Guatemala was next on our itinerary after spending a month in Mexico. We were excited to learn even more about the Mayan influences, learn about their culture and were really looking forward to sampling some of Guatemala’s cuisine. The biggest draw to backpacking in Guatemala though was the landscape; mountains, volcanoes and lakes definitely sounded right up our street!
Note from the author: This article has been written by me from my travel experience. I may recommend & provide links to products & services that I have used & may make commission from such links. This commission helps cover the costs of running this website & will be at no extra cost to you. Anything that I am recommend is from my personal experience & belief that it is worth using. Happy reading!
We found a lot of places that we went to in Guatemala are quite expensive for what you get. That being said don’t be disheartened as you can still travel on a budget if you put a little more effort in with haggling and finding things at a better price. We found it a little tricky in some places as a lot of people have jumped onto the ‘make as much money from the tourists as possible’ bandwagon. Cooking for yourself is always a sure fire way to save some pennies, searching around for slightly out-of-town places to eat or street food will definitely give you some cheaper options, taking public rather than private transport and going things alone rather than with a guide where possible are all good ways to stick a to a low budget.
Total amounts including % spent in each area
Eating Out = 2,350 GTQ 24%
There were always an abundance of places to eat in Guatemala with a great range of cuisine. Antigua was the most varied, there you can find any sort of cuisine along some very nice restaurants indeed. After having no curry for 3 months we had a little splurge and went for a tasty Indian in Antigua!
We didn’t use huge amount of public transport in backpacking through Guatemala, just on our connecting buses from to Lake Atitlan to Antigua and then onto Flores & Tikal. You can find a quite a few different companies in Antigua / Lake Atitlan that will offer the same service to anywhere you would like to go next. They don’t differ hugely in price but if you do want to save a few pennies it is definitely worth checking out a few different places to see what the best deal is.
We used the odd taxi and mostly Tuk Tuks especially around Lake Atitlan which were only 5 GTQ each to get from the village back to the place we were staying at which was about 3 km.
Water / Drinks = 340 GTQ 3.5%
Pretty much all of the Hostels we stayed at in Guatemala and our AirBnB had its own water filter so we didn’t spend a huge amount on water and drinks as we would also make sure we had a enough in our portable water bottles for any journeys or hikes we went on.
Alcohol = 551 GTQ 5.6%
Meeting up with a friend and meeting some new ones on Lake Atitlan and in Antigua we had a couple of nights out. If you hit a good happy hour you can be looking as low as 5GTQ per drink making it possible to party on a budget!
We did a few trips to the markets, local shops and supermarkets when we were staying in a place or hostel for a few days as sometimes its nice to have a bit of home cooked food and it also saves some pennies! With our stay in the Treehouse at Casa Mot Mot the owners left us some Pigeon peas which we had never come across before and are really tasty. We would suggest you grab some if you ever see them! We also were left some basic cooking materials which was really nice and saved us a bit of money!
Sights / Museums = 830 GTQ 8.5%
Our big tour / hike in Guatemala was our hike up to Volcan De Acatenango we also visited the Mayan ruins of Tikal which if you are heading to Guatemala these two, we would highly recommend! We also rented a kayak on Lake Atitlan for a few hours which was an awesome way to see San Pedro and the beautiful surrounding volcanic landscape!
Street Food = 230 GTQ 2.4%
The majority of our street food was bought in the villages in Guatemala as there are usually a few vendors together in the squares selling a few different delights including local cuisine, pizza slices, sandwiches and of course churros! 🙂
Included – 2 days of Spanish School
Backpacking In Guatemala Costs – To Sum It Up
Currency = GTQ Guatemalan Quetzal
Days in Guatemala = 18
Total amount spent = 9,779 GTQ (£1,010)
Average daily spend = 543.20 GTQ (£56.33) 2 people
Most expensive day = 690 GTQ (£71.50)
Cheapest day = 190 GTQ (£19.70)
We really hope you find this cost guide of backpacking in Guatemala useful, if you have any questions please tell us in the comments as we’ll be more than happy to answer them 🙂
You can check out all of our blog posts and some great ideas for your Guatemala itinerary right here.
Adam & Kelly x