Antigua on a Budget – Backpacking Guatemala

Guatemala travel - Antigua on a budget

Want to visit Antigua on a budget? Good news!

Historic Antigua is Guatemala’s must visit destination.

Antigua’s founders certainly picked a dramatic location to build their city. Ringed by three formidable volcanoes that dominate the horizon, Antigua is time capsule, filled to the brim with both ruined and restored colonial architecture. One can spend entire days exploring every history laden nook and cranny of this small city.

While the remnants of Spanish colonial architecture infuse Antigua’s center with the ghosts of yesteryear, modern Guatemalan culture burns brightly through out the city. The eclectic mix creates an intriguing contrast, begging exploration.

Antigua is super popular for its plethora of Spanish language schools. There are language schools all over the city, and all for some of the cheapest prices that can be found in Latin America. If you have a love for crumbling cathedrals, cobble paved streets, vibrant Guatemala culture, and want to learn or improve your Spanish you will mostly likely love with Antigua.

That said, it is also true that Antigua is the most expensive location we encountered in Guatemala, and is pricier than many other destinations throughout Central America. The city can be a surprising budget buster if you aren’t careful, and don’t plan your budget ahead of time wisely.

This is not a cause for despair, though, as it IS very possible to travel as a backpacker or on a shoestring to Antigua on a budget!

Antigua Guatemala on a Budget

Guatamala travel - Antigua on a budget

In hopes of helping you budget your trip to Antigua, Guatemala we put together this handy little price list of common costs found in the city. From the price of a beer in Antigua to the cost of hotel rooms in the city, this list should help you get a good idea of the cost of life in Antigua.

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Accommodations1100c

  • Casa Jacaranda Hostel – 180Q ($23.00 USD) total per night including breakfast, Private Room for Two People
  • Dorm Bed at Casa Jacaranda Hostel – 92Q ($12.00 USD) per person, per night
  • Dorm Bed at Youth Hostel – 60Q ($7.80 USD)

For a list of the best hostels in Antigua Guatemala, click here.

EatingOut1100c

  • Vegetarian Minestrone, bread and side salad – 35Q ($4.50 USD)
  • Beef or Chicken Broth Soup with rice and vegetables – 50Q ($6.50 USD)
  • Dinner at Asian Restaurant (fried rice or noodles) – 55Q ($7.14 USD)
  • Dinner at Luna d’Miel Crepe Restaurant – 40Q ($5.19)- 60Q ($7.79 USD)
  • Lunch at a Cafeteria Style Restaurant – 5 options and tortillas for 80Q ($10.39 USD)

 

Groceries1100c

  • 4 Pack of Toilet Paper – 8Q ($1.04 USD)
  • Bag of Refried Beans – 9.95Q ($1.29 USD)
  • Tube of Colgate Toothpaste – 26Q ($3.38 USD)
  • Chip Dip – 13Q ($1.69 USD)
  • Small Container of Yogurt – 4.50Q ($0.58 USD)
  • Can of Pringles – 16Q ($2.08 USD)
  • Bakery Roll – 2.50Q ($0.32 USD)
  • Small Bag of White Rice – 4Q ($0.52 USD)
  • 2 Pounds of Fresh Tomatoes – 15Q ($0.95 USD)
  • Packages of Tortillas – 13Q ($1.69 USD)
  • Loaf of Sandwich Bread – 6Q ($0.78 USD)
  • Package of Pepperjack Cheese – 26Q ($3.38 USD)
  • Bag of Pasta – 15Q ($1.98 USD)
  • Bottle of Hot Sauce – Red 6Q ($0.78 USD), Green 11Q ($1.43 USD)
  • Snickers Bar – 7.90Q ($1.30 USD)
  • Avocado – 5.95Q ($0.77 USD)
  • Bottle of Aloe Juice – 10.95Q ($1.42 USD)
  • Large Bag of Saltine Crackers (128 ct) – 2.75Q ($0.36 USD)!!!!!
  • Gala Apple, 1 lb – 9.62Q ($1.25 USD)

Drinks1100c

  • Bottle of Wine from the Grocery Store – 50Q ($6.50 USD)
  • Bottle of Wine from the Grocery Store – 50Q ($6.50 USD)
  • Bottle of Local Beer at a Bar – average 22Q ($2.80 USD)
  • Special Offer of 1 Liter Bacardi Rum and Can of Tuna (huh?) – 49Q ($6.39 USD)
  • 2 Liter Bottle of water from convenience store – 10Q ($1.29 USD)
  • 1 Liter Bottle of Water from Grocery Store – 4Q ($0.51 USD)

Transport1100c

  • Mini-bus Shuttle to Lake Atitilan – 80Q ($10.38)
 

other1100c

  • Twenty hours of one-on-one classes at Ixquic Spanish School – 860Q ($115.00 USD)
  • Volcano Day Hike – 100Q ($12.90 USD) for guide and transport, 50Q ($6.50 USD) for entry to the park
  • Optional Horse Rental – 100Q ($12.90 USD) up the volcano and 100Q ($12.90 USD) down the volcano
Colonial Antigua Guatemala on a backpacking budget
Antigua, Guatemala 102” by Michael Swigart is licensed under CC BY 2.0

A Note on Budgeting Yourself in Antigua

Expenses for day trips or any other activity you might want to partake in should not be factored into your daily budget. This becomes overly complicated. An easier way of going about things is to calculate your minimum daily cost and then set aside all left over funds you care to spend into an “activities” pool. Thus on a day when we took a Spanish language class, went on a volcano hike,  or had a few extra drinks in the evening we did not consider ourselves over budget even though we spent more than $35.00 USD, we just subtracted it out of the “activities” pool.

There you have it guys, hopefully this price guide to Antigua helps you budget your trip! Antigua is a fantastic city that deserves to be explored over the course of at least a few days, but it’s certainly not the cheapest destination for backpackers in Guatemala. However as you guys can see by the prices above its definitely possible to visit this living relic of a city for a relatively modest daily sum.

As always happy travels, and we’ll see you on the road!

Also, be sure to check out our Top Ten Antigua, Guatemala list for the best of what Antigua has to offer!

Cerro de la Cruz

La Antigua Guatemala desde el Cerro de la Cruz” by Edgar de León is licensed under CC BY 2.0


 

Disclaimer – We have included a few handy little affiliate links in case any of our readers want to book accommodations. We receive a small commission for any sales made, without any additional cost to you, our dear reader.


4 thoughts on “Antigua on a Budget – Backpacking Guatemala

  1. Hi,
    Would you recommend the Ixquick Spanish school? Any tips on how to go about private lessons?
    Thanks!
    Pola

    1. Hi Pola, Yes, I would recommend the Ixquick Spanish School. Not only are all of their teachers certified to teach spanish as a second language, they all have over 17 years of experience. Additionally, when we took courses every teacher was a woman and head of their household so it felt like taking lessons at this school empowered local women.

      If you do decide to contact them, ask for Marybel. She will help you with everthing and was a pleasure to deal with.

      I’m sorry to say that we do not know anything about private lessons as we didn’t take them when we were there.

      Let us know if you have any more questions. – Randi

  2. I’m going to Antigua next week and your guide was so helpful to know what to expect! Also, mentioning the Bacardi and tuna that they sell as a package deal made me laugh so hard! I live in Honduras and they have the most ridiculous things that they package and sell together sometimes like refried beans and spaghetti sauce.

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