budget: £30 GBP / $43 USD per day
total budget: £930 / $1333
total spent: £816 / $1197
avg. daily spend : £26.3 / $38.6
*Costs are calculated from the exchange rate from local currency at time of travel.
DAYS ON BUDGET: 3%
DAYS UNDER BUDGET: 74%
DAYS OVER BUDGET: 23%
where were we?
Potosi, Sucre, La Paz, Copacabana, Isla del Sol & Lake Titicaca, Coroico, La Paz, Cochabama (Bolivia)
Travelling the last few months in Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and Argentina meant we often had to count every penny and make choices about what we could do and eat each week. However, a month in Bolivia allowed us to relax a little bit and put our money towards more little pleasures than usual (in traveller speak that means pizza and wine).
The cost of living in Bolivia has however surprised us in parts. Some things are very cheap, like transport, but other elements make you stop and think 'how the hell can the man on the street afford to be paying that in such a poor country?' For example, we went for a beer in a local dive-bar we visited and a 600ml bottle was 23 Bolivianos (£2.3 / $3.3) - that's way more expensive than it should be and more than most other places in South America. For travellers, the price of basic breakfasts or meals out in more touristy places might also surprise you.
So, although it's been a cheap month for us, we actually expected our money to stretch a little further in Bolivia. Nevertheless, you won't see us complaining too much. Another month under-budget and many more life-long memories made for less than £15 each a day.
2680 Bolivianos / £263 GBP / $386 USD
After months in Argentina and Chile where dorms were our only option, it was nice to finally be able to get used to affording a private room. However, the accommodation in most budget hostels in Bolivia is pretty basic and, actually, not nearly as cheap as it should be for the standard.
We did however work with two excellent places in Copacabana and Coroico which allowed us to enjoy a little bit of backpacker luxury.
1472 B / £144.5 GBP / $212 USD
The best and worst bit about travel in Bolivia is the transport. Buses are extremely cheap, but they're usually old, cramped and driven by a maniac.
It does however mean that you can cover great swathes of the country without it really affecting your budget too much.
The other problem that can arise with Bolivian transport is that roadblock protests are common. We had plans to travel from La Paz to Cochabamba by bus, but this was thwarted by a week-long protest stopping all travel. Our only option was to buy a flight ticket - although this was relatively cheap (£30 each) - it pushed up our costs.
1220 B / £120 / $176
As we had a bit of spare cash each day, we treated ourselves to WAY too many pizzas in Potosi and La Paz. Budget options are plentiful however, with lunches on the street or in the markets costing around £1 for a couple of courses.
We also found a great little coffee shop in La Paz where we could work for three days straight (we have lots to catch up on!), so we've included that cost here.
EATING OUT: 14.7%
1019 B / £100 / $147
Bolivia has very few supermarkets, which meant most of our shopping was done in markets and in little shops. The array of fresh fruit and veg is astounding and we revelled in it - especially once we found out the proper prices after a few days of being ripped off by matriarchs running the stalls.
We've also had to buy a lot of our water as the stuff out the tap isn't recommended (and we don't have a steri-pen), so that mounts up, especially when countering the effects of high altitude.
543 B / £53 / $78
Cholita wrestling, yoga in the rainforest, visiting an incredible indigenous Sunday market and hiking around the beautiful Isla del Sol were some of the highlights from this month. We've also given quite a few donations and contributions on the streets, so that's included here.
697.5 B / £68.5 / $100.5
Our main drinks of choice have been excellent bottles of Bolivian red or white for £2 or the local beer, which really isn't as cheap as you'd expect.
We also treated ourselves to a (rare) proper gringo night out, so let our budget stretch out that evening.
431 B / £42 / $62
They sell the biggest popcorn we've seen from wheelbarrows - we became slightly addicted. Plus, the standard treats like Oreos, Skittles and bottle of Coca-Cola come at a premium.
SWEETS & TREATS: 5.2%
206 B / £20 / $29.5
As ever in Latin America, stocking up on depleted toiletries is never that cheap.
46 B / £4.5 / $6.6
Emily bought a lovely new hat (Bolivia is a mecca for hats).
0 B / £0 / $0
We were pictures of health all month!
MEDICAL EXPENSES: 0%
0 B / £0 / $0
Thankfully Bolivian ATMs don't charge us for withdrawals.
WITHDRAWAL FEES 0%
2 B / £0.2 / $0.3
Europeans only receive 30 days standard entry, but thankfully it's easy enough to secure an extra 30 days (free) in any major city. The cost? We had to pay to get some photocopies (we told you before we record EVERYTHING!)