State of the trip

For anyone considering a similar trip, here are cost-per-country estimates and some other necessary expenses associated with the trip.

Chillin’ like a villain in Nicaragua


  • Health insurance: $1600 for 16 months for two people – Covered only catastrophic events, emergency evacuation, etc.
  • Car insurance: $3500 for 16 months – We bought extensive coverage since our car was new; third-party only insurance is much cheaper but doesn’t provide much coverage.
  • Property insurance: $440 for 2 years – Covered any theft of our belongings during our trip.
Inca terraces outside of Cusco, Peru

Transportation and shipping

Sharing hot chocolate in a family’s home in Lagos Montebellos, Mexico

Cost of living

Average budget per day (for two people), including hotel/campsite fees, food, beverages, gasoline, vehicle maintenance, toll roads, and other costs associated with driving.

  • Mexico: $75/day
  • Guatemala: $70/day – If you want to learn to speak Spanish, this is the most economical country. We lived with a wonderful family and took lessons in Xela, but Antigua has a more pleasant climate and atmosphere for those weighing options.
  • El Salvador: $43/day
  • Honduras: $100/day – This value is skewed as we got screwed at the border and spent less than 24 hours in that country.
  • Nicaragua: $90/day – One of our splurge countries. We partied with friends over New Years and rented a luxurious condo with our friends Tom and Kelsey to put together our website with driving information, Drive the Americas.
  • Costa Rica: $48/day – While this country is probably the most expensive in Central America, we played it super cheap for a month when we squeezed in to a small cabina on Playa Negra with Tom and Kelsey, cooking our own food and catching our catch.
  • Panama: $54/day
  • Colombia: $64/day
  • Ecuador: $78/day
  • Peru: $85/day
  • Bolivia: $85/day
  • Argentina: $95/day – Many long days of driving large distances really added up.
  • Chile: $40/day – We were only in one location, Pichilemu, for a week, so this is not representative of the true costs of this country. Chile is more expensive than Argentina.
  • Uruguay: $66/day – Prices in Uruguay are similar to those in Argentina, but the country is so small the driving expenses were low. We also camped everywhere except when we were playing gauchos on the ranch.
Children on the Islas Taquiles, Lake Titicaca, Peru

While this does represent a good chuck of change, we would probably have lost more if we’d left that money in the stock market…money well spent in our opinion.

3 thoughts on “State of the trip

  1. WOW! What fantastic info–you guys have really contributed a lot to available info about this kind of trip–thanks! Someday (perhaps post-baby, or when baby is bigger) hopefully we'll give it a whirl!!

  2. We did meet a number of people on the road who were traveling with kids, so it's definitely possible.

  3. Daily budgets are all well and good, but lets cut to the stuff that everyone really cares about:

    How much affect did Chris's crazy medical conditions have on your budget? If I remember correctly he had "peg leg", rabies, and giardia. I have a bad feeling that I'm going to get Peg Leg while I'm there and would like to be able to budget for it.

    How much do donkey shows cost in each country? I know how much they cost in Mexico, but I would travel further south for the right discount.

    Is cocaine cheaper when you buy it in Columbia?

    How much does a Big Mac cost at the McDonalds at "The end of the earth"? If their isn't one there then this is a serious flaw in MickyD's plans for world domination.

    If I were to load my truck up with 400 cases of Top Ramon & PowerBars and eat only that on my trip, then how much will I save? I see no reason to change my eating habits just because I'm on vacation.

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