what we spent : month fourteen

budget: £30 GBP / $46 USD per day 

total budget: £930 / $1426

total spent: £723 / $1114

avg. daily spend : £23.3 / $36

all costs are for two people in $USD and £GBP. Conversions correct at time of publication.

days on budget: 0%

days under budget: 74%

days over budget: 26%

Looking for the best way to live cheap and travel? Then maybe you should follow us and live by the Ecuadorian coast for a month! Over the course of four weeks, we spread our time between four towns before heading back to the chilly inland to start the epic Quilotoa Loop. 

Life was pretty damn perfect (read more about it here). Excellent, cheap seafood in Mompiche, sunbathing, gringo food and drunken escapades in Montañita, downtime and relaxation in Ayampe and one last hurrah on the best beach in Ecuador. We ate well, we drank well and we still came in under budget. Now, as a disclaimer, we did work with a couple of hostels and tour companies which helped us cut down on spending but, even without this, we would have been comfortably under. 

total: £242 / $372

avg. cost per double room: $16

most expensive: $25, Moai in Montañita.

cheapest: $10, Hotel El Jardin in Canoa.

Along the coast, you'll find a large variety of hostels. For the majority of the month we based ourselves in Casa Kiwi, where we negotiated a decent long-term rate of $11 per night. Moai, although the most expensive, was the best value option for a good double we could find in town after a morning of hunting.

In the interest of full-disclosure, we received seven nights of free accommodation this month.

accommodation: 33.4%

total: £57 / $87.5

Thankfully, all the coastal towns are pretty close together and easily accessible with public transport. We were pretty spontaneous about where our next stop was, so, with forward planning, could have saved a few dollars. Everything was bliss except at the end of the month where we got a marathon bus journey to Latacunga. 

transport: 8%

total: £170.5 / $263

This is way higher than usual for two very simple reasons. Numero uno: Mompiche has the best goddamn seafood lunches available for only $3 per person which we indulged in every day. Numero dos: we indulged in gringo food quite a lot in Montañita. Authentic thai, excellent wood-oven pizzas for $3 and heart-attack inducing burgers. We have discovered on this trip that we both find happiness and joy in food and, when the sun is shining, you've got to make hay (and then eat it smothered in hot sauce). 

eating out: 23.5%

total: £82 / $126

So, given the above numbers for eating out, it's not a huge surprise that our groceries purchases went down. To be honest, along the coast, there is a poor selection available (aside from the visiting vegetable truck) and most things are over-priced in small tiendas so it's difficult to cook anything decent for less than it costs to visit a local restaurant.

groceries: 11%

total: £92 / $142

Yep, more on booze than shopping! We're ashamed to call ourselves budget backpackers. But, tet us tell you about a place called cocktail alley where a huge, strong cocktail costs $3! From a menu of about 100!

How could we say no? 

alcohol: 13%! 

total: £30 / $46.5

Surf-board rental plus some day-trips to other beaches. We're at the beach - who wants to do anything else?!

activities: 6.5%

total: £43 / $66

Mompiche had a great little Argentinian-run coffee shop with lovely fresh cakes and an unforgettable lemon pie, whilst we splurged on quite a few hangover treats in Montañita. 

sweets & treats: 6%

total: £23 / $36

Suncream is very expensive in Ecuador ($15-20 in some places) so we stocked up on multiple tubes ($9 each) in the main town of Atacames along with other essentials. 

toiletries: 3%

total: £0 / $0

That 'packing as much as we can fit in our backpacks' policy seems to be working out after 14 months on the road in every climate imaginable!

clothes: 0%

total: £0 / $0

We spent the entire month in Ecuador, which grants 90 days to most tourists, so thankfully no border runs required.

crossing borders: 0%

find out more about the coast of ecuador with these guides