A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Antigua Guatemala vs. San Jose for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Antigua Guatemala or San Jose?

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Antigua Guatemala or San Jose, this travel cost comparison can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Antigua Guatemala

Before a disastrous earthquake in 1773, Antigua was the colonial capital of Guatemala. For 200 years it had reigned as so and today shows remnants of its glorious past with Spanish colonial buildings and other architectural landmarks still standing. Due to this large amount of preserved architecture, Antigua was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is now the most touristed city of Guatemala.

San Jose

San Jose is the capital city of Costa Rica and is likely to be your first and last stop in a visit to the country. The city is situated in the Central Valley and is surrounded by beautiful mountains and valleys, making for a beautiful flight in. The city has an elevation of 1200 meters and sits on a plateau with a beautiful backdrop of lush green forest. Half of the people in Costa Rica reside in the country's capital city. You are likely to stay only a day or two, but there are a handful of things to do and see including museums and markets. You will also find many embassies, as well as the University of Costa Rica in San Jose.

Which city is cheaper, San Jose or Antigua Guatemala?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Antigua Guatemala is $50, while the average daily cost in San Jose is $60. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Antigua Guatemala and San Jose in more detail.



Accommodation

The prices for places to stay in Antigua Guatemala can vary by date, location, and type. Generally, the average cost for accommodation per person is $17, while a typical double-occupancy hotel room for two people will cost around $34.

The prices for places to stay in San Jose can vary by date, location, and type. Generally, the average cost for accommodation per person is $32, while a typical double-occupancy hotel room for two people will cost around $64.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Antigua Guatemala $17
    San Jose $32
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Antigua Guatemala $34
    San Jose $64

Food

The price of a meal in Antigua Guatemala can vary widely. However, the average price for food per day is $11 per person, and a typical meal will cost around $4.40 based on the spending of previous visitors. Less expensive dining options can be found by eating street food or at fast food restaurants.

While meal prices in San Jose can vary, the average travelers spends about $11 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in San Jose should cost around $4.40 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in San Jose is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Antigua Guatemala $11
    San Jose $11
Typical Food prices in Antigua Guatemala

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Antigua Guatemala:


  • Lunch
    $3.23
  • Lunch
    $7.76

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Antigua Guatemala

For Antigua Guatemala, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Short Cooking Class in Antigua, Guatemala: $37
  • Guatemalan Food Cooking Class: $45
  • Cooking Classes: $49
  • Food Tour in Antigua Traditional Market: $58
  • Market and Mayan Cooking Class: $60
  • Guatemalan Mestizo and Gourmet Food Tour in Antigua: $71
  • Authentic Guatemalan Cooking Class: $72
  • Guatemalan Cooking Class and Market Tour: $84
  • Food Tour in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala: $87
  • Guatemala City Market and Food Tour from Antigua: $90

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in San Jose

For San Jose, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Half-Day San Jose Evening Bus Tour with Dinner and Pickup: $66
  • Vip Evening Sightseeing Tour with Dinner: $66
  • San Jose Evening Tour with Dinner: $77
  • Arenal Volcano Full-Day Combo Tour with Lunch and Dinner: $160

Local Transportation

Antigua Guatemala's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $9.88 per person, per day on transportation in Antigua Guatemala.

To get around in San Jose, the average visitor spends $17 per day, per person. This includes the costs of taxi rides and private drivers as well as public transportation, which tends to be much more affordable.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Antigua Guatemala $9.88
    San Jose $17

Typical Local Transportation prices in San Jose

Some typical examples of transportation costs in San Jose are as follows:


  • Taxi from SJO
    $20
  • Local Bus
    $2.21

Hired Cars and Shuttles in San Jose

Also for San Jose, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Round Trip Transfer From San Jose Airport To Dreams Las Mareas Guanacaste: $779
  • Private roundtrip transfers from San Jose Intl Airport to Guanacaste Hotels: $700
  • Round trip transfer from San Jose Airport to La Fortuna/Arenal: $373
  • One Way Private transfer from San Jose Intl Airport to Guanacaste Hotels: $350
  • Private transfer from Corcovado Puntarenas to Hotels in San Jose or the Airport: $340
  • San José Airport (SJC) to San Francisco - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $321
  • Private Transfer - Juan Santa María International Airport to Uvita or Dominical: $320
  • Private Transfer from San Jose to Puerto Viejo, Limon: $299
  • Private Transfer San José to Arenal with stop in Poas & La Paz Waterfall: $297
  • Transfer TO or FROM SJO Airport to Samara Beach: $292
  • Private transfer from San José or SJO Airport to Liberia up to 5 passengers: $280
  • Private One Way Transfer from Manuel Antonio to Monteverde: $280

Is it cheaper to fly into Antigua Guatemala or San Jose?

Prices for flights to both San Jose and Antigua Guatemala change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Entertainment

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Antigua Guatemala can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $12 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.

In San Jose, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $14 per person, per day.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Antigua Guatemala $12
    San Jose $14

Tours and Activities in Antigua Guatemala

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Antigua Guatemala.

  • 2-Day Kayak and Hike Adventure Package from Antigua: $199
  • 3-Day Tour of Lake Atitlan & Chichicastenango Market: $180
  • Antigua ATV Coffee Tour: $39
  • Antigua ATV Cultural Adventure: $55
  • Antigua ATV Mountain Adventure: $66
  • Antigua ATV Sunset Tour: $59
  • Antigua ATV Villages Tour: $62
  • Antigua Guatemala Walking Group Tour: $26
  • Antigua Market Culture and Cuisine Tour: $20
  • Antigua Walking Tour: $22
  • Antigua Walking Tour Morning and Afternoon: $18
  • Antigua old city Walking tour: $8.00

Tours and Activities in San Jose

For San Jose, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • 1 Night in Tortuguero + Tour to the Tortuguero National Park: $555
  • 11-Day Tour from Monteverde Cloud Forest and Tortuguero, Arenal Volcano and Manuel Antonio National Parks: $1,693
  • 13 Days - Fly & Drive - Touring Costa Rica: $2,770
  • 3 in 1 Eco Tour Rain Forest Aerial Tram, River Cruise & Nature Walk Private Tour: $315
  • 3-Day Monteverde Arenal Volcano and Manuel Antonio Park Tour All Inclusive: $485
  • 3-Day Tortuguero National Park Tour from San Jose: $355
  • 3-Day Tour to Tortuguero National Park from San Jose: $708
  • 3-Days Eco Adventure Tortuguero National Park walking & Canoe Tour All Inclusive: $390
  • 4 Days Adventure in Costa Rica's Eco-tourism Destinations All Inclusive: $725
  • 4-Day Adventure in Tortuguero National Park: $465
  • 4-Day Arenal Volcano Monteverde and Manuel Antonio Park Tour All Inclusive: $570
  • 5-Hour Guided VIP City Bus Tour from San Jose: $66

Alcohol

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Antigua Guatemala, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $9.10.

Typically, people visiting San Jose spend on average $11 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Antigua Guatemala $9.10
    San Jose $11

Sample the Local Flavors in San Jose

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in San Jose:

  • San Jose Bar Hunt: Sweet San Jose Bar Crawl: $12


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Antigua Guatemala and San Jose, we can see that San Jose is more expensive. And not only is Antigua Guatemala much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Antigua Guatemala would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Antigua Guatemala and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in San Jose would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in San Jose than you might in Antigua Guatemala.

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Antigua Guatemala vs. San Jose Travel Comparison

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