Our daughter Lindsey, near Mont Saint Saveur, Quebec, Canada. Photo taken by Ruth October 25 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Osgoode, Ontario, Canada. Just south of Ottawa.

And where are they going next? We leave November 1st for a six week trip to Romania and Moldova.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Colombia, on $39 USD per day

We recently spent just over six weeks (47 days including travel days from Mexico) touring Colombia. I wanted to detail our expenses over that period of time so that others can judge if they can afford to do the same type of trip.

Including our airfare from Mexico City to Medellin, Colombia, we spent a total of $3,062 CAD ($2,250 USD) for the two of us. That figure includes all food, travel, accommodation, booze, and entertainment.

This information is more useful if we take away the initial airfare of $553 CAD ($400 USD) for the two of us, because everybody will spend a different amount getting to Colombia depending on your departure point. So, we spent a total of $2,509 CAD ($1,850 USD) while we were actually in Colombia. 

We were there for 47 days, so a total for the two of us of $53 CAD ($39 USD) per day.

Ruth, and the fantastic view from El Peñol near Guatapé, Colombia.

Accommodation: We stayed with couchsurfing hosts while in the city of Medellin. This was for several days when we first arrived in Medellin, and for several days before we departed. But we had a difficult time finding suitable couchsurfing accommodation during our travels while in Colombia. So we stayed in hostels and inexpensive hotels. Always with a private bedroom, but sometimes shared bathrooms and common areas.

So while our couchsurfing was free, we paid for 39 nights. Total cost was $995 CAD ($725 USD) for our accommodation. An average of $25.50 CAD ($18.60 USD) per paid night.

If you include the free couchsurfing nights, our average cost for accommodation was $21.10 CAD ($15.40 USD) per night.

One of our more comfortable rooms, at Explora Hostal in Bogota.

Groceries: It is inexpensive and convenient to eat out in Colombia. So we did a lot of that! Plus, breakfast was included at many of the hostels that we stayed at. But, some hostels did have cooking facilities so we didn't eat out all of the time!

Still, our grocery costs for the six weeks were extremely low, at $212 CAD ($155 USD). Of course our "Eating out" category is much higher than it normally is!

So, an average of $4.50 CAD ($3.25 USD) per day for groceries.

Eating out: It's easy to get breakfast out for under $3.00 per person. And a decent lunch (almuerzo) for $5.00 per person. And dinner for under $10 per person. 

We spent a total of $555 CAD ($400 USD) on meals out.

Adding that total with our grocery total means that we spent $767 CAD ($555 USD) to feed us both for more than six weeks. Considering most of that was in restaurants, that's pretty darned inexpensive! So, $16.32 CAD ($11.80 USD) per day to feed two people!

The spectacular landscape at Valle de Cocora, Colombia.

Booze: Any drinks that we had in restaurants are included in the price of the meals out. So this is for beer, wine, or aguardiente that we brought back to the hostel. We found that most liquor or wine is fairly expensive in Colombia, but beer is very reasonable, and Ruth found an apple wine that was priced right and tasted refreshing.

We spent $179 CAD ($130 USD), or an average of $3.65 CAD ($2.77 USD) per day.

Entertainment and Tours: We felt like we did a lot, although a lot of what we did was simply taking a local bus somewhere and making our way on our own. So our entertanment expenses were relatively low. But, we did do a jeep tour in San Agustine, and a moto-taxi tour in the Tatacoa Desert and of course the pass for the archeological parks in San Agustin. Oh, and a hiking tour, coffee plantation tour, and of course some museum entrance fees.

Still, fairly inexpensive, at $156 CAD ($113 USD) for the entire time we were there.

Ruth, with one of the very odd 5,000 year old statues at San Agustin, Colombia.

Taxis and local buses: Based on "western" standards, taxis are very inexpensive in Colombia. Still, when you use them a lot they do add up over time. We did take the local bus when it was easy to do so, but otherwise we simply flagged a taxi. Those little yellow cars are everywhere!

We spent a total of $111 CAD ($81 USD) during our 47 day visit.

Long distance buses: It's almost as cheap to fly some distances within the country. Buses are cheap, but if you find the right deal it's also cheap to fly. In fact, we flew from Bogota to Medellin for $30 CAD ($22.50 USD) each! Otherwise, we took the bus because really, we were there to see the countryside.

We spent $240 CAD ($175 USD) on long distance buses, plus the $60 CAD ($45 USD) for the in country flight from Bogota to Medellin.

We travelled approximately 1,400 kms (860 miles) by bus in Colombia, and then finished up in Bogota with a flight back to Medellin.

Our approximate route through Colombia.

So, including everything, we spent $3,062 CAD ($2,250 USD) for a six week trip in Colombia. I'd say that we did pretty good! 

If you're not overly concerned about weight, these packing cubes are a great way to organize your luggage!

Or, you can do like us and just buy jumbo ziploc bags!


  1. Very low price for such a long holiday. Too bad you couldn't couch surf more. You have to love countries that have cheap taxis and restaurant food :).

    1. Yes, we are pretty happy with how much we spent considering how much we did. We would have loved to have done more couchsurfing but didn't find many hosts that were more in our accommodation range. We definitely aren't into sleeping on an actual couch with young partiers!

      Yes, you have to love that along with cheap buses and very reasonable accommodation.

  2. This is pretty impressive and amazing Kevin. But I'm not surprised, you two do a lot on a little and Mexico and South American make that easier it appears.

    1. Thanks Sherry! I don't think that we skimp too much either in Colombia or in Mexico. We manage to see and do a lot when we are traveling in these countries. Having said that some of the Central and South American countries that use the American dollar are definitely more expensive for us Canadians at the moment.

  3. That trip worked out well for you and very reasonable I would have expected nothing less.

    1. Thanks George! Yes, it was pretty reasonable when you factor in all the costs. More expensive that in a motorhome but still pretty decent for longer term holiday.

  4. I think that is a pretty darn good daily rate for traveling in Colombia! Thanks for sharing - really useful info for those of us hoping to travel there one day. Cheers - Ellen

    1. Thanks Ellen! We are pretty happy with the end result, especially when you consider everything that we did. I hope you are able to make it there this winter.


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