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?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

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

Where Should I go: Antigua Guatemala or San Jose?

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.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Adventure Tours to Guatemala, The Best Eco Tours in Guatemala, The Best Budget Tours to Costa Rica, and The Best Tours for Seniors to Costa Rica.


Which place 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 $63, while the average daily cost in San Jose is $90. 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 destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Antigua Guatemala and San Jose in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Antigua Guatemala $22
    San Jose $49
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Antigua Guatemala $44
    San Jose $98
Compare Hotels in Antigua Guatemala and San Jose

Looking for a hotel in Antigua Guatemala or San Jose? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Antigua Guatemala


Hotels in San Jose


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Antigua Guatemala Hotel Prices and San Jose Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Antigua Guatemala $12
    San Jose $19

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Antigua Guatemala

Also for Antigua Guatemala, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Transfer from La Antigua Guatemala to Monterrico (One Way): $260
  • Transfer from Antigua to the Airport: $80
  • Transfer from Antigua Guatemala to La Aurora Airport: $30
  • Transfer Guatemala City to Aurora to Antigua Guatemala: $130
  • Private Transfer from Antigua Guatemala to Puerto Quetzal Port: $27
  • Private Ground Transfer From Antigua To Guatemala City Airport: $23
  • Guatemala: Antigua and Lago Atitlan Shuttle Transfer: $25
  • From Guatemala City: One-way Shared Transfer to Antigua: $20

Typical Local Transportation Prices in San Jose

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


  • Taxi from SJO
    $25
  • Local Bus
    $2.72

Hired Cars and Shuttles in San Jose

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

  • Private transfer from San Jose or Airport with welcome service to Tortuguero: $300
  • Private Transfer from San Jose Airport to Guanacaste Hotels: $299
  • Private One Way Transfer from Manuel Antonio to Monteverde: $280
  • Transfer from San Jose Airport CR (SJO) to Arenal La Fortuna Hotels: $279
  • Private transfer from San Jose or Airport with welcome service to Tambor beach: $276
  • Private Transfer From San Jose to Cahuita With 2 Stops: $272
  • Private transfer from San Jose Airport welcome service to Manuel Antonio Quepos: $269
  • Private Transfer from San Jose downtown to Liberia Airport: $267
  • Private transfer from San Jose or Airport with welcome service to Samara Beach: $265
  • Private Transfer: $260
  • Private transfer from San Jose Airport welcome service to La Fortuna Arenal: $259
  • Private Transfer Airport or San Jose hotels to Puerto Viejo Limon: $259

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.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Antigua Guatemala $14
    San Jose $18
Typical Food Prices in Antigua Guatemala

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


  • Lunch
    $3.22
  • Lunch
    $7.72

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:

  • Make your own Mayan Pepian - Cooking class: $69
  • Antigua: Cooking Class with Local Family: $74
  • Street Food Tour Around Antigua: $75
  • Market food tour and tortilla workshop: $79
  • Market and Mayan Cooking Class: $80
  • Guatemalan Cooking Class & Market Tour: $85
  • Foodie & street food tour: $85
  • Authentic Guatemalan Cooking Class in Antigua: $90
  • Private Cooking Class of Typical Guatemalan Dishes: $95
  • Guatemalan Cooking Class and Market Tour: $98
  • From Guatemala City: Guatemala Cooking Class Tour: $110
  • Pacaya Volcano Luxury Sunset Horseback Riding Tour/ Dinner Cooked by-Lava Chef: $295

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:

  • Bites and Sights: Walking Food Tour in San Jose : $34
  • Tropical Cooking Classes: $52
  • San Jose By Night Tour: Farm to Table Dinner & Cocktails Classes: $57
  • San Jose Bites and Sights Walking Food Tour and visit Gold Museum : $60
  • Half-Day San Jose Evening Bus Tour with Dinner and Pickup: $76
  • Explore San Jose By Night: Food and Culture Tour with Local Dinner: $80
  • Arenal Volcano Full-Day Combo Tour with Lunch and Dinner: $179

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Antigua Guatemala $15
    San Jose $21

Tours and Activities in Antigua Guatemala

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

  • ¡Pacaya Volcano Tour from Antigua!: $100
  • 2-Day Kayak and Hike Adventure Package from Antigua: $219
  • 2-Day Shared Hiking Tour to Acatenango Volcano from Antigua: $125
  • 2-Day Shared Hiking Tour to Acatenango Volcano from Antigua: $110
  • 2-Day Tour of Lake Atitlan & Chichicastenango Market: $220
  • 2-day tour to Acatenango Volcano: $57
  • ANTIGUA Villages Tour: $72
  • ATV Cultural & Adventure Tour: Shared Antigua Villages Experience: $90
  • ATV or UTV Coffee Tour in Antigua Guatemala: $100
  • Acatenango Overnight Hike Multiday Tour: $116
  • Acatenango Volcano Overnight Hiking from Antigua - 2 Days Private Tour: $215
  • Acatenango Volcano Tour with Overnight from Antigua: $99

Tours and Activities in San Jose

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

  • Poas Volcano National Park Tour and Bird watching in Costa Rica: $205
  • Street Food Walking Tour in Downtown San Jose: $60
  • 2-Hour Downtown San Jose Walking Tour: $33
  • 2-Hour Orosi Nocturnal Tour: $33
  • 3 in 1 Eco Tour Rain Forest Aerial Tram, River Cruise & Nature Walk Private Tour: $299
  • 6 in 1 RainForest Adventure From San Jose: $189
  • A taste of Aquiares - 2 hours Coffee Tour: $42
  • AERIAL TRAM TOUR - HALF DAY PASS Rainforest Adventures Braulio Ca: $78
  • AWA Water Museum - Waterfall Adventure (Organic Food Experience): $98
  • Arenal Volcano & Baldi Hot Springs one day tour from San Jose: $199
  • Arenal Volcano Eco Tour & Baldi Hot Springs Private Tour from San Jose: $285
  • Arenal Volcano Experience Full-Day Tour from San Jose: $159

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Antigua Guatemala $11
    San Jose $17

Sample the Local Flavors in Antigua Guatemala

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Antigua Guatemala:

  • Macadamia Chocolate and Wine Tour on ATV or UTV: $85

Sample the Local Flavors in San Jose

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in San Jose:

  • Bar Crawl in Downtown San Jose: $38
  • Wine Tour and Tasting: $85
  • Bar Crawl in San Jose in a Deluxe Party Bus: $100


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.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Antigua Guatemala Expensive? and Is San Jose Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Antigua Guatemala or San Jose?

San Jose has a larger population, and is about 9 times larger than the population of Antigua Guatemala. When comparing the sizes of Antigua Guatemala and San Jose, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.