July was a whirlwind month, traveling through Guatemala, Belize, Mexico, and part of the Northwestern United States. It is an example of how we don’t want to travel, moving quickly from place to place, changing hotels multiple times, and without access to a kitchen. As a result of this jet set month, we spent record amounts of money in nearly every category, particularly in transportation, food, and entertainment.
We started the month in Guatemala, visiting Semuc Champey, Rio Dulce & Livingston, and Tikal and Flores, then feasted on lobsters on Caye Caulker in Belize and swam with whale sharks near Isla Mujeres, Mexico. Then on a whim we decided to spend the rest of summer in the Pacific Northwest. Forecasts for large parts of Central America were for thunderstorms and excessive heat and humidity, while the forecast for Seattle was for sun and fun
All of that moving from place to place really hits the bank account. In total, we spent $1,133 on transportation, $604 on 1-way tickets from Cancun to Seattle. Even without the flights it was still a record month of transportation spending. The most notable expenditures include the bus from Belize City to Cancun ($108), and the boat/bus/taxi combo from Livingston to Flores, Guatemala ($60.) We also spent $106 on gasoline while driving to several hiking trail heads and visiting the Oregon Coast.
Entertainment spending seems high this month until I look at what we actually did. We visited Semuc Champey and toured an underground river. We swam in a hot waterfall. We kayaked down the Rio Dulce. We swam and explored Sieta Altares, a series of waterfalls near Livingston. We visited the Mayan ruins at Tikal at sunrise. We snorkeled with nurse sharks and turtles in Belize. And we swam with whale sharks near Isla Mujeres, Mexico. That’s enough adventure for a lifetime packed into just a few weeks, with a total bill of $500.
Food spending was through the roof this month, at a total of $1,494 on groceries and restaurants. We spent $19/person/day in Rio Dulce and Livingston, $20/person/day in Flores, $21/person/day in Belize, and $24/person/day in Isla Mujeres. We didn’t have a kitchen this month until returning to the United States on July 21st, but once we did we traded restaurant meals for home cooking. (Although farmers market vegetables, pasture raised chickens, and grass fed meats keep the $/day numbers quite similar.)
We spent $596 on putting a roof over our heads this month, spending $12/night in Lanquin, Guatemala, $14 – $39/night in various places from Rio Dulce to Livingston, $19/night in Flores, $27/night on Caye Caulker, Belize, and $37/night in Isla Mujeres, Mexico. We’ve had a place to stay in Seattle that hasn’t cost us any cash, just an increase in groceries as we feed our gracious host, but spent between $19 and $30 a night while camping along the Oregon Coast.
Miscellaneous spending was high this month as well. Buying sunscreen on an island is always going to set you back a bit, and we definitely needed it. Insect repellent was also something we needed in excess. We also refreshed our supply of under items and shoes and paid a few border crossing fees
In the spending summary table, I’ve broken out US spending for food and alcohol for reference
|Location||Guatemala, Belize, Mexico, United States||Lanquin, Rio Dulce, Livingston, & Flores, Guatemela
Caye Caulker, Belize
Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Seattle and Oregon Coast, US
Camping & guestroom in US
|Healthcare||$258||HDHP premium ($233)
Chinese medicine supplement ($25)
|Transportation||$1,133||Shuttle to Rio Dulce (39), roundtrip boat to Livingston ($64), bus to Flores ($26), shuttle to Belize ($27), roundtrip ferry to Caye Caulker ($24.50), bus to Cancun ($83), roundtrip ferry to Isla Mujeres ($22), taxis to CUN ($28), taxi from SEA ($52), airfare to Seattle ($604)|
|Groceries||$279||$250 in the US|
|Dining Out||$1,215||$313 in the US|
|Alcohol||$129||$65 in the US|
|Entertainment||$500||Semuc Champey tour ($45)
Tikal sunrise tour ($90)
Belize snorkel trip ($110)
Swimming with Whalesharks ($225) (includes underwater camera rental)
|Government Fees||$43||40Q (~$5) to exit Guatemala
$37.50 to exit Belize
|Misc||$161||Clothing & shoes ($89)
Skype credit ($10)
Our plan is to spend time hiking and camping in the Pacific Northwest and then get back on the road again before the stereotypical winter rain starts to fall