A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Belize City vs. Santa Elena for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Belize City or Santa Elena?

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

Should I visit Belize City or Santa Elena? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Belize City

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.

Santa Elena

Santa Elena is a cute town, and the closest to the Monteverde Cloud Forest. It's one of the most popular destinations in Costa Rica, and is a great place to experience the cloud forest and see some of country's unique wildlife.

In the Monteverde Cloud Forest you have a good chance of seeing rare quetzals which are the national bird of Costa Rica. Other common animals include white-faced capuchin monkeys, howler monkeys, orange-kneed tarantulas, any of 8-9 species of hummingbirds, and sloth.

Santa Elena is about 1,400 meters above sea level and has a humid and damp environment. The average yearly temperature is 64 degrees Fahrenheit and the average rainfall is 3,000 millimetres. Humidity can be anywhere between 74% and 97%.

Which city is cheaper, Santa Elena 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 Santa Elena is $54. 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. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Belize City and Santa Elena in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Belize City $39
    Santa Elena $32
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Belize City $78
    Santa Elena $64

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Belize City $4.61
    Santa Elena $6.53

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Belize City

Also for Belize City, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Helicopter Transfer to Grand Caribe Heliport, Ambergris Caye: $1,493
  • Private Arrival Transfer: Belize International Airport to San Ignacio Hotels: $160
  • Tours&airport transfer: $128
  • Private Transfer: Belize Airports or Water Taxi Terminal to Hotel in San Ignacio: $96
  • Belize Travelcation Airport Shuttle & Transfers: $28

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Santa Elena

Also for Santa Elena, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • One Way Private Transfer from Monteverde to Samara: $262
  • One Way Private Transfer from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio: $265

Is it cheaper to fly into Belize City or Santa Elena?

Prices for flights to both Santa Elena and Belize City 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
    Belize City $21
    Santa Elena $14

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: $70
  • See and Taste Belize Cave Tubing and Food Tour: $77
  • Belize Cultural Food Tour Altun Ha Ruin Included: $95
  • Mestizo Food Tour (Rum & Ruin Included): $125

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Belize City $23
    Santa Elena $18

Tours and Activities in Belize City

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

  • 4-Day Aktun Tunichil Muknal and Lamanai City Tour: $560
  • 5-Day Belize Sea and Land Adventure: $799
  • 7-Night Tour Including The Orchid Garden Eco-Village Lodge and Ambergris Caye: $1,399
  • 9-Day Tour Including Tikal Islander and Ambergris Caye: $1,499
  • All Day Reef fishing tour with lunch from Belize City: $540
  • Altun Ha & Belize City Tour from Caye Caulker: $163
  • Altun Ha Cave Tubing and Zip line Tours from Belize City: $208
  • Altun Ha City v.i.v Tour: $79
  • Altun Ha Maya & Belize City Adventure: $85
  • Altun Ha Mayan Ruins and River Wallace and Manatee Watch Tour: $85
  • Altun Ha Mayan Site tour from Belize City: $70
  • Altun Ha and Belize City Tour from San Pedro: $180

Tours and Activities in Santa Elena

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Santa Elena.

  • 100% Adventure Park Combo: Zipline, Superman, and Mega Tarzan Tour in Monteverde: $58
  • Canopy Tour Plus Night Walk: $111
  • Canopy Tour Plus Walk in Monteverde Cloud Forest: $164
  • Canopy plus Coffee Tour 3 in 1 (Coffee Chocolate and sugar cane): $121
  • Ceibal Day Tour from Flores: $100
  • Coffee Tour 3 in 1 (Coffee Chocolate and sugar cane): $56
  • Crocodile Tour on the Tarcoles River from Monteverde: $318
  • El Mirador Helicopter Tour: $535
  • Guatemala Birding Tour at Tikal and Uaxactún National Park: $643
  • Horseback Riding Tour Plus Coffee Tour 3 in 1 (Coffee Chocolate and sugar cane): $133
  • Horseback Riding Tour in Monteverde: $81
  • Horseback Riding Tour in Monteverde Plus Walk in Monteverde Cloud Forest: $181

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Belize City $9.51
    Santa Elena $3.65


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Belize City and Santa Elena, we can see that Belize City is more expensive. And not only is Santa Elena much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Santa Elena would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Santa Elena 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 Santa Elena.

Budget Your Trip

Budget Your Trip has average travel costs for thousands of cities around the world, all provided by other travelers. You can also register to organize your spending by category and location with graphs, maps, charts, and tables.

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Belize City vs. Santa Elena Travel Comparison

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