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John and Mandi

us --> van --> overland
7 yrs and 6 days - end of the road

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Expenses: Baja

Feb 3, 2016
by John

We spent $2,501.10, $42.39 per day, during the 59 days we spent in Baja. It was great to finally get a reprieve from the higher costs of the U.S. and Canada. We ended up shipping earlier than expected so we missed swimming with the whale sharks and sea lions so those would have elevated the daily average by at least a couple of dollars. The exchange rate was fantastic, starting around 16 pesos to one dollar then jumping to 18 to one before we headed to the mainland. All of our expenditures are calculated in U.S. so we did our best at tracking the different exchange rates.


We decided to track certain expenditures where they occur so all of the border fees we incurred have been counted under Baja. The $104.09 we spent breaks out to be $1.76 per day, it would be as low as $.58 per day if we stay for the full 180 day visa and distributed it accordingly. It should be obvious why we chose to just include it in Baja, even we aren't that anal retentive (not at this time at least). Our van is registered as an RV so we didn't have to pay the $400.00 deposit which means we didn't have to figure out how to handle it in the expenses.

Our Communication amounts are much higher than many as we switched to a T-Mobile plan before leaving the U.S. and have unlimited global texting on our DeLorme. We paid both twice while in the Baja for a total of $247.66 or $4.20 per day. Obviously purchasing local sims or using WiFi only could substantially reduce this amount. We are trying to keep our U.S. number but may reduce our DeLorme account since we haven't been using it enough to justify the total expense.

We paid a single entrance fee to the Santa Rita Hot Springs, we camped at all of the others we visited so everything else was tracked under camping. Our snorkeling at Tecolote and Los Frailes was free as we carry our own equipment and there isn't a fee to camp. We would have more to report under Entertainment if we had done the whale shark and/or sea lion excursions previously mentioned.

Food was our biggest expense at $1,139.05, $19.31 per day. The $356.77 we spent eating out averages to $9.54 per meal for the 37 times we went out, not removing the occasional treats included in the dining out total. We started to strike a balance between eating out and cooking in so many meals were street food at or under $6.00 for the both of us. Potable, purified water cost us $.22 per day and was easy to find.

Our living expenses were a higher percentage in Baja totaling $320.27 or $5.43 per day. We ended up using campgrounds a lot more than we expected for an average of $9.27 per night over the 32 days we used them. Several places were less than $5.00 a night like El Litro in Todos Santos which has a great hot shower and a wonderful campground host. We spent every night of the 59 sleeping in the van. All of our cooking fuel expenditures were for cartridges for the butane stove we use in the van. Before we set off we thought it would be a good idea to have two stoves that use different fuel sources. We've fallen in love with our single burner Iwatani stove and use it more than our propane two burner.

We ended up needing to pick up a few things like a step stool, washcloths, random towels, coffee cup, etc., which encompass our miscellaneous total. Not amounting to much but almost a dollar per day when looking at the average. The step stool is the cream de la cream as it doubles as a morning coffee table, an idea we stole from Joe and Josee. I broke two of our three chairs while in Baja so the step stool has also become a stand in until we can remedy our seating situation.

Transportation became a wonderful surprise as it dropped below 25% of our total expenditures. We drove a lot less, 1,799 miles, so diesel only set us back $382.14 or $6.48 per day. The van averaged 14.8 miles per gallon over the 121.4 gallons we purchased. Fuel prices are controlled by the Mexican government but we did pay slightly different amounts averaging $3.13 per gallon. We experienced our best and worst tanks of our trip so far in Baja, 18.22mpg and 12.23mpg respectively. The cost to ferry to Mazatlan will be included in our mainland expenses so it is not reflected in this break out.


The pie chart and expenses table are programmatically added to this page. Meaning, if we update our expense information then those will automatically reflect the change possibly creating a disparity between the textual breakout and the actual expenditures. This information has been provided to assist others in planning a long-term trip so use accordingly, by all means contact us to ask any questions or to point out any errors so we can remediate them.

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Say what? (2)
Feb 11, 2016 at 10:51 AM
Wow.. you guys did great. I have to admit... we hoped to average around $50/day and we're hovering closer to $62 or so right now. Of course, our early expenses with the border debacle, an expensive campground, etc didn't help. Another 7 weeks or so to go and we're hoping to rein it in a bit but, regardless... a hell of a lot cheaper than camping USA!!! Hope you're enjoying the mainland
Feb 12, 2016 at 04:07 PM
Thanks Rhonda! Free camping the East Cape will reduce your overall daily average. We were surprised by how ours dropped when we were there. Mainland is great, you guys are going to love it!
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