Guatemala offers so many possibilities for every type of traveler. As a worldly backpacker and efficient shoestring traveler ($10/day in hostels, chicken buses,eating street food is a breeze), but in a country like Guatemala, $100/day means you travel like royalty. Most of you will land somewhere in the middle.
I created a very general breakdown here to give you an idea. (Actual cost will depend on the number of people traveling and what level of comfort and adventure desired.)
Costs will vary depending on your departure locations and tend to increase in price as departure date approaches.
I have flown several times from Toronto, Ontario for $500-700 roundtrip. My friend Jesse once scored a roundtrip flight from New York City for $350. I can send you tips on how to get the best price.
* A quick search today, January 13, 2015, brought up more than 30 options for less than $600 round trip from Toronto’s YYZ *
Chicken buses are the way of the people here. They are wildly inexpensive, dependably crowded, dirty and yes, you could end up with a crate full of live chickens on your lap – $.30 to $5. Reliable tourist shuttles to most destinations in the country range between $10-45.
For groups: Hire private transport and split the costs evenly making it affordable, safe and giving you complete control of your journey.
The range of availability is impressive. Hostel dorm beds start at $3 a night. A decent private room with a bathroom, hot water, wifi and breakfast average $25/night, even in the tourist meccas like Antigua and Tikal.
Internacional Mochileros is one of cheapest options in colonial Antigua. It’s very basic but we like it for 2 reasons: It’s location within the heart of historic district and the kitchen! Nothings better on the ol’ wallet than not having to eat out.
Activities and Adventure
There are hundreds of optional activities to consider within each destinations. Prices given here are the tourist price advertised. Travel with a local (like me:) and you will see the inflations melt away.
Climbing Volcan Pacaya, roast marshmallows over on a live volcano – $12 per person including transport and guide.
Tikal, epic Mayan city of magnificent pyramids towering above the jungle canopy- $25 entrance fee plus guide if you are so inclined (starting at $20 for 4 hours).
Tour Lake Atitlan by boat, explore Mayan communities and shop for local made souvenirs – $15
From Antigua: Tour a coffee farm, learn to make tortillas or make your own Guatemalan souvenir like a Huipil – $13-35
Shop at renowned Guatemalan markets like Chichicastenango market- $ Test your haggling skills for the best price.
Sublime Semuc Champey – lounge in the jungle walled pools, hike for unforgettable views – $7
These are just the beginning.
The sheer grandiosity of history and culture here means a knowledgeable guide will completely shape your understanding and enjoyment at key locations. Again, traveling as a group increases affordability. So grab some friends and make Guatemala your next adventure destination.