04
Nov-2013

TFC – Country Report Nr1 – Belize

Control Costs

Belize is considered an expensive country for Latin America standards, it has luxury tourism specially based on the paradise islands with diving resorts that had put Belize on the traveling map. It has also a growing inland tourism market as we could experience directly that is attracting the cruise liners which has brought the prices up. We spent 30 days (maximum the Visa allowed) in the country and we did have a couple of weeks of Volunteer work that made us stay put and spend less, to compensate the weeks we were on the move doing activities.

In 4 weeks(29,5 days) in Belize we spent  2.262US dollars which makes it 76,7US per day. We are very happy to have achieved our goal in one of the most expensive countries we are planning to visit in this Trek.

16% Transportation (including rent a car) – 350 US (186 US Rent a car)

Belize has no train system and local transportation relies only on a chicken bus system with connections between the main cities. Due to this limitation hitchhiking is quite common everywhere and we did use it some times. We used the chicken bus most of the times to move around the country and only in very specific situations we needed a taxi, like the water taxi to Caye Caulker or the airport taxi. (only way of going out of the airport). Most of the trips we did by bus were  5-6US for both. We left the country by bus and then a short trip taxi which was quite inexpensive.

27% Lodging – 601 US

Half our month in Belize we stayed in Monkey Bay Wildlife Reserve that gave us some discounts due to our work in the property. The rest of the time we stayed always in private rooms with shared bathroom, we did not feel yet prepared for dormitories, specially with all the technology we are carrying. An average price for budget places is on the 20-30US interval for both.

 30% Food (including groceries)– 688 US (groceries 79US)

 In the two weeks we stayed in Monkey Bay we had no kitchen so we were forced plenty of times to have meals outside which increased our costs, but we managed at least for breakfast to have porridge which was a very cheap value. Because we wanted to try most of the local foods and beverages with did not have always the cheapest meals, but that’s something you have to do if you have our beverages knowledge objective and also curiosity about local food.

21% Activities – 464 US

We had a lot of expensive activities to choose from, and we had to make some options. The decision not to spend money on diving, specially the expensive blue hole, was critical as it allowed us to focus on more inland activities like the amazing ATM Cave that we already spoke about here. We decided this because we’ve done a lot of diving recently in the Cayman Islands which has a very similar habitat so we figured that other type of activities would be more interesting for us. We also rented a car for two days to explore all the Pine Ridge Mountain region which is full of activities, and doing so we saved a lot on local tours.

6% Others – 159 US

 A little bit of everything, some shopping, some taxes we had to pay to exit the country and some health related products.

Conclusion

The total expenses in the country are very in line with our budget and that was our main objective. On the other hand the weight of food and lodging edged too much the other main category, transportation because of our inability to stay in places we could cook our own meals, or do any kind of Couchsurfing. Those are key success points for any budget travelling.

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