Traveling Cheap In Central America, The Frugal Traveler Way

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Have you been following the exploits of the newly-installed Frugal Traveler, Seth Kugel, this summer as he’s been making his way from São Paulo to New York? This month alone he’s traipsed around Los Zorros, a seaside fishing village on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua, with his parents; shacked up with a local family in Nicaragua on the banks of Lake Atitlán where he learned the fine art of tortilla making; and wandered the street market of Sololá, buying provisions for the rest of his trip.

Seth is off to Mexico for the beginning of the end — a final five-week push where his otherwise very frugal budget is sure to be tested as he crosses the American border. But true to form, he did give us all a little update as to how his budget fared during the middle five weeks of his trip.

Remember now, his goal has been to stretch $500 for an entire week (or about $70 a day), a goal which seems to be very doableconsidering where he’s been traveling (however, keep in mind that he can’t just sit around all day napping and eating granola bars — he’s got a NY Times blog to write and needs to spend cash to come up with some subject matter to write about).

Taking a look back at his dutifully-recorded budget, here’s how things fared for him:

Week 5, northern Peru: $457, with $88 for lodging and $253 for transportation, including a $91 flight from Arequipa to Lima.

Week 6, southern Colombia: $461, with $149 for lodging and $167 for transportation, including a $59 flight from Loja to Quito.

Week 7, Santander, Colombia (with friends Jon and Doug): $589, with $110 for lodging and $160 for transportation, including a $75 flight from Cali to Bogotá. (I’ve talked about this budget-busting week in a piece on traveling alone vs. with friends.)

Week 8, in Nicaragua (with my parents): $376, with $81 for lodging and $117 for transportation.

Week 9, Guatemala: $363, with $113 for lodging and $82 for transportation.

So it looks like, overall, things became relatively cheaper for him as he headed north from Peru (with a slight deviation in Colombia where he splurged for that flight — oh the things friends will convince you to do on the road).

For the full blog, check out the Frugal Traveler’s blog here.

[photo by Rozi-apple/Flickr]

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