Central America 2010List

Things I Bought for Less Than $3

Travelers are almost always on some sort of budget. We try to make the money we’ve set aside stretch as far as it can possibly go, enabling us to see as many places as we possibly can. With that in mind I’ve compiled a list of a number of things I was able to purchase in Central America for under $3. Some things on this list aren’t a huge surprise, but there were a couple of times I was baffled at some of the low low prices I encountered. So, here it goes…

1. Sandals – I was plagued with the broken sandal syndrome for a majority of my five weeks in Central America, but luckily each time I was able to find a replacement pair for under $3. Maybe that is why the kept breaking, huh?

2. A 1 hour Kayak Rental – While on Lake Atitlan we were able to rent Kayaks for $2 an hour. I was able to snap some amazing photos and shoot this video while out on the kayak.

12oz Gallo from Guatemala

3. Lots of Beer – Everywhere you go you can snag a regular 12oz or less beer for a dollar or two, even in Belize! In Guatemala, however, my friends and I were able to track down a few of the big 32oz beers for as low as 20 Quetzales, or $2.50. They were few a far between, but every now and then we would walk into a local shop and stumble upon this liquid gold.

4. A Bed in a Hostel – In San Pedro La Laguna, Guatemala my friend and I were able to strike up quite a deal with the owner of Hotel San Francisco. For two rooms, that would each sleep three people, she agreed to only charge us 15 Quetzales per night each, so less than $2!! It wasn’t necessarily the nicest place we stay, but for $2 it was a great find and the view was absolutely stunning!

5. Meals – Lots of meals!  All of the street food and many of the restaurants run in the local areas of towns were EXTREMELY cheap. There were many times when I ate for under $3.

6. Three hour bus ride – In Guatemala it seemed the public bus price as about $1 per each hour that trip was supposed to take. This was usually 10% to 20% what a tourist shuttle or private taxi would charge!

7. A Personal Guide – While in Copan Ruinas, Honduras I paid a tuk tuk driver $3 (technically not under $3 but oh well) to take me up the mountainside overlooking Copan Ruinas. After a long and windy ride to the outlook I was able to snap some great shots with a birds eye view of the town.

  1. ayngelina

    I’m impressed with your hostel negotiation, it can be tough in such a popular area.

  2. Matt

    Well, it did have a lot to do with the fact that we got two rooms with 3 people in each one. However, we also made the decision to get outside of the tourist area near the docks and we were a decent walk up the hill and to the left of the Pana dock.

  3. Jamie

    Nice article! We love Guatemala, and found the lake to be incredibly cheap. We should be back there in a few weeks, and really can’t wait. I loved the banana bread there. Great breakfast option.
    Jamie from http://www.cloudpeopleadventures.com

    1. Matt

      Gotta love that Banana bread. The women selling it on the streets definitely know what they are doing!

  4. David @ Malaysia Asia

    Hey Matt, love the first Kayak Picture! Perfectly composed with excellent lightning.


    1. Matt

      Yea it was a great opportunity. This was the very last picture I snapped before the rain started coming down on us but it was a good one to end on!

  5. Laura

    This list is amazing! The hostel bargain seems indeed to be the best deal of all, but the other ones are impressing too. God, that fourth photo made me hungry! 🙂

    1. Matt

      That wasn’t even my food, I started eating mine before I remembered to take a picture of it, haha. Needless to say it was really good.

  6. Migrationology

    Great display of how traveling doesn’t have to be expensive! You live pretty well off $5-10 per day!

    1. Matt

      Yea sometimes it really can be quite cheap. The best days are when you find the cheap hostel, the cheap food, and a cheap thing to do for that day!

  7. d

    impressive bargains, the guide and kayak rental in particular!
    in reply to your comment the picture is of a stick fishermen, no idea what they are specifically fishing by they stand on this pole like structures they have built

    1. Matt

      very interesting! I’d like to see that for myself one day.

  8. Juno

    I just fell in love with No.5. 🙂
    Yes you are right. We can buy plenty of things under $3! 🙂
    But bed? That’s impressive.

    1. Matt

      definitely my favorite one of the list! Especially because we stayed for 3 or 4 nights so that really added up to some savings!!

  9. Sarah

    Thanks for this Matt, it’s great to know there are so many bargains to be had in Central America! I’m currently planning my trip and it’s great to get some idea of what things really cost on a day to day basis.

    1. Matt

      Some places things will cost more but in some areas (specifically the Lake Atitlan area) you can really find some bargains. Good luck with your trip and let me know if you have any questions while you are planning!

  10. Claire

    I also bought a pair of flip flops (in Nicaragua) that I STILL wear 5 years later, and have gotten quite a few compliments on!

    1. Matt

      mine finally went…. I just use them so much I guess…

  11. Kelly

    I am DYING to go to Guatemala! And when I do, expect an email with lots of questions from me!!

    1. Matt

      Feel free to email away! You have got to visit, it was my favorite country on the trip!

  12. discoverina

    you should visit Indonesia, you’ll be surprised to what you’ll get for under $3.
    btw, the meals look delicious 😀

    1. Matt

      definitely on my list of places to go!

  13. Isa Grajeda

    So proud of my country! 🙂 i’m glad you liked it! I bet you’ll keep visiting.. There’s so much too see 🙂

  14. Kyle Morgan

    haha, great post, i should probably try negotiating at hostels more often, haven’t tried it yet!

    1. Matt

      Definitely do it! I do it everywhere I go. The more people you have with you the easier it gets.

  15. Priyank

    Hi Matt, its amazing how far a dollar can go in other countries! I cannot imagine the plight of people traveling from those countries to here… 🙁

    1. Matt

      Yea, definitely quite expensive the other way around.

  16. Laurel

    Amazing at what you can buy in some parts of the world for under $3. I can’t believe the tour and the kayak rental, usually those things are much more expensive as they’re geared towards tourists.

    1. Matt

      At the time I didn’t even realize how great of a deal the kayaks actually were. After traveling again for a few months this year there hasn’t been a place renting kayaks for even twice that much…. Everything is like $5 to $15 an hour…

  17. Bino

    WOW! You got me at number 4.. Less than $2.. Awesome deal! 🙂

  18. Ontario cottage rentals

    It’s time for me to check Guatemala … sadly i’m in Eastern Europe the plane ticket will cost a fortune …

  19. Colleen Hayward

    Very awesome, I’m going to have to learn how to bargain, I don’t have a lick of sense when it comes to haggling.

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