15.7835° N, 90.2308° W
CURIOUS TO KNOW WHAT IT COSTS TO TRAVEL GUATEMALA? GOOD - I GOT YOU. HERE IS A BREAKDOWN OF EXACTLY WHAT I SPENT DURING MY 2.5 WEEK TRIP. CHECK OUT MY IN-DEPTH GUATEMALA BUDGET BELOW.
First things first, what did I actually expect to spend in Guatemala during my 2.5 week trip? Honestly, I thought I could get by only spending $20 USD a day. But it turns out that that was a little too low - especially since I am a coffee fiend who loves checking out new cafes (not mad about it).
In actuality, I probably spent (on average) closer to $25 USD or Q195 a day (FYI this does not include lodging) - which is still not too bad. This total cost included three meals, usually a latte, activities and maybe a drink or two.
So were there any costs that surprised me? I would say that there were really just two: the price of coffee, which was not that much lower than USA prices even though coffee is grown so close by, and the price of eating out at a restaurant (again prices were closer to what you'd likely pay at a low or mid-range restaurant in the USA). Now I understand that my view of costs is almost entirely based on what I spent in Antigua - one of the most touristy places in the country. But, I talked to other travelers and a lot of them also mentioned how they felt like Guatemala was a bit more expensive than they were originally led to believe.
So if you are planning to visit, be aware that Guatemala is no longer this dirt cheap destination that I think we have all been led to believe it was. I still definitely think it is very affordable - especially if you are planning to spend more time outside of the major tourist hubs (like Antigua and Lake Atitlan). Just know that some items do cost more than you might originally be budgeting for.
Now are there ways to cut back on costs? Of course! There are definitely ways to lower your daily costs, including eating a lot of street food (it is delicious and very affordable) or cooking meals at your hostel, choosing cheaper accommodations (there are a ton of options for every budget - especially in Antigua), and shopping at the local markets instead of the main supermarkets.
But, I also believe there are a few things worth splurging on in Guatemala. And luckily, in this case "splurging" isn't even really accurate. For example, don't miss out on the 2-day Acatenango hike (even if you aren't really a hiker). This incredible adventure can cost anywhere between $50 and $80 USD - a pretty low cost considering it includes guides, accommodation, food and transportation. Likewise, if possible, try to head out to Semuc Champey. While it is a trek - and requires at least two long bus rides - I believe it is 100% worth it.
Below you will find a pretty in-depth breakdown of what I spent as a digital nomad during my nearly three week trip to Guatemala.
💱GUATEMALA CURRENCY EXCHANGE
Quetzal (or Q) is the Guatemalan currency. The exchange rate is $1 = ~7.8 quetzales or €1 = ~8.5 quetzales.
WHAT I SPENT IN GUATEMALA AS A DIGITAL NOMAD
This is a basic cost breakdown of the few adventures I partook in during my 2.5 weeks in Guatemala. I would say that overall, most of the top adventures are pretty affordable - especially when you think about how much similar activities would cost in places like the USA or Western Europe.
ACATENANGO 2-DAY HIKE: $55 USD
This was definitely one of my favorite adventures in Guatemala. The two-day hike gave me a lot of awesome opportunities to see the highly eruptive Fuego Volcano, get out of the city and back into nature, and meet some super cool people. If you do one big adventure in Guatemala, make it this one.
► Check out my in-depth guide on hiking Acatenango here.
BIKE TOUR AROUND ANTIGUA: $40 USD
Was this tour worth it? Eh, probably not. While it was cool to bike around the area outside of Antigua and see a different side of the city, it also felt like a tour focused solely on having me buy things (from chocolate to macadamia nuts to jade jewelry).
ANTIGUA WALKING TOUR: free! But definitely tip your guide between $10-15 USD.
I would definitely suggest doing one of the free walking tours of Antigua - especially if you are curious about the town's history and culture - or if you just want to learn more about the top hidden gems (like a 100+ year old sweet shop). You can book your free tour online at GuruWalk.
EXPLORE MORE | SPENDING TWO DAYS ON A VOLCANO: MY ADVENTURE ON ACATENANGO
HIKE UP CORAZON DE AGUA: $8
This is a really off the beaten path adventure that includes a trip out of the main part of Antigua and a short hike up to the top of a tall hill with some cool miradors. I would rate this activity as a 7/10 - though that is mostly because it allowed me to meet new people and move my legs a bit (plus get some fresh air).
CERRO DE LA CRUZ: free!
If you are looking for a short (and free) activity to do in Antigua, then consider heading to the edge of town and walking up to the top of Cerro de La Cruz, a high point that affords you great views of downtown Antigua and the opportunity to see Fuego, Acatenango and Agua Volcanoes.
💬INSIDER TIP: I recommend coming here in the morning when it is quieter and there is a higher chance of you seeing the volcanoes (it often gets cloudy at dusk).
SEMUC CHAMPEY TOUR: $31 USD
Another fantastic adventure to be had in Guatemala is a trip to the middle of the country (aka the jungle) to see the stunning turquoise pools of Semuc Champey. After Acatenango, this was definitely my favorite activity I did during my 2.5 weeks in the country.
► Explore my full guide to visiting Semuc Champey here.
I was very excited to try all of the local dishes that I had heard so much about even before deciding to visit Guatemala. And for the most part, I loved all of the food I ate. From the local street food to the more upscale restaurants, the food scene in Guatemala is definitely top-notch.