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John and Mandi

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

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Expenses: Bolivia

Nov 5, 2018
by John

Time again for the money talk. We know, it is boring, gouge your eye out with a spoon. Whichever one, we do not care. Anyway, we spent $2,162.96 over the 31 days we explored Bolivia or $69.77 per day. Prices seemed a little higher, but in reality, the totals aren’t much different from the other South American countries we have already explored. Removing the $10.32 per day for the visas and the $247.81 under repairs means anyone not from the US can expect to be around $50 per day (assuming they don’t need to fix anything on their vehicle). We would have loved to be closer to $60 per day, we probably would have if we would have stayed the 60 days as planned, remaining under $70 is acceptable. All of our cash withdrawals were at the exchange rate of 6.86 Bolivian Pesos to $1.


There was no way to legally enter without paying the $160 per person visa fee. We also had to make copies for the visa, one of our TIP at the border, and some to get our extensions...of which we only used a couple days. Bolivia is the highest yet at $10.42 per day for border crossing expenses. That’s a lot of coffee, just sayin’.

We bought an Entel chip for our cellphone from other overlanders, recharging it once but only using the free promotional data they gave us for recharging. In Argentina, we gave it to an Uruguayan on a bicycle. Hopefully he’ll use the 50 Bolivian Pesos we put on it or give it to another traveler. We’re idiots for still paying for the DeLorme we never use. In total, our communication expenses were $0.86 per day, at least we did a halfass job at keeping the blog sort of updated.

We visited two archeological sites, a hot spring, a museum, and an animal rehabilitation center. We also bought Mandi a yoga ebook, probably not fair to assign it to Bolivia, it is where we were when we bought it. At just under $2.50 per day, entertainment expenses didn’t amount to much.

Surprise, surprise. We spent $689.89, $22.25 per day, or 32.3% of our total expenditures on food. We would say it’s our guilty pleasure, but food is a necessity so that would be stupid. We dined out 25 times for an average of $13.01 per meal. A few times we spent close to $25, many were saltenas or tucumanas on the cheap, yum.

Everything accounted for under living was for camping, $202.48 in total. The 5 nights at the Vipassana retreat we slept in the provided accommodation, the rest of the 26 nights in Bolivia were spent in the van (84%). We free camped 9 nights, making the average cost per night in a campground $11.91. Quite expensive for parking in someone’s yard.

Mandi’s jeans ripped open one morning when she was putting them on, she’s lost weight asshole, they were dry rotted. We picked her up a new pair, a new iPhone case, and bought her a watch so she could tourment herself during the wretched meditation course. Just under $3 per day is ok, the jeans being the bulk of it.

We drove 1,566 miles, consumed 100.36 gallons of diesel, and averaged 15.6 mpg...the best thing we experienced in Bolivia. We never had any trouble buying diesel as others have reported. We usually were charged the foreigner rate of $4.93 per gallon, in Uyuni the guy immediately started haggling, we settled on the equivalent of $3.32 per gallon. The $247.81 under repairs was to have our sway bar link ends rebuilt (including our old ones as spares), new rear brake pads, and a complete suspension check and lube. Everything accounted for under tolls and parking was for tolls, the toll booths were also where the professional extortionists (police) were stationed...we never gave them one penny!


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)
Randall Seegers
Nov 28, 2018 at 10:34 AM
So just curious how much you have put into the van in repairs? Still following you guys!
Dec 6, 2018 at 02:42 PM
Hey Randall!

To date, repairs total to $10,239.26. Of that, just under $7,000 was to get a new transmission and have front axle bearing/ujoint work/repairs done in the first 7 months on the road (before entering Mexico). Those were a bit of bad luck since we had our front axle built specifically for our van and our transmission re-built, both before we left on the trip. Glad you are still following along!
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