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budgeting for Central America

Jbro33

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  • Added on: May 19th, 2011
I have heard many different things about budgeting. (I am working on my spreadsheet, I know it can change in the future but I just need a rough guess)

I have central america is cheap, I have heard that Belize and Costa Rica are expensive.

How much is a comfortable amount to save for each country. I want to be able to stay in a private room, have decent meals. I guess a step or two above shoe string.

What is a reasonable amount to stay per week for each country?

I keep hearing different numbers. Anyway this is all I need (so I can put it in my spread sheet and I can move on to the much more overwhelming south america)

Thanks!

Bideshi

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  • Added on: May 19th, 2011
How many jellybeans can you fit in a jar?

If 100 people write back to this, you're going to probably hear 100 different answers. It depends on SO many different things. So anyway, here's your first:

Guatemala - $200 USD/wk
Belize - $350
El Salvador - $250
Honduras - $250
Nicaragua - $250
Costa Rica - $400
Panama - $350

The way I travel, the things I like to do, the things I usually decide to splash out for, the number of places I go in a country, the type of transportation I use, the type of hotel or guesthouse I stay in... I usually budget about $1000/month in C.A.. I usually have a LITTLE left over. Not always. Hope that helps. The trick is to over-budget and learn how you travel and then it gets easier to plan for the next trip.

zoomcharlieb

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  • Added on: May 19th, 2011
well Bideshi, you are so right, i just got back from Guatemala and honduras about 2 months ago and i was really struggling to do it on less than 100 bucks a day, but i'm packing in some tour or some boondoggle every day and these can add up quick, that and i don't spend a lot of time scrounging around for the chepest digs i can find, like if i'm on Flores, I think that was about $50 buck a night but a waterfront view, copan was less per night, maybe 35 but a tour up to a Mayan villlage, buying some scarves from the poor peasants, and just eating street food,plus a bus ride from Guat City, heck, hardly ever below $100. i know people can do it for a lot less and i'm not eating lobster thermidor, usually streetfood. Seems like I always get hoodwinked on the tours. They will say 20 buck, and then charge 20 per hour or some damn thing, and i hate to get tight with them because they always tell me they have 10 or twelve kids at home. boy, that boatman, did he ever get me. Couldn't figure out why he was taking me on the slow meandering way home along the lake, at a glacial clip, until i heard his hourly rate. Oh well, for me it is a form of philanthropy, over pay the natives and don't be the ugly American. i know if you get cheap lodging to start, that will get your base day rate down and i have done it in jungle lodges around Rio dulce, those were like 12 bucks a night - for 3 people.

Fluffy_bunny

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  • Added on: May 19th, 2011
Travelling by yourself will be more expensive. They don't really have single rooms in many places, so you end up paying for a double. there are a few dorms kicking around, but they're mostly in the big centres.

Backpackers often brag about some magical "$20/day" goal. This is possible if you eat bread and water, stay in the worst places in the country, take only local transport and not participate in any activities or visit any museums. I wonder what the point of going was in the first place.

Obviously the more you spend, the more comfortable your stay will be. $30-$40 per day is more reasonable as a minimum.
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Jbro33

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  • Added on: May 20th, 2011
Thanks! I just needed a general amount, I know that the more I saved the more I can see and do. I couldnt imagine going anywhere on 20 bucks a day and I often hear that amount myself and I am just not that type of traveler I want to experience as much as I can afford, not eat bread and water. Anyway, Thanks for the help. I will plan on oversaving, and hopefully I will be good to go!

Thanks everyone

vagabondette74

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  • Added on: May 20th, 2011
Fluffy_bunny wrote:Backpackers often brag about some magical "$20/day" goal. This is possible if you eat bread and water, stay in the worst places in the country, take only local transport and not participate in any activities or visit any museums. I wonder what the point of going was in the first place.


Please stop spewing this bitter, hateful, stupid crap. It makes you sound obnoxious, condescending and just plain wrong. If you need to spend more to be comfortable, that's fine, do that. That doesn't mean you need (or have the right) to be a dick about people who don't.

Now I'm off to spend some of my $20/day budget. First I'm going to get out of my comfey bed in my clean, private room and head for the market so I can get fixings for dinner tonight. The menu: Roast chicken in a white wine sauce with steamed broccoli and cous cous (*gasp* no bread and water!). Then I'm going to take *gasp* local transportation (eeewwww...locals!) to the orchid sanctuary and do some hiking and discuss plans with my friends (eeeewwwww...more locals!!!) about our trip to the waterfalls and lakes tomorrow. After that we'll have lunch at the local (eeeewwwww) cocina (which will be full of *gasp* local brown people) where I'll get an amazing local (eeewwwww) home made meal for about $2. Thank god I'll be doing with all with locals (eeeewwww) rather than stuck up tourists who think they're too good to mix with the people WHO LIVE HERE! What's the point in traveling if you only see tourists?
Traveling through Mexico and Central America starting in January '09. Hit me up if you want to meet!

Bideshi

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  • Added on: May 20th, 2011
Fluffy_bunny wrote:Backpackers often brag about some magical "$20/day" goal. This is possible if you eat bread and water, stay in the worst places in the country, take only local transport and not participate in any activities or visit any museums. I wonder what the point of going was in the first place.



Please stop spewing this bitter, hateful, stupid crap. It makes you sound obnoxious, condescending and just plain wrong. If you need to spend more to be comfortable, that's fine, do that. That doesn't mean you need (or have the right) to be a dick about people who don't.


Now, now. I don't think Fluffy_bunny was spouting intolerance or suggesting that living frugally is bad or even that one should spend lots of money to be "comfortable". I also didn't get the impression that he was being "dickish" at all.

For the benefit of the post, I think that another way to put what was being said is that travelers whose primary concern on their travels is spending as little money as possible tend to miss out on a lot of things that make travel great, like good rum instead of paint thinner, going to the Van Gogh museum even they charge 12 Euros, and occasionally splashing out for air-con or a Tika bus. I happen to agree. In places like San Cristobal, living on $20 a day is more than reasonable in most situations. In places like Placencia or San Jose it isn't.

Your complaint of intolerance can be made against yourself as well. Don't suggest that those of us who may spend more than you have some deficiency of tolerance, lack of compassion, or lesser understanding of the world. And leave the poor brown people out of it. Geez.

vagabondette74

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  • Added on: May 20th, 2011
Bideshi wrote:
Fluffy_bunny wrote:Backpackers often brag about some magical "$20/day" goal. This is possible if you eat bread and water, stay in the worst places in the country, take only local transport and not participate in any activities or visit any museums. I wonder what the point of going was in the first place.



Please stop spewing this bitter, hateful, stupid crap. It makes you sound obnoxious, condescending and just plain wrong. If you need to spend more to be comfortable, that's fine, do that. That doesn't mean you need (or have the right) to be a dick about people who don't.


Now, now. I don't think Fluffy_bunny was spouting intolerance or suggesting that living frugally is bad or even that one should spend lots of money to be "comfortable". I also didn't get the impression that he was being "dickish" at all.

For the benefit of the post, I think that another way to put what was being said is that travelers whose primary concern on their travels is spending as little money as possible tend to miss out on a lot of things that make travel great, like good rum instead of paint thinner, going to the Van Gogh museum even they charge 12 Euros, and occasionally splashing out for air-con or a Tika bus. I happen to agree. In places like San Cristobal, living on $20 a day is more than reasonable in most situations. In places like Placencia or San Jose it isn't.

Your complaint of intolerance can be made against yourself as well. Don't suggest that those of us who may spend more than you have some deficiency of tolerance, lack of compassion, or lesser understanding of the world. And leave the poor brown people out of it. Geez.


The problem is, this particular poster posts this incorrect information over and over and over and over even though its patently untrue which yes, in my opinion, make him dickish. I've never said (nor implied) that there's anything wrong with spending more. If it's what you need to do to enjoy your trip that's what you should do. And, I agree that in some places it's required (though in most parts of the world, it's not). However, I absolutely disagree that those who spend less miss out on things that make travel great. What people seem to forget is that it's an AVERAGE. Some days I spend $60/day, some days I spend $9. It all works out in the end and I don't miss a thing that other visitors are doing.

My post was aimed specifically to fuzzy bunny with is distaste on using "local transportation". Lord help him if he has to actually interact with a local who is not performing a service for him. The post was NOT aimed towards anyone else. I think most travelers are open minded and probably enjoy interacting with locals but his particular posts indicate that they're inferior and to be avoided hence my uber sarcastic response.

I'm generally not intolerant in the least. I fully believe that people should do their own thing and as long as it doesn't impact me, I really don't give a flip. But when I see some ass posting the same crap over and over that denigrates a portion of society which they choose not to belong to, it pisses me off. I'm quite certain that FB has an idea of what these $20 per day people look, act and smell like and I'm quite certain I don't fit into the picture his little brain has painted yet he refuses to see that just because people don't live like him doesn't make them wrong. So yes, I think fluffy bunny is a dick, close minded and obnoxious and, if I had the choice, I'd just block their posts rather than read their drivel. Whether you spend $10 a day or $1000 a day doesn't matter to me and it shouldn't matter to anyone else but consistently bashing a group just because they do something you don't is not appropriate and I'm freaking sick of hearing about it.
Traveling through Mexico and Central America starting in January '09. Hit me up if you want to meet!

zoomcharlieb

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  • Added on: May 20th, 2011
Vagonbondette you are a real piece of work. that two session tirade was so unnecessary. I expect to get some criticism cause i spend so much, but then i will be in Copan visiting the ruins with a guide in the morning and "via local travel" and not a ghost of an itinerary or bus schedule or anything, will go from there to Flores in one day. When i get to my destination at midnight, i'm likely to take the first hotel the tuk tuk driver finds me. The next morning i will be booking a trip into the jungle, traveling around the countryside and living off street food, but I'm always on the move. Now if I stayed in one place and fixed my own food, which it sounds like you do, i could save a lot of money, but then i wouldn't be traveling would I? do you make a cous cous sandwich out of the leftovers?

let's hae some fun here. this poor guy just wanted a little advice, instead he got a three ring circus.

busman7

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  • Added on: May 20th, 2011
Mi dos centavos.

Two years ago on my 6 mo trip through Mexico, CA & Cuba, I managed very nicely including 2 mo of Spanish lessons on (Mexico, CA) $45/day, Cuba $65/day.

The past 6 mo I lived very nicely including paying a cook + caretaker, utilities & car expenses on $600/month, GEE that's $20/day *note house was paid for cash & not included.

Actually agree 100% with vagabondette74's comments! :)
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Tortuga_traveller

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  • Added on: May 21st, 2011
Ok, I travelled in CA over 10 years ago, but... Prices seem about the same in USA dollars as they were when I travelled.

I LIVED in Panajachel on the cheap, eating sandwiches and drinking endless coffee cups, for about 20-30 dollars a day, BUT... I had a super cheap room for 350 quetzales or 60 dollars a month.

Prices may have gone up, so 250 a week may be reasonable for travelling well.

You CAN get single rooms but you have to ask for it specifically, using the term Quarto sencillo or cuarto simple. In Antigua I've found only one such place, and it was full of Japanese that held sway over the kitchen 24/7

It wasn't a bad place, however.

In Queztaltenango they have singles in Dona Marias, or DID 10+ years ago. I had good times there,


yeah, about 200 a week sounds right if you are moving.

BTW- Not everyone makes the time to cook in a hostel kitchen, or has the skills. I travel alone, and when you travel alone, cooking for yourself in that manner never seems to work out economically, though I remember some pretty nice meals I cooked for myself in spain, making home made Paella in a saucepan.

busman7

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  • Added on: May 21st, 2011
Just a note on Antigua, if only for a couple days I usually stay at Posada la Merced, if longer I stay with the same family I stayed with when taking Spanish lessons.

In Nov I paid $24 at la Merced, a couple weeks age the same room was $34, breakfast net door had gone up by about the same percentage & the owner lady pointed at the "propina" jar when you paid. Noticed the same in many other places.

May be a while before I return to Antigua, guess I am getting spoiled living in El Salvador. ;)
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"I started out alone to seek adventures. You don't really have to seek them - that is nothing but a phrase - they come to you." Mark Twain

Jbro33

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  • Added on: May 21st, 2011
OK great

Save more and potentually spend less so the budgets in the first post is a good target. Thanks for everyone's help. It appears that I really do have a ton of options on how much or how little I want to spend which is good, because believe me I rather have "too much money" (if that is even remotely possible) than too little.

Thanks everyone, I know my posts might seem dumb, but I really have not traveled much and I need a lot of help. Thanks



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