Colombia was actually not as cheap as we hoped it would be. Travelling there is more expensive than in many other countries on the continent. We spent on average 37 Euros per person per day, not much less than we had spent in Brazil (41 Euros) & much more than in Peru (33 Euros), Venezuela (30 Euros) and of course Bolivia (29 Euros).
Differences are huge between the very, very cheap south of the country and the pricey Caribbean Coast. In the south we managed with 25 Euros per day, but we needed 43 Euros per day on the Caribbean Coast.
Hostels & accommodations especially were a bad surprise: we spent on average 23 Euros a night for a double room, often without a private bath, even for that price. Accommodation is indeed a major issue in Colombia. Backpacker hostels can be very basic and the few better ones are quickly booked.
Food & drinks can be very cheap at least if you try to stick to “Comidas Corrientes” (soup, chicken, rice, beans, “patacon”), which gets very fast very boring. We spent less than 9 Euros per person per day. Interestingly, in almost every country, we spent as much on food as on accommodation. In Colombia, accommodation cost us one third more than food.
Even though distances are not that important, travel time is significant, especially in the south. Nevertheless, travelling is extremely cheap, even flying. We spent 135 Euros on bus trip per person for “the big loop” throughout the whole country, plus 122 Euros on a plane ticket Bucaramanga – Medellin – Barranquilla. A flight was indeed the only way to fit the “Feria de las Flores” in Medellin into our itinerary.
Can you travel for less? Of course! This budget can be reduced significantly if you stay longer in the south, if you stick to the cheaper hostels and to dorms and if you arrange your travel so that you can avoid flying.
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