Backpacking Budget for Central America

Central America Backpacking Budget

This page suggests typical shoestring travel costs and recommends a possible backpacking budget for Central America.

backpackers map of central america

(Map of Central America from wikitravel, can be re-used under CC BY-SA 3.0)

Daily Travel Costs in Central America

$20/day : Nicaragua

$25/day : Guatemala, El Salvador

$30/day : Honduras

$35/day : Costa Rica, Panama, Cuba*, Mexico*

$45/day : Belize

*Not technically part of Central America but popular stops with travellers in the region.

This is based on travelling on the cheap by staying in hostel dorms or basic rooms where it’s cheaper to do so and by using local chicken buses which are a fun if slow way to get around the region. It allows for the odd activity each day but nothing like expensive diving courses or multi-day treks which will add to the cost of your trip. If you have travelled in the region recently and have a different idea of what typical expenses might be then please use the comments section below to let us and more importantly other travellers know. The budget allows for a bit of partying and but you will struggle to stick to this if you are looking to drink and go out every night.

Some travellers combine Central America with a few days or weeks in the United States, which is considerably more expensive. Read our USA backpacking budget for more.

Monthly Backpacking budget for Central America

Based on these costs, a typical total backpacking budget for a trip around Central America might be something like this:

1 month – £740, €850, $900

2 months – £1480, €1700, $1800

3 months – £2220, €2550, $2700

All figures are based on exchange rates correct as of January 2017. If you’re unsure, use dollars as a base and convert it to your currency at current exchange rates.

Touristy areas of Mexico or places such as the Bay Islands in Honduras are more expensive so avoid them if you are worried about funds running out. If you decide to visit Cuba, then the cost of getting there can also add quite a bit to your overall expenses so this budget is primarily based on travel in mainland Central America only.

Please note this does NOT include the cost of flights to/from the region, any visas/vaccinations or travel insurance. These things are impossible factor in as they are dependent on your nationality and where you are coming from but can quite easily double your total budget for the trip.

Read our Central America budget travel overview.


The Cost of Travel in Other Regions

South America | Southeast Asia | Europe


How much did travel in Central America cost you?

If you have travelled recently in the region then please use the comments section below to share with us your experiences of backpacking costs in Central America. Everyone travels differently so there will never be a definitive right budget for each country but the more people who comment, the easier it is for us to keep this page as accurate as possible for 2018 and beyond. Thanks!


 This page was last updated in January 2017.



  • Mikaela Ann Heidrich

    Thank you for keeping this updated! Everything else i’ve seen has been years old (although it doesnt seem like the price has raised much)

    • Thanks Mikaela! It’s quite hard to keep figures like this up to date but hopefully they give you an idea of how much shoestring travelling in Central America tends to cost.

  • Mariana Pacheco de Medeiros

    Hello! I’m travelling to Mexico in Novembre and i’m planning to go to guatemala, nicaragua, costa rica e panama. I’ve bought the tickets to mexico and now i’m wondering if i need to do a visa to enter in those country. I’m european (pprtuguese) can anyone help me?

    • Leon Nixon

      Hey, I’m also planning to fly to Mexico at the end of November from the UK. You don’t need a visa as long as you are staying less than 90 days and not working!

      • Mariana Pacheco de Medeiros

        thank you! 🙂

    • anke

      Hi Marianna, I found this website https://www.visahq.co.uk/ super helpful to look up visa requirements for each country. Enjoy your travels!x

      • Mariana Pacheco de Medeiros

        thanks 😉