranked from budget-friendly to dirt-cheap.
Population: 17.8 million
Average daily cost: $51
*Average daily cost is based on Budget My Trip data. Countries with a level 4 warning from the Department of State were excluded.
Bottom Line: Ecuador
Ecuador is blessed with impressive geographical diversity for a country of its size. Whether you'd experience city life, the Amazon jungle or a beach town along the Pacific, this beautiful nation has it all for a little over $50 a day.
Though if you want to follow in Darwin's footsteps and visit the amazing Galapagos Islands, you'll have to increase your budget by a bit.
Population: 33.72 million
Average daily cost: $47
Bottom Line: Peru
Once the heart of the Incan Empire, Peru has some of the most interesting archaeological remains in South America. The most famous of them is Machu Picchu, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
But besides pre-Columbian cities, you'll find tall sand dunes, colorful mountains and surf towns. Like Ecuador, Peru holds a chunk of the Amazon, and it is far enough south that it also has resident penguins.
Population: 10.28 million
Average daily cost: $46
Bottom Line: Honduras
Honduras' political climate has been rocky for decades, with gang wars putting off most travelers. And while you certainly should heed caution, there are places that you can visit with relative ease.
Roatan, for instance, is an idyllic Caribbean island that has largely escaped the conflicts of the mainland. As a popular cruise and tourist destination, it welcomes visitors while providing peace of mind.
Population: 6.851 million
Average daily cost: $43
Bottom Line: Nicaragua
Like Honduras, Nicaragua is facing a period of political problems that have reduced its tourist appeal. But if you go in a group, stick to the main areas and proceed with caution, it's definitely possible to get to know the country.
And, trust us, it's definitely worth visiting. Highlights include the pastel-colored town of Granada, the gigantic Nicaragua Lake and its pretty islands, and Masaya Volcano, an active crater that you can drive to.
Population: 12.08 million
Capital: La Paz, Sucre
Average daily cost: $42
Bottom Line: Bolivia
In general, you can get by in Bolivia on much less than $42 a day. But some of the country's most notable experiences will require you to dish out a few extra dollars.
For instance, if you want to see the Uyuni Salt Flat — the largest in the world — you'll probably have to book a multiday tour. But it'll be some of the best money you've ever spent.
Population: 45.81 million
Capital: Buenos Aires
Average daily cost: $41
Bottom Line: Argentina
At the beginning of the millennium, Argentina's currency was almost as strong as the dollar. But the 21st century has not been kind to this country, which is currently facing an economic crisis that has lasted years.
Though once a relatively expensive country, Argentina is now one of the most affordable places in South America. Travelers will find iconic attractions like Iguazu Falls, the vineyards of Mendoza and the glaciers of Patagonia. Of course, no one should skip the charming capital of Buenos Aires.
Population: 17.11 million
Capital: Guatemala City
Average daily cost: $39
Bottom Line: Guatemala
Everyone thinks of Mexico when they think of Mayan ruins, but Guatemala has an even stronger Mayan culture. Here, you can visit ruins like Tikal, considered one of the most important capitals of the empire.
Besides ancient and living Mayan culture, Guatemala has pretty towns like Antigua, once a capital of the Spanish Empire. On the Caribbean coast, you'll also find Garifuna settlements, where you can learn about Afro-Guatemalan traditions.
2. Cuba (Tie)
Population: 11.26 million
Average daily cost: $33
Bottom Line: Cuba
Traveling to Cuba is not easy, but it isn't impossible either. And while you'll have to pay for a special visa, the country's low travel costs make up for it.
As one of the best — and most complex — Caribbean countries, Cuba is a place that everyone should visit at least once.
2. El Salvador (Tie)
Population: 6.314 million
Capital: San Salvador
Average daily cost: $33
Bottom Line: El Salvador
Tying for second place with Cuba, El Salvador is a cheap destination that doesn't receive many visitors. That's mostly due to the country's notorious gang issues and high crime rates. As with Honduras and Nicaragua, however, people who visit tourist spots in a tour or a large group are generally safe.
You'll find Mayan ruins, numerous volcanoes and hidden surf spots.
Population: 51.52 million
Average daily cost: $29
Bottom Line: Colombia
Coming in at less than $30 a day, Colombia is the cheapest country to visit in Latin America. Once notorious for its (ongoing) armed conflict, the nation now has relative stability. Tourists will still want to avoid red zones and stick to well-known areas.
If you're on a budget, skip the gorgeous but pricey Cartagena and go for other equally beautiful destinations. Want advice from a local? Spend a few days in the city, and then concentrate most of your time in small towns and the countryside. Places like Villa de Leyva and Salento (which partially inspired Disney's "Encanto") give you a glimpse into the true heart of the country.
Make time to also get out in nature. With coastline along both the Pacific and the Atlantic, snow peaks, deserts, paramos and the Amazon, you can pick and choose whichever climate or scenery you want to enjoy.