Travel Budget: Azerbaijan
Not only is Azerbaijan one of my least favorite travel destinations ever, but to add insult to injury it was also a pretty expensive place to explore! For starters, the tourist visa costs around $170 for Americans. I’d hoped for a cheaper transit visa but the consulate I applied at (Batumi, Georgia) wouldn’t issue them and I’m made the rookie mistake of already booking a flight out of Azerbaijan. What are you gonna do, ya know?
Even after deducting the cost of the visa, though, I spent 356 Manat in 12 days, or about $38.50 per day. The thing is, though, that was about as cheap as I could figure out how to do it. It isn’t like we were living large in Baku. My travel buddy and I cooked a handful of meals, ate the cheapest thing we could find for others, and I don’t know that we drank at all since it was Ramadan? It was high cost, low value, and also just a sort of generally frustrating place to be.
The one exception to this rule was Xinaliq. I felt like that little mountain town was a pretty good value and a supremely nice experience, and would wholeheartedly recommend it to travelers who are dead set on visiting Azerbaijan. Not only is the drive in really pretty, but the hills surrounding the town make for good hiking and the people are far friendlier than anybody else I met in the country.
This is a bit out of date, as I was there in July of 2012, so perhaps the situation has changed since then and Azerbaijan has become a more enjoyable and less expensive place for independent travelers. With any luck, though, it won’t be me going to check back in on the country.