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John and Mandi

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

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Expenses: Mexico & Central America

Sep 18, 2017
by John

The two major disappointments with our travels through Mexico and Central America are: we did not die and we just missed averaging $75 per day, which is only consequential because we did not die. There is no point in continuing now, we are utter failures. Scraping together all of the pennies we spent, we tracked every single one, our total comes to 4,526,314¢ or 7,544¢ per day. More digestibly, over the 600 days we explored Mexico and Central America we spent $45,263.14 or $75.44 per day.

We provide expense reports for each country in our blog so this entry is just to show how averages are affected over a grouping. 7 of our reports averaged over $81 per day while only 3 were under, yet we almost managed to hit our target of $75 per day for Mexico and Central America. Exceeding it by $264, $0.44 x 600, is not very significant when our experiences and splurges are considered. Our original plan and budget to buy new tires in Colombia can be used as an example of why we went over, but that doesn't matter because we needed them way sooner than projected. In truth, we wouldn't change a thing and we are very happy with our overall average.

The only note we need to make regarding this report is that the expenditures associated with our return trip to Florida are not included. When we visited, Florida was still a part of the United States and if someone is only planning on driving to Panama why in the hell would they be flying to Florida to buy the same shit we did. Those expenditures will be included in our final report that will average all expenditures incurred during our entire traverse of the Pan American Highway. To reach Panama, we could have easily done without the items we purchased in the States except for the van parts which we subsequently recorded under Costa Rica.


Our combined border crossing expenditures averaged to less than $1 per day. The by country expense reports in our blog are much more useful for planning purposes unless one wants to enter Mexico; then Belize; then Guatemala; return to Belize; Guatemala again; pay a fixer to procure CA-4 extensions in Guatemala; finally leave and enter El Salvador; then Honduras; next Nicaragua; onto Costa Rica; finally reaching Panama. In that case our total of $546.24 is a reasonable expectation.

We started our trip with an expensive T-Mobile plan and our DeLorme at the second most expensive service. During our first time in Guatemala, T-Mobile terminated us and we reduced our DeLorme to the most basic service. While we don't mind the combined average of $2.58 per day for communication costs, we do prefer the close to $1 per day we've experienced since making the changes.

Are you not entertained? We were, to the tune of $1,911.31 or $3.19 per day. We saw and did a lot, some of it might have been mentioned in our blog...for realsies.

36.2% of our total Mexico and Central America expenses was for food. That sounds about right since the average human body is 50-65% water. We dined out 514 times for roughly $18.03 per meal.

400 nights were spent in the van, 67%, for an average of $8.03 per night. Of the remaining 200 days which we slumbered in accommodations, Pasaj Cap at Lake Atitlan accounting for 117, our per day average is $35.82.

We bought lots of shit, all of it mega legit, since we needed it. The most expensive being our new Kermit chairs and Kobo e-readers, accounting for more than half of our gear expenditures. Miscellaneous is a surprise at $5.10 per day.

Diesel averaged $3.05 per gallon, the van 14.3 mpg, we bought 1,175 gallons, and we drove 16,837 miles. We are heavy, our engine is huge, and we are happy with what our big bad bitch got us through. It makes sense that transportation accounts for 24.2% of our totals, we do happen to be on a driving trip.


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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