With the economy showing no signs of recovery, we thought now was a good time to highlight which destinations in South and Central America offer the best value for money. For some it is simply a cheap place to travel whilst for others it is what you do when you are there that makes it a ‘value for money’ destination even if it is not the cheapest country in Latin America.
In order to get the lowest price for your holiday the first thing we recommend you do is book your flights as early as possible. This will secure the cheapest seats on any flight allowing you spend your hard earned cash on the hotels and rooms you want. Please note that as a general rule, flights to Central America are cheaper than those to South America.
Once at your chosen country try to avoid too much moving around as transfers to and from airports or towns can push your price up very quickly. We would therefore recommend staying in two or three (maximum) well chosen places within each country and exploring the surrounding areas from there. Our final piece of advice is; avoid multi country holidays as this is a contributing factor to cost!
Our top 5 ‘best value’ holidays
Nicaragua. Top of our list for so many reasons; the international flights are reasonable priced, the cost of food is low and general travel is inexpensive. On top of this the main destinations are close together hence limiting the travelling time and your costs. To get from Leon to Granada takes 3 hours, Granada to Ometepe Island 4 hours and from Ometepe to San Juan del Sur takes 3 hours. Expect to pay approximately $2,000 per person for a 2 week holiday excluding international flights.
Bolivia. The cheapest country in South America with regards food and travelling costs, though you may pay a little more for the airfare to get here. Once in Bolivia the destinations of La Paz, Sucre, Lake Titicaca and Uyuni can all be reached by road or train and each can be easily explored on your own with the exception of Uyuni where we recommend booking a 2 day 1 night excursion to explore the salt flats. Expect to pay approximately $2,300 per person for a 2 week holiday excluding international flights.
Mexico. With direct flights from both the US and the UK and the introduction of direct flights with Virgin Airlines (from the UK) in the middle of 2012 the cost of flying to Cancun has never been so cheap. Once here we recommend hiring a car which is the cheapest way to get around but it also gives you the freedom to explore the Yucatan Peninsula on your own. Hotels along the coast regularly have promotional stays which can easily be combined with a drive inland to the impressive Maya sites of Chichen Itza and Uxmal. Expect to pay approximately $2,200 per person for a 2 week holiday including car hire but excluding international flights.
Brazil. At first glance you would not expect Brazil to make the list, but if you choose your destination carefully and book your flights at least 8 months in advance you can visit this fascinating country for a snip of the normal price. We recommend flying directly into the north east of the country to Salvador, Natal or Fortaleza. By avoiding Rio de Janeiro you will save on both your international and internal airfares and from any of the above mentioned destinations you can have a 12 night stay at one of the best beaches in Brazil; Morro de Sao Paulo, Pipa or Jericoacoara. Expect to pay approximately $1,700 per person for a 12 night holiday excluding international flights.
Honduras. One ofthe lesser visited countries in Central America, Honduras has long been known as the cheapest place in the world to learn how to SCUBA dive. However, the country has more to offer than just diving. The Mayan ruins of Copan were the artistic centre of their world and are easily accessible, the jungle clad Pico Bonito National park is a haven for walkers and wildlife whilst the Bay Islands of Roatan and Utila are the perfect places to relax and explore the underwater world. In order to keep costs down you need to avoid too much moving around as internal flights can be expensive. By combining the Bay islands and Pico Bonito and using the ferries from the mainland to link the two you can catch a bargain. Expect to pay approximately $2,300 per person for a 2 week holiday excluding international flights.