Guatemala: Budget & Other Numbers

After narrowly scraping in under budget in Mexico, I was expecting Guatemala to be a hell of a lot cheaper.

In many ways it was – thanks to cheap chicken buses and short distances, I spent less than a fifth of what I had in Mexico on transport; similarly I was pleased to find that accommodation was much cheaper too.

Quetzales

Quetzales

Despite that, I still ended up far closer to my limit than I’d hoped, which is something I should have foreseen, for one main reason: my Spanish lessons. Coming in at $400 for two weeks, it accounted for 41% of my total spend and bumped my daily average up by nearly $20 per day. It was all worth it though, as it was the most fun I had in the country, and already it’s really helped me with my communication ever since.

The other surprise factor which is bound to affect any true Brit’s spending is the fact that beer is twice the price of that in Mexico. Now Gallo (the standard lager) and Moza (the delicious dark one) are good enough, but not really worth twice the price. Apparently the reason it’s so expensive is that the rich who dominate Guatemalan politics have ensured that income tax rates are among the lowest in the Americas, meaning the shortfall has to be made up with consumption taxes, which certainly hit the tourist harder.

Still, more expensive than I’d expected it may have been, but at least I still came in cheaper than Mexico. Total daily spend was $44.53, broken down as follows:
Transport – $2.38
Accommodation – $2.74
Activities (including the Spanish lessons and volcano hikes) – $19.46
Internet, laundry & postage – $1.64
Food & drink – $18.31

Other Numbers
Weird local gods paid homage to – 1
Hours of Spanish lessons – 40
Earthquakes felt – 1
Earthquakes slept through – 2
Active volcanoes climbed – 1
Buses – 13
Boat – 3
Cars – 2
Churches – 2
Beaches – 1
Beds – 6
Hot Springs – 1
Laundry – 3
Postcards – 2
Phone calls – 1
Cash withdrawals – 7
Museums – 1
Pyramids – 2
Tuktuks – 4
Kayaks – 1

People I studied & Salsa-ed with
Americans – 23
Canadians – 6
Guatemalans – 6
Brits – 3
Swiss – 3
Australians – 3 (at last)
French – 2
Belgians – 2
Mexicans – 1
Irish – 1
Germans -1
Kiwis – 1
Swedes – 1
South Africans – 1

Next stop: Honduras. And diving. Which is expensive.

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6 responses to “Guatemala: Budget & Other Numbers

  1. i recently found your blog and appreciate the effort you must go through to provide such accurate numbers in what you spend.

    i look forward to going back and getting caught up on your posts – from what i’ve read they seem very interesting.

    happy travels!

    • Thanks Kay, and I’ve just had a look at your blog and it seems pretty cool too, will have to have more of a read..

      And regarding the budget numbers – I figured it’d be nice to share for the benefit of other travellers, but I must admit I do it because if I didn’t I know I’d end up massively overspending as I’m so useless with money normally!

  2. Wow! How was your daily accomodation under $3? Did you couch surf any?

    • Because the two weeks of Spanish classes that I did came with free accommodation, which makes my accommodation budget seem artifically small. But even excluding that, my average spend on the nights I did have to pay for was just $5.48, which is pretty cheap, especially as all of those nights were in private rooms and not dorms.

      • Ahh! But still, $5.48 avg for a private is CRAZY! I mean, even for a dorm bed it is still good. Keep track of those daily averages…for yourself and others like me planning on a big trip!

  3. Excellent site, keep up the good work

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