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Backpackers Budget Guide

backpacking.jpgGuatemala has been gaining popularity by hardcore backpackers for some time now. Maybe it is the overly friendly people, the countries beautiful landscapes, or the abundance of history. I would guess though, that it has more to do with how far you can make your budget stretch here. While many places in Central America are backpacker budget friendly, Guatemala is certainly near the top of the list.

Average Budget Prices

If you can stick to your budget, it is very possible to live and travel off of US$12 to US$17 a day per person. This of course assumes you are staying at hostels and backpacker friendly lodging. This US$12 to US$17 a day price includes meals if you eat at local restaurants and avoid the more upscale places that target tourists.

Restaurant Prices

It is possible to eat out locally and still stay on a very backpacker friendly budget. The trick here is to eat where the locals eat, not the tourists. Most of these local restaurants serve the same basic food at the same basic prices. A typical style meal of rice, beans, and some sort of meat or poultry will usually run you around US$2 to US$3.

Breakfast in Guatemala is perfect for the hungry traveler. Breakfast here is one of the biggest meals of the day. For only a few dollars you can get a full breakfast of coffee, eggs, bread, beans, juice, and tortillas.

Sodas, juices, water, and other simple drinks are all usually under US$2. Beer and liquor tend to be more around US$3 to US$4.

Budget Accommodations

While Guatemala doesn’t have a huge network of hostels like other Central American Countries such as Costa Rica. It still has a decent amount of budget hotels and hostels.

The average hostel in Guatemala will usually cost you around US$7 to US$12 a night. A room at this price is almost always a dorm room or some variation of it. Hostels and backpacker hotels usually have shared rooms with 3 or 4 beds in them. There are not very many hostels with large amounts of bunk beds and almost none of these budget priced rooms have showers or bathrooms in the room.

If you feel like living it up for a night or two, there are plenty of nice hotels and lodges that aren’t too expensive. These moderately priced accommodations can be a nice retreat from the hostel life, but without breaking the bank.

Budget Activities

Some of the more remote places have plenty of things to do that cost next to nothing. Areas like Lake Atitlan and Tikal can provide the backpacker with lots of personal exploring, people watching, and day hiking.

Most National Parks in Guatemala charge an entrance fee of about US$5 to US$7