August 18, 2008

Cost of living in Honduras

I can’t remember if we’ve ever done a blog on the cost of living in Honduras (thanks to fellow PCV Mary for the idea!). According to PC, volunteers are given a wage that allows them to live near to the level of the majority of people in their community. So PCVs monthly “salaries” (not including rent) in Honduras vary from 4,200 lempiras ($221) to 6,100 lempiras ($321). This all depends on the size of your site and location (north coasters get more…they get to live on the beach and get paid more – arrg!). PC pays our rent separately. They have a “ball-park” figure for the cost of rent in each site and it is up to the volunteer to find a place to live within that amount. For example, here in Danlí, the maximum PC will pay for rent per month per person is 2,500 lempiras ($131.93). Luckily, if you’re married you get double for rent!

Here are some examples of prices in Danlí (18.95 lemprias = $1)

Water bill: $3.69 per month
Bus ride to Tegucigalpa (capital, 1 ½ hours from Danlí): $3.38
Bus ride from Tegucigalpa to north coast beaches (about 7 hours from Tegus): $10.77
Baleada (flour tortilla with beans, cheese, eggs, sometimes avocado): $0.37 - 0.79
1 lb of red beans: $0.79
1 lb of rice: $0.58
Corn tortillas: 10 for $.18
Eggs: $0.11 per egg
1 liter of milk: $1.21
1 large plastic container of purified water (5 gallons): $1.58
1 lb. roma-sized tomatoes: $0.53
1 whole medium-sized frozen chicken: $3.96
1 lb lean hamburger: $1.27
1 lb hard “Honduran” cheese: $1.32
1 lb of chicken breast (with bone): $1.42
A meal at a typical “comedor” here in Danlí: $1.85
(Typical breakfast and dinner meal: meat (usually beef), beans, fried sweet plantains,
scrambled eggs, avocado, tortillas. Typical lunch meal: meat, rice, cabbage salad, cooked vegetables, tortillas)
A glass of fresh juice: $0.42
Oranges: $0.11 per orange
Mango (during season): $0.16 per mango
Pineapple: $0.79-$1.32 per pineapple
Avocado (during season): $0.26 for a large one (twice the size of a Hass)
A small bag (from lady on street) of sliced green mango, ciruela, mamones,
nance, or other fruits in season: $0.26
A small cup of coffee: $.32
A “latte” from the Honduran chain “Espresso Americano”: $1.16 (beat that Starbucks!)
A 3 lb bag of “Gati” (cat food): $1.16
A ½ liter bag of water: $0.12
½ liter of Coke: $0.58
Local beer: $0.69 per bottle
Postage for a letter to the US: $1.32
Call home (to the States): $0.11 per minute
1 hour of internet use: $0.53

If we stay in Danlí for a month without leaving, we can definitely get through the month easily on our $263.85 allowance (that doesn’t include rent). If we leave to visit friends, go to Tegus for errands, etc. we can barely scrap by. With gas prices so high, bus and taxi prices are high! Just in the last few months we’ve seen our bus fare to Tegus go up by nearly 18.5% an. taxis in town now charge 25% more.

Recently in the news around the world, including here in Honduras, there has been talk of the rising cost of food. In Honduras the “canasta básica” (basic basket of food) has gone up considerably since last year. One local paper reported a 34% increase since 2007. The media continuously alludes to what could be a steep increase in the cases of malnutrition here in Honduras in the next few years if prices continue to climb.

(Anything else you want to know the cost of? Leave a comment & ask!)

1 comment:

Carrie said...

Hi - so random outreach here. My husband & I are RPCV's from Tonga, currently living in Palau & just interviewed for jobs in Zamorano, Honduras at the Elementary school there on the university campus. We came across your wonderful blog while trying to find info on the surrounding region, particularly housing & cost of living. Do you mind sharing how much the rent was for your house (it looks pretty cute from the picts) and how you happened to find it? Would you recommend taking a position in the region? We'd love to pick your brains if you have the time. Thanks & sorry for the randomness. Jason & Carrie