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John and Mandi

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

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Expenses: El Salvador

Feb 6, 2017
by John

We were surprised by El Salvador on many fronts, expenses being one of them. Over the 32 days we traveled the smallest Central American country we spent $1,591.35, or $49.73 per day, great! While two beaches, El Zonte and El Tunco, account for 72% of our time in the country (23 days), we did manage to see quite a bit of the mountains too. Considering what we spent on miscellaneous items, we're very happy to come in under $50 per day. The U.S. dollar is the official currency so we didn't have to keep track of any changes in exchange rates, yay.


The $10.25 we spent on border fees were for a copy of our TIP to exit and the $10 we paid Jorge to expedite our entry. Some travelers aren't asked to provide a copy of the TIP and a border helper isn't necessary. At $.32 per day, it's inconsequential.

We weren't expecting to stay in El Salvador as long as we did so our Tigo prepaid cellphone plan expired just before we left, requiring us to recharge. Natasha & Pete told us about, a way to put money on our Guatemalan sim to keep using it in El Salvador (also still working in Honduras), so another 2GB cost us $15.06 including the handling fee. Our DeLorme is still at the cheapest plan, so coming in under $1 per day for both our locator beacon and phone for all of our communication costs is fine by us.

Since most of our time was spent sitting at beaches, our entertainment expenses were just over $1 per day or $34 in total. Besides getting tan, we managed a long hike at El Imposible, a night soaking in hot pools, and perusing a small set of ruins that were buried in ash roughly 1,400 years ago. There are plenty more things to do, we are limited by our 90 day visa extension so we'll save those for the next time we visit El Salvador ; )

It comes as no surprise that food was our largest expense at $904.30, $28.26 per day, or 56.8% of our total expenditures. We don't even try to make excuses anymore, obviously eating out is a big part of our trip. The 30 times we did patron a culinary establishment set us back $526.14 or $17.54 per meal. To add insult to injury, our grocery total includes all the ice, rum, and wine we bought too...meaning we spent less on actual nourishment than it appears. Looking back, we could have easily pushed our overall daily average under $40 by eating in more and drinking less, like that's gonna happen.

We camped the entire time in El Salvador averaging $7.58 per night. Some places were $10, others $6, and Laguna de Alegria was $3. The only other expenditure under living was for a new thermometer, the one we started the trip with seems to have been cooked while the van sat for three months in full sun at Lake Atitlan.

Spending $184.48, $5.76 per day, under miscellaneous was unexpected but we were happy to find a hand powered ceramic coffee grinder, new flip flops for each of us, magnetic screens for our side doors, and a couple boogie boards. We bought a ball for, and gave one of our boards away to, the great family that takes care of the place at El Tunco, which are recorded as gifts.

Even though we sat around most of the time we ended up driving a total of 748 miles, consuming 55.48 gallons of diesel, averaging a crappy 13.5 mpg. We're not sure why our average is so low but we do think we need to have our tank cleaned, something we are planning for Costa Rica or Colombia. We renewed our vehicle insurance before leaving Guatemala to cover our 90 day visa extension which has been divided evenly among the three other CA-4 countries, $27.10 each.


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? (1)
Eddie Fort
Feb 8, 2017 at 11:40 AM
" that's gonna happen.."

Love it!
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