South America Living

Can I Live in South America on $650 USD Per Month?

by Molly McHugh, Former Editor/Publisher of South America Living.     About the Author. You can download her free ebook by clicking here: “Cheap Places in South America & Budget Travel Tips“.

I recently updated (September, 2012) the monthly amount for basic living in our “Cheap Places to Live in South America” section and the write-ups on places to move to or have an extended stay – Cusco, Huanchaco, Salta, Cotacachi, Vilcabamba, Salto, Medellin, Sucre, Canoa – to $800 USD, previously was $650 USD.

Street in Sucre, Bolivia – One of the Few Cities in South America with a Low Cost of Living

Everything is on the rise in South America – commercialism, capitalism, liberalism – as well as the cost of living. Prices are not just inching up… they are being raised 30-50% in one fell swoop in many cases, such as entrance fees to tourist attractions.

Want to visit the Colca Canyon in Peru? Be prepared with double the amount of cash now ($26 USD) to bus into Cabanaconde. Thinking of a trip to Machu Picchu? Ante up $60 USD at the entrance in addition to all other costs.

And in many instances the higher fees will be charged to you simply because you are a tourist. In Argentina, for example, folks who want to visit the San Ignacio Mini ruins or take a ride on the Patagonia Express will have to pay three times the amount that is charged to Argentinians.

The majority of people who want to buy real estate or move to South America intend to enjoy their life in the process, explore outside of their small town or city, take trips to other areas of the continent. This is getting harder and harder to do on a limited budget.

You can still find an out of the way location off the tourist circuit and hunker down for a bit, or enjoy some areas that are still bargain destinations such as Sucre, Boliva. But in general, costs are rising across the board (bus travel, restaurant meals, rent, grocery items) as the continent is trying to move from Third World to First World status – primarily by raising prices.

I upped the bottom rung monthly cost of living from $650 to $800 USD per month to account for these costs and have those wanting to live and explore in South America better prepared for what they will encounter once there.

For detailed cost of living information on a few select areas to live, check out these articles:

Cost of Living in Cotacachi, Ecuador
Cost of Living in Santiago, Chile
Cost of Living in Tarija, Bolivia
Cost of Living in Quito, Ecuador

Photograph by Molly McHugh, all rights reserved.

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