Guatemala is one of Central America’s most diverse nations with the Maya culture still embedded in the country. David Beattie traveled to Guatemala during his Latin America backpacking trip and also took Spanish lessons. During his stay David noted all his expenses for BoB. Take a look at his overview of costs to travel in Guatemala and his budget tips. 

Find the post in Dutch here.

This article is part of the Money Matters series in which we ask travelers to keep their expenses for Bunch of Backpackers. Real travelers, real expenses. 


*These daily travel expenses are per one person per day. Including all tours, domestic flights, souvenirs, lodging, food, drinks, entrance fees, tips etc. Excluding international flights. Guatemala David Blue Car


These prices are per person unless stated otherwise.

Standard Guatemala expenses

One night in a hostel dormitory: 4,7 euro (6,4 USD)
One night in a double room in a simple guesthouse: 6,6 euro (9 USD)
A short 10-minute taxi ride: 1,9 euro (2,6 USD) A bottle of water (0,5L) at the store: 0,5 euro (0,7 USD)
A local beer at a bar/restaurants: 1,10 euro (1,5 USD) 
A glass of coca cola in a restaurant: 0,6 euro (0,8 USD)
Basic lunch at a local restaurant: 2,0 euro (2,7 USD)
Dinner at a local restaurant: 3,3 euro (4,5 USD)

Notable Guatemala expenses 

5-day jungle trek EL Mirador: 147 euro (200 USD) (everything included: food, guide, water, camping equipment and transportation) 
One week of Spanish school: 120 euro (163 USD) (included 25 hours of one-on-one study and homestay with 3 meals per day)
New phone: 50 euro (68 USD) – Cat in homestay broke Ipod touch
Tikal visit: 30 euro (40,8 USD) (in total including local bus there and back, overnight stay in hammock and entrance ticket)

Overnight bus ticket from Quetzaltenango to Flores: 25 euro (34 USD)(not bought by David) Guatemala David copy colors


About the backpackers: David Beattie
Destination and travel period: Guatemala in February 2014 for 70 days.
Visited places: Quetzaltenango, Antigua, San Pedro La Laguna, Flores. 
Type of trip: Independently and solo.
Accommodation: budget (mainly hostels and guesthouses), combined with a 6-weeks local homestay.
Transportation: standard (mix of transportation)
Food: budget (local places and cheap western places)
Exchange rate at the time of travel: 1 euro = 10.6 Quetzal

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Guatemala mountain David Beattie

Guatemala budget tips by David!

  • The prices for hostels significantly increase during periods of public holidays. A three bed dorm in San Pedro almost doubled in price during Semana Santa (Holy Week).
  • Quetzaltenango (Xela) appeared to be the cheapest place for Spanish language courses. Avoiding the tourist towns of Antigua and San Pedro can help you save money. There is less English spoken in Xela, so your Spanish will improve quicker as a result.
  • Shop around for tours. Guatemateco´s can inflate the price of things when they see a tourist. On our El Mirador jungle trek, 2 had paid $200, 2 had paid $220 and one had paid $400! For the same tour.
  • Learning Spanish can also help. Even if it is just for a week. Having a grasp of the basics can give you more confidence to use the cheap, local transport, and eat at the more daunting local restaurants.
  • Learn to love egg, frijoles and tortillas. If you want to eat cheaply, this is what you will be ordering. Morning, noon and night.

David also traveled in Mexico and Cuba and also kept track on his expenses!


  1. Wow, this trip would be way over my travel budget!! Though some of the activities sound awesome, especially a week long Spanish language school homestay – I would love to do one of those.

  2. Really love the series, that’s the kind of information I am looking for when preparing trips… Surprised the food is expensive (relative to the accommodation price)
    keep up the good work :)

    • Hi Jana! Thank you so much for your kind words. Great motivation for more Money Matters features in the future :)!


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