5 Jobs you can do while Backpacking in South America

If you’re planning on backpacking around South America and are looking to boost your travel funds, or even want to stop and live somewhere for a while, then you’ll probably want to find some kind of work.

There are many different options available to you besides volunteering, you just need to know how to find them. Here are our Top 5 Jobs you can do to keep you going in South America!

How to Work in South America

1. Teach English

If you’re in a country where English is not the first language, then you can put money on people wanting to learn it. Most schools and language centres will expect you to have at least a TEFL certificate, which you can get from a number of different companies (nowadays many TEFL courses can be done online).

Once you have your certificate, you’re ready to get teaching! Language centres are a good way to get plenty of hours in one place, but they will pay less than one-to-one private classes

Teaching English7

You can also register on websites that are specifically designed to link Freelance English teachers with students all over South America, like English Class for Latino

2. Get Arty!

Got an artistic flair? Use it! Most tourist hot spots have some kind of artisan market where local and foreign artists demonstrate and sell their skills to travellers and holidaymakers.

Whether it be painting, caricatures, craft skills or making jewellery, get your creativity out and put it on display!

Top tip – The most successful artists we’ve seen are those who gather a crowd to watch them create a piece of artwork in front of them to get a buzz going. Argentinian backpackers are the best at this we’ve found!


3. Become a Busker or Street Performer

If you have a passion for music, magic tricks, a rare skill or just a knack for making a spectacle of yourself, then people will probably be prepared to throw coins at you in the street!

South America is a continent that loves to be entertained so get out there and show your talent!

Street Performer in Arequipa, Peru
Street Performer in Arequipa, Peru, Photo by Leo Montes.

4. Hostel or bar work

The pay probably won’t be great, but you can often strike up a deal with hostels and bars to work in exchange for bed and meals, which could be more valuable than what little pay they would offer.

Large hostel chains such as Kokopelli and Loki offer deals to backpackers to help them to continue their backpacking trip! Check out this article about Loki Hostels to find out more.

Daily garden work in a hostel in Ollantaytambo,Peru
Daily garden work in a hostel in Ollantaytambo, Peru.

5. Au Pair

This is basically the role of a live-in nanny. You get all of your accommodation and food included, plus you get paid as well!

If you’re not a children person, then this is definitely not for you, but if you like playing with kids, cooking and maybe even cleaning a bit, then you’re guaranteed to have fun!

Quito, Ecuador, Photo by Trisha Velarmino of PS Im On My Way
Quito, Ecuador, Photo by Trisha Velarmino.

You can find more ideas for work in exchange for bed/board on websites such as Helpx.

This Article Was Written By:

South America Backpacker Ambassadors, Jon and Kach Howe, of Two Monkeys Travel. The adventurous couple, from the Philippines and the UK, have been travelling and working for 16 months; starting in South East Asia, via India to South America! You can follow the inspirational ‘Two Monkeys’ on Facebook here!

1 thought on “5 Jobs you can do while Backpacking in South America”

  1. Hi
    I’m travelling to South America in april and arenlooking for a job. I need some advice how to find jobs.
    I’m a professional masseuse, chef and gardener. I love working with people, gardening and cooking. I have a lot of different skills to offer and a hard worker.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top