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Now, obviously if I simply wanted flight prices I could look that up myself, but there are a multitude of choices and multiple considerations under the word "cheap".

First, I'd like a narrowing down of cities or countries to fly into. Which places are notoriously cheaper to fly into, most likely because of regular traffic, or low fees?

Then you have to consider major events which could rise the price of a plane ticket and also increase the number of people in the area, thus increasing general costs during the stay.

Then you have to consider average nightly costs with a modicum level of decency.

Then, lastly, basic necessities: food, water.

About me: I'm 22. A rock climbing instructor and outdoor guide. I have backpacked in Panama, Haiti, Egypt, Jordan and Israel as well as the UK. So, I have my array of experiences and have experienced the entire spectrum of cleanliness, hospitality, friendliness, comfort. Suffice to say I'm pretty well comfortable in any situation, and if I were to find myself somewhere I did not like, I would simply leave.

I'm looking for a more physical, interactive experience. For instance, when I went to Egypt I saw the pyramids for about 10 minutes and spent the majority of my time wondering Cairo getting lost and practicing Arabic. That is how I prefer to travel. So, no resorts. I just want people, in the countryside, in the city. Doesn't matter.

I think this is enough information now. I will clarify any questions you have.

P.S. This will be either November over Thanksgiving break or between December 16th and January 17th.

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How long would you go for? Are you visiting multiple countries? And tourist experiences, tours, or self travel? –  Mark Mayo Oct 10 '12 at 23:15
    
How is your Spanish? –  jrdioko Oct 11 '12 at 4:59
    
You might find use for priceoftravel.com/2100/… and the other articles on the that site. –  Alendri Oct 11 '12 at 12:28
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2 Answers 2

As far as cities are concerned, Tegucigalpa, Honduras is most probably the least expensive travel destination in Latin America. My only admonition about going there is to not go there. All those winsome little bits of inexperienced balderdash people love to gratuitously hand out as meretriciously sound advice (such as the lie that staying out of trouble, and practicing good judgement means you're safe) isn't applicable to most places, including Tegucigalpa. I once heard an aphorism that went something like "A bullet knows no name".

Many tourists delude themselves into thinking that if they don't cause a gunfight, for example, any stray bullets coming toward them could simply recoil off them or pass through them as if they were made of some diaphanous foam material or some cell-membrane like substance, and then walk away unscathed. In the real world, Central American gunfights typically result in nearly every innocent person in the shooters' vicinity being shot to death or hospitalized. Don't be a statistic. Don't march into places and think sociopaths with ak-47s give a rat's ass about your life.

But I don't think you're looking for what's the cheapest possible place. You apparently want to know the cheapest possible refuge from the native people and their life's vicissitudes, whilst still being able to enjoy their country's climate and opulent beach resorts turgid with other tourists. If this is the case, I suggest investing in a travel booklet.

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I've been to Tegus several times and found it safer than San Salvador, Managua, and Guatemala City; though less safe than Mexico City or Panama City. I never saw a gunfight or anything like it though I did meet travellers who were robbed without violence. In Omoa beach during Semana Santa I did witness too many very violent bar fights / street fights, often involving glass bottles, but no guns. –  hippietrail Nov 28 '12 at 4:10
    
Unless one finds themselves interposed in a full-fledged blitzkrieg b/tw some bellicose militias accoutered w/ guns & the gumption to use 'em, they shouldn't expect to witness gunfights more times than enough to make them banal anywhere. But, the homicide rate of Tegus is near 80––2x the rate of Detroit, a city we can agree is one to visit with the goal of being randomly victimized. It seems Latin hitmen favor shooting precision less than blindly firing into a crowd of people to kill one man. This makes the entire region of Latin America chancy enough just walking down its less touristy areas. –  Rajan S. Nov 28 '12 at 10:49
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When I have priced tickets to South and Central America the cheapest places to get to were Columbia and Panama. Spirit Airlines has some cheap deals including to Lima Peru but I have heard from friends that their service is bad. They also only let you have one 40 lb bag on some flights. But in your case that might not be an issue. Also check out where in the Caribbean and South America Jet Blue flights, because they have cheap flights and good services.

As for the cheapest countries to stay in that would be Bolivia, Paraguay and Peru. The most expensive countries in South America are Brazil and Chile. They also are the most modern so if nice hotels and high speed internet are critical to your travel happiness head there. But I am guess that the experience is more important than the frills in your case. Also any time you can head of of the big city in any country prices get significantly cheaper. I was living long term in Bolivia for $500 per month including rent and food. $1000/month will work in Peru. That is staying in my own studio apartment with shower and cooking some food at home. You could easily spend less if you share a place or more if you travel a lot inside the country. If you barter room and board for working in a hostal you could spend almost nothing during the stay.

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