Backpacking through South America is a great way to experience the continent’s natural beauty, history, and culture. There are multiple backpacking destinations in South America; you can hike the Andes Mountains, visit Machu Picchu, or surf in Punta Salinas.

Ready to learn about the top backpacking destinations in South America? This article will explore the best places to backpack in South America. We will also cover some tips on budgeting your trip, what to keep in mind, and how to stay safe. Let’s get started!

4 Best Backpacking Destinations in South America

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Backpackers are in heaven in Buenos Aires. Everybody can find something to enjoy in this city, from its exciting culture and nightlife to its gorgeous architecture and delectable food. The best part is that it is reasonably priced, especially for backpackers.

It is worth noting that there are a wide variety of hostels and guesthouses in Buenos Aires, so you are certain to find one that meets your budget and requirements. Buenos Aires is a foodie’s paradise. Be sure to try some of the local favorites, such as asado (grilled meat), empanadas, and dulce de leche. The city also has an excellent public transportation system, including buses, subways, and trains. You can also get around by taxi or bicycle.

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

A typical Salar de Uyuni tour will show you the highlights of the salt flats, including Incahuasi Island, the Train Cemetery, and the Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve. On Incahuasi Island, you can climb to the summit for breathtaking views of the salt flats. The Train Cemetery is a desolate site where old steam locomotives are left to rust in the middle of the salt flats, while the Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve is a wildlife refuge that is home to a variety of animals, including flamingos, vicuñas, and alpacas.

When packing for your trip to Salar de Uyuni, be sure to include warm clothes, sunscreen and sunglasses, a hat and scarf, comfortable shoes, and, of course, a camera. Take your time and enjoy the experience: Salar de Uyuni is a truly unique place and also one of the best backpacking destinations in South America.

Cusco, Peru

Cusco is a must-visit destination for any backpacker traveling through South America. This vibrant city, nestled in the Andes Mountains, is steeped in history and culture. It was once the capital of the Inca Empire, and its cobblestone streets and colonial architecture bear witness to its past. Cusco is also a popular base for backpackers exploring the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu.

Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Torres del Paine National Park in Chile is also a must-visit for any backpacker looking for an unforgettable experience. The park is home to some of the most stunning scenery in South America, with towering granite peaks, pristine lakes, and glaciers. There are also a variety of challenging hikes to choose from, ranging from day hikes to multi-day treks. 

And, of course, no trip to Torres del Paine would be complete without spotting some of the park’s abundant wildlife, including guanacos, pumas, and condors. So if you’re looking for an adventure, Torres del Paine National Park is one of the places for you!

Choosing the Right Backpacking Destinations in South America

Backpacking is a fantastic way to travel on a budget and meet other travelers from all over the world. However, there are a few things to think about when choosing a backpacking destination in South America. Some of these include budget, interests, language skills, safety, visa requirements, and so on. Let’s go through them one at a time.

  • Budget: South America can be an expensive continent to travel to, so it’s important to set a budget before you go. Consider how much you’ll need to spend on accommodation, food, transportation, activities, souvenirs, and other things.
  • Time of the Year: The best time to backpack in South America is during the shoulder seasons (April to May and September to October) when the weather is still warm but there are fewer tourists.
  • Interests: South America has a wide variety of destinations to offer, so it’s important to choose a place that interests you. Are you interested in history and culture? Nature and adventure? Beaches and relaxation?
  • Language skills: If you do not speak Spanish, it is crucial to consider how easy it will be to travel and communicate with locals in your chosen destination. Some countries in South America, such as Brazil and Argentina, have a large English-speaking population, while others, such as Peru and Bolivia, have a much smaller English-speaking population.
  • Safety: It is also essential to conduct research and select a backpacking destination that is safe for travelers. Some countries in South America, such as Colombia and Venezuela, have a higher crime rate than others. As such, it is important to be aware of the risks and take precautions to stay safe.
  • Visa requirements: Lastly, you should check the visa requirements for your chosen destination before you go.

Once you’ve considered all of these factors, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices and choose the perfect backpacking destinations in South America for you!