Here are some of the statistics we threw together for our fourth country of the trip. Are we still on budget? Could we theoretically live in Nicaragua full-time on our aggressive target of less than $30,000/year? Let’s find out!
Total days spent in Nicaragua = 17
Distance traveled in Nicaragua = 305 mi / 491 km
Total Trip Distance To-Date = 4,564 mi / 7,346 km
(Although costs were not detailed, distance includes 80 mi/130 km section driven through Honduras)
Costs (in USD):
To enter Nicaragua = $26.33 (Primarily the $10.00 per person fee for tourist cards)
To exit Nicaragua = $5.70 (for Municipal Exit Tax and stamps in our passports)
Bruno Parts & Maintenance = $11.47 (Not really for Bruno, but replacement gear falls into this category. Our need for a new gasoline canister is explained below.)
Food = $373.83 (70/30 split of groceries and restaurants, includes fresh fish on beach with our toes in the sand, $8 for 1 lb organic Nicaraguan coffee beans grown outside our campsite, $9 for a 750 mL bottle of Nica rum, and $18 for a half-gallon/2 liters of olive oil as a future investment-we hear Costa Rica is expensive!)
Food divided by 17 days = $21.99 per day, $11.00 per person per day.
This daily food average is the most we’ve spent on the trip. Liquor intake was increased. Two months on the road will do that to you. Also, at other travelers’ recommendations, we started stocking up and did some heavy grocery shopping prior to crossing into Costa Rica. So, not really a fair assessment of food prices in Nicaragua. We found the supermarkets reasonable and the street markets as cheap as Guatemala and El Salvador. More details below.
Percent Camping = 29% (5 days out of 17)
Percent Airbnb = 71% (12 days out of 17)
Total cost of Camping = $50.74 (Average cost per night = $10.15)
Total cost of Airbnb = $368.41 (Average cost per night = $30.70. This category has always included any extra costs incurred due to the hotel/Airbnb stay, for example: Airbnb fees, parking garages, etc. In this particular case, it includes paying our hosts neighbor to stay up all night and keep an eye on the car. This certainly didn’t pan out, as we had our first theft on his watch. More below.)
Gas for Bruno = $108.72 (On average, $1.07/L or $4.03/gal mid-May.)
Costs of what we have titled “funfunfun” = $87.37 (The bulk – $50.00 cost to get Bruno to and from Isla de Ometepe. The balance being park entries, an art museum in León, laundry and the hike to Jesus!)
Total costs for Nicaragua = $1,032.57
Cost per day (17 days) = $60.74
Our Nicaragua per diem would calculate out to $22,170 per year, if we lived in Airbnb rentals with the occasional camping thrown in. We’ve been thankful for low maintenance and upkeep on Bruno to-date. We splurged on a week at the beach in our own little apartment, cooking yummy meals. It’s amazing how a handful of restaurants can drastically drive up your budget. This is a large lever in our spending. That said, there’s always room in the budget for beer and plantain chips.
Other Interesting Stats:
# of Nicaragua ‘department’ lines crossed = 6 out of 15
Number of monos seen = 15-20
Number of plantains eaten in hopes of attracting monos = 5
Number of times we heard Lil Jon’s Turn Down for What played = 8, at least.
Stops by cops = 0 (Now this is really disappointing. It is required by law in Nicaragua to have red and white reflector stickers on the vehicle, a fire extinguisher, and no fewer than two roadside triangles on board. This shit has been taking up space in the car for two months, and nobody asked to see them!! Oh well, there’s always the way back.)
Hours without electricity or running water = 30 hours. (6 in Granada and over 24 hours in San Juan del Sur. Bathing in the ocean’s salt water has prepped Amanda’s hair nicely for dreadlocks… and so begins the slow transformation to traveling bohemian!)
Items stolen = 1, our first of the trip! (Our 1 L metal gasoline canister, used to refill our Coleman stove. Travis estimates the original purchase price at $20 back in 2011 for his cross-country motorcycle trip. It wasn’t full, so it probably had about $0.50 worth of gasoline in it. We hope whoever took it really needed it.)
Number of liters of water that we manually purified with our Steripen = 10-15 (fill up a 1L Nalgene bottle, then swirl the ultraviolet wand for 90 seconds)
Cost of Laundry = $5.00 (to wash, dry, and fold almost all of our fabric-based possessions)
One pineapple = $1.29
De-boned chicken breast = $3.57/lb
30 eggs = $4.50
Market Costs (as paid on Isla de Ometepe):
6 Bananas, 1 Potato, 1 Onion = $0.56
3 Tomatoes = $0.37
Feeling like you’re in your own Blair Witch Project while camping, scared shitless by Howler Monkeys on a trip to the bathroom in the middle of the night = PRICELESS!