Travel costs for C. America

Travelling in inexpensive countries and keeping to a frugal lifestyle means that long term adventures are achievable.

As part of the fun and to stay within budget, we have used public transport and eaten out where the locals eat; which also allows us to experience more of the culture.

We are monitoring our expenses by categories in each country and will show the average daily costs for comparison.

We have spent:
* 6 weeks in Panama
* 5 weeks in Costa Rica
* just over 6 weeks in Nicaragua
* 5.5 weeks in Guatemala
* 2 weeks in Belize
* 7 weeks in Yucatan, Mexico

The results are shown below.

Our budget is £50 or $80 per day for 2 people, excluding air fares. Unless stated.

It’s important to note that ‘Drinks’ refers to all beverages: coffee, soft, alchol as well as drinking water which is often expensive.

Expenses by Country (UK pounds)

Panama      Costa Rica            Nicaragua         Guatemala
No of Days                 42 ………………  34 ……………. 46 ……………39

Accomodation          995………….. 797 ………….. 1034 ……….. 505
Food out                    304………….. 303 ………….. 446 …………. 597
Groceries                   147………….. 200 ………….. 108 …………. 66
Drinks                         198………….. 186 ………….. 216 …………. 171
Travel                            194………….. 205 …………. *301 …………. 207
Leisure                        134………….. 117 ………….. 144 …………. 130
Telephone                          27……………..    0   …………….. 9 …………… 10
Gifts                                      10……………..    15 ……………..       46 ……………16
Health                                 13  …………….. 0 ……………..      36 …………… 14
Clothes                               51  …………….. 0 ……………..       20 …………… 44
Misc

Totals                          2073   ……… 1823 …………..    2360 ………… 1808
AVG per day.              49 ……………… 54 ………….. 51 ………… 46
For 2 people

Expenses by Country (UK pounds)

Belize      Mexico
Number of Days  .         8 ………………. 49

Accomodation          140………….. 1122
Food out                    145………….. 440
Groceries                   18 ………….. 132
Drinks                         39 ………….. 211
Travel                           58 ………….. 242
Leisure                          9 ………….. 80
Telephone                   4 ……………..    14
Gifts                                0 ……………..    50
Health                            0  …………….. 0
Clothes                        0  …………….. 36

Totals                          410   ……… 2327 
AVG per day.              52 ……………… 47
For 2 people

* includes flights to Corn Islands

Additional Commentary
Panama
By eating at local cafes, it was fairly easy to keep within the budget as long as we kept treats to special occassions. We had a mix of accomodation some with cooking facilities & some without. Produce in the supermarkets was generally well priced & varied.
Additional items this month included some new clothing & birthday presents for family.

Costa Rica
CR was by far the most expensive country we have visited so far.

Nicaragua
Nicaragua was the cheapest country so far, so we were able to upgrade our accomodation options. Apart from Granada, we did not have cooking facilities, so our eating out bill went up slightly; whilst the groceries bill came down by the same amount (it’s as cheap to eat out, as buy ingredients in shops). Also included were some new walking sandals for me & replacement clothing items. Most importantly though we were able to include the 2 flights to the Corn islands & still only come out £1 a day over budget.

Guatemala
Guatemala was the cheapest country so far (apart from the price of a beer which was most expensive country!) Accomodation was much cheaper & allowed us to upgrade to small hotels & still save on costs of other countries. Because we had lower costs, we were able to afford little luxuries such as having our washing laundered & x2 weeks gym membership at £7.50 a week pp.

** Note the amounts quoted do not cover two flights from Nicaragua to Guatemala at £265 each. However, despite spending on little luxuries, we have managed to claim the majority of one flight back from the budget this month.

Belize
Belize was expensive, for accomodation, food & activities.

Mexico
Many of the places we visited in Mexico were on the mainstream tourist trail. At first we wondered if we would be able to afford to backpack here. By staying outside of the main tourist parts of town, we were able to find self catering accomodation for the last four weeks. These areas of towns make travelling realistic on a budget & it is much more fun living & eating with the locals.

Blog by Colin, additional commentary by Dawn

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