Is it possible to travel in Guatemala on a budget? Learn how much it cost me to backpack in Guatemala — along with my favorite tips & highlights.
The first thing I want to say is that Guatemala is a very eclectic country. One moment you can be high up in cold mountains, and in the other you can be on a hot Caribbean beach. It is a beautiful country, and a dirty country. You can find pristine jungle forests as well as rivers filled with trash. Guatemala’s people speak over 23 different languages too!
I was planning on only spending a month here, but Guatemala’s magic sucked me in and I stayed for two. I’m not the only one to experience this magnetic attraction either, I heard from many travelers who had done similar things. Some people never even left…
People in Guatemala are a friendly bunch, but you have to make an effort to woo them. Initially you might receive an unfriendly stare, but as soon as you beam a warm smile and say “buenas!” their eyes will light up and you’re bound to make a new friend.
Safety in Guatemala was never much of an issue for me. The only time I felt on edge a bit was in the capital of Guatemala City. But even then, I spent 5 days in the city driving around with friends and even walking the streets after dark. Knowledge is power. Knowing where it is safe, and where it isn’t, is all you need to have a great time.
Guatemala Travel Costs:
Guatemala travel budgets can vary greatly. Here is a breakdown of how much money I spent over 2 months of travel there.
- Food & Drink: $575 US (groceries, restaurants, water, alcohol)
- Accommodation: $406 US (hostels, hotels, camping fees)
- Transportation: $126 US (buses, taxis, boats)
- Activities: $379 US (entrance fees, rentals, classes, tours, etc.)
- Miscellaneous: $120 US (laundry, sundries, souvenirs, visas, etc.)
TOTAL DAYS = 62
TOTAL SPENT = $1606 US
DAILY AVERAGE = $26 US
Budget Notes: These figures include 3 weeks of Spanish language school. Staying in dorms at backpacking hostels and traveling by chicken bus and collectivos saved me a lot of money. So did cooking a majority of my own meals.
My Guatemala Slideshow
Stories & Adventures From Guatemala
Planning to travel to Guatemala soon? Browse all my blog posts from Guatemala to get ideas & recommendations for your own adventures.
Traveling solo is teaching me to solve all kinds of problems on the fly, with little to no help from others. For example: How to retrieve my backpack from the top of a chicken bus while it’s still moving, so I can jump off before the driver speeds off again.
My patience is growing. A 10 hour bus ride is no big deal anymore. Either is a bone-rattling & wet water taxi trip, or getting crammed in the back of a small van with 25 other people. Sure these things are inconvenient, but not on the level they would have been if I was still living by US standards.
Guatemala will always hold a special place in my heart, and I will definitely be back to visit in the future!
My last trip to Guatemala was in 2010. Prices have probably changed a bit since then. We don’t all travel the same way either. So to help you get a better picture, here are a few Guatemala travel budgets from others:
- Guatemala Travel Costs from Nomadic Matt
- Guatemala Travel Costs from the Travel Chica
- Guatemala Travel Costs from Cheapest Destinations
- Guatemala Travel Costs from Getting Stamped
What About You?
Have you ever traveled to Guatemala? What did you like or dislike?