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John and Mandi

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

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Expenses: Nicaragua

Apr 30, 2017
by Mandi

We spent 26 days exploring Nicaragua which cost us $2,179.36, or $83.82 per day. We had hoped to keep our expenses lower but our failing steering pump and the soaring temperatures conspired against us. Removing the $310.00 for repairs and $265.01 for lodging would put us at $1,604.36, or $61.71 per day, an amount far more representative of the cost of a normal month camping in Nica. All amounts have been converted to US dollars for ease of reporting, the exchange averaged 29.5 Cordobas to $1.


We paid the usual crossing costs for Nicaragua, $25.18 ($11.00 plus 45C each) for entering and $3.00 for exiting; there was no cost for the van. This put us at a daily cost of $1.31, nothing shocking.

After suffering through teeth grindingly slow wifi for over a week, we purchased a Nicaraguan SIM while in Managua getting the van repaired; it wasn't about thrift, more laziness since we hadn't committed to finding a Movistar store while traveling around. This brought our total communication cost for the country to $25.69, $0.99 per day, an extremely reasonable amount to maintain our sanity.

We paid entrance fees of $28.30, $1.09 per day, for entrance to two parks and a museum. The best spend was the $11.69 it cost for the two of us to visit El Chocoyero which included hiking in the afternoon, a shorter sunset trek to see the parrots return to their nesting wall, and free camping. Our hiking in the highlands was included in the cost of camping and it was just too hot for us to want to do much else.

Dining out was ridiculous at a cost of $799.88, or an average of $25.80 for 31 meals and miscellaneous treats. The majority of this was during our stay in the highlands camping at an eco resort with organic, locally cooked meals, and while in Granada soaking up the air conditioning and colonial city life.

Camping in Nicaragua was pretty reasonable and we were able to offset our 4 nights at a hotel in Granada with some free camping. Our total of $465.01, $17.88 per day, was skewed by our "vacation" in Granada. For the 22 nights camping, 5 of which were free, the total cost was $200.00, an average of $9.09 per night.

Miscellaneous costs of $1.19 per day, $31.00 total, include a handmade bracelet and pair of earrings and a more wave friendly swimsuit for Mandi, no more accidental flashings while boogie boarding.

As usual, we drove back and forth a bit, both because of our needed repair and because we change our minds frequently. We added 643 miles to our odometer and bought 46.5 gallons of diesel, resulting in an average of 13.8mpg. The fuel mileage is lower than our overall average, this seems to be the pattern with warmer weather and close proximity to oil change. Our overall transportation expenses of $536.94, $20.65 per day, would have been only $226.94, or $8.73 per day, if our steering pump hadn't sprung a leak, prompting us to rebuild it, replace the high pressure supply line, and complete a few other things that had been on our list of wanted upgrades.


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? (4)
Apr 30, 2017 at 11:35 AM
Just so you know there are some folks here that do read your reports! I'm still in Talla for the entire month of May- we usually head north to the Asheville NC area for 5 months but had a wedding to attend on May 27. Yes, its already hot and humid here too. Cheers! George
Apr 30, 2017 at 07:58 PM
I read it too!! And there is a theme- I'm in Asheville. Safe travels.
May 1, 2017 at 08:38 AM
We like seeing your spending reports as well. They really help us with planning for our future trip. Thanks!
May 1, 2017 at 11:25 AM
Thanks George, Melissa, and Dennis!

We know our expense reports are akin to watching paint dry but getting a realistic representation of spending was really important to us when we were planning our trip so we vowed to report all of ours to assist future travelers.

We are actually in Tallahassee, with Mandi's family, right now and will be for at least a couple more weeks before heading back to Jax then flying back to the van in Costa Rica. We would love to visit Asheville, and Topton, but don't think we'll be able to make that happen :( The Smoky Mountains are one of our favorite places so we might end up living somewhere around them someday.

Dennis, if you haven't seen our Pan-Am Planning - Budgeting page it might be helpful. Feel free to reach out anytime!
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