budget: £30 GBP | $41 USD per day
total budget: £1590 | $2279
total spent: £1376 | $2019
avg. daily spend : £26 | $38.1
DAYS ON BUDGET: 0%
DAYS UNDER BUDGET: 75.5%
DAYS OVER BUDGET: 24.5%
where were we?
Tupiza – Uyuni – Potosi – Sucre – La Paz - Copacabana – La Paz – Corioco – La Paz – Cochabamba – Villa Tunari – Cochabamba -Samaipata - Santa Cruz
Number of days
NUMBER OF HOURS IN BUSES
Three weeks in Bolivia eventually turned into a week short of two months.
For a number of reasons, we really hadn't been too excited about visiting, but it proved to be a country which we both really feel for. Being able to loosen the purse strings helped quite a bit with that and, although Bolivia was not quite as cheap as we had been led to believe by others, it was definitely somewhere where our £30/$41 joint budget allowed us to live and travel comfortably.
£401.4 GBP | $589 USD | $4090 BOB
Accommodation in Bolivia can be a tricky beast. Either you stay in well-designed gringo party hostels and pay prices much more comparable to Chile, or you opt for locally run guest houses that are cheap but not always cheerful with poor facilities and not much in terms of atmosphere.
To be honest, when we weren't working with hostels (we received 8 nights comped accommodation during our time in the country), we chose the latter - which is why we managed to keep our costs pretty low (they could have been even lower had we stayed in dorms, but thankfully, we only had to do this in the bewilderingly expensive Cochabamba).
If you're not careful, accommodation is definitely one element that can cause travel costs in Bolivia to rack up quite substantially, so be savvy.
£227.1 | $333.2 | $B 2314
Transport in Bolivia - especially if you've crossed over from the expensive nightmare that is Argentina - is exceptionally cheap. We're talking less than £5 / $7 for a six or seven hour bus journey (a little more if you take the faster, smaller inter-city minivans). And, although they may not be modern or too comfortable, they really aren't too bad at all.
The worst aspect of transport in Bolivia was however the awful driving standards exhibited by pretty much everyone and the fear that you're never too far away from a collision; Andrew got into many a heated argument with our drivers.
We were forced to take a flight out of La Paz due to a week-long national strike shut down all roads in and out of the city. Thankfully, it wasn't too expensive and gave us the opportunity to have an amazing view over the city. We also took a few more taxis than usual because, with the altitude, walking to a bus terminal or in search of a hostel with all our kit just didn't make sense.
£235.1 | $345 | $B 2395.5
We dined out on trout in Copacabana, stuffed ourselves with comfort pizzas on the chilly nights in La Paz and Potosi and had no option but to eat all our meals at gringo restaurants in Uyuni. Thankfully, eating out in Bolivia is pretty cheap (although some restaurants did charge ridiculous prices, so do double check the menu) which naturally meant we were less averse to doing it more often than usual as it wouldn't instantly put us over the daily budget. A warning note however - breakfasts out in the country are generally over-priced.
We have to add that at least 1/5 of this figure is due to very poor internet connections in most of our hostels necessitating setting up camp in cafés from which we could work all day.
EATING OUT: 14.7%
£178.4 | $261.8 | $B 1818.2
A surprisingly high number of places we stayed at simply didn't have kitchen facilities. However, in La Paz and Sucre, we did cook most evenings and it was a real pleasure to be able to purchase mountains of fresh basil, coriander, ginger and chillies for very little from the market every day and create some beautiful, healthy dishes.
Bolivian markets offer up great value fresh fruit and veg , however it will take you a few visits (and getting ripped off more than once) to work out what is the true and fair price of everything.
£110.2 | $161.6 | $B 1122.5
Lots of hiking, a salt flats tour, visiting markets, Cholita wrestling, walking tours, exploring new cities and islands, visiting sand dunes, watching condors, more hiking - we did an awful lot in Bolivia.
Some of it was free, a couple of things were comped and everything was thoroughly enjoyable!
£123.6 | $181.4 | $B 123.6
We were both really shocked at the price of beers in Bolivia - just from a shop, a local brew would cost enough to make us balk and go dry that evening. In Tupiza, an imported bottle of Corona was cheaper than the local stuff - it just didn't make sense.
So, we were very happy to discover some very good Bolivian wines (who knew?!) for 20B a bottle - and that become our drink of choice for most of our stay (although Potosina beer is lovely!)
£64.9 | $95.3 | $B 661.7
Giant popcorn, coffees out (the instant stuff is horrible - when we find good coffee, we tend to OD!), and too many bottles of soft drinks in La Paz to combat altitude sickness.
SWEETS & TREATS: 4.7%
£30.5 | $44.7 | $B 310.7
As followers of our adventure will know, toiletries ain't exactly cheap in South America.
For the first time, we also had to put a little money towards our own stash of toilet paper (essential in Bolivia, even in your accommodation) and had to pay way too much to pee in horrible bus station and restaurant bathrooms (seriously, it's cheaper to go pee in a lovely bathroom in a British train station than in a bus terminal in Bolivia).
£4.5 | $6.6 | $B 46
Bolivian women rock some awesome hats and so Emily got herself one; it's very very Instagram friendly.
We had actually promised ourselves we'd buy some cool blankets but, we were being asked for prices which we wouldn't even have paid back home, so we left empty-handed.
£0 | $0 | $B 0
Although there were some difficult moments, we coped with the altitude problems that Boliva presents and, thankfully, had no bugs or accidents during our stay.
MEDICAL EXPENSES: 0%
£0 | $0 | $B 0
With our travel card, we weren't charged to take cash out of any ATMs - happy days!
WITHDRAWAL FEES 0%
£0.2 | $0.3 | $B 2
There are no entry fees or exit fees for Bolivia and the standard tourist visa for most (sorry Americans, not for you!) is free.
So what's this cost all about? Well, that's actually quite a funny story...
CROSSING BORDERS: 0%
All costs are calculated from the exchange rate from local currency at time of travel.