The history of Guatemala started four thousand years ago. With such a background, and baring in mind that it was the heart of the Mayan world, it is obvious that if you travel there you will find a country that wisely mixes mysticism and tradition, and both of them will take you back in time.
So far, in Travel and Exchange we have talked about Antigua, the most beautiful city of Guatemala, we have given some advice on where to sleep and where to eat in that same city and on everything you must see and do and everything you have to take into account when travelling to this country. However, until now we have not explained something very important in every trip: how much money you will need to travel to Guatemala. If you want to know in detail, keep reading!
The currency of Guatemala
The official tender in Guatemala is the Guatemalan quetzal (symbol: Q; ISO: GTQ) and it is divided into 100 cents.
Nowadays, quetzal coins for 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 cents are being issued, as well as 1 quetzal coins. Regarding banknotes, the following denominations are currently in circulation: 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 quetzals.
As a curiosity, I can tell you that the history of the quetzal dates back to the Mayan period, who used as currency quetzal feathers —a bird that lives in Central America and after which it is named—, salt, obsidian, precious stones, jade and, especially, cocoa.
To travel to the country with this currency, you can exchange it for yours at any of the Global Exchange branches that you will find around the world (even online in some countries). Moreover, in this country you can do it with a 15% discount.
How much will I pay for…
The important thing when you start calculating your budget for this trip is knowing how much you will have to spend on everything you do. This way you won’t have any unexpected surprise, even if you encounter some unforeseen circumstance. This is what you will have to pay for…
You can move around this country by car, by taxi, by bus our by tuk-tuk, it’s your choice. But it would be good for you to know how much any of these transports will cost. This might help you in your decision!
This is what you will have to pay for:
- Renting a small car for a day: GTQ 198/ USD 27/ EUR 22. You can do it with companies such as Hertz, Avis o Alamo.
- A little of fuel: GTQ 5.93/ USD 0.9/ EUR 0.7.
- A single ticket for public transport: GTQ 1.8/ USD 0.2/ EUR 0.2.
- A taxi from the airport to the centre of Guatemala City (a 30 minutes route): GTQ 108/ USD 15/ EUR 12.
Eating and drinking
Tamales, stuffed chilis, enchiladas, banana bread… You will find multiple culinary options in Guatemala! Here I will tell you not only how much ready-to-eat dishes are, but also how much the trips to the supermarket will cost you if you decide to stay somewhere with a kitchen available.
- A menu in a burger joint: GTQ 42/ USD 5.8/ EUR 4.7.
- Eating at an average restaurant: GTQ 36/ USD 5/ EUR 4.
- Dining at an average restaurant: GTQ 108/ USD 15/ EUR 12.
- A beer in a pub: GTQ 28/ USD 3.7/ EUR 3.
- A cup of coffee: GTQ 22/ USD 3/ EUR 2.5.
- Buying a baguette at a supermarket: GTQ 8/ USD 1.1/ EUR 0.9.
- Buying one kilo of tomatoes at a supermarket: GTQ 9/ USD 1.1/ EUR 1.
Are you going to spend one night, two nights, one week or one month in Guatemala? The budget will depend on the time you want to stay there. Hereafter you will see the price differences between staying at a hostel, staying at a hotel like a king or, directly, renting a flat. This is what you will have to pay for…
- A twin room in an average hotel, breakfast included: GTQ 449/ USD 61/ EUR 50.
- A bed in a hostel close to the city centre of Guatemala City, in a mixed 8 bed dorm: GTQ 66/ USD 9/ EUR 7.3.
- Renting a 45 square metres flat, furnished, in a normal area of Guatemala City (price per month): GTQ 3843/ USD 524/ EUR 428.
No fun, no trip! Last but not least, let’s talk about leisure.
Whether you like visiting museums, going shopping or discovering the city’s nightlife, you will need to budget how much any of this options will cost you. Keep reading!
- A ticket for the movies on the weekend: GTQ 40/ USD 5.5/ EUR 4.5.
- A drink a at bar or nightclub: GTQ 53/ USD 7.2/ EUR 5.9.
- A pack of tobacco cigarettes: GTQ 22/ USD 2.9/ EUR 2.4.
- A ticket for the theater: GTQ 73/ USD 9.8/ EUR 8.
- A ticket for an important museum, such as the National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology: GTQ 60/ USD 8.2/ EUR 6.7, but some of them have a reduced price or they are free.
Lastly, and as a summary, I will say that the total budget per person and day, provided that you move around in a rental car, sleep in a hotel and that you do some of the leisure activities mentioned above, would be of GTQ 657 (USD 89.5/EUR 73), approximately. If you move around in public transport, including a round-trip ticket, then it would drop down to about GTQ 556.3 (USD 76/EUR 62).
Where can I change my money in Guatemala?
Global Exchange started operations in Guatemala on the 16th October 2009, through 4 foreign exchange branches at La Aurora International Airport. Afterwards, in 2012, they opened a fifth branch and in 2015, a sixth one. Moreover, since 2015 they are also present in La Antigua Guatemala. For further information about the services they offer, check their website.
If you are going to travel to Guatemala and you prefer changing your Guatemalan quetzal beforehand, visit Global Exchange. With more than 220 branches at 20 countries, they are your best ally when it comes to managing foreign exchange transactions.
*Rates taken as reference are based in Guatemala City as of January 2018. Take into account the price differences inside the country depending on the place you’re at.