We travelled in Central America between the 2nd of June and the 20th of July 2017. In total we spend 49 days travelling on our two motorcycles riding about 2,000 miles. All our expenses are included in the overview in this post. Every penny we have spend together or for personal use are included. We are aware that we might have forgotten to add few expenses during our travel – nobody is perfect. Our budget is 66 USD per day including everything. This means that we have to save up money for expensive activities, border crossing, new motorcycle tires and the sailboat “Die Stahlratte” from Panama to Colombia. We loaded the motorcycles onboard “Die Stahlratte” on the 20 of July and arrived in Cartagena, Columbia on the 24 of July.
This is the expenses for our 4 day trip onboard “Die Stahratte”, which are not included in our expenses for Central America:
Deposit for the trip 400 USD
Deposit fee to the Bank 23,52 USD
Cash for the trip 1900 USD
Alcohol and soda 13 USD
Total 2,336.52 USD (We succeeded in saving up all the money for the trip during Mexico and Central America)
In total we spend 2,918.63 USD in Mexico, which calculates into 59,56 per day. We use an app called TOSHL FINANCE (https://toshl.com), which we could customize to our travel expenses. We decided to buy TOSHL PRO for 19,99 USD (https://toshl.com/pricing/) which gives us access to an online account where all the pictures are from.
This is how many days we spend in each country in Central America:
14 days in Guatamala 2nd of June to 15th of June 2017, expenses 50.18 USD per day
6 days in Honduras 16th of June to 21st of June 2017, expenses 60.31 USD per day
8 days in Nicaragua 22nd of June to 29th of June 2017, expenses 51.50 USD per day
8 days in Costa Rica 30th of June to 7th of July 2017, expenses 69.13 USD per day*
12 days in Panama 8th of July to 20th of July 2017, expenses 68.40 UDS per day*
*Costa Rica was the most expensive country for us in Central America, we could stay for free at a friends house, so we didn’t spend any money on accommodation in Costa Rica (except for 53,28 USD). In Panama we booked accommodation through Airbnb because it was cheaper than staying in a Hostel. We choose not to separate the expenses for each country, because the stay in each country is very short. If you have questions to a specific country, we will be happy to answer .
To save money we have tried to follow these basic rules (2. edition for Central America)
- Camp in our tent as much as possible. Sorry because we hit the rainy season, we had a really hard time because we were wet, wetter and wettest. We took the decision, that if we were wet and it was rainy we would look for cheap hotels, love hotels and hostals. Using www.ioverlander.com to find other travelers recommendations for cheap accommodations or we just stopped and asked for the price. We usually get a private room (2 persons) with shared bathroom, because it is cheaper than having a private room with a bathroom. Some places you can negotiate the price, but don’t push it to far. This time we have also used AirBnB.com
Stay with other people for free. This is possible by using www.adv-rider.com and www.couchsurfing.com. We have also made friends during our trip, and have been invited to stay at their place for free.
Cook our own food. It is cheap to eat at the small food stands by the road by it is still cheaper if you cook your own meals. There is a few exceptions fx elotes and tamales. When you buy a snack, just buy one and share (do you really need one each?), you never know if it is good, and you can always buy another one after the first one. When you have the opportunity to cook fresh produce the cheapest place the go grocery shopping is at the local markets (Mercado) where you can by pretty much everything. Meat is more expensive, so buy 100-125 grams per person per meal. You can also replace meat with eggs or cheese (the local fresh cheese), which is cheaper.
Activities: pick the ones which are the most important for you. We try to explore areas by hiking, which doesn’t cost anything. Some places you have to hire a guide, when you go hiking. Explore the towns and cities by walking around, and don’t spend money on expensive tours fx segway tours.
Categories for the expenses
Overview of how we have spend the 2,918.63 USD Central America. We have used the same categories for Central America as in Mexico. Our expenses have been allocated into 10 categories not using the category “Camping” which includes camping equipment and camping repairs. I also put in the overview for Mexico to compare how the categories are ranked after how much money we spend in each category. Remember we spend 89 days in Mexico, which is almost twice as long as in Central America. What springs to my mind is that we used a lot more money on accommodation and activities in Central America, mainly because of rain and it was almost impossible to do any activities without hiring a guide.
To the left Central America (59,56 USD per day) and to the right Mexico (49,72 USD per day)
All the categories have subcategories (called Tags), which makes it possible for us to get a more detailed overview of the expenses within the different categories. In the top each picture you have the total amount of expenses in the category, and underneath you have the amount of expenses allocated into the subcategories.
In total we are satisfied of how we spend our money in Central America. We would like to spend less money on accommodation, but because of the rainy season we decided to spend more money on hotels, love hotels and hostels. Also it was more difficult to find places to put up our tent, because there are almost no campgrounds (the people of Central America doesn’t go camping) and for safety reasons. It is all about keeping track for your expenses so you don’t overspend and spend money on the things that are important to you.
Finally we had to buy some new equipment to replace some of our old equipment, which included: keyboard to my computer, new camera, wide-angle lens, seam sealer for the new tent, dry pads for our cameras (Silica Gel Desiccant) etc. We ordered everything on Amazon got it shipped to our friend in California, USA who repacked everything into one box. We shipped t with FedEx for 76 USD and had to pay 173 USD in tax, because for importing the things to Columbia. In total the cost was 1,069.51 USD. This was money that we didn’t expect to spend. So after arriving in Cartagena, we have so far overspend with 426.68 USD in the period from 1st of January to 1st of August 2017 compared to our budget that is 66 USD per day. The overspending was caused by the new equipment including shipping and tax.