Should you visit Belize City or San Juan del Sur?
Should I visit Belize City or San Juan del Sur? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the data, which all comes from actual travelers.
Belize City is the largest city in Belize. It was once the capital of the country, but due to massive hurricane damage in 1961, the country decided to relocate it capital. With a population of 57,000 people, Belize City is located right at the mouth of the Haulover Creek.
This gorgeous tropical city experiences a monsoon climate – meaning there are warm and humid conditions throughout the course of the year. There is a wet season from May to January, so plan for a little bit of rain in that time.
San Juan del Sur
San Juan del Sur is a popular port destination on the Pacific coast of southwest Nicaragua. The town was once a quaint fishing village but has grown into a tourist town with activities for visitors that include surfing, fishing, and, of course, partying. The town has a population of just over 15,000, most of whom are either fishermen or involved in the tourism industry. There is also a large expat community from the United States, Canada, and Europe.
Which city is cheaper, San Juan del Sur or Belize City?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Belize City is $70, while the average daily cost in San Juan del Sur is $13. 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 Belize City and San Juan del Sur in more detail.
An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $78 in Belize City For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.
Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $14 for a double occupancy room in San Juan del Sur.
While meal prices in Belize City can vary, the average travelers spends about $22 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in Belize City should cost around $8.80 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in Belize City is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.
The average traveler spends about $3.30 per day in San Juan del Sur for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.
Meals for one day
Belize City $22
San Juan del Sur $3.30
Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Belize City
For Belize City, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:
Private Mayan Cooking and Tasting Experience in Cayo:
See and Taste Belize Cave Tubing and Food Tour:
Belize Cultural Food Tour Altun Ha Ruin Included:
Mestizo Food Tour (Rum & Ruin Included):
Food Tours and Cooking Classes in San Juan del Sur
Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in San Juan del Sur.
Food Tour - Nicaragua Gastronomy:
Belize City'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 $4.64 per person, per day on transportation in Belize City.
The average price of local transportation around San Juan del Sur is $0.65 per person, per day. As this average includes both taxis and public transport, keep in mind that the prices of private drivers and taxis are significantly more expensive than public transportation.
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Belize City
Also for Belize City, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Belize Travelcation Airport Shuttle & Transfers:
Belize: Belize City to/from Placencia/Hopkins Transfer:
Helicopter Transfer to Grand Caribe Heliport, Ambergris Caye:
Private Arrival Transfer: Belize International Airport to San Ignacio Hotels:
Private Transfer: Belize Airports or Water Taxi Terminal to Hotel in San Ignacio:
Hired Cars and Shuttles in San Juan del Sur
Some specific examples of transportation prices in San Juan del Sur:
One-Way Private Transfer from San Juan del Sur to Managua:
Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Belize City can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $23 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.
San Juan del Sur's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $4.85 per person, per day. This cost can vary widely by the type of activity, however, as this includes admission tickets, day tours, museums, and other things to do.
Tours and Activities in Belize City
For Belize City, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:
Belize City and Rum Factory Tour:
Downtown Belize City Tour (Rum Factory included):
Belize City Tour:
Kukumba Beach and Belize City Tour:
Cave Kayaking v.i.v.Tour:
Zipline Adventures from Belize City:
Belize Party Bus Ultimate Evening Experience Fridays Only:
Cave Kayaking for Cruise Ship Passengers:
Saint Herman's Cave Hiking and Blue Hole Tour from Belize City:
Private Snuba Experience in Rendezvous Cay:
Altun Ha Mayan Site tour from Belize City:
Tours and Activities in San Juan del Sur
Here are a few actual costs in San Juan del Sur for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:
Mombacho Volcano Hike and Ziplining Adventure from San Juan del Sur:
Open Bar Sunset Cruise in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua:
SJDS PORT EXCURSION: Zipline and Adventure Park:
San Juan del Sur Shore Excursion: Private Masaya Volcano and Catarina Tour:
Typically, people visiting Belize City spend on average $9.58 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting San Juan del Sur may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $2.54 per day on alcoholic beverages.
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Belize City and San Juan del Sur, we can see that Belize City is more expensive. And not only is San Juan del Sur much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to San Juan del Sur would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in San Juan del Sur 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 Belize City would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Belize City than you might in San Juan del Sur.
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