typical prices Guatemala

How cheap is Guatemala? What are the prices like for travelers?

Well, that depends a lot on how you travel. As a backpacker eating at market stalls and taking the gussied-up school buses that ply the back roads, sharing your sleeping quarters with strangers, you could probably get by for $15-$20 a person if you didn’t move around very much and avoided spending a lot of time in the main tourist areas.

I spent over $120 a day (for 3) when I wasn’t in Spanish class though, which goes to show there are usually at least three parallel travel paths going on in any destination. The backpacker path, the mid-range vacation and family path, and the luxury vacation path. If you are traveling as a family, like I was, forget the shoestring option unless you really are a glutton for punishment. Unless you have the world’s easiest kid—one that sleeps in late, eats anything you put on his or her plate, and doesn’t mind being crowded and sweaty half the time—the cheap hotels and sidewalk stall meals route isn’t going to cut it. More likely, your sanity will dissolve and someone might end up coming to blows before the first week is up.

So here’s a rundown on travel prices in Guatemala, but much of it for someone who is either traveling on a vacation budget or spending more in the name of family harmony. (As you can see in the veggie price photo though, food is cheap if you cook for yourself – $1=7.5 quetzales.)

Double room within Tikal park: $35 to $100+

Nice family hotel room or suite: $40 to $60

Cheapo double room with shared bath: $8 to $16

Meal of the day in a typical local joint: $2 to $4.50

Dinner in a tourist restaurant: $5 to $20

Shared shuttle, Antigua to Panajachel: $5 to $8

Shared shuttle, Panajachel to Antigua: $12

Private shuttle van, 1-2 hours one way: $25 to $50

Typical admission charge for a foreigner: $4

Typical admission charge for a local: 40 cents (grrrr…)

40 bananas or 15 fresh rolls: $1

Tuk-tuk ride across Antigua: $1 to $2

Ferry boat ride on Lake Atitlan: $2 to $3

One week of private Spanish instruction, with homestay: $90 to $175

Bottle of beer or rum drink in a bar/restaurant: $1.50 to $2.50

Bottle of cheap/good rum in a store: $3/$8

Hour of fast Internet access: 60 cents to $1.50

Zipline canopy tour near Tikal: $25 to $30