Most Expensive Countries to Visit

The tourist visa can be a real problem for a travel and aviation enthusiast like myself.  Luckily, a lot of countries don’t require a tourist visa from American citizens, but there are still quite a few that do.  These can range between $15 in Vietnam to $275 in Nigeria.  I recently came across an article that talks about the world’s most expensive tourist visas for Americans.  These are just the cost for American tourists, and often times they don’t include other costs such as the additional “reciprocity fee”, which is especially common in South American countries.  I thought I would include pictures of and snippets about some of these countries, since while it’s horrible that they charge so much to get in, they still are beautiful places with so much to offer.

Atacama Desert

The Atacama Desert of Chile.

For an American to enter Chile, they have to pay $160 for a visa.  This does not include the reciprocity fee.  A tiny country on the southwestern coast of South America, it’s very easy to overlook its existence.  Nonetheless, this mountain nation has plenty to offer.  The Andes of Chile are home to some of the largest volcanoes in the world, many of which are still active.  It is also home to the driest region in the world, the Atacama Desert.  The longest dry spell in recorded history occurred here, when it didn’t rain for 40 years.

Paraguay was first founded by Spanish Jesuit missionaries as a Jesuit mission state.  Duelling is still legal in Paraguay, on condition that both duellers are registered blood donors and that there is still a medical staff on hand.  The country is also home to many natural wonders, such as the 275+ individual cascades within the Iguacu Falls, which are twice the width of Niagara Falls and even taller as well.  However, to visit this South American Country, a visa for an American costs $160.


Peterhof Palace, the former home of the Russian Tsars.

When I traveled to Russia, I remember the visa form I had to fill out, that asked me such bizarre questions as “have you ever been involved in a terrorist organization?” and “do you have any special skills (such as bomb making)?”.  In addition, a tourist visa to travel to Russia currently costs $173.  But in my opinion, it’s worth it.  Russia, despite its grim reputation and heightened tensions with the US in recent years, is home to amazing art and architecture, particularly in St. Petersburg.

Mokele Mbembe

An artist’s renditioning of the Mokele Mbembe.

The vast rainforests and swamps of the Democratic Republic of the Congo make one feel like they’re entering the Age of Dinosaurs.  Indeed, remote Congolese tribes have spoken to explorers about mythical creatures that match the description of well-known dinosaurs; the most famous of these is the Mokele Mbembe, a cryptid whose description matches that of a brontosaurus.  While many have dismissed reports of such creatures as myths, considering the vast expanse of unexplored jungle, it’s totally plausible that these living dinosaurs still exist, yet have yet to be discovered.  Unfortunately, if you’re up for a bit of dinosaur exploration, it’s going to cost you; visas for The Democratic Republic of the Congo costs $200, and the area is known to be particularly unsafe for foreigners.

When it comes to tourism, Nigeria is a developing country, so the $275 tourist visa doesn’t seem worth the price.  However, the country’s stellar rainforests make it well worth it.  There are 8 national parks in the country, which feature animals such as elephants, lions, waterbucks, buffalos, hippopotami, baboons, monkeys and birds.  Nigeria is also home to the behemoth Abuja National Mosque, and the Institute of African Studies in Ibadan, which holds remarkable prehistoric bronze carvings and statues.  Ibadan also houses the first skyscraper in Africa, the Cocoa House, which gives viewers a panoramic view of the Ibadan skyline.

Buenos Aires

The multicolored houses of Buenos Aires.

Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, is hailed as the “Paris of Latin America”, and for good reason; the historic city is known throughout the world for its beauty, culture, exciting nightlife and delicious (and cheap) steaks.  The city is a popular place for college students to study abroad.  While the visa fee to enter isn’t terribly high, it’s the $160 reciprocity fee that gets you.