How to Travel to Guatemala on a Budget

How to Travel to Guatemala on a Budget
Guatemala has a lot to offer the budget traveler. The country has it all--Mayan ruins, colonial cities, great beaches and jungles, mountains and even a volcano. With the right planning, travelers can see the sights, eat and rest comfortably, and come away with some memorable souvenirs without breaking the bank.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Step 1
Make arrangements for lodging during your stay. There are several places in Guatemala that offer hostel-like lodging, your best bet for safe lodging that is cheap. Hotel Backpackers is located along the Mayan Route in Rio Dulce and ranges in price from $5 to $20 per night depending on how many backpackers each room accommodates, and whether you want a private bath.
Step 2
Eat local and save money. How much you spend on food will depend on your taste and your budget. While international cuisine and even Western-style fast food is available in metropolitan cities like Guatemala City, the best way to cut costs when it comes to food is to eat local. While a bit monotonous, such fare as chicken, beans and tortillas are available to tourists just about everywhere. With a drink, you can likely get away with spending no more than $8 per day.
Step 3
Pack wisely by bringing items known to be expensive in Guatemala with you. Items like soap, camera film and batteries migh be cheaper to purchase at home and bring with you. Generally speaking, items that are imported to Guatemala are almost always cheaper to bring from home.
Step 4
Travel by chicken bus. Chicken buses are actually older school buses from the United States, and carry passengers to even the most remote villages in Guatemala. If you don't mind sitting three to a seat with little leg room, say backpackers surveyed by Passplanet.com, the fares are cheap, and both the seats and suspension are acceptable, though the service is slow.

Between the larger cities, there's also first-class service using modern Pullman buses.
Step 5
Start bargaining. Guatemala's market stalls are filled with souvenirs that reflect the country's colorful history and rich culture. Use your negotiating or bargaining skills to get a good deal because many vendors will start their asking prices high with the anticipation of you arguing them down. While some tourists consider these sellers a bit pushy by Western standards, your transaction attempt will end on a good note with a firm "No, gracias."

Tips & Warnings

 
If you get claustrophobic, prefer air-conditioning while traveling, and don't want your items exposed to rain and the elements on a bus rooftop, avoid the chicken bus in favor of other transportation modes. Many tour companies offer larger air-conditioned U.S.-style motor coaches. This sort of transportation costs more, however, so budget wisely.
 
If you get claustrophobic, prefer air-conditioning while traveling, and don't want your items exposed to rain and the elements on a bus rooftop, avoid the chicken bus in favor of other transportation modes. Many tour companies offer larger air-conditioned U.S.-style motor coaches. This sort of transportation costs more, however, so budget wisely.
 
Drinking water is not considered potable in Guatemala, so you factor the cost of buying drinks into your budget. Bottled water is the cheapest beverage compared to soda or beer, with beer costing almost eight times the cost of water and more than double the cost of soda.
 
Drinking water is not considered potable in Guatemala, so you factor the cost of buying drinks into your budget. Bottled water is the cheapest beverage compared to soda or beer, with beer costing almost eight times the cost of water and more than double the cost of soda.

Article Written By Virginia Franco

Based in Charlotte, N.C., Virginia Franco has more than 15 years experience freelance writing. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications, including the education magazine "My School Rocks" and Work.com. Franco has a master's degree in social work with an emphasis in health care from the University of Maryland and a journalism degree from the University of Richmond.

Never Miss a Single Post

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.

FREE UPDATES

Subscribe

We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.