|Item||Day in Country||Food||Drinks||Lodging||Transportation||Activities||Supplies||Visa Related||Misc||Average Daily||Country Total|
Our trip started in the Cayo district in the western part of the country outside of the town of San Ignacio. This was our jungle time where we Bug hunted, bird watched, and rode horses.
From there we spent 4 nights in Hopkins village where we first got to the sea. We got out to experience the local Garifuna culture, went sea kayaking, hiked in Cockscomb Basin, and had a great 4th of July Barbeque.
Next stop was down the coast to Placencia for our final 3 days in Belize. Placencia takes our prize for the best stop. We really loved Placencia we even took time to talk with a realtor… just to see… about maybe someday… The town had just the right level of tourist stuff with plenty to do without being overwhelming. The town still felt like it had a good local presence, along with some good cheap street food and reasonable drinks. Adam needed a reasonably priced bar, so he could try all the beers of Belize! Going snorkeling in the Silk Cayes was a perfect day trip!
Still unsure if killing a chicken on a chicken bus is a highlight or low light…..We will let you be the judge of that.
Guatemala – 17 days
We were over our Guatemala budget by about $14/day, maybe we drink too much because we had some friends with us, and we were pretty active too. I guess we will have to be extra cheap in Nicaragua, the next stop!
Our first time in Guatemala was spent in Livingston, which was a quick boat ride away from Punta Gorda, Belize. Livingston exceeded our expectations, this cute little Caribbean fishing village is worth 2-4 nights for sure. Livingston was our “home” for 2 nights, as we made our way into Honduras.
After 10 days in Honduras, we took an 8-hour bus ride from Copan to Antigua, Guatemala. We spent a week in Antigua, we had Spanish lessons 8am-1pm for 5-days, and lived with a local family. Being in the same city for 7 nights was a change for us, but we really enjoyed it.
Antigua is the most photogenic city we have ever been to, and due to this we had 1,000’s of photos to go through! We fell in love with the houses, and the amazing doors hiding their beautiful courtyards.
Besides studying hard……some more than others…we also had a fun at the local bars in town. We tried the local Mezcal and after a few shots we needed a little late night food, so we headed over to the most beautiful Mc Donald’s ever. We had friends from home that joined us in Antigua before heading out on our trek!
Off to Xela we went, when we heard the brewery was not too far from our hotel we set off on a mission for a BREWERY TOUR! Well, that didn’t exactly happen, apparently brewery tours aren’t allowed in Guatemala without proper government permission. EPIC FAIL!
We had signed up for a 3 day, 47km hike prior earlier in the year. We really had no clue what we were signing ourselves up for. Day 1 of the trek was the hardest thing I have ever done, it was no joke! Day 2 of the trek wasn’t as bad, but I was on a mission to get to the town where I was promised ice cream would be! It was the best ice cream bar I have ever had, and most real earned too! Waking up at 3:45am on Day 3 of the hike from Xela to Lago Atitlan was rough, especially after our second night sleeping on concrete floors. It was all worth it as we watched the sunrise over Lake Atitlan.
Honduras 10 days
We started our trip on the island of Utila, which was a journey in itself getting to from Livingston, Guatemala. Honduras was also where our first visitor from home came to visit us! We wanted to make sure Catie had at least one beach in her 3 week trip with us!
Our main purpose for coming to Utila was for Adam to get dive certified. We had pre-arranged his dive shop from back at home, which we highly do not recommend doing. Wait to pick your dive shop once you are on the island, and you can personally go into the dive shops.
We had an amazing day trip out to Water Cay. It was a perfect little island to spend the day snorkeling and sunning!
After 7 days out on the island of Utila, it was time to hit the mountains and head to Copan. It was quite a long journey from Utila to Copan, involving a ferry, then a taxi, and then a VERY long bus ride through the mountains! Copan was a nice change of pace coming from Utila. We really wished we could have spent a few more days there.
Copan is most known for the famous Copan ruins, which we spent several hours wandering through and taking it all in. We also had a great day trip in which we went horseback riding through the mountains, visited an indigenous Mayan village and had the opportunity to visit the local elementary school, and then took a tuk-tuk up the mountains on a 3 hour trip to the lunar jaguar hot springs. These hot springs were amazing, some of the springs were too hot to even touch!
The best thing of all was that we SURVIVED HONDURAS!! We had heard some many bad things about Honduras, but we really liked Honduras and we plan on returning in the future!
Nicaragua Breakdown – 23 days
We had very high expectations of Nicaragua. Years and years we were saving for our beach house, which we always thought would be in Nicaragua. So while we were there, we went beach house hunting! For some reason, we thought San Juan del Sur was “our spot”, so we rented an apartment for a week and got to know the town. We indulged on a catamaran booze cruise, which was great fun and ended with an amazing sunset.
Yet another hike….this hike was another challenging one that ended with a rewarding waterfall at the end! Well worth the sweat lost on the hike,
We planned our time in Nicaragua around the Running with the Bulls in Granada. It was quite a sight to see, but not what we expected. We really enjoyed our time in Granada, reminded us of Antigua, Guatemala but hotter. We spent 2 nights in luxury, living like kings & queens!
Having Adam risk his ONLY pair of shorts being modified to be pick-pocket proof by a cute little old Nicaraguan grandma.
Our first stop in Nicaragua was Leon. The main draw for backpackers here is the FAMOUS volcano boarding. Adam may consider this one a highlight, but if you look at the pictures in the post you can tell I am less that thrilled!!! Was I happy I did it…YES, but would I do it again NO!
Costa Rica – 14 days: $631.21
Do not go to Costa Rica expecting to do this budget. We were lucky to have hotel sponsors for our entire Costa Rica trip, plan on $25 for 2 people in a dorm at a hostel or $40 in a private room.
Panama uses the USD so it was very easy for us to know exactly what things cost, that is when they ACTUALLY had a price tag!
We were so ready to get out of Costa Rica, we kind spent freely in Panama. We no longer felt taken advantage of, so we ate & drank a little more. We also learned we will never take our budget to the extremes we did in Costa Rica. Traveling is not fun when you are living on Bologna let’s just admit it…….So we ate & drank and pretended we were on vacation in Panama!
We spent most of our time relaxing in Bocas del Toro, and 4 nights in Panama City. It was a good mix of city & beach, and we hadn’t been to a city our entire trip! We fell in love with Panama City, kinda felt like home a little bit. I think that is exactly what we needed. So now you’re wondering how did we do money wise, not too bad if I say it myself! Pretty good if you ask me!
Colombia – 15 days
We were ready and really excited to step foot in South America. Lots of other traveler’s stated Colombia was one of their favorite countries. We both didn’t know what to expect to see/find in Colombia. Our family & friends were nervous for us to travel to Colombia. Colombia doesn’t have the best reputation in the past, and most people only know about the past when it comes to Colombia. We were on a mission to discover Colombia on our own, and form our own judgments.
We spent 4 nights in Cartagena, Colombia an old colonial port town. Cartagena was the most expensive city we visited in Colombia, mainly due to the amount of tourists it sees. We didn’t realize the amount of cruise ships they get daily, and Disney cruise ships are the most common. Tourists=Money, which=higher prices. We weren’t the biggest fans of Cartagena, we have many colonial towns and Cartagena wasn’t anything special.
After Cartagena we headed to Cali, again we had no clue what to do there or what to expect. We ended in Cali due to it’s location and cheap flight we found. We flew from Cartagena to Cali for $45 each including luggage. Cali was located only 4 hours away from Salento which we had planned to go and relax for a week. Cali surprised us, it was quite a nice/large/safe city. We found ourselves walking 30 miles in 3 days discovering the city.
Total Spent in Colombia $1,055.51 average of $70.37 a day
Ecuador 13 days
Ecuador uses the USD so it was very easy for us to know exactly what things cost, that is when they ACTUALLY had a price tag!
Our last week in Peru we got offered to go on a Galapagos cruise! How could we turn this down? We couldn’t….so we had to re-look our “plans” and make things work. We already had a flight into Guayaquil from Colombia on October 7th and a flight out of Quit on October 19th. The cruise was departing on October 13th and returning on October 20th. We were able to get flights to the Galapagos on October 13th out of Guayaquil and back to Quito on the 19th. Luckily it wasn’t a big deal to get dropped off a day early from the cruise. It actually couldn’t have worked out any better. Only downside was we only got to see Montanita (which we dreaded), and the Galapagos. The 5 hours spent in the Quito airport don’t count. So we will have to return to Ecuador to explore all that we missed and to return to the Galapagos Islands again because they are that amazing.
The Galapagos Islands, where do I begin? I honestly didn’t know too much about them or what to expect. What I didn’t expect was to basically us running into sea lions & iguanas, etc. Think of a zoo without cages, that is the Galapagos. We were fortunate to be guests of Ecoventura, and we cruised with 13 others for 6 nights. If you get a chance to go it’s worth every penny.
Total Spent in Ecuador $1,854.37 average of $142.64 a day
Peru 10 days
Our last stop in South America!!! We can’t believe Peru is our last country in our South America adventure. We are already planning our trip back since we missed so many great spots. But nonetheless, here we are in Fiji recapping Peru! Happy to be here but sad our journey in South America was so short, only being 6 weeks long!
We knew going into Peru it wasn’t going to be very nice to the budget. Only spending 10 days in the country doesn’t let us stretch out the expensive flights & activities out. Our biggest expense was our Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu, but it was worth every penny of $815 (including tip)! We booked our trek back in May, as trail permits sell out months in advance. We also had 2 friends back from home joining us for our entire time in Peru, so we had everything pretty much planned out. Our second biggest expense was the flight back to Lima from Cusco, which was $275. Also, traveling with friends, we tend to splurge a little on going out to eat at fancier places, aka LESS plastic chair restaurants! And of course a few more happy hours.
Total Spent in Peru $2,022.82 average of $202.28 a day
Fiji – 15 days
Going into Fiji we had no real plans other than to relax on the beach and do a lot of NOTHING! Adam knew he wanted to get a few dives in, so we factored that into our budget. We found a good deal on a package that included accommodation, 10 dives, all meals, and transportation from the mainland. We scheduled that for the first 5 days and then wanted to head up to the Yasawa Islands. As we heard the further north you went the more beautiful it got, which is true!
Once in the Yasawa, we knew we would spend the rest of the time there, relaxing for 10 straight days. It was our longest stay to date, and we loved every moment of it.
If you are looking for Paradise, head to Fiji!
Now, what did it cost us, well keep in mind one of the biggest expenses is the flight. We had two one-way tickets from LAX. The flight was direct and went by super fast.
We spent 15 days in Paradise. All prices below in USD, $1USD=1.85 Fijian dollar while we were there.
Total Spent in Fiji $4,694.34 average of $312.96 a day
Austrailia – 14 days
Oh Australia…After our beach days in Fiji ended 2 weeks ago, I was excited to get my bum back on my beach blanket. Our time in Australia was going to be split between Airlie Beach and Sydney. We had plans to catch up with the blog and the sun in Airlie, with day trips out to Whitehaven Beach & Great Barrier Reef. In Sydney, we wanted to catch all the iconic Sydney sights, and some hidden gems only locals know about too.
I knew the day would come when I would have to dig deep into my pockets just to buy a Coke. Yes, it is true, Australia is quite expensive. We luckily got an apartment while in Airlie Beach, so we cooked most of the meals, which helped a lot. We also went to the store at the end of the day, when they had marked down the prices on several items (dairy, meat, veggies, etc).
Now what did it cost us, well keep in mind one of the biggest expenses is the flight. We came from New Zealand therefore, our flights from Christchurch to Proserpine were a lot cheaper than those coming from USA or Europe.
We spent 14 days in OZ. All prices below in USD, $1USD=1.10 Australian dollar while we were there.
We were lucky to have stayed with a friend of a friend in Sydney. Thanks again, Jodi, for setting us up with Wes & Whitney. They were great! With no hotel to pay for in Sydney, we used the extra money going out! Wes & Whitney knew about all these fun bars we would have never found.
Cambodia 15 days
Finally, we are back on soil with 50cent beers! Cambodia was a country we have been really looking forward to, it would be our 2nd Asian country to date. We still had my parents with us, as they had wanted to visit Angkor Wat & The Killing Fields. They were with us in Cambodia for 5 days, the other 10 days. We had the best tuk tuk driver in Siem Reap his name with Sok, can’t wait to see him again.
After our time in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, we made our way to Southern Cambodia to hit up Sihanoukville & Kep. None of which were anything special, so we just laid low. This was also my first time being sick on the trip, so overall it was a bust. We will return to Cambodia next year, as we really enjoyed the north, and the kids stole our hearts.
I finally felt good about my bank account situation in Cambodia. It feels great to go to restaurants and order almost anything on the menu, and not really think twice about it. We are glad to be back in Asia.
We flew in from Kuala Lumpur, as opposed to coming by land from either Thailand or Vietnam. This would have been a much cheaper option, but we had my parent’s with us and limited time. Also, since they were with us we bought souvenirs that we were able to send back with them. Normally we don’t purchase any, as my backpack is already busting at the seams!
Total Spent in Cambodia $1,347.73 average of $89.85 a day
As you can see we did our fair share of eating, and not over thinking the menu. There is some great food to eat in Cambodia, our favorite dish was Nom Banh Chok. This will change in the upcoming countries.
*Please note Cambodia requires a visa to enter the country, most passports are allowed visa on arrival, but always check prior to departure to be sure.
Malaysia 17 days
We ended up spending 17 days in Malaysia, visiting Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi, and Penang. Our first stop was Kuala Lumpur (KL) for 4 days, where we planned our visit around attending the Thaipusam festival at the Batu Caves. At first glance we really liked KL, it was diverse and had anything we could ask for. That all changed after getting robbed in KL, bad things kept happening to us while in this massive and modern city. From KL we headed to the beach, naturally! We found cheap flights to Langkawi; which is an island off the very northern shores of peninsular Malaysia, almost at the Thai border.
Once on Langkawi for a few days, we were bored, there was nothing ‘special’ about it. With Malaysia being a Muslim country there wasn’t much of a nightlife, and alcohol was expensive, and it just didn’t have a fun holiday vibe. The food was okay, just okay. The beach was nice, but that’s about all it had going for it. The best part about the island was the daily good sunsets in Langkawi. After 5 days we escaped to the nearby Thai island of Koh Lipe, which was only a 1.5 hours away by speedboat. We jumped on the opportunity to get to this paradise island, as we had seen all there was to see in Langkawi. Once there we rented a beach hut, and had 5 days in paradise!
After our small detour to Thailand, we headed back to Langkawi on the speedboat, and then directly caught the ferry to Penang. We had heard Penang’s Georgetown has the largest Chinese New Year celebration outside of China. Off we went, only to be YET again disappointed, apparently all the Chinese people go home to be with family, and it’s not a huge festival that we were envisioning. After 3 nights, we headed back to Kuala Lumpur. We already had flights to the Philippines waiting for us here. We found great flights for just $27, so since we were going to be in KL for 5 more nights, we opted to do it in luxury platinum status style.
Malaysia wasn’t anything like we expected, but it we have decided we shouldn’t have expectations anymore. So back to the wallet details:
Philippines 23 days
The Philippines wasn’t on our “for sure route” but a cheap flight from Kuala Lumpur made up our minds to go. Who can pass up a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Manila for $27 with luggage? We ended up traveling the Philippines for 23 days, before traveling to Vietnam.
Once in the Philippines, we had our eyes on a few destinations. Other travel bloggers rave about El Nido, so we had to go see it for ourselves. Getting to El Nido wasn’t a quick and easy trip, nor was it cheap but well worth it.
Related Article: El Nido Palawan Guide
Adam wanted to get back in the water to go diving, and the island of Coron had several shipwrecks calling him. He decided to get his advanced open water certificate, otherwise, he would not have been able to dive as deep as the wrecks. Lots of people seem to love Boracay, others (mainly local Filipinos) said not to go there and it was overrun with tourists. Well we went, it was beautiful,it was very touristy, but we were able to do Boracay on a budget. We did splurge on a really nice hotel in Boracay for 3 nights on our anniversary. The other nights we stayed at more budget friendly hotels in Boracay.
In all the Philippines are gorgeous, I think the pictures speak for themselves. Adam enjoyed trying all the Filipino food, including the infamous BALUT EGG!
Total Spent in the Philippines average of $102.16 a day