The origin of salsa, samba, tango, and Andean folk music, fascinating indigenous cultural treasures, canoe along the green tones of the Amazon rain forest, sail through the melting pot’ of marine species in the Galapagos Islands, only few of the great, exciting, bustling activities South America has to offer.
The very first step to set foot in the 4th largest continent in the planet – live life from reverie to reality, as we guide you through your journey to South America with different cheapest possible ways.
Along with your valid Philippine passport, the following are the requisites and info: (Here’s Kach’s personal visa experiences)
- Argentina – you need a pre-approved visa, $50
- Bolivia – up to 60 days visa-free
- Brazil – up to 90 days visa-free
- Chile – you need a pre-approved visa, $60 for 90 days (Here’s how I got my Chile visa while in Peru)
- Colombia – up to 90 days visa-free
- Ecuador – up to 90 days visa-free
- Paraguay – you need a pre-approved visa, $100
- Peru – up to 183 days visa-free
- Suriname – up to 60 days visa-free
- Uruguay – you need a pre-approved visa, $45
- Venezuela – you need a pre-approved visa, $100
SOME POINTS TO REMEMBER BEFORE YOU TRAVEL TO SOUTH AMERICA:
Jonathan and Kach traveled and lived in South America for 18 months and below is their tips for you!
- YOU NEED TO SHOW A RETURN FLIGHT TICKET FOR THE PHILIPPINES IMMIGRATION – Here’s our tips and things to remember at the Philippines immigration.
- Here’s the list of CHEAP Backpackers Hostels in South America (starting from $4/ night!)
- Yes, once you’re in South America you can easily cross the border and travel by land – you can read my experience here (Peru-Bolivia-Chile).
- You will need a TRAVEL INSURANCE! Believe me, you don’t want to be sick and spend a lot of money!
- Read our cheap backpacking guides in South America here.
Route 1: Manila to South America via USA – applicable if you have US Visa
A transit (C-1) visa in necessary as you embark on your South America journey via US route. In case you already have a valid B-1/B-2 visa, you no longer need a special transit visa to transit through the United States. Note however that US visa holder other than B-1/B-2 or C-1 will in most cases not be admitted by U.S. immigration officials and may be returned to the country of origin at your own expense.
Procedures on how to apply for the US visa include application fee payment, submitting required documents, schedule interview, interview attendance, and issuance of Visa. Further info necessary for US visa application guide and tips can be found thru our guide here.
Route 2: Manila to South America via Middle East or Istanbul, Turkey
If Dubai route is your choice, a Visit Visa is necessary to begin your trip. It allows a maximum stay of 30 days and the visit visa can be renewed or extended at the immigration office in the UAE. Link to the Visit Visa application form can be found on this link: Visa Application from
Visit visas for immediate family members can be obtained by residents (called sponsors), whose monthly salary is not less than AED 4000 or AED 3000 + accommodation. Further info can be found through this link- Dubai visit visa
Note of the 90 days visa exemption upon entry to Colombia or Brazil!
Another option is with Qatar Airways. Visa application is also necessary before you enter Qatar. Please follow this link for further details about Qatar Embassy in Manila. Basically, Qatar Visa Requirements for Tourist Visa includes the following:
- Accomplished Application form
- Passport at least 6 months valid
- Authenticated Birth Certificate
- Authenticated Marriage Certificate (if married)
- NBI Clearance
- Bank Statement in the recent 3 months of proof of financial support
- 2X2 passport size photos with white background
- Processing fee
Route 3: Manila to South America via Hong Kong, Singapore or Malaysia
You can also start off your South America journey via our neighboring ASEAN countries, Malaysia, Singapore or the not so distant 2 hr flight to Hong Kong. This is definitely a great idea since they’re all visa free – Hong Kong for 14 days, Singapore for 30 days and Malaysia for 30 days.
From Manila, it’s only 3 and a half hours flight going to Malaysia and from Malaysia, long journey awaits as you fly to Sao Paulo for around 20hr and 19min, whilst 19hr and 58min approximately to Rio de Janeiro.
The average flight time from Manila to Singapore Changi is 3h 25min, approximately 20h 23min from Singapore to Sau Paulo, 23h 50 mins heading Rio de Janeiro, and 23h 48 min to Porto Alegre.
2h flight from Manila to Hong Kong is quick but Hong Kong to Brazil might take a while, 22h 56min to Sao Paulo, 27h 4min to Campinas and 22h 30min going to Rio de Janeiro.
If you decide to go on a layover to these countries:
- Here’s the best and cheap hostels in Hongkong
- Here’s the best and cheap hostels in Singapore
- Here’s the best and cheap hostels in Malaysia
Route 4: Manila to South America via Australia
A tourist visa will be required if you’ll take the Australia route. Completion of application form 1419 is necessary to get the visa. Further info re Visitor Visa – Tourist Stream and other requirements can be found thru this link: Application Checklist
Etihad Airways usually flies from Australia to Brazil. If heading to Sao Paulo, estimated flight time would be 17hr 7min whilst going to Rio de Janeiro, 17hr 19min. You may also access South America thru Direct Qantas flight, which flies off to Santiago, Chile. Note of the pre-approved visa in Chile, $60 for 90 days.
Route 5 : Manila to South America via Europe
A Schengen visa will be required if you are planning to stay in Netherlands. But the good thing is if you are transiting in Europe for less than 10 hours, then it’s visa free! It takes approximately 13hr and 16min flying from Manila to Amsterdam. Flight from Amsterdam to Sao Paulo is possible thru KLM, Lufthansa or Delta planes. To Sao Paulo, it usually takes around 12hr 39 mins whilst via Rio de Janeiro, 12hr 22mins.
Another route could be Manila – Spain – South America. Spain is also included in the twenty-six (26) Schengen countries , so a Schengen visa would be necessary too on your travel. Madrid to Lima flight usually takes around 12hr 19min whilst Madrid to Rio de Janeiro takes 10hr 35min. If you plan to travel via Barcelona to Bogota, Colombia, fly with Avianca airline. Flight time would take around 11hr 6min whilst from Barcelona to Sao Paulo, there’s Singapore Airlines or Alitalia, approximately 11hr 24 min travel time.
Route 6 : Other International Flights
One of the Cheapest International Flights to South America as per fare compare website is the route from London to Rio de Janeiro. However, starting off with Manila to UK could be a bit pricy. Hence, we tried to find the possible and cheapest way for this route. Visa application for your London route could be filed either personally or by post. Necessary form has to be completed upon application. Further info re UK visa application based on Kach’s experience is here.
From Manila, there’s quite a lot of available flights that you can choose from, PAL, Ethiopian Airlines and Qatar Airways. Average flight time is 13 hr 51min. London to Rio De Janeiro is 5,775 miles with average flight time of 11h 30min.
Most of our local airlines (PAL and CebuPac) set engines to fly off to New Zealand not later than end of the year. That said, we could add this route in future plans, or if ready, book your flights now with Jetstar as they now provide flights to NZ.
A visitor visa is necessary for a temporary stay in New Zealand. Necessary requirements are needed including funds, health and character. Further info re the application can be found thru this link: Visiting New Zealand
From New Zealand, airlines like LAN, offers flights to countries within South America such as Chile, Bolivia, Argentina and Brazil.
Route 7: Free route
If in any case, you’re still hesitant of whether to take that flight to SA, worry no more because there’s a free route. Yes, FREE! It’s via the Pacific. You can either sail across the ocean or if more of an adrenaline junkie, swim against the gigantic waves of the Pacific! No, we’re just kidding! But if you’d love to take this route, then why not – might as well do a record-breaking travel adventure and be a Guinness World Record holder for conquering the Pacific Ocean!
Feel free to ask any questions in the comment below, we might be able help you find cheap deals too!