- Guatemala (the cheapest country to travel in Central America)
- El Salvador
If you are looking for rock bottom budget adventure, then you can’t go wrong with traveling in any of these countries.
Guatemala wins for being the cheapest of all the countries to travel or live in Central America. But the beaches are not very good. Lago de Atitlan used to be great for living on the lake, but the lake has become a hazard to swim in due to the pollution. But there is a local effort being made to clean the lake. Anti-gringo sentiment is rising in San Pedro.
Nicaragua comes in second on the list for being cheap to travel and live in Central America. Plus the advantage of living next to Costa Rica is great for convenient 90-day border runs to renew your passport stamp. You have the Corn Islands for scuba diving and great beaches.
Honduras comes in third on the unconventional list of cheap travel and living. You have the famous Bay islands for good beach life and scuba diving (but I admit I have never visited this part of Honduras.) Fellow travelers tell me this area is beautiful. The capital city of Tegucigalpa is worth a visit.
El Salvador comes in fourth on being the most affordable to travel and live. My experience on visiting the beaches in El Salvador is the hotels can being rather expensive (15 to 25 USD) on the comfortable budget hotels. Traveling up in the mountains near Perquin I found really affordable and the people fantastic!
The unconventional bottom line is its possible to travel on a tight budget (15 to 25 USD per day) in all four of these countries. You get 90 days on your passport stamp that is good for all four of the countries (please confirm, since the rules always seem to change.) Find a place that you like and you can cut your expenses in half by staying in one location for a while.