A friend and I are planning a month long trip starting May 2010.. just two female (seasoned travellers) from Canada who have never been to this part of the world
We want to start our trip in Cancun, Mexico, work our way down the Mayan Riviera (Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Tulum, etc), then head into Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador and end in Honduras (we might go further depending on how our time treats us).
If anyone has any suggestions as to COSTS (especially).. we are planning on camping for a lot of the trip, and possibly renting a car? (would you suggest buses instead?) - we're estimating no more than $1500 not including airfare. Is this reasonable? Too much? Too little?
Thanks for all of your help and suggestions!!
It is much appreciated
I wouldn't spend too much time in The Mayan Riviera with 1500 hundred in your kick. Where are you planning to fly out from?
You should be fine with that route in a month.
I've only spent time in Honduras, which may be one of the cheapest parts of Central America (all relatively close though, and more expensive the more touristy the area). $1500 should be more than enough, but lodging and transportation will be your biggest variables. i have no idea about renting a car or what it would cost, but the bus system throughout the region is pretty reliable and safe and affordable--i do recommend it. there may be some info on bus schedules and prices you can find online, but there will be plenty of services you will find once you are traveling too. they will probably be slightly less classy but cheaper (there's usually quite a range, with the cheapest being the slowest, hottest, and most crowded but also the most "authentic" experiences!)
i also recommend (not sure what you had in mind, but responding more to Piecar's comment) that you don't carry tons of cash on you, as there will probably be banks and ATMs along the way in cities, even relatively small cities.
hope this helps.
Instead of renting a car (you cannot drive a car rented in Guatemala into Honduras and vice versa) on the days you want to take a tour hire a local driver owner by the day..pay cash...no hold on your credit crd in case of damages or theft..most car rentals in Central America are $800-1,000 deductible plus you are required to pay insurance on top..no liability with a local driver owner, they are natives who know their way around and are able to take you away from tourist traps and go where locals go to eat and relax. I will message you the site URL, hundreds of guides on 160 country pages, as well as hostels and budget lodgings, walking tours, etc. There is a forum where you can ask members questions. Saludos.
Guatemala and Honduras fairly inexpensive but some areas can be dangerous for travelers, I will also send you the URL of a Hospex (Hospitality) portal, non profit where you can contact bi/multi lingual locals in advance, stay at their homes or meet up with them for advices or even a short tour on the house.
I spent a month over there a few years ago and I don't think I spent more than £1000, and that included a LOT of diving.
Public transport is really good over there, and really cheap, especially if you take chicken buses, although not great for those who like their lie-ins in the morning! I think on average I was paying about $8 for a double room. Belize and Mexico are more expensive than the other countries.
If you dive, I'd really recommend going to Utila or Roatan in Honduras - one of the cheapest places in the world to dive and really worth it! And if you go to Tikal in Guatemala, go first thing in the morning before the crowds arrive, pretty awesome to be there on your own.
Have an amazing time!!
What a great plan to travel to Central America for a month. Travelling with two girls is not a problem at all there. I have lived in Mexico for quite a while and travelled around as well and never felt unsafe.
Renting a car would not be the best option in your case. It is expensive and you cannot cross the border with it anyway. Public busses are cheap and especially in Mexico very comfortable. In Belize and Guatemala public transport is a little less organised.
If you have any questions about a good route through central america let me know. I would be happy to share my knowledge with you. Good luck planning!