Travel Insurance backpackers south america with a backpacker standing on a cliff

Backpacking Adventures in South America: The Best Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance for Backpackers in South America

South America is one of the most epic places for your backpacking adventures. Imagine exploring the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu one day, dancing the night away in Rio de Janeiro the next, or trekking through the Amazon rainforest another. These are just a few of the unforgettable experiences that await you. But before you go on your journey, you need the best travel insurance for your backpacking adventures across South America. 

Before we dive into the 10 best travel insurance for backpackers in South America options for you, let’s see why you must get travel insurance before you book that flight to Brazil or Peru! 

Why Is Travel Insurance Important In South America For Backpackers 

Travel insurance is incredibly important for backpackers in South America due to several reasons: 

1. Medical Emergencies

South America is known for its diverse landscapes and adventure activities, which can sometimes lead to unexpected accidents or injuries. Travel insurance provides coverage for medical emergencies, ensuring that you receive timely medical attention without having to bear exorbitant costs.

2. Trip Interruptions and Cancellations

Backpacking journeys can be unpredictable, and situations may arise where you need to cut your trip short or cancel it altogether. Travel insurance safeguards your investment by reimbursing you for non-refundable expenses like accommodation, transportation, and tour bookings in case of trip interruptions or cancellations. This will also help you in case there are any delays due to any unforeseen circumstances, such as natural disasters or airline strikes. 

3. Theft and Loss

Unfortunately, theft and loss of personal belongings can occur while traveling, especially in busy tourist areas. Travel insurance helps protect your valuables, such as your backpack, electronics, passport, and cash, providing coverage for theft, loss, or damage.

4. Emergency Evacuation

South America is home to diverse terrains and remote destinations. In case of a serious injury or medical emergency that requires evacuation to a better-equipped medical facility or back to your home country, travel insurance covers the costs of an emergency evacuation, including transportation and medical assistance.

What To Consider When Getting Travel Insurance For South America?


​​Ensure that your travel insurance covers activities at high altitudes, as many providers have altitude limitations. South America boasts popular destinations in the Andes, where towns and cities can be well above 3000 meters. Stay insured even at these elevations, especially if you plan to embark on treks like Machu Picchu, which involve passes exceeding 4000 meters. The Inca Trail reaches 4200 meters, while the Salkantay goes up to 4600 meters. 

Medical Conditions 

If you have a pre-existing medical condition, inform your insurance company to determine the extent of coverage, as they may exclude related expenses. For comprehensive coverage, consider specialist insurers like StaySure. 


Given that South America’s remarkable experiences often occur in remote areas, such as mountains, jungles, or distant villages, it’s crucial to have evacuation and rescue coverage. This ensures prompt access to medical assistance in case of serious illness or injury.

What are the top 3 Best Travel Insurance for Backpackers in South America?

1. SafetyWing

SafetyWing’s Nomad Insurance is an excellent choice for digital nomads and long-term backpackers. Their coverage is valid worldwide, including South America, and includes medical expenses, emergency medical evacuation, and coverage for unexpected events such as natural disasters or political unrest. It takes just 15 minutes to get your insurance, and it is subscription-style. So you can pay monthly, or stop the subscription once you’re back. Just simply tell them the first country on your South America itinerary. We have also written a full review of SafetyWing.

2. World Nomads

As one of the most popular travel insurance providers, World Nomads offers comprehensive coverage for backpackers exploring South America. Their plans are tailored specifically for adventurous travelers, with benefits including emergency medical expenses, trip cancellation, and lost or stolen belongings. They offer insurance for over 130+ countries and offer 24-hour worldwide assistance for over 150 adventure activities. It is extremely flexible, and you can get coverage even once you’ve started your trip. 

3. True Traveller

True Traveller provides extensive coverage for backpackers and adventurers. Their main focus is backpackers, so this is perfect for your South America trip. They include emergency medical treatment, trip cancellation, and personal liability. Their policies are flexible, and have 4 different packages for you, allowing you to customize your coverage based on the duration of your trip and the activities you plan to undertake.

What are other Travel Insurance for Backpackers in South America?

4. InsureandGo

With a range of options to suit different budgets, InsureandGo offers backpackers comprehensive coverage for any extreme sports or adventures they want to go on, on their trip. Their policies include medical expenses, personal liability, and baggage loss or delay, providing peace of mind throughout your South American adventure. They make the entire experience as simple as possible for you, so you can focus on the holiday. 

5. Explorer Travel Insurance

Explorer Travel Insurance specializes in adventure travel, making it an ideal choice for backpackers exploring South America. Their policies cover a wide range of activities, including trekking, hiking, and water sports, ensuring you are protected during your thrilling escapades.

6. Allianz Global Assistance

Allianz Global Assistance is a reputable travel insurance provider that offers various plans suitable for backpackers in South America. Their coverage includes emergency medical expenses, trip cancellation, and interruption, as well as coverage for lost or stolen belongings.

7. IMG Global

IMG Global’s Patriot Travel Medical Insurance is designed for travelers embarking on extended trips. Their plans offer comprehensive medical coverage, emergency medical evacuation, and 24/7 assistance, ensuring you are protected in any situation.

8. Travel Guard

Travel Guard provides customizable travel insurance plans suitable for backpackers in South America. Their coverage includes emergency medical expenses, trip interruption, and baggage loss, ensuring you are protected from unforeseen circumstances.

9. Insure My Trip

Insure My Trip allows you to compare multiple travel insurance options to find the best coverage for your backpacking adventure in South America. Their website provides detailed information on different plans, allowing you to choose the one that meets your specific needs.

Why do you need backpacker insurance for South America?

So when you want to visit South America, go riding in Patagonia, or explore Argentina, or Bolivia, make sure you’re equipped with suitable travel insurance. South America offers life-changing experiences, so go ahead, review these 9 travel insurances, find the best pick for yourself, and get started. If you rather go on a trip to Down Under, check out the best backpacker insurance for Australia. Remember to make sure that you are safe when you are going on your next with backpacker insurance for South America.


Aemilius Dost is originally from the Netherlands but moved to Mexico more than two years ago. He started traveling when he was 19 and visited over 20 countries spread over North, and Central America, Europe and Asia. He currently works as a freelance SEO specialist and has worked with companies such as Surfshark, SafetyWing, and BP.

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