Last update - 24-05-2016
Time spent in Argentina has been the largest as we decided to increase the locations explored in this magnificent country. Expenses have followed the tendency of the number of days but in terms of kms made Argentina is by far the top, since we have driven all across Argentina (sometimes just to get to the next wonderful place!).
Apart from Uruguay where we spend the highest accommodation price so far, expenses per day have stayed around the average we anticipated. Another exception has been Brasil since we were able to stay with family in Florianopolis for a full week and in Salta (Argentina) Airbnb decided to give us a 200 USD bonus that reduced the cost of the overall country!
With this trip we have come to realise that it is not a myth that you can drive from miles and miles and miles in Argentina without seeing anything. But we have also found that it is totally worth it! The roads have been better than expected and pleasure to drive specially when they get you to such wonderful places!
In our initial budget we defined around 1,000 € per week to be spent across all categories. Even though there are weekly fluctuations due to several extraordinary situations (car maintenance, accommodation prices depending on the location, higher local prices, etc) we are trying to keep to this target without forcing too much. The increase in last two weeks was due to the high costs in San Pedro de Atacama!
Percentage of expenses "as is". This includes the car purchase which means the driving should be a lower percentage as the trip continues. Also, if we are able to sell the car at the end of the trip, this will reduce the burden even further.
Most of the extraordinary expenses we have had so far are related to the car: Search, Documentation, Registration, Equipment or Check-ups. On the plus side, we have had some cost savings in accommodation (thank you Ricardo and Jeff!) and food when we were able to eat at home. Also, by using AirBnB in several cities we are able to same in meals and at the same time cut the routine of always eating in restaurants/bars.
Even though we have some extraordinary situations, our costs (excluding the car purchase) are growing in a relatively straight line which gives us a good indication that we might be able to keep within our initial proposed budget.
In terms of Km driven, we have tried to space them out to keep a steady pace in order not to over work the car (and ourselves). In major cities we don't drive at all and just take advantage of the public transports. It's a great way to explore the city and to avoid traffic!
Also, by changing the initial plan, and returning to Argentina after Santiago, we are doing much more kms than anticipated. Therefore our current estimate is to reach around 25,000 kms in Lima.
Our longest journey so far (from Sierra de la Ventana to Puerto Madryn) corresponded to 797 km and you can read more about it here. But we have had several other memorable (and long!) journeys: around 650 km each way from Curitiba to Iguaçu; 544 kms from Rio Grande do Sul to Punta del Este (read here); or 576 km from Buenos Aires to Sierra de la Ventana.
Naturally, our fastest journeys have been in the best roads we have found so far: From Punta del Este to Montevideo or from Curitiba to Florianopolis the roads are top quality and reach highway quality we can experience in Europe or the US. The slowest journeys so far have been due to several reasons: Sightseeing (from Rio Grande do Sul to Punta del Este: read here; or Puerto San Julián to Rio Gallegos: read here); Traffic (from Sao Paulo to Curitiba we got 1h30m traffic to leave the city); Roads in poor conservation (from Ilha bela to Sao Paulo or Gramado to Rio Grande do Sul), Protests (from Rio Gallegos to Rio Grande to Ushuaia); or a mixture of all of the above.
Fuel prices fluctuate quite a bit but they have been way lower than European prices (specially Portugal). The fact that Brasil and Argentina are Oil producers is surely one of the reasons for this. In fact, the most expensive country so far has been Uruguay and the cheapest we have found was Patagonia (region known for its oil production). In the past week, fuel prices in Argentina increased due to increase in taxes (very familiar feeling to the Portuguese reality).
Car consumption fluctuates depending on the road type and location but we have been happy to drive more than our plan of 10 km per litre. The main reasons for increase have been traffic in city areas, poor road conservation and wind! Reaching Ushuaia we have experienced quite strong crosswinds that increased consumption in a surprising fashion! Also, since changing the front tyres in Trevellin we noticed a reduction in consumption that we hope will continue until the end of the trip!
In terms of cost per km, so far we have been able to keep the cost well below the planned 14 cents per km even in mountainous areas.