So it has been a wee while since we talked dollars and cents…or baht, or dirhams, or whatever currency we have been dabbling in most recently. Yikes, we haven’t posted anything since Vietnam and that was February!! But here we are again, time for a budgetary check-up and this round we are working with the mighty Guatemalan Quetzal!
For the first time on this mad journey of ours we have actually stayed in one place for a whole month, spending just over four weeks in San Pedro learning Spanish. Outside of that, we were in Antigua for a couple of days and that’s about it. Now the theory we have always bought is that daily costs should drop when you are staying in one place… let’s see how that holds up, shall we?
As always, our goal is to see if the two of us can travel this orb on a daily budget of $100 CDN, excluding international flights. We don’t live a ‘rich and famous’ lifestyle, but we don’t really consider ourselves ultra-budget backpackers either. Let’s put it this way, outside of Europe we have rarely let our budget prevent us from staying where we want to stay, eating what we want to eat, and doing what we want to do…. if we can live that lifestyle and still stay under $100/day I am more than happy!
Anyways, let’s see how it all stacks up!
Here is a look at the Quetzals we dropped in Guatemala:
Dollar to Quetzal Conversion
$1 CDN = 7.5 Guatemalan Quetzal
1€ = 9.7 Quetzals
Total # of Days – 35
Total Dollars Spent (CDN) – $2,472,85
Daily Average (CDN) – $70.65 (or 55€)
Total Spending To Date
Total Dollars Spent (CDN) – $44,041.34
Daily Average (CDN) – $104.37 (or 81.2€)
So the good news is that yes indeed, the theory is correct – if you stay in one place, you are generally apt to spend less money. No kidding, huh? But yes, at $70/day we are pretty happy. So let’s break it down a little further…
Accommodation - In all of Guatemala, we only actually slept in 4 different beds. In Antigua we paid $22/night (amazing breakfast inc) for our double at the Yellow House, which we can’t recommend enough. In San Pedro we paid around $6 for a night at the Hotel San Fransisco. It was, well, an alright place to stay for night or so, but we were more than willing to increase our nightly budget by an extra $3 so that we could stay at the Hotel Villa del Lago, our lakefront home for the following 2.5 weeks. The final place we slept was with our homestay familiar, which was organized through the Cooperative Spanish School. The easy price tag to put on that one would be ‘priceless’, as it was one of the most memorable places we stayed on our trip so far, but the reality is that it is truly is tough to tell you how much it cost, as our weekly homestay fee of $60US per person included all of our room and board… a pretty sweet deal from our perspective.
Food - This was really a mixed bag for us in Guatemala. When we had access to a kitchen, we cooked our own meals around 50% of the time. Other than that we ate out (Captain Obvious speaks again). Some of our favourite places to go in San Pedro were the Buddha Bar, Home, Hummus Ya, and D’noz. Most meals here would run us about $4-7 CDN for a pasta, burger, or salad. These were all incredible restaurants, and although they may not have been entirely Guatemalan, the quality of food was nearly always outstanding (making it even harder to cook our own food) Of course for our last two weeks we were staying with Andrea and Lorenzo and so we were treated to three meals a day, cooked with love in the home of our awesome Guatemalan family!
Drink – Long gone are the days of my fifty cent Vietnamese beers, let me tell you that! Although it is still much cheaper to enjoy a beer in Guatemala than it would be back in Canada, the average lager runs a guy around 17Q or about $2.50CDN. A glass of wine is usually closer to 25Q ($3.50) (or buy the whole bottle for 90Q), and coffees will cost around 10Q ($1.50).
Spanish Lessons - Our major investment while we were in Guatemala was the above mentioned Spanish lessons we took with Cooperativa Spanish School. Broken down on an hourly bases, we paid about $4.75 per person, which is ridiculous value in our opinions. We each received 20 hours of 1-on-1 instruction weekly. As we mentioned in our last post, we were thrilled with these guys, and would recommend them to anyone. In total this actually represented almost a third of our total Guatemala spending… again worth every Quetzal.
Have you spend time in Antigua or San Pedro, Guatemala?How does this compare with your spending habits? How does this compare with the rest of Guatemala? We would love to hear from you in the comments below!
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