I spent a day tracking my expenses in the lovely town of Copan Ruinas. Prices here seem to be about average for much of Honduras, though the larger cities and islands are noticeably more expensive.
Room — I’m staying at the La Posada de Belssy, near the main square for $12 a night. For that I get a small clean room with fan, bathroom and a hot shower. Wifi is included and there’s a nice rooftop patio with hammocks and a good view. It’s a good value place to stay.
Food — Meals can get expensive here, relatively speaking. A plate at a sit-down cafe can cost $6-10 easily, which seems high when you’re only paying $12 for a hotel. I normally just grab coffee and a baleada (a huge soft taco with beans, cheese and sour cream) but today I woke up starving so I had the tipico breakfast at ViaVia, a popular backpacker cafe and hotel. For $6.50 I got 2 eggs, refried beans, fried plantains, cheese, avocado, tortillas and coffee. A 10% tip is the custom here and is included in that total.
For lunch, I just grabbed a baleada with beans and beef for $2 and had a orange/pineapple smoothie for $1.75. Dinner was a fantastic grilled beef plate from Carnitas Nia Lola for $7 — it was more than I could eat and could easily feed two. Honduran beers cost $1.50 at most places and I had a couple Salva Vidas as I watched the sunset.
Transport — Copan Ruinas is a small town so I really just walked everywhere. I did get caught in a rainstorm and grabbed a local tuk tuk taxi — they’ll run you just about anywhere in town for a buck. I did have one offer me a ride to the Copan site for $10, hoping I didn’t realize that it was only a 10 minute walk.
Bus trips around the country vary widely in price. Large, comfortable buses can carry you from the capitol, San Pedro Sula to Copan for about $6 if you’re willing to go without AC (keep in mind that this distance is about halfway across the country). For a cooler ride, you’ll have to go with the Hedman Alas luxury bus service and it will cost about four times as much. A 12-seater van service will take you to Antigua, Guatemala for $20 and 6 hours of your time.
Miscellaneous — There are tours and such available but I never seem to go for that sort of thing. The nearby ruins are $15 to visit and well worth the money, though I didn’t visit them on this day. Bottled water costs about $.75 a liter — ViaVia cafe will refills your bottles with filtered water for about 10 cents a refill, a nice service.
One expense I’ve trimmed from my budget is cigarettes. My friend Aisha is a hypnotherapist and was kind enough to gift me two one-hour sessions. I always thought I was too stubborn and set in my ways for hypnosis to help but I can honestly say I walked out of her office a non-smoker with no need for nicotine gum. She’s based in Austin at Wellspring Hypnosis and Healing Artsand has MP3′s available on her website — highly recommended if you’re trying to quit smoking or lose weight. I’m a believer.
All in all, I spent $33.25 for the whole day — not as cheap as I would like but not too bad. I could have easily cut $7-8 off that by eating more cheaply but after spending time on the island of Utila, where food was about 25% more expensive, I just couldn’t resist living it up a bit. There are a couple of hostels in town, too, where I could have saved another $5 on housing but I like having my own room and the view from the rooftop at the Belssy was quite lovely.