Don’t Break the Bank: Ecuador Edition

As a former bank employee for four years, I just can’t help but think about my travel in numbers, at least some of the time.  Here’s a review of what I spent on this trip, down to the penny.  


Let me start by saying that I spent more on this trip than I had intended to. Originally, I thought that I would be going solo, and I ended up going with my friend, Michelle. This helped cut costs in some ways, and wasn’t as helpful in others. For example, while I might have been more prepared to take extra budget friendly options (like walking, or staying in a dorm hostel) she wasn’t prepared to do that. It did help cutting down costs like taxis, since we split the fares. Overall, I was very happy to have done things the way that we did them, even if it did cost more money than I had anticipated.

The total for this category was $650.51. The biggest expense, by far, was the airplane ticket ($577.11). Second to that was the total cost of taxis, which we used extensively throughout the trip and got ripped off on at least once (although I think it was more like two or three times). My share of the taxi cost was $63.25, which doesn’t sound so bad when you’re looking at it in U.S. terms but is really quite extravagant for Ecuador. Busses came in at $10.15, which was primarily to go from Quito to Baños and back.

Her milkshakes bring all the tourists to the yard

The total for this category was $111.32. This doesn’t sound bad for a week of food, and wasn’t bad, except for the part where we had all North American food all the time, which cost more. Since we were living in Venezuela, where we didn’t have access to this type of food, we didn’t really try any Ecuadorian cuisine – something that I would regret except I was in heaven with my North American food, thank you very much.

Look at my wee little legs!

The entries for entertainment came to a whopping $85. This included entry to several tourist attractions (Pailon del Diablo, the Virgin of Quito, climbing the Basilica towers, Mitad del Mundo, the Swing at the End of the World, etc.). It also included our botched hot springs attempt ($3), bike rentals, cable car rides, ziplining endeavors, and four-wheeler rental.

We stayed in a hostel for our first three nights, which cost us a grand total of $33.50 per person (for the three nights). After that, we splurged on the wonderful Casa Real in Baños for three nights (at $20 per person). Our last hotel left many things to be desired, but was close to the airport, and we forked over about $15 per person for it – I can’t remember exactly and didn’t write it down. That brings the total for this category to $108.50 over seven days.

4 wheeler

This category is not one that you would necessarily need to budget for, and I’m embarrassed to say is the second highest category of them all at $321. My camera broke, so I replaced it ($159), I needed to buy food to bring back to Venezuela ($124), and then we needed an extra bag to take all of our food back into the country with ($12.50). The camera problem you could avoid by just not having bad luck, and it’s likely that the food and extra bag problem wouldn’t be an issue if you were living in a country where you could actually buy food. That would just leave you with the splurge of $3 for a bag carrier at the airport and the $20 of souvenirs that I bought for my friends and family!

Totals: My grand total for this entire vacation was $1,276.83, or $182.33 per day. While that is not a deal by any budget standards, it was the right fit for us on this particular trip. Three hundred dollars could easily have been taken off of it if my circumstances were different (the Venezuela food shortage and the broken camera) and you could save even more by going to shared dorm sleeping quarters, eating local food, and not renting four-wheelers (but it was really fun so live a little and splurge!).  Also, if you could use frequent flier miles for your ticket, you could easily go on this vacation for less than half of the cost that I spent.

Happy saving (and splurging)!

Picturesque Exploring

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