ZANZIBAR COST OF TRAVEL AND DETAILED BUDGET BREAKDOWN

Is Zanzibar cheap or expensive?
What does a trip to Zanzibar cost?
Is it possible to visit Zanzibar on a budget?

I was dreaming of going to Tanzania and Zanzibar for years. Up until the last moment I wasn’t sure if I will make it because the flights were getting more expensive by the minute. But then I booked a last-minute flight; bought a ticket on Friday and was flying to Spice Island on Saturday.

So, I finally made it to Zanzibar.

I didn’t really know what to expect regarding Zanzibar travel costs. Will the vacation be cheap or expensive? Are the prices comparable to the ones in Asia, or maybe more to the ones in Samoa and Fiji? Perhaps a trip to Zanzibar will be in the same price range as Seychelles? I had no idea what the cost to travel to Zanzibar for 12 days will be.

Below you will find my detailed Zanzibar travel budget breakdown. This will give you a brief idea, of how much it costs to travel to Zanzibar for a solo traveler. It will also give you an idea of daily Zanzibar travel costs. I spent 12 days/11 nights on Unguja island, which is known as Zanzibar. I have done some must-do activities and tours, explored Zanzibar beaches and UNESCO-listed Stone Town.

Here is how much money you can expect to spend in Zanzibar as a solo (female) traveler.

ALSO READ:
115 BEST ZANZIBAR CAPTIONS FOR INSTAGRAM – CUTE AND WANDERLUST

Disclosure (being transparent and honest should be fun): You know the way I run this blog. I only recommend experiences, hotels, etc. that I personally tried and products I actually own and use. On my site, you will see pretty colorful links which are known as ”affiliate links”. If you click on this link and buy something you like, I’ll earn some money. I’m talking huge bucks here, like a new Tesla, yacht, and 7-bedroom mansion. Ok, honestly, most of the time it will be enough to help me buy treats for my dog and parrot, eco-friendly travel products or to help me build a time machine, and travel back in time to see the dinosaurs, do an interview of stone crafters on Easter island and have a serious chat with masterminds who ‘invented’ Maths. Thank you for your support!

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Zanzibar budget 1a
Zanzibar budget 5b

Zanzibar budget breakdown

This Zanzibar budget breakdown is based on my experience, from the cost of trip to Zanzibar in August 2022. You can spend way less or way more, depending on your activities, way of travel, food preferences, and negotiation skills. 

Zanzibar is one of the destinations, where you’ll find yourself getting ripped off over anything and everything. Bargaining for the prices and haggling is expected and accepted. Not in restaurants and in shops with fixed prices, but anywhere else. So, be prepared to haggle and negotiate; on the streets of Stone Town, when booking transportation (even taxis!), with street food vendors, tour prices, souvenirs … everywhere. Just ask for a ‘Rafiki price’ (Rafiki = friend) and go from there.

The prices stated were the exact values at the time of my writing. They might change in the future. This post is intended for the purpose of trip planning and to give you an approximate idea of how much to budget. To give you an idea of Zanzibar daily travel expenses. To be on the safer side, I would suggest budgeting more.

Do you want to travel like me?
Here are some of my favorite travel tips and resources;

FLIGHTS: I use Google Flights or Skyscanner to find the best flight deals. The destination everywhere feature is perfect to find some cheap deals!

ACCOMMODATION: Booking.com is my favorite site for finding great hotel deals.

TOURS & ACTIVITIES: I like to wander around on my own, but when I want to explore with a group I book a tour with GetYourGuide.

1. Cost of a flight ticket to Zanzibar

Prices of flight tickets are hard to compare because they vary so much. From where you fly, what time of the year you are going to Zanzibar, the airline company you are traveling with, and so on. I will include my flight ticket for reference, and to get a clearer overall cost of a 12-day vacation in Zanzibar. At the end of this post, there will be a total Zanzibar cost breakdown with and without a flight ticket.

To get to Zanzibar, I paid 528€ for a return flight ticket Zagreb-Zanzibar with Qatar Airways. Do note that I booked my flight less than a week before my trip and used Cash+Avios. If possible, book your tickets sooner. As always my recommendation is to use Google flights and Skyscanner or a combination of both. Those two websites are what I always use to book my flights.

If you fly to Dar es Salaam, you will then have to take another flight or choose a ferry. From Dar Es Salaam you can fly to Zanzibar with Precision Air, FlightLink, AirTanzania, or other airlines. The flight is only 20 minutes long and can cost from $40 to $100 US dollars one way. If you decide to go with a ferry, the journey will take a bit less than 3 hours, and will cost between $35 to $60 USD.

My total cost for a flight ticket was 528€.

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Zanzibar budget 2a
Zanzibar budget 1B

2. Cost of a Tanzanian visa

Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania. And for Tanzania, you need a visa. You can get it flying to mainland Tanzania or flying directly into Zanzibar. No matter where you get it, it covers Zanzibar and the mainland and vice versa.

Some nationalities can get visas on arrival and some have to apply in advance, so check before you travel. If you can, apply for a visa online on the Tanzania eVisa website to skip the immigration queue. Apply at least one week before arrival. If you are getting your visa on arrival it is better to pay with cash. You can pay with a credit card but might be charged a fee. 

For US citizens, a Tanzanian visa costs $100 USD and it is a multi-entry visa. For the majority of other nationalities, it costs $50 USD for a single entry visa.

My total cost for a Tanzanian visa was $50 USD.

3. Cost of travel insurance

This is one of those things I am always happy to buy (yes!) and I am even happier if I never have to use it. In that case, I consider it money well spent. Jokes aside, wherever you go, buy travel insurance.
Every. Single. Time!

Even in Zanzibar, I have seen people needing medical assistance. One traveler needed it because of heat stroke. A doctor had to come to the hostel and get IV fluids. Not one, many of them. Cost; 270€. Another one sprained an ankle. Seriously, you just never know.

I buy travel insurance with a Slovenian company. It covers the whole world and I get the package with the cover for a combined value of 1 million Euros. This travel insurance is valid for one (1) year for travels up to 90 days in one destination.
So the more I travel, the better ‘value’ for the price.

My total cost for travel insurance was 97€.*
*I used the full travel insurance price in the calculation.

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Zanzibar budget 4a
Zanzibar budget 3a

4. Cost of accommodation in Zanzibar

It is not often that I choose to stay in a hostel these days, or in a dorm room. So, why here?
Firstly, I haven’t been to Africa (not counting Morocco). In the second place, I wasn’t really familiar with the whole culture or how ‘everything goes’. I am very familiar with the Polynesian and Melanesian cultures but didn’t know what to expect in Zanzibar. Finally, I was traveling alone and didn’t know how safe Zanzibar is for a solo female traveler. I have plenty of experience traveling solo in Asia in the Pacific region, but it is also easier to find friends in a touristy/honeymoon destination in a hostel. Plus it is always nicer to have a cocktail in paradise with like-minded people.

Even when I was searching for hostel accommodation, I was still looking for a place with nice ratings and reviews on Booking.com. And since Zanzibar has so many nice beaches, I really wanted to be on the beach. So, when I spotted The New Teddy’s on the Beach in Jambiani, it was a done deal. They have a front-row beach view, great ratings, and breakfast included in the price. You can read more about Staying at New Teddy’s on The Beach in my review.

Zanzibar accomodation


My next two accommodations were in the North of Zanzibar, in Nungwi, and in Stone town. In Nungwi I stayed in Makofi Guest house. They have private rooms and 2 dorms. They are located just 2 minutes away from the beach. Staff is super friendly and the atmosphere is great. If you book directly with them, on their website, you will get a 15% discount on food and drinks. So I did.

In Stone Town, I again booked my accommodation with Booking.com and stayed at Lost & Found Hostel, which is right in the center of Stone town. Opposite of Freddy Mercury museum. A great feature of this hostel are double beds, curtains for privacy, and your own power sockets and light. The only downside (for me) was that they don’t have breakfast.

In all the selected accommodations I felt great. They all have amazing stuff, a friendly atmosphere where you can meet other people and were silent at night time. I didn’t get woken up once, and none of the dorms were full while I was staying there.

The accommodation price stated here includes the actual accommodation rate INCLUDING tax and city tax. City tax/Tourism fee is $9 per person per night and is added to your room rate throughout the island, on top of the regular room rate.

My total cost for accommodation came to $23 a night (room rate + City tax) or $256 for 11 nights (room rate + City tax). Without the City tax my average room rate came to $14 a night (only room rate) or $157 (room rate only) + $99 (city tax).

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Zanzibar budget 3b
Zanzibar budget 1C

5. Cost of transport in Zanzibar

Transport was by far the biggest expense on my trip to Zanzibar. I didn’t expect that the transport will be that expensive. You can lower the cost of transport if you find other travelers who can share the costs of transport with you. Or, if you can use local transport like Dala Dala, Boda Boda and Tuk Tuk’s.

From the airport, I booked a transfer/taxi to my hostel with New Teddy’s on the Beach for $40. A lot yes. But after my overnight flight, I just couldn’t be bothered, so I took an easy way to sort things out. Later, I found out that this is a pretty standard taxi fare from Stone town/Airport to Jambiani/Paje, which takes 1h and 30 minutes.

Another huge expense was to get from Jambiani to Nungwi, in the North of Zanzibar. You can expect to pay from $50 for 2 and half hour drive. I paid $70 because I stopped at The Rock restaurant and also at Jozani forest. During the time of my visit, the driver was waiting for me.

This route (Jambiani-Nungwi) could also be done with Dala Dala’s. And it would only cost 5000 Tanzanian Shillings (TZS). That way you would firstly have to go to Stone Town. Then change Dala Dala in a little chaotic Darajani bus stop, for Nungwi. The whole journey would take at least 4,5 hours. Zanzibar also has Zanzibus, with shuttles running between main tourist areas.

None of those options were a good fit for me, since I would not be able to stop at desired ‘touristy’ attractions. I would have to visit them as a day trip which would then be almost the same as a taxi ride.

I also used Boda Boda in Jambiani and Nungwi to get to Paje, Kiwengwa, Kendwa and Turtle Sanctuary. From Nungwi to Stone Town I shared a taxi with two other travelers I have met in Makofi guest house in Nungwi. It included transport, a Spice tour and Prison island. I will add this to my Activities expenses. From Stone Town to Airport I used Tuk Tuk which was 10.000 Tanzanian Shillings (TZS).

My total cost for transportation came to $174. With flights, the total is $702.
This is $134 for my Zanzibar island transportation and $40 for the transport from my home to Zagreb airport. As I mentioned earlier, my flight ticket was 528€.

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Zanzibar budget 2b
Zanzibar budget 3c

6. Cost of food and drinks in Zanzibar

The cost of food in Zanzibar can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be. You can have the best meal on the street for less than $2, dine in local restaurants and pay anything from $3 to $7 and up, or dine in hostels and resorts and pay from $8 up. My most expensive meal was in Stone Town when I splurged on a lobster and paid $33 USD. With the exception of the last two days, I had breakfast included in my room rate.

I was eating a lot of seafood and fruit. Seafood is fresh, delicious, and affordable. It is always served with a choice of side (rice or french fries) and vegetables. Fruit, I love fruit. I have bought it at every fruit stand I came across; avocados, pineapples, tomatoes, mangos, and bananas. Cheap and healthy way to fill up your stomach.

Tap water is not drinkable in Zanzibar. So you will have to buy water in shops or at street vendors. I usually paid from 1000 to 1500 TZS for a 1,5L water bottle ($0,40-$0,65 USD). Buying plastic bottles was not something I enjoyed but I didn’t want to get sick. Freshly made juices were from 2000 to 5000 TZS ($0,85-$2 USD) and soft drinks from 5000 TZS ($2 USD).

Even though 99% of people practice Islam in Zanzibar, you could still find alcohol in hostels and restaurants. No idea how this is during Ramadan. The usual price for a local beer, Kilimanjaro, Savana, or Safari, is around 6000 TZS ($2,7 USD). The price for a cocktail varied from 6000 TZS to 14000 TZS ($6,5 USD). During happy hour you sometimes got 2 cocktails for the price of 14000 TZS.

My total cost for food and drinks came to $200 or $17 per day.

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Zanzibar budget 3d
Zanzibar budget 4b

7. Cost of activities and tours in Zanzibar

Zanzibar may be small but it has a lot to offer. You can go diving or spend your time kitesurfing or wave surfing. If you want to try any of those go to the beaches on the South East of Zanzibar. For a price reference check Aquaholics. They have offices in Paje and Jambiani.

If you are traveling solo, the prices of tours will usually be more expensive. It is better to find some other travelers, and book a tour together. You will be able to negotiate a better deal as part of the group and save some money by splitting the costs. You can book tours while on Zanzibar (not always the best option) or with GetYourGuide.

My biggest highlight was dolphin watching in Kizimkazi. Now, before you jump, it was an Ethical Dolphin Watch tour. I was on a boat with a guy who works in Zanzibar as a marine conservationist. We didn’t chase the dolphins as it happened on one of the tours in Nungwi. The approach was similar to one of the dolphin tours in Kaikoura, New Zealand. We went further out on the ocean and when the guide noticed dolphins, we drove away from them but sort of followed the path of their swimming. So we watched them swim by on their desired route. Without disturbing them.

Jozani forest tour


On my way to Nungwi beach in the North of Zanzibar, I visited Jozani Forest. The guide in the Jozani explained about the plants in the forest, then you have the opportunity of spotting the mega-rare Zanzibar red colobus monkeys and in the end, you visit the mangrove forest. Entry ticket to the forest costs $12 USD. 

In Nungwi, I signed up for a tour to Mnemba. There was a ‘guide’ on the beach who persuaded me that I just have to do it. It was $20 and I was not impressed with it at all. The boat ride from Nungwi to Bill Gate’s Mnemba island takes about an hour. And somewhere along the way driver spotted dolphins. So did 50 other boats. While I would be fine only watching them, that was not the case. Our and the rest of the boats were chasing dolphins, people were frantically jumping in the water to swim with them and it was just horrible. Even when we came to Mnemba island there were countless other boats. 

Snorkeling was not good at all. And we only visited 1 spot. I have heard that Mnemba has the best snorkeling spots in Zanzibar, but was not really impressed. There were only a few corals, not really colorful, and we only saw a couple of fish. As I have heard, later on, it is better to arrange a private tour or go to the Mnemba island with a guided tour. You should also ‘mention’ the driver about the ‘spots’ (apparently there are 3) where the corals are still nice and intact. They have to pay a fee for visiting these spots since there are regular patrols. But going to Mnemba and the sand bank with a regular tour arranged on the beach is something I was not impressed with and would not do it again.

Spice & Prison island tour


I knew I couldn’t go to Zanzibar or the Spice island, without visiting Spice farm and without a visit to a Prison island. I did both of those in one day and paid $50 for the transport Nungwi – Stone Town, including Spice Tour and Prison Island. It was a really good deal when you put into account that only the transport from the Northern Beaches to Zanzibar city is $50. 

On the Spice tour, you get to visit a local village, have a cooking class, and are then guided around the spice plantation. The guide explains about the spices, their usage and their health benefits. In the end, you can sample local fruits and watch how locals climb a coconut tree. After the spice tour, we had a private boat arranged to the Prison island. The guide there showed us around, and explained the history behind the island – it was used for quarantine not as a prison. In the end, you get to see the giant Aldabra Tortoises, which were brought to Changuu island (Prison island) from Seychelles. I enjoyed the Spice tour and Prison island so would recommend them both.

In Nungwi I also visited Manari Marine Turtle Sanctuary, where you are able to get up close to the green turtles. And since I am geography and history teacher and a tour guide, I booked a Stone town tour. The guide showed me around the narrow alleys of Stone town, explained the history of UNESCO World Heritage city, shared secrets of the Stone town doors, took me inside the old port building, showed me around a bit chaotic Darajani market and to an Anglican cathedral where the was once an old slave market. Tour lasted more than 3 hours and was $20 plus a tip.

My total cost for activities and tours came to $160.

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Zanzibar budget 5a
Zanzibar budget 4c

8. Cost of miscellaneous items in Zanzibar

In most countries I go to, I buy a local SIM card as soon as I land. It is my least favorite thing about traveling to a new county. But I didn’t buy a Tanzanian SIM card. Wifi in Zanzibar is amazing! It is fast and reliable. All the accommodations and restaurants have it. And it is FREE. It is also great if you are a digital nomad because the connections here are great.

What I included in the miscellaneous items are tips and souvenirs I bought at the end of my trip in Stone Town. Those were cute wooden animals, a Zanzibar flag, three magnets, two khangas (sarongs), a book and a couple of postcards. I also bought vanilla, coffee, and tea. 

Before I left I also bought a chapter from Lonely Planet Tanzania Guidebook, for 3,5€. I love how you can buy PDF guides and then read them on your tablet, computer or iPhone without the need to print everything. The guide covers everything you need; from transport to the island, history, where to sleep, and where to eat.

My total cost for miscellaneous items came to $85.

9. My total expenses for 12 days/11 nights in Zanzibar

Flight ticket: 528€ = $528
Visa: $50
Accommodation: $256
Transportation: $174
Food: $200
Activities and tours: $160
Miscellaneous: $85

Total amount WITH flight ticket in 12 days: $1453
Total amount WITHOUT flight ticket in 12 day: $925

My average daily amount spent came to $77 per day.

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Zanzibar budget 2c
Zanzibar budget 5c

All of the above in a nutshell

Zanzibar can easily be traveled on a budget. It is not as cheap as Asia but it is also not as expensive as Seychelles. Once you get to know the system and are accustomed to the prices, you can spend your time there on a super-tight budget. If you skip tours, use local transport, and eat at food markets and stands Zanzibar can be a very budget-friendly destination.

My travel costs in 12 days in Zanzibar averaged on $77 per day, not including flights. I wasn’t traveling on a tight budget. I splurged on tours, was having nice meals in restaurants, plus had a beer and cocktail almost every day. 

The biggest travel expense was the transport. I had no idea that the taxis will be that expensive. And I didn’t want to lose time by traveling on local transport so I went with it. You can lower the transport expense by traveling with other people and splitting the costs. I was lucky enough to do it once.

I hope you found my Zanzibar detailed budget breakdown helpful. Is it meant to be informative nature to help you with your Spice Island travel planning. The prices mentioned can change and can be lower or higher based on the time of year you are visiting Zanzibar (peak or off-season), your travel style, if you will be traveling solo or with a group, and your own personal travel style and preferences. 

Do you think Zanzibar is cheap or expensive?
How much money are you planning to take with you?

I would love to know your thought about the Zanzibar budget.

ALSO READ:
115 BEST ZANZIBAR CAPTIONS FOR INSTAGRAM – CUTE AND WANDERLUST

Disclosure (being transparent and honest should be fun): You know the way I run this blog. I only recommend experiences, hotels, etc. that I personally tried and products I actually own and use. On my site, you will see pretty colorful links which are known as ”affiliate links”. If you click on this link and buy something you like, I’ll earn some money. I’m talking huge bucks here, like a new Tesla, yacht, and 7-bedroom mansion. Ok, honestly, most of the time it will be enough to help me buy treats for my dog and parrot, eco-friendly travel products or to help me build a time machine, and travel back in time to see the dinosaurs, do an interview of stone crafters on Easter island and have a serious chat with masterminds who ‘invented’ Maths. Thank you for your support!


Skipped to the good part? Here is the gist

How much does it cost to travel to Zanzibar? Is it cheap or expensive? Traveling to Zanzibar doesn’t have to break the bank. I traveled solo to Zanzibar and spend there 12 full days and 11 nights. I stayed in very well-rated hostels but splurged on activities, tours and food. My biggest travel expense was transport. I opted for taxis since they were the fastest and allowed me the most flexibility. In total my travel costs in Zanzibar averaged $77 per day. I am happy with it since I didn’t travel there with a tight budget but had a really nice time for that amount of money.

I hope this article gave you some ideas about the cost of travel to Zanzibar.

If you found this blog helpful, follow me on Instagram and Pinterest. Or you can subscribe to my YouTube channel. Here you will find a lot of travel tips, itineraries, and packing hacks completely for free. If you want to see more of it and would like to encourage me to post even more, you can say thanks and buy me a coffee.

How much are you planning to spend?
What was your daily budget in Zanzibar?

Let me know in the comments.

ALSO READ:
115 BEST ZANZIBAR CAPTIONS FOR INSTAGRAM – CUTE AND WANDERLUST

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15 thoughts on “ZANZIBAR COST OF TRAVEL AND DETAILED BUDGET BREAKDOWN”

    • It is amazing! Everything you wish for! A bit of culture, cuisine, language, customs … but friendly and affordable.

      Reply
  1. Very cool. I’ve always wanted to visit, so thank you for providing such a detailed guide and price breakdown.

    Reply
    • Thank you! I love reading detailed budget breakdown posts… so I have a rough idea on what to expect and how much money to save. I know we all differ in our travel style and spending habits, but it is nice to have an approximate 😀

      Reply
  2. It seems pricey to get there, but hotels, transport and food seem very affordable! Would love visit, so this is very useful 😍

    Reply
    • Thank you. It was pricey at the time of my annual leave (when all the rest of the Europe and US also have their annual leave). But if you search for dates in Jan in Feb next year, regular prices are lower than what I paid (at that is without using miles).

      Reply
  3. It looks like you had a good time on a decent budget. In another life, I would have loved to have done that.

    Reply
  4. It was great to read about your budget for Zanzibar. I know that many costs depend on choices you make. But this covered all the different kinds of costs to expect. Good think that hubby is good at haggling! I will definitely budget enough for some great activities.

    Reply
    • Thank you! when I search for a budget breakdown I want to have as much info as possible. I know that it will be different at the end, but at least to know what to expect. Yeah, bargaining is a necessary must so … be prepared 😀

      Reply
  5. Sounds like an exciting place to visit. A great breakdown of costs, helps me to put into perspective what I would spend, give or take, visiting. I’d love to take a Tuk Tuk if I visit!

    Reply
    • Thank you! It is just to get a perspective for planning. I did take a tuk-tuk from Stone Town to the Airport. They told me that the ‘good price’ is 10.000 shillings (taxi is from $10-$12).

      Reply

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