You should rarely have trouble finding accommodation in South America on your gap year, though the quality and cost can vary significantly depending on where you are on the continent.
More developed nations like Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay, are likely to be the most expensive, although still generally cheaper than you would pay in Europe. In less developed countries like Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador, you can get by on a much tighter budget. In smaller countries like Guyana and Suriname it can sometimes prove a bit trickier to secure accommodation.
Finding & booking
It’s usually a good idea to pre-book accommodation in South America whenever possible. If you’re following established tourist trails this is generally less necessary, but be aware that at certain times of the year hostels on these routes can be very busy. In big cities like Rio de Janeiro or Buenos Aires this is less likely to be an issue.
Types of accommodation
The kinds of accommodation you find in South America will largely depend on where you travel. More developed countries like Brazil and Argentina will have a wide range, from luxury hotels down to pokey hostels, so you’ll almost always find something to suit your budget. You can also arrange homestays and find guest houses in more popular tourist areas.
Countries like Bolivia and Peru are less developed but so popular with travellers that there’s plenty of hostels to choose from, though generally fewer nicer hotels. Still, wherever you stay here, it’s likely to be nice and cheap.
Small countries like Guyana and Suriname can be more troublesome, especially if you’re visiting more rural areas. There are hotels and hostels, but not in the abundance you’ll find elsewhere. We recommend planning ahead if you’re visiting these countries.
Visit the coast in countries like Chile and Colombia and you’ll often find you can rent a beach hut right on the sand. They’ll be more expensive than regular accommodation, but worth it for such a perfect slice of paradise.