We absolutely loved our time in Colombia - all three months of it. And as you can see below, our average daily spend was right on target. But, to keep on budget, we had to be smart.
On the face of it, Colombia is not an expensive country - you can eat out in local joints for a couple of dollars, enjoy a number of the amazing sights for free and still partake in a few ice cold beers at the end of the day.
However, national transport can be pricey (especially until you realise you can haggle!) and if you want to stay in the popular city hostels it will cost you a pretty penny.
The budget backpacker can and will have an absolutely great time here - they just need to be a little more careful.
The costs below are the average we encountered in our time in the country, and the individual items have been chosen for their ubiquity across the world and their popularity amongst backpackers. This will allow us, and you, to make a comparison of living and travel costs across Latin America.
Currencies are $COL PESOS / £GBP / $USD. Conversion rate as at time of publication.
average daily cost for two backpackers
$108,000 / £28.7 / $45
average cost of double room
Accommodation is not cheap in Colombia, especially during high season when prices can go up by as much as 50%. Cheaper options can be found - they just take a little while and it is definitely cheaper the further south you go. Had we stayed in the more popular hostels in Medellin, Bogota and Cartagena, the average cost of our accommodation would be significantly higher!
$46,000 / £12.2 / $18.7
six hour bus ride (in mini-van)
Transport in Colombia can be a little complicated. There are small minivans, big minivans, busettas, large buses and everything in between. Some have seat reservations, and some don't. You can even haggle for a better price, especially if you're in a group and the bus leaves soon.
$30,000 / £7.9 / $12.2
one breakfast out
$5000 will buy you eggs, cheese, bread, arepa and coffee/hot chocolate in most places but if you just want something small then look for casserola - eggs and coffee/hot chocolate is sometimes all you need.
$5000 / £1.3 / $2
one litre of water
Don't forget that you can safely drink the tap water in Colombia - it should save you quite a bit of money! Bags of water are also cheaper to buy than bottles.
$2000 / £0.5 / $0.8
one cup of coffee
Whilst $1500 is still cheap, the 'tinto men' on the street will often provide a small cup of sweet strong coffee for less than $1000.
$1500 / £0.4 / $0.6
half dozen eggs
Eggs are another thing that reduce in price significantly when bought in bulk, so if you're going to be somewhere for a while, try buying 15 or so.
$2500 / £0.66 / $1
one litre of beer
Not as widely available as the small cans, but good value when you do get them - small shops are your best bet.
$3000 / £0.8 / $1.2
400g pasta and 400g marinara sauce
Jars of marinara sauce is really expensive in Colombia - save some pesos and make it from scratch.
$8700 / £2.3 / $3.5
small bottle of coke (cans not available in Colombia)
Top tip: buy coke in the largest bottles you can find. The small bottles are supremely bad value!
$1600 / £0.4 / $0.65
one loaf of bread
Top tip: buy fresh rolls from the bakery - they're much cheaper and then you only use what you need, instead of chucking out half the loaf when you move towns.
$2500 / £0.66 / $1
20 pack of local cigarettes