number of days: 41
budget: £30 GBP | $43 USD per day
total budget: £1230 | $1763
total spent: £1761 | $2515
avg. daily spend : £42.9 | $61.3
all costs are for two people in £GBP and $USD, converted from local currencies at the rate at time of travel.
DAYS ON BUDGET: 0%
DAYS UNDER BUDGET: 44%
DAYS OVER BUDGET: 56%
where were we?
Cochabamba, Villa Tunari, Cochabamba, Samaipata, Santa Cruz (Bolivia) | Salvador de Bahia, Itacaré, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
The last month (and a bit) of our two year Latin American odyssey came and went far too quickly. It took us from being stranded in Cochabamba to the heat of the Bolivian tropics amongst rescued monkeys, across to lush green countryside and rolling hills of Samaipata before a complete cultural and linguistic break in Brazil's north, where we treated ourselves to two weeks of blissed out beachtime. To round it all off, we soaked up a lot of what Rio had to offer in the midst of a frantic panic about the trip ending in 4 sleeps...3 sleeps....2 sleeps and, before we knew it....0 sleeps!
As you'll see from the above numbers, we weren't able to stick to our £30 a day philosophy. In fact, that got blown out of the water. However, that is is due to a few very identifiable reasons:
#1 - There were a few unavoidable transport splurges. In Bolivia, week-long road blocks throughout the country meant we had to take an unexpected flight out of La Paz. Meanwhile, in Brazil, the distances are so huge that flying was the most sensible option for us, given that our time was running out and days lots on buses wasn't what we wanted to do. Although flights work out around the same prices as buses there, they aren't exactly in line with our daily budget (one day of travel cost us £211 on flights alone).
#2 - Even though it's going through an economic crisis right now, meaning it's half as expensive as it used to be for us Brits, Brazil is still not that cheap. Prior to arriving there in the middle of February, we knew that sticking to £15 a day each - even with our best budget backpacker mentality - was going to be very very difficult.
#3 - It was the LAST FEW WEEKS OF OUR EPIC ADVENTURE - and we were in BRAZIL - so we had decided to make the most of it and let our hair down a bit. Given this and point #2, we actually operated on a budget of £40/day for our 26 days in the country and, if you take that into account for our overall figures, our over-budget days would actually tumble from 56% down to 34%!
#4 - We love Caipirinhas a little too much.
However, despite the above caveats, we cannot deny that we did also receive a number of complimentary tours and nights of accommodation in this period, so it really is a case of swings and roundabouts.
All we can say, definitively, is that we spent a lot more than we would have hoped in our last month and that, after coming under budget for all but a few of the previous 22 months, it's a bit of a shame to missed the target by such a margin in our final few weeks.
£538.1 GBP | $767.3 USD
In Bolivia, we partnered with companies to receive 8 complimentary nights of accommodation. And, we loved Itacaré so much (a perfect Brazilian beach town) that we decided to rent an apartment there for two weeks.
Aside from that, we were actually based in dorm beds the rest of the month because the eastern part of Bolivia is a lot more expensive for budget backpackers, whilst a private room in Salvador or Rio costs an arm and two legs.
£580.4 | $826.3
It's always been a little strange to have a plane icon here, given that we travel pretty much exclusively on buses. However, this month, the plane is VERY appropriate.
An unexpected flight from La Paz was double the cost of the bus, but thankfully still affordable. We then took a couple of flights to reach Salvador de Bahia and then another from Itacaré to Rio. Brazil is so vast that flying really is the best option for covering large distances and, although it isn't very cheap when booking last minute, it is usually the same price as a bus.
In spite of all that plane travel, we somehow conspired to also spend 60+ hours on buses!
Lastly, we opted for taxis after dark in Rio as we just didn't feel safe in many parts of the city, so that bumped up the costs a little more than normal.
£181 | $260
Our two weeks in Itacaré were basically treated like a standard beach holiday - and that meant treating ourselves to a few meals out in the balmy evenings which we'd usually have avoided due to cost. We were also big fans of Brazilian street food (especially tapioca!) so gorged on that most days.
During our visit to a wildlife refuge in Bolivia, we also had no option but to eat out for every meal.
EATING OUT: 10.3%
£134 | $193
As usual, we cooked a lot in our Brazilian apartment and at every hostel.
£166.6 | $238.6
We may have gone slightly overboard on the caiprinhas.
In the north of Brazil, it was hot and sunny every day, so beers and cocktails by the beach we a necessary indulgence.
£18 | $26
We were actually very active this month - photographing a wildlife refuge, spotting condors in the wild, cycling the streets of Rio and partaking in a Brazilian cookery class. However, all of those were done in partnership with the companies in question, so we were not charged. Other than that, most of our activities involved walking to/from the beach or wandering around town with our camera.
We must admit though, that, despite being in Rio for almost a week - we didn't actually manage to make it up to Christ the Redeemer!! The weather was crap most days and on a last ditch attempt to go up on our final day, the ticket office told us it wouldn't be worth it because there were so many clouds! At least that saved us some cash....
£59.4 | $85.1
Beachtime = treat time!
SWEETS & TREATS: 3.4%
£28.4 | $40.6
A return to sunnier climes in north Brazil meant we had to stock up again on suncream - thankfully we found some really good offers in both Salvador and Itacaré, but it's still relatively expensive.
£55.4 | $78.6
When we reached Salvador, we must admit we felt like absolute bums. Toned bodies and fashion statements were everywhere, and our stained, ripped and tattered wardrobe was simply at the end of its shelf life.
So, we made a reccy to a department store to get some bikinis and onesies for Emily and new t-shirts for Andrew!
£0 | $0
MEDICAL EXPENSES: 0%
£0.3 | $0.4
The cost of our border crossing cannot be measured in money!
It was the WORST crossing we've done in all Latin America, and took up more than 9 hours of our day. However, our only expenditure during that time was Andrew rushing about like a madman, after re-entering Bolivia without permission, trying to find an internet cafe (which actually had internet that day!) to print proof of our plane tickets so we could skip the queue and make it over to catch a bus in Brazil before the border shut.