When I first heard of Guatemala, I realized that I didn’t truly understand what makes this country an exciting place to explore. Until recently when I traveled there and figured out that the country is packed with historical sites and excessive charms. It’s true when someone says that the Mayan heart of Central America is Guatemala. My favorite parts of the country are the volcanoes, lakes, lively market of Chichicastenango and the colonial city of Antigua; all of which made me want to come back to Guatemala in a heartbeat!
Accommodation and Food
- For about USD30, you can get a private double hostel room per night and with a budget hotel, it’s a standard price to start between USD30-USD50. Most dorm beds in hostels are around USD5.
- As I said earlier, food in Guatemala is relatively inexpensive. Dining out should not be a problem for you, because it was not a problem for me at all when I was there. Based on my experience, “comedores” (cheap eateries) could get me a two-course of meal for about USD3.50 and I heard that a meal in “tourist” restaurant cost around USD10.
- Apart from that, what I learned was that there are pre-made plates of food with mostly rice, beef or chicken and tortillas. If you ride a bus, these are usually sold for about USD2 during stops.
- In Guatemala, my favorite would be drinking the national brand beers which cost me only USD1 per bottle and USD3 per liter from the store! Simple rule is to stay away from burgers or anything alike, if you truly want to eat real cheap there.
Transportation and Activities
- The “chicken buses” or in local dialect, Las Cameionetat, are what we often see as the old school buses from North America.
- This public transportation offers the most cheapest way of traveling around Guatemala at USD1 for a one to two hour of journey. If you’re planning to travel between Antigua and Guatemala City, there are also shuttle services that start at USD12. As I said earlier, the real reason why most traveler like Guatemala is because of its role in history and natural attractions.
- Being the Mayan center in Central America, most of the activities revolve around historical sites and the nature. For USD6, you’ll get the chance to enter the Semuc Champey and USD7 is the price of entrance fee for the National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.
Money Saving Tips
As of for me, I tend to avoid spending too much money in another countries. Therefore, understanding on how to save money in Guatemala is crucial, although most of the things there are quite cheap. Common tips include bringing snacks and avoid eating out at tourist cafes and restaurants when sightseeing. Buy food from the local markets and always snack on fruit in Central America! They are dirt-cheap and everywhere. Secondly, take the “chicken buses” to get around but before you ride it, always ask the locals how much they’re paying so that the person who collect the fares won’t charge you higher just because you’re a tourist.
All of the above pluse the relatively inexpensive food, colonial cities and the crazy dense jungles make Guatemala a perfect place for a vacation. For budget travelers, one should never overlook this country in the region because you’ll get the best of Central America thre with low-cost prices. I hope to see you there someday!