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You Can Travel In This Central American Country For Less Than $50 Per Day

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People often say traveling is expensive, but it depends on where you travel.

A trip to experience culture and adventure shouldn't cost a month's salary. Fortunately, a country in Central America offers you a great experience for less cost.

colorful buildings along a street

Guatemala is a small but diverse country between Mexico and Costa Rica. A place filled with lush green mountains that cradle Mayan ruins. It also has a vibrant culture that will help you maintain your budget.

The currency used in Guatemala is Guatemalan Quetzal (GTQ). Luckily for those using U.S. dollars, the conversion rate gives you more spending capabilities. 1 USD is equal to about 7.85 GTQ.

Here is a breakdown of how to spend $50 or less a day traveling in Guatemala.

Guatemalan street food

The average meal cost in Guatemala at an inexpensive restaurant is between $3.00-8.00, according to And while these low costs may have you thinking you’ll only get a slice of bread with cheese, you can get many of Guatemala’s traditional meals for a low price.

Typical Guatemalan dishes include beans, corn, tortillas, rice, cheese, chicken, and beef. The country is also known for its stews and soups.

Many restaurants known as comedors offer low-cost meal specials called menu del dias. These specials offer full-course meals for just a few dollars.

wrapped food

If you’re a fan of street food, which is often the cheapest way to get a tasty meal, you can try mixtas, a Guatemalan version of hot dogs.

These simple yet delicious meals contain a sausage wrapped in a tortilla. It is often filled with guacamole, tomatoes, onions, and green chiles.

Another staple street food is tamales and paches. Tamales are a mixture of corn dough and other fillings cooked in a banana leaf or corn husk.

And paches are similar; instead, they use mashed potatoes and various spices baked in banana leaves.

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ancient ruins

And one of the best cheap eats can be found at tortillerias or tortilla shops.

You can get a stack of tortillas for $1. An easy and affordable food option is to buy tortillas instead of bread and make wraps by mixing inexpensive vegetables and fruits.

Where to stay

When it comes to a place to lay your head and shower, your two budget-friendly options are hotels or hostels, often referred to as hospedajes.

Low to mid-range accommodations offering hot water, shared or private bathrooms, and basic furniture are between $15 and $60 a night.

guatemala mayan ruins

Of course, your average hotel cost can be around $80 if you want more amenities.

Low-cost cities to visit

Major cities such as Antigua and Guatemala City are the main attraction for visitors. While costs in these cities are still significantly low, you’ll want to check out smaller towns and villages. San Pedro La Laguna or Quetzaltenango are great places to stretch your dollar.

Budget-friendly things to do

With some of the highest peaks in Central America, this Latin country has hiking trails and beaches that will take you on an adventure for $0.

Atol de elote: the traditional drink of Guatemala, made of corn and cinnamon.

The country also offers free museum visits, such as Casa Mima in Guatemala City.

And if you’re a beer fan, the country’s leading brewery Cervecería Centroamericana is in Guatemala City and offers free beer tours.

Travel tip: To save even more money, travel in the rainy season between May-October. Some of your days will be filled with rain, but there will be plenty of time to explore under the sun.

Beatiful sunset at the lake Atitlan near the volcano in Guatemala.

Getting around town for $1

Lastly, getting around the country has a variety of cost-efficient options. If you don’t mind a crowded ride, you can hop onto a chicken bus.

Despite the name, you won’t be sharing your seat with poultry. However, you will be sharing space with many locals.

Chicken buses are old buses that are worn down but completely functional. You can get across town for a measly $1- 1.25.

Guatemala flag at Lake Atitlan

If you prefer more comfort in your transportation, you can use mini-buses (microbuses) that usually operate from the central bus station and cost around $1.25 per hour.

For a more private ride, you can use taxis, which usually cost around $3-5. Another option is tuk-tuks, three-wheeled bikes that cost as little as $.75.

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