Colombia - Budget

So what did we spend in Colombia during our 6 ½ weeks? 

Our goal that we set for ourselves was $100 CAD a day and we ended up spending an average of $100.83 so I’d say we did pretty well!  Budgeting and keeping track of everything you spend can be extremely tedious but it's nothing we aren't familiar with.  In preparation for this trip we spent months and months heavily budgeting and analyzing our expenses so we were already in the routine when we started traveling.  As long as you start writing down your expenses daily it becomes pretty easy to pinpoint when and where you start to blow your budget.

So where did our money go?

Food: $1,007.63   Average: $20.99 (20.82%)

We spent a lot of time during the first month relaxing and working while we were in Santa Marta which allowed us to stay at home and cook most nights.  We shopped locally and didn’t splurge too many times going out which helped keep our food budget relatively low.  In places we knew would be expensive we'd plan ahead and bring snacks and cheap meals to help make our dollar last.

Alcohol: $322.68   Average:  $6.72 (6.67%)

For anyone who knows us, we really enjoy a good bottle (or two) of wine.  Unfortunately, the bottles of wine in Colombia are surprisingly extremely expensive on a travelers budget.  We did manage to find a box (yes a box- don’t judge!) of wine that was somewhat decent and spent a night or two drinking those.  Beers on the street are relatively cheap all throughout Colombia so if we wanted a drink that is often what we resorted to.

Accommodation: $2,360.43   Average: $49.18 (48.77%)

We splurged on the place in Santa Marta as we were staying for 3 weeks and wanted a place to really call home.  This budget also included the 3 nights stay on the private hostel island that blew our daily budget but was a must do on our bucket list.  We stayed in private bedrooms every night as it was almost the same cost as paying for 2 dorm rooms.  We were lucky and were able to work with a couple of different places for some discounted nights in exchange for some media exposure which helped lower our average budget.

Transportation: $715.95   Average: $14.92 (14.79%)

Although cabs are cheap and flights are extremely cheap in comparison to what we pay back home the actual cost of moving around from place to place is expensive.  You have to think it’s not just the cost of the flight or the bus from one location to another but it’s also the taxi ride to the airport or bus terminal and then again on the other end.  These things can start to add up relatively quickly.  Besides taxis this also included 2 flights and 2 expensive boat rides each.

Extras: $433.18   Average: $9.02 (8.95%)

Extras included:

1.       $160 for Entrance Fee’s into Colombia for both of us

2.       The purchase of two snorkels (which actually will save us money in the long run as long as long as they stay intact for the next month or so before Galapagos)

3.       Every day toiletries- soap/sun screen/conditioner

4.       Tours- we did two tours while in Colombia.  The Concha Beach Tour in Tayrona Park and the Pablo Escobar and the Rock Tour in Medellin.  We were lucky that both tour companies generously offered to work with us at discounted or free rates in exchange for media exposure.

Things we'd do differently in Ecuador:
Overall we were really happy with how our budget came out.  We were able to do almost everything we wanted without overspending our budget.  We learned to cut corners when necessary (like eating Peanut Butter and Jam Sandwiches for 3 days straight) instead of eating out to help offset the high accommodation costs.  The only thing we'd really like to focus on changing is lowering our daily accommodation cost without lowering our standards of living.