PRICES IN GEORGIA


Generally speaking, Georgia is a cheap country to visit. Sure, you cannot travel for almost free as in some countries in SE Asia, but you still get pretty good value for your money. Compared to Western Europe or the USA, prices are in general about half as high and they are some 30% lower compared to Slovakia, my homeland. The official currency is Georgian lari (GEL), exchange rate is 1 euro = 2,5 lari. Average monthly wage is 400 euro. Speaking of prices, I will cover just a few areas relevant to tourists.


Food

Cheapest street food (khachapuri, lobiani, churchkhela) costs 1,5 - 2 GEL for a piece, in areas adjacent to Turkey you will find numerous shawarma stands with prices starting at 5 GEL.

If you want to eat in a restaurant, you can get basic dishes (khinkali, khachapuri) for as cheap as 5 GEL. I usually use the price of khinkali to quickly determine how expensive the restaurant is. One dumpling costs 50-60 tetri at the cheapest places, 80 tetri to 1 lari in better ones and probably even more in places I don't visit. If you want something more special, main dishes in standard restaurants usually cost from 8 to 15 GEL.


Khinkali
Our 6 GEL khinkali (and Miso's hairy forearm)

Last thing I wanted to mention - if you are staying at the guesthouse, you can usually order also half or full board from your host - price of one meal is usually 10 GEL. I strongly recommend to take it. Not only is this food homecooked, but it's usually much more filling, diverse and overall better than that one dish you would have gotten at the local restaurant for the same price.


Accommodation

If you are on the budget, you will spend most of your time in family-run guesthouses or hostels. One night here usually costs 15 or 20 GEL per person. You can expect hot water (to some degree), usually wi-fi and sometimes also a complete stranger in "your" room.

Private rooms at cheaper places usually cost 20-35 GEL, if you want to share it with friends, it's naturally cheaper than if you sleep there alone.

In developed regions such as Kazbegi or Svaneti, you can also find modern hotels with the high standard of service and developed prices, ranging up to 200 or 300 GEL for a night. The opposite extreme is so-called "garden camping" when you camp in someone's backyard and can use his toilet/shower. It costs 5 or 10 GEL and can be an option if you are on a tight budget.

And, of course, if you are on a really tight budget, you can camp. Personally, I wouldn't do it city parks (even though I saw few such people), but in more remote areas it's completely fine. I am not aware of any rules which forbid free camping in any Georgian national park (pls correct me if I'm wrong).

Of course, it's always better to hide a bit, don't camp right on the trail or too close to someone's house. Also, if you are close to village, I recommend to ask the locals (out of respect) if it's ok to camp there. They never said no.


Transportation

Regarding transportation, Georgia is quite cheap country. Most tourists use long-distance minibuses (“marshrutkas”) travelling between major cities/tourist spots. They have 15-20 seats and usually depart when full or when driver decides, that he collected enough money. It’s hard to speak about prices without becoming too specific, but in general, 1 hour of travel in them costs between 3-5 GEL.

If you want to travel a shorter distance, you can try local buses. They are very cheap, but also old, rusty and slow. If you are not travelling alone, it’s usually more convenient to take a taxi than local bus. Their prices greatly vary - they don’t have meter, so don’t be afraid to haggle. You shouldn’t usually pay more than 1 GEL per kilometer.



Georgian bus
One of the newer buses

Another category is 4x4 cars, which are sometimes needed to access most remote places such as Tusheti or Ushguli. These are the most expensive, we usually paid 3-4 GEL per kilometer. And if you have more money than time, you can hire a private driver for the whole day - but be prepared to pay him at least 250 GEL.



Horses

Guides and horses

To hire a horse in Georgia, one usually needs 40-50 GEL a day. That is very cheap, however, be prepared for the additional costs. If you have heavy backpacks, you will probably need to hire also some cargo horses - one can carry 3 or 4 backpacks. You will also have to hire a guide to accompany you, nobody will let you gallop away with their horses. This guide usually costs 60-70 GEL a day. Agree in advance, whether he will have his own horse or just walk by you - in the latter case, you will move close to the walking speed.

You can also hire mountain guide to accompany you during a hiking trip. They are more expensive (as it's a more strenuous activity) and charge about between 80 - 150 GEL a day. The most expensive area for guides is Svaneti where the prices have risen a lot due to the recent tourist boom.



Our 6 GEL khinkali One of the newer buses horses

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