Peru – The activities involving Inca ruins are very expensive and add up quickly, transit to Machu Picchu is also expensive because there is only one way to get there and that is by one train company (can you say monopoly?). Before we left we planed on purchasing a lot of souvenirs in Peru and sending them home, which accounts for the high cost here compared to the other countries we visited.
Chile – We did a lot of backpacking and camping which saved us quite a bit of money. We also bought a stove, and other camping items. To get to Torres del Paine in the south of Chile we took a bus from Argentina, because it seemed closer and easier. This ended up not being the case and cost us more money and took more time then if we had taken a bus directly from Puerto Montt in Chile
Argentina – Again we did a lot of backpacking and camping which helped balance all the steak and wine we ate.
Uruguay – We splurged in Uruguay by staying at a historic estancia (ranch) in the countryside for 2 days. It was $100 a person a day but included all our meals horseback riding and afternoons by the river.