Life on Less Than $50 per Day

Today was a good day.

Nate and I set our alarms for 6 a.m. to get up early to go hiking.  We woke up in our private room in La Floresta, a hostel located just on the outskirts of Salento, a small mountain town in central Colombia.

Our room is $21 USD nightly.  My half of that is $10.50.

It’s a basic room with a bed, nightstand, dresser, desk and TV.  We have also have a private bathroom.

Once we got dressed and packed daypacks, we walked across the yellow pedestrian bridge into town to a breakfast place called Brunch.  It’s run by an expat from Oregon who gives great advice about things to do around Salento.

The pedestrian bridge into town.

The pedestrian bridge into town.

There we split a huge plate of huevos rancheros with hash browns and a strong Colombian coffee brewed from coffee grown at a farm just out of town.  

Enormous, yummy huevos rancheros

Enormous, yummy huevos rancheros

Breakfast totaled $4 USD.  My half: $2.

We also picked up pre-made sack lunches to take with us on our hike.  They were $4 each.

From breakfast we walked another block and waited outside the firehouse to flag down a local bus.  We just needed a ride 10 minutes down the mountain and then hopped out.  The cost for two people was $.70 USD.

We hiked for 3 hours through a beautiful farm in the mountains.  We hopped over river rocks and crossed foot bridges.  We saw horses, cows, cats and dogs.  We paid an entrance fee to hike the last leg up to a waterfall where we went for a quick swim.  The total for two people was $.90.

After we finished, we sat at a picnic table by the side of the road and ate our sack lunches- ham and cheese sandwiches, bananas, chips, bottles of water and fresh brownies with homemade peanut butter from the breakfast restaurant.

We paid another $.70 to catch a bus back up the mountain into town and headed to our hostel.  There we showered, napped, wrote in our journals, and I watched a few episodes of Homeland on Netflix.  I pay $8/month- it equates to $.25 per day.

Mid day I got a little hungry, so I walked next door to a little shop where an old woman sells convenience store items.  I paid $.75 for a bag of Doritos and a local beer.  I ate/drank them back in our hostel room.

Later we headed out to a candlelit dinner of veggie pizza and a bottle of Chilean red wine.  Mid conversation, a small orange and white kitten climbed into my lap.  We fed her little pieces of cheese pizza.  This extravagant meal cost us $22.  

After dinner on our walk home, we passed a bar with pool tables.  It was still early, so we stopped in and played three games of pool laughing at how bad I was.  Nate drank aguardiente, the local anise-flavored liquor, I had a Club Colombia (local beer).  Our total was less than $8.  

At the end of the day, my total spent was $33.65.

It feels good to be kicking our budget's ass this much.  We feel like we're really splurging, but that's taking on a different meaning here.  Sitting on the street outside of a hostel drinking crap canned beer while the sun slowly slips below the horizon feels exceedingly satisfying.  It feels like enough to do in one evening.  It feels like so much more than either of us needs.