Travel To Guatemala: And Survive 30 Days off $400

Travel To Guatemala with $5,000 and you can live comfortably for a year. Calling all starving artists!

Matt Hendrickson enjoying his visit to Semuc Champey in Guatemala

Matt Hendrickson enjoying his visit to Semuc Champey in Guatemala

When I was working for an NGO in Antigua, Guatemala, our volunteers were paid $400/month. This may not seem like a lot, but somehow, they not only made it work, they thrived. They took weekend trips to the beach. They went often to Lake Atitlan and danced on the bars of Irish pubs.

For the price of a first world car payment, they made their travel to Guatemala stretch beyond the realm of all monetary sense! And you can too, by budgeting like they did.

Travel To Guatemala with $5,000 and you can live comfortably for a year. Calling all starving artists! Stop complaining about the man and how working for him is killing your craft–save up 5Gs, go to Guatemala, and consider it a year-long residency to pursue your art.

This budget is based off living in Antigua, Guatemala–which is a good place to set the bar–if you can afford to make it in Antigua, you can afford to make it anywhere in Guatemala, you little first-world king.

Here’s a sample of how budget might look for cheap travel to Guatemala

Item: Cost:
Rent $200
Groceries $80
Bar Hopping/Eating Out $120
 Shoe Shine $0.80
Total: $400.80


This guy not only got an appartment in Guatemala, he got clothes to match it.

This guy not only got an apartment in Guatemala, he got clothes to match it.

 Save Money When You Travel To Guatemala By Getting An Apartment

It’s true, you can get hostel beds for $5 a night. Which means, if you want to you can find a hostel that will host you for $150/month. That’s pretty good, but if you are going to be traveling in the same place in Guatemala for any length of time, it’s roughly the same price to get yourself an apartment. While expats have been complaining that rents have been going up in the past couple years, you can still get an acceptable place at the lower end for around $200. If you live just outside of Antigua, Guatemala, you can get a place for much cheaper. The trade-off is if the house is not secure, your gringo-ass is going to be a target for robbery.

If you can get into the Antigua, Guatemala Facebook classifieds, that’s about your best option for finding a nice apartment to sublet.

Amy Gridley, Lady in Guatemala

Amy Gridley, Lady in Guatemala

Save Money When You Travel To Antigua, Guatemala By Being A Lady

Mankind has spent much of its existence oppressing womankind, and it seems that bar owners in Antigua, Guatemala are trying to single handed make amends with their outrageous selection of ladies nights. Basically if you are a lady on a budget who doesn’ mind swarms of sweaty men interested in teaching you “to salsa dance”, you should never need to pay for a drink in Antigua, Guatemala. Period.

The Magazine Que Pasa has a good listing of happy hours and lady’s nights in Antigua.

Me in the market being. . . AWESOME.

Me in the market being. . . AWESOME. 

Save Money In When You Travel To Guatemala By Buying Your Food, Clothes and Octopus At The Local Market

Octopus for $2.50 a pound? You can afford to fill up the kiddie pool and bath tub with the sweet tentacles. I suggest bathing them in a bath of simmering peanut oil. A bag of beets for $0.80? WTF?

A trip to Antigua, Guatemala’s market is a trip to the meaning of why we live and travel to begin with. I once went through an unfortunate period in my life where I bitched about the market. “I’m tired of bargaining for apples!” I said, because I was young and foolish and just wanted to buy my apples from a store like Walmart.

Read On The Wild Side

The reality is that the Antigua market is a fabulous ride. I tend to roll up with 100Q ($12) and roll out with two massive bags that I can barely carry of all sorts of wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables.

I would like to tell you where my fish guy is, but the fact is, after seven years I still don’t really know my way around Antigua’s Market. It’s a maze. I just ask people, “Where’s the fish section?” and eventually I get there.

If you’re looking for an easy fish, I recommend the cierra–“saws”–they go for between Loche and Fish in Guatemala$2-2.50 a pound. Keep the head and eat the eyeballs because they taste like popcorn. If you eat cierra pescado with your friend Loch, he will let you eat the eyes from his fish because he does not believe that they taste like popcorn, even though he’s never tried.

Well that covers everything, drinking, eating and sleeping. If you need a job in Antigua, Guatemala, hostels and bars are always looking for someone like you. There are also a lot of volunteer and NGO opportunities–some very worthwhile.


Just remember Guatemala, Antigua especially, is a good place not to get complacent. Find out here what pepper spray to pack, and here how to stay safe in Antigua, Guatemala.

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