Things That Matter

13 Super Affordable Cities In Latin America To Travel On A Budget

Traveling through Latin America might be more affordable than you think. Check out these 13 destinations — in these places, you’ll find plenty of things to see and do without putting a huge dent in your budget.

1. Quito, Ecuador

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Quito, Ecuador is a city that’s often overlooked because its altitude, which is 2,850 meters above sea level, can make it difficult to get to. But if you do travel to Quito, you’ll find a city that mixes the old and new beautifully, cheap taxi rides and even cheaper meals — that’s right, you can find a decent sized meal in this city for between $1.50 and $2.50 if you aren’t looking for gourmet cuisine.

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In 1978, Quito became the first city declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to the city’s historic district. Old town, as it’s called locally, covers 800 acres and is the largest historic center in the Americas. There you’ll find a plethora of ancient colonial building complete with thick walls and tiled roofs and abundance of museums to explore, but Old town’s charm really shines through at the gold-gilded La Compania de Jesus Church and the Basilica del Voto Nacional, which is adorned with native Ecuadorian animals instead of gargoyles.

2. Granada, Nicaragua

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Granada is a colonial town that’s easily one of Central America’s most budget-friendly locale. In fact, the tourist destination is popular with backpackers and has a sizeable expat community because it’s a place where you’ll get a lot for your money. In fact, the Price of Travel website estimates backpackers in Granada spend about $22.14 per day for meals, transportation, and accommodations.

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The heart of Granada is the city’s main drag, Calle la Calzada. This pedestrian-only street is lined with restaurants, cafes, and shops. It’s a great play to get a feel for the city, browse the open-air market, and check out some street performers.

3. Cusco, Peru

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The start of every trip to Machu Picchu begins in Cusco, Peru. And because the cost of the train from Cusco to Machu Picchu and admission to the Machu Picchu site are fairly costly, it would be easy to assume that Cusco is an expensive destination — but it’s not. In Cusco, you can easily find a hostel for $15 per night, so it’s simple to get by in Cusco for less than $30 per day.

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The Plaza da Armas is the historic city center. It’s cobbled, pedestrian-only streets extend away from the town center to some of the area’s more popular attractions. Nearby the Cusco Cathedral, the city’s oldest church, displays massive collections of colonial art from the Cusco School of Art.

4. San Jose, Costa Rica

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Visiting San Jose, Costa Rica gives you direct access to volcanic views and amazing beaches. Spend the day soaking up the sun before touring the city.

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You’ll find the National Theater right in the heart of San Jose. It’s one of Costa Rica’s most visited sites. While the outside building is amazing on its own, the inside is lavishly decorated and adorned with breathtaking murals.

5. Mexico City, Mexico

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Mexico City, Mexico is an exciting metropolis with walkable neighborhoods and old-world architecture. Getting around the city is simple. The metro system will get you anywhere for about 5 pesos — about $0.27. You can even tighten your budget a bit more by staying in a cheap AirBnB and eating street food. There are plenty of hostels throughout Mexico City too.

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While Mexico City has a lot of beautiful buildings to admire, the Palacio de Bellas Artes may be one of the best. You can visit on your own, or take a walking tour through the city. Walking tours are a big deal here, and you can find some tours for as little as $30 admission.

6. La Paz, Bolivia

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La Paz, Bolivia is the highest capital city in the world. It rests along the Andes’ Altiplano plateau, which is more than 3,500 meters above seas level. The best part the city’s elevation is that you can travel the area by cable car. The Mi Teleferico gets you around the city and provides you with some amazing views along the way.

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While La Paz is a great city to explore, it has plenty of outdoorsy areas to peruse as well. Spend your days hiking, because heading back into town for dinner. The average one-week trip to La Paz for one adult costs about $171, according to Budget Your Trip.

7. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Christ the Redeemer overlooks Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and it’s one of the city’s most popular sites. While Rio de Janeiro might not be as cheap as Quito, Ecuador, or La Paz, Bolivia, it doesn’t have to be an expensive destination. According to Budget Your Trip, you should expect to pay about $11 per day for food, $70 per night for accommodations, and a little more than $6 per day for transportation.

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When you’re done exploring the city, take some time to visit the Rio’s “fake forest.” A portion of the Amazon rainforest was transferred to the middle of Rio de Janeiro. It was designed in 1808 and includes more than 8,000 plant species.

8. Santa Ana, El Salvador

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If you enjoy exploring the great outdoors, Santa Ana, El Salvador, makes a great budget-friendly trip. While hiking around Lago de Coatepeque, you can enjoy some breathtaking views of the area. Before heading back into the city for food, drinks, and relaxation.

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The Montecristo National Park in Santa Ana is another great place to visit. Spend the day following the trails through the jungle, which take you across suspended bridges that offer the best views of the area.

9. Antigua, Guatemala

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Antigua, Guatemala, is essentially a time capsule filled with so restored and ruined colonial architecture that you could spend days exploring every nook and cranny of the small city. The city is flanked by three volcanos, and has some of the cheapest language school in Latin American, making it ideal for those who want to improve their Spanish.

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It’s important to note that some parts of Antiqua can get pricey. But if you avoid visiting during lint, stay in a hostel, eat street food, and avoid drinking too much alcohol, you can get by in Antigua for between $20-$25 per day This should be easy to accomplish if you spend most of your days strolling through the amazing city admiring its architecture and parks.

10. Lima, Peru

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Lima, Peru, may be known as The City of Kings, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend like one. According to Budget Your Trip, one adult spends about $60 per day traveling in Lima. But you can spend less if you know where and when to eat. Stay away from touristy hot spots — the prices there are a lot higher, than at places where locals dine. Also, eat your biggest meal at lunch. During lunchtime, big meals are readily available at much lower prices.

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When traveling through Lima, agree on a price for the ride because you get into the taxi — and don’t be afraid to haggle. Taxis in Lima don’t have meters. So what you pay is what’s agreed upon before the ride. If you think the taxi driver is charging too much, simply go to another taxi to get a better rate.

11. Santiago, Chile

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Imagine waking up in Santiago, Chile to amazing mountainous views. Well, you can, and you don’t have a pay a small fortune to do it. According to Budget your trip, meals in Santiago for one day, for one person, are about $12 and daily transportation will cost you about $5.30. Area Accommodation can be a bit pricey though, so you might want to book a hostel or Airbnb in advance.

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You’ll find a lot of interesting places to explore in Santiago, including the Stately office of Chile’s President, the Plaza de Arms, and St, Lucia Hill. While you’re there, hike up San Cristobal Hill for some amazing panoramic views of the city.

12. Montevideo, Uruguay

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If you’re looking for a relaxing, affordable beach vacation, Montevideo is a great destination. It’s a place where you can enjoy city life and the beach without spending a small fortune.

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When touring Montevideo, Uruguay, keep an eye out for street art. Street murals are common in this city, and during your trip, you’re bound to discover gem after gem.

13. Buenos Aires, Argentina

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While it may not be the cheapest place in Latin America to visit, Buenos Aires, is still an affordable vacation destination. According to Budget Your Trip, you should expect to pay about $53 per night for accommodations, $3.41 for a day’s worth of food, and $0.84 per day for transportation. When you consider that Buenos Aires is a vast metropolis that’s a melting pot of cultures, these prices seem like a steal.

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If you visit Buenos Aires in the spring, you’ll find breathtaking views of jacaranda trees. The light purple blooms make the already vibrant city even more colorful.

Lisa Frank And Hotels.com Created An Apartment That Looks Like The Inside Of Your 3rd Grade Backpack

Culture

Lisa Frank And Hotels.com Created An Apartment That Looks Like The Inside Of Your 3rd Grade Backpack

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Calling all ’90s kids. Was there ever a better feeling in the world than getting a new shimmery, colorful Lisa Frank binder? We all know that one person who had the whole kit; pencils, erasers, notebooks, stickers. Maybe that person was you or maybe they were someone you were always just a little jealous of, whether you admit it or not. It was a rainbow-colored explosion in every elementary and middle school in the ’90s. Yet, Lisa Frank stationery wants to make the experience immersive. You now have a chance to stay in an apartment decorated in the signature rainbow-colored and slightly psychedelic style of the ’90s brand.

The Lisa Frank apartment, a collaboration between Lisa Frank and Hotels.com, screams nostalgia.

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Lisa Frank teamed up with Hotels.com to bring your ’90s backpack to life. Hospitality company Barsala, which specializes in delivering the best value for price to their customers. A lucky few fans will be transported to the wonderful world of fluffy rainbows, unicorns, golden retrievers, and technicolor dolphins. The Lisa Frank-themed penthouse is in the Los Angeles Fashion District in downtown. But if you want to stay there, you better hurry. The room is only available for a couple of weeks this month only.

“We wanted to design a room that celebrates all things ’90s, and nothing screams childhood nostalgia more than these iconic designs,” Adam Jay, president of Hotels.com told Curbed LA.

The bed has Lisa Frank sheets and duvet and there are pillows with the trademark colorful kitties and puppies of the brand.

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The bedroom features a hot-pink four-poster bed with a light-up canopy outfitted with Lisa Frank’s signature chromatic bedding and rainbow-hued curtains. There’s a wall-sized mural featuring some of Lisa Frank’s most iconic designs like the rainbows coming out of fluffy clouds, the bear dressed like an Elton John-styled magician, and all of the animals and characters we remember.

The bathroom is an underwater technicolor oasis with all of the Lisa Frank nautical designs we all recognize.

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The bathroom walls are decorated with Lisa Frank’s underwater scenes that graced out school folders for years. Heart-shaped bubbles, rainbow colored tropical fish, and the famous pink and blue dolphins cover the bathroom walls. It is everything you ever wanted your parents to do for your bedroom and bathroom growing up.

Of course, Lisa Frank’s chromatic animal print collection is on full display in the kitchen. 

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You’ll find a true rainbow color spectrum in this kitchen from bright pink to pale blue and all the colors in between. Lisa Frank’s iconic animal prints come to life on the cupboards. Yellow zebra print, a red leopard print that fades to orange. The best part? The kitchen comes fully stocked with the most iconic vibrant-colored candy from your childhood —like Gushers, Pop-Tarts, Pixy Stix, and Planters Cheez Balls.

Get in touch with your inner pop artist with all the stationery and Lisa Frank goodies you can take home.

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If all the rainbows and colors are making you inspired, next to the lounge area, there’s an office space complete with all the cutesy rainbow Lisa Frank stationery you could ever want. The desk comes supplied with pencils, post-its, notepads and stickers. If ever we wanted to smuggle something out of a hotel room, this is it. 

Guests even get limited edition robes, slippers, and sleep-masks.

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With your booking, you get to take all of the goodies you like. The candy, the stationery, the Lisa Frank-embroidered robes, and slippers, all yours for the rate of $199 a night.

Yes, Lisa Frank is a real person, but the art was a collaborative effort.

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The Lisa Frank brand first rose to prominence in the 1980s and ’90s as purveyors of hyper-bright, animal-centric school supplies, including Trapper Keepers, pencil bags, backpacks, stickers, and stationery. Lisa Frank is a real person and started the company while she was still in college. However, many artists collaborated to design the illustrations. 

“The artwork was a collaborative effort, but it all began with me putting it on paper as a marker rendering,” Rondi Kutz, who was Lisa Frank Inc.’s Senior Designer and Product Development Leader told HelloGiggles. “The concepts came from Lisa, James (her husband), or me, so I can say that some of the characters were my idea and original design. But by the time it went on to an illustrator to redraw it, adding detail, then to a computer artist who rendered it on the computer (which entailed hundreds of hours of work), it had many artists’ stamps on it.” Kutz went on to work at the company until 2002.

Other notable themed properties available to rent (not on Hotels.com) include Bella Swan’s house from “Twilight,” a “Taco Bell inn” pop-up and the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. Stays at the Lisa Frank Apartment are available only from October 11 through 27. The cost per night is $199 and the room can only be booked through Hotels.com.

READ: This Mexican Hotel Will Give You Unlimited Tequila And Let You Sleep Inside A Tequila Barrel

There Is A 9-Day Tour You Can Take Of Mexico To Celebrate Día De Los Muertos

Culture

There Is A 9-Day Tour You Can Take Of Mexico To Celebrate Día De Los Muertos

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We’re beyond thrilled that our favorite holiday is right around the corner, and we’re not talking about Halloween, but Día de los Muertos. We’re starting to plan our altars and decorate the house with papel picado. Aside from decorating and watching “Coco” for the billionth time, we wish there was more we could do to commemorate this Mexican tradition. Now there is, but before you get excited about the possibility of honoring the dead in a very new way, check out the details first and you may be too scared (or too broke) to participate.

A travel company is offering a 9-day trip to celebrate Día de los Muertos in Mexico.

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Flashback, a “Boutique group adventures for solo travelers in their 30s and 40s,” just launched a vacation package that has various stops throughout Mexico and is specially themed to honor Día de los Muertos.

The package offers, “a unique take on ancient traditions, the Día de los Muertos (as it’s called in Spanish) sees Mexicans gather to pay respects to the deceased. But there’s nothing somber about this occasion. What follows is a vibrant chaos of color, calaveras, and marigolds; beautifully-decorated altars and intricately-painted faces; music, dancing and a celebration of life. With only one departure running a year, this is your chance to experience Mexico on a truly special occasion, alongside all the classic cultural experiences.”

The trip entails a stop in Mexico City and partaking in La Catrina parade.

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Thousands of people gather in Mexico City dressed in the best Día de los Muertos costumes including many who go as La Catrina. On Day 2, the group (you and your new travel buddies) will go to the Zocalo Square in Mexico City to view the many ofrendas (altars). 

“Your guide will talk you through the traditions surrounding this sacred practice, with the chance to taste pan de muerto – a sweet bread recipe made especially for this occasion – and traditional Mexican chocolate,” Flashback states. “You’ll have the option to channel La Catrina and have your face painted in the traditional calavera style.”

On Day 3, the tour will include a boat ride to la Isla de las Muñecas, the Island of the Dolls. 

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Hold up. Now, we do love Día de los Muertos, but la Isla de las Muñecas is scary AF. “Shrouded in local folklore, the island is widely believed to be haunted by the ghost of a drowned girl. True to its name, you’ll find a plethora of creepy dolls hanging from the trees of this deserted island, some without heads or limbs. Your guide will talk you through the sad backstory of the island, before taking you back to the city center for an afternoon at leisure.” We’re not sure how much leisure we’ll be feeling after this spooky boat ride. 

The rest of the trip includes stops in Puebla, Oaxaca, hiking the Sierra Norte mountains and swimming in la Hierve el Agua. 

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The tour includes visiting la  Calle de los Dulces (the Street of Sweets) in Oaxaca, “where you’ll find rows of stores selling traditional Mexican treats. Dinner tonight will be enjoyed at a traditional restaurant, with dishes served in Poblano pottery,” and also experience how Oaxacans celebrate this historic holiday. One of the coolest parts of the Oxacacan stop is that the tour includes a visit to San Miguel Pantheon cemetery. 

This whole trip will cost you $3309, and that does not include airfare.

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That hefty price tag includes accommodation, equipment gear, a local guide, transportation, food that is on the tour, and airport pickup. There’s also limited space for 14 travelers, which does give way to an intimate experience. 

Is this something that sounds interesting to you? If so, you should probably book ASAP because we’re sure people (with money to burn) will want to explore an authentic experience to Día de los Muertos in Mexico. The trip begins on Oct. 26 and ends on Nov. 3. 

If you can’t afford this trip, we have a better suggestion. Book a cheap flight to Mexico City, and stay an inexpensive AirBnB. You can also take very reasonable bus rides to Oaxaca and Puebla because honestly, it shouldn’t be that pricey to visit Mexico. But, as we said, if you have money to burn and want to take in Day of the Dead in an Instagramable way with other likeminded travels, then this trip is definitely for you. Either way, enjoy Día de los Muertos!

Read: Mattel Is Releasing A Day Of The Dead Barbie Doll And You Better Believe Latinas Are Divided About It As Heck