Cost To Travel Guatemala: My Realistic $50.00 Budget

Wanting to travel Guatemala, but don’t know how much to save? Then come check out my cost to travel Guatemala on a budget of $50.00 per day. Let’s talk about the price of accommodation, transportation, food, and more before I let you know my EXACT Guatemala trip cost!


One thing I always do on my travels is keep a budget as it allows me to make sure I don’t overspend. As a bonus it also allows me to write super informative posts where I can share my true costs to travel Guatemala and create an exact Guatemala travel budget that I can share with you.

When you check out Guatemala online and its travel costs you will generally see it in the lower half of those Central American countries. Though I must say proceed with caution.

It isn’t as expensive as Panama, Costa Rica, or Belize, though I and quite a lot of other travelers I met found it was a lot more expensive than expected. Having traveled over from Mexico, I was planning on spending less, but the opposite happened.

Most people seem to recommend around $50.00 per day. However how realistic is this really, and could we actually go cheaper? For me, this post is for the budget-conscious traveler, who will book accommodation on the cheaper side, but not the cheapest, and eat at restaurants over street food.

Nevertheless, backpacking is a great way to explore a country. You’ll meet some great people, taste delicious food and discover the beauty of varied landscapes. So, enough chatter, let’s get into my Guatemala travel budget and how much it cost to travel Guatemala!


My Guatemala Budget and How Much Does It Cost To Travel Guatemala

hiking acatenango volcano was one of the most expensive things i did in guatemala costing $80
hiking acatenango volcano was one of the most expensive things i did in guatemala costing $80

🚗 How I Book Cheap Transport In Guatemala: GuateGo


Accommodation Costs In Guatemala

As you can imagine accommodation costs in Guatemala can fluctuate quite a bit. Whether that is depending on the type and location, season of the country demand, and amenities offered. Though compared to other countries like Belize, Costa Rica, and Panama accommodation is on the cheaper side here.

Personally, I like using Booking.com to book accommodation everywhere I travel. This is due to the fact that they offer free cancellation allowing me to change my plan relatively last minute.

I tried to keep my plans open when I was traveling through the region, though I found I had to book rooms at least 2 weeks before to ensure I had a decent place to stay.


Cost of Hostels In Guatemala

Guatemala is a popular destination for backpackers who want to explore the diverse and rich culture, nature, and history of this Central American country. Hostels are a great option for travelers who want to save money, meet other travelers, and enjoy a friendly and social atmosphere.

There are many hostels in Guatemala that cater to different tastes and needs, from party hostels to eco-friendly hostels, from city hostels to jungle hostels. You can find hostels in Guatemala for as low as $7.00 per night, depending on the location, season, and amenities.

If you are truly on a budget you will no doubt be staying in hostels while traveling Guatemala. These range from super modern pod style to your typical metal childhood bunk beds and everything in between.

Though one of my favorite things about hostels in Guatemala is the social atmosphere whether that is sitting down for a family-style dinner or helping each other learn Spanish. It is also great value for money as most hostels will have air conditioning and a pool as well!

Personally, I stayed the majority of the time at hostels in Guatemala. Though these were generally more luxe hostels which did increase my budget slightly.

booking a hostel that has free breakfast is an excellent way to decrease your cost to travel guatemala
booking a hostel that has free breakfast is an excellent way to decrease your cost to travel guatemala

Cost of Guesthouses In Guatemala

Guesthouses are a type of accommodation that offers a more personal and homely experience than hotels. In my opinion, they are the perfect mid-budget option, a little bit nicer than a hostel since you have privacy, but you aren’t paying the price tag of a hotel.

Just be aware that even though you will get your own private room, this is to more local standards than Western standards.

They are usually run by local families or individuals who rent out rooms or apartments to travelers. Guesthouses are often cheaper than hotels and provide more opportunities to interact with the hosts and other guests. Guesthouses may also offer services such as breakfast, laundry, tours, or airport transfers.

Guatemala is a country that has many guesthouses to choose from, especially in the main tourist destinations such as Antigua, Guatemala City, Lake Atitlan, Flores, and Semuc Champney.

These guesthouses vary in size, style, and quality, but they all share a common feature: they offer a glimpse into the local culture and lifestyle of Guatemala. Staying in a guesthouse in Guatemala can be a rewarding and memorable experience for travelers who want to learn more about the country and its people.


Cost of Hotels In Guatemala

Hotels are a type of accommodation that offers a more professional and standardized experience than guesthouses. They are usually run by companies or chains that rent out rooms or suites to travelers.

Hotels are often more expensive than guesthouses and provide more facilities and services, such as restaurants, bars, pools, gyms, spas, business centers, or concierges. Hotels may also offer loyalty programs or discounts for frequent guests.

Though I honestly may be the wrong person to talk about hotels in Guatemala as I haven’t stayed in a single one. The average price for all hotels in Guatemala is $72.00 per night.

Brand-name hotels will be a bit pricier, though it is much cheaper than you can find elsewhere in the world. The service is often second to none and you will be living in uttermost luxury.

my beautiful waterfront hostel in lake atitlan cost me $12.00 per night
my beautiful waterfront hostel in lake atitlan cost me $12.00 per night

🚗 How I Book Cheap Transport In Guatemala: GuateGo


Food Prices in Guatemala

Food in Guatemala is a reflection of the country’s diverse and rich culture, nature, and history. It is influenced by the cuisine of the Maya, the Spanish, and other neighboring countries, such as Mexico.

It also incorporates ingredients from different regions, such as corn, beans, chilies, tomatoes, squash, potatoes, and fruits. Food in Guatemala is flavorful, aromatic, and satisfying.

You can find a mixture of Western and local cuisines spread right throughout the tourist spots in the country. I would rarely spend more than $10.00 on a meal out with a drink.

You will find street food more affordable than that again, though in all honesty personally, I didn’t fall in love with any street food in Guatemala. But I will say I am a pretty fussy vegetarian so that is normal for me. All in all, I would spend between $7.00 to $10.00 for a meal and drink at a restaurant.

I did find that a lot of hostels in Guatemala did have fully equipped communal kitchens. This made such a difference in helping keep down my overall spending, especially when I would cook something that would last me a couple of days.

Lastly, a lot of hostels here offer a free breakfast which is another great way to keep food prices down.


Streetfood in Guatemala

One of the most common and popular street foods in Guatemala is the pupusa. This is a thick corn tortilla stuffed with cheese, beans, pork, or a combination of these. It is fried and served with salsa and cabbage slaw.

It is originally from El Salvador but very popular in Guatemala as well. Pupusas are a filling and delicious snack that can be eaten with bare hands.

Another common and popular street food in Guatemala is the tostada. This is a crispy tortilla topped with tomato sauce, fried beans, cheese, guacamole, parsley, and onions. It is a flavorful and crunchy snack that can be found in many street stalls.

Tostadas are a versatile and easy-to-make street food that can be enjoyed at any time of the day.

A third common and popular street food in Guatemala is the chuchito. This is a small tamale made with corn dough and filled with meat and sauce. It is wrapped in corn husks and steamed or grilled.

It is usually eaten with bare hands and sometimes with cream or cheese on top. Chuchitos are a traditional Guatemalan-style tamale that are usually made for holiday celebrations and festivities.


Restaurants in Guatemala

Guatemala is a country that offers a variety of cuisines and restaurants for travelers and locals alike. You can find restaurants that serve traditional Guatemalan dishes, such as pepian, kak’ik, or jocon, as well as restaurants that offer international flavors, such as Italian, French, or Japanese.

You can also find restaurants that cater to different budgets, preferences, and occasions, from cheap and cheerful street food stalls to elegant and sophisticated fine dining establishments.

One of the best places to enjoy restaurants in Guatemala is the colonial city of Antigua. This city is known for its charming and historic architecture, as well as its gastronomic offerings.

You can find restaurants that serve local specialties, such as chuchitos, dobladas, or pupusas, as well as restaurants that offer fusion cuisines, such as Mediterranean, Thai, or Indian.

There are plenty of places that cater to vegetarians and vegans, so it was so easy for me to find a delicious spot to eat. I was always able to eat at a restaurant for whatever I was craving and even splurged on fancier options a couple of times.

a delicious waterfront breakfast on the island of flores, this cost me $7.90 including the chai frappe
a delicious waterfront breakfast on the island of flores, this cost me $7.90 including the chai frappe

Transportation Costs in Guatemala

No doubt there are some amazing places in Guatemala and you will be needing some sort of transport to get around. It can be cheap, convenient, and colorful, but also slow, bumpy, and crowded.

Though luckily because this is such a popular country to travel to, there are numerous ways you can choose to travel around, but no doubt the most popular way is by tourist shuttle.

In Guatemala, you will find yourself having a lot of travel days, specifically days set aside for your journey and that’s it. Rides can take a lot longer than planned, though I have never seen them take less time. Nevertheless, let’s get into transport in Guatemala


Buses In Guatemala

One of the most common and popular modes of transport in Guatemala is the bus. Buses in Guatemala come in two classes:

First-class Pullman buses: First-class buses are comfortable, air-conditioned, and fast. They run on major routes between big cities and tourist destinations. They are more expensive than chicken buses, but also safer and more reliable. I only took one of these buses from Guatemala City / Antigua to Copan Ruinas.

Chicken buses: Chicken buses are repurposed American school buses that are painted in bright colors and decorated with chrome accessories. They go almost everywhere in Guatemala, even to remote villages and rural areas.

They are very cheap, but also very slow, crowded, and noisy. Though this is a bit of a controversial transport option. For the most part, it appears the locals understandably don’t want tourists to take these chicken buses due to safety concerns, and being a foreigner you generally become a target.

Though travelers think this mindset is an old school, not a realistic approach, and if you use common sense you will be fine.


Shuttle Buses In Guatemala

A tourist shuttle is a private or shared minivan that offers transportation between popular destinations in Guatemala. They are more comfortable, faster, and safer than public buses, but also more expensive and less frequent.

They usually operate from hotels, hostels, travel agencies, or designated pick-up points. They can be booked in advance or on the spot, depending on availability.

The prices of tourist shuttles vary depending on the distance, the demand, and the company. They are usually quoted in US dollars or quetzales.

A typical price for a tourist shuttle from Guatemala City to Antigua is $10 per person, from Antigua to Lake Atitlan is $12 per person and from Antigua to Flores $40 per person. These prices are for one-way trips and may include a small luggage allowance. For booking in advance you can do so over on GuateGo.

taking the tourist shuttle from flores to semuc champey, it was a long day but cost $25.00
taking the tourist shuttle from flores to semuc champey, it was a long day but cost $25.00

Flying in Guatemala

Flying in Guatemala is a convenient and fast way to travel between major cities or international destinations. It is also the most comfortable and expensive mode of transport in Guatemala.

There are two main airports in Guatemala: La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City and Mundo Maya International Airport in Flores. Though apart from these two spots you will be stuck taking the road.


🚗 How I Book Cheap Transport In Guatemala: GuateGo


My Total Guatemala Trip Cost

The following table is my actual Guatemala travel cost while I was backpacking the country. To keep things on the smaller side I have added up my accommodation and food costs, though everything else is listed separately.

I spent 30 days exactly in Guatemala, so if you are planning to stay for a shorter period your cost to travel Guatemala would be less.

Cost To Travel GuatemalaUSD
Accommodation$535.38
Food$483.33
Colectivo From The Border Of Guatemala Belize To Flores$4.88
Boat From Flores To Jorges Rope Swing$7.32
Entry Fee To Jorges Rope Swing$3.05
Sim Card (10G of data over 30 days as well as unlimited use of social media)$22.56
Morning Tour Of Tikal$15.85
Tikal Entry Fee$18.30
Pens & Book For Studying Spanish$2.44
Tourist Shuttle From Flores To Semuc Champey$24.47
Toilet Fee$0.61
Tour Of Semuc Champey Including Entry Fee$11.02
Tourist Shuttle From Semuc Champey To Antigua$30.59
Spanish Course In Antigua (4 hours a day for 5 days)$122.20
Entry To Ruins In Antigua$5.00
Toilet Fee$0.61
Entry To More Ruins In Antigua$5.00
Tour Of Pacaya Volcano$18.80
Pacaya Volcano Entry Fee$6.26
Walking Stick For Pacaya Volcano$1.24
Acatenango Volcano Tour$78.82
Plasters For Blisters$1.51
Warm Socks$4.42
Gear Hire For The Acatenango Trek$6.95
Porter To Carry Gear Up Acatenango Volcano$50.53
Porter To Carry Gear Down Acatenango Volcano$25.26
Tourist Shuttle From Antigua To Panajachel In Lake Atitlan$15.16
Boat From Panajachel To Santa Cruz$2.53
Boat From Santa Cruz To Panajachel$3.22
Boat From Panajachel To San Pedro$3.22
Cheap Bottle Of Moisturizer$1.55
Boat From San Pedro To Panajachel$3.22
Tourist Shuttle From Panajachel In Lake Atitlan To Antigua$18.02
Entry And One Way Transfer To Hobbitenango$10.28
Shared Taxi Back To Anitgua From Hobbitenango$3.21
Tourist Shuttle From Antigua To El Paredon$15.42
Tourist Shuttle From El Paredon To Antigua$14.14
Total Costs$1576.37
Cost Per Day$52.54

Budgeted VS Actual Guatemala Travel Budget

BudgetedActualDifference
Total Spend$1468.50$1576.37-$107.87
Cost per day$48.95$52.54-$3.59

So yes, as you can see I did go over my budget for my cost to travel Guatemala, though in all honestly it wasn’t too bad. Spending an extra $100.00 or so over a 30-day period is quite minimal. I also didn’t really skimp on experiences in Guatemala which were something of importance to me.

I also didn’t skimp out on accommodation at all either. I know I did stay in hostels, though I stayed in the most luxurious hostels available, simply because I am a little bit older nowadays and appreciate the comfort.

I was surprised when my partner joined me a couple of days before I left the country and we stayed in a guesthouse in a private room which actually worked out considerably cheaper than both of us staying in a nice hostel.

Though when I am traveling by myself I do like to choose hostels over private options simply for the social aspect.

One area I did purposefully try to save money on was my food budget. I had access to a communal kitchen in Flores, Antigua, and some of my time in Lake Atitlan. Pasta meals and even tofu stir-fries were my favorite budget-friendly dishes I would often cook up.

My biggest expenses in Guatemala for one-off activities were learning Spanish and doing the Acatenango Volcano hike. Furthering my Spanish knowledge in Antigua made a huge difference to my trip and it gave me a lot more confidence when it came to interacting with native speakers.

The Acatenango hike was no doubt the best thing I did in Guatemala, and in the top 3 of the best things I have done in Central America. No regrets here.

Though, all in all, my cost per day of $52.54 was pretty damn good and I had a fantastic time exploring Guatemala.

guatemala is the perfect country to backpack, from the wide variety of hostels and super easy transport
guatemala is the perfect country to backpack, from the wide variety of hostels and super easy transport

🚗 How I Book Cheap Transport In Guatemala: GuateGo


Money Saving Tips To Decrease Your Cost To Travel Guatemala

  • Book hostels with free breakfast
  • Check out whether your accommodation also includes free water/coffee/tea
  • Share transport with other people, waiting ten minutes to see if anyone else is going to the airport/bus station could save you money.
  • Travel during the low season or shoulder season instead of the high season
  • Haggle at the markets to ensure you get a decent price
  • Try out a free walking tour in Antigua, just make sure to sign up in advance
  • Book hostels with a communal kitchen to save you from eating at cafes or restaurants for every meal

Any Questions? Let me know in the comments!


Want more Guatemala Inspiration? Check out….


Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. So, if you click on it and purchase something, I get a small percentage at no extra cost to you. As always all opinions are my own and your support is much appreciated.

Related Posts

Antigua To Copan Ruinas: How To Travel From Guatemala To Honduras

Wanting to travel from Guatemala to Honduras, then come find out exactly how to do [...]

3 Comments

El Paredon For Budget Travelers: Is It Worth Visiting?

Come find out all you need to know about backpacking El Paredon in Guatemala. In [...]

Is Semuc Champey Worth It? BEST Backpacking Tips 2024

Wondering is Semuc Champey worth it? Well, I am here to answer all that and [...]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *