A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Bocas del Toro vs. Puerto Viejo for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Bocas del Toro or Puerto Viejo?

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Bocas del Toro or Puerto Viejo, 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.

Bocas del Toro

The capital of the Bocas del Toro province, this city of the same name sits in the Caribbean West region of Panama. Bocas del Toro, or Bocas Town, is in the district of Bocas del Toro, which also includes the towns of Bastimentos, Cauchero, Punta Laurel, and Tierra Oscura. The district has a population of about 17,000 and covers a total area of 433.2 square kilometers, and the town has a population of about 13,000. The area is a tourist destination for its beautiful beaches, excellent snorkeling and diving, and interesting culture.

Puerto Viejo

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is a small coastal town in Caribbean Costa Rica in the province of Limon. There are two gorgeous National Parks nearby - Cahuita and Manzanillo, and it rains more than on the Pacific side, which is why it is so lush and green with the rainforest coming down to the sea. Clear water, coconut palms, great surf and a laid-back Caribbean atmosphere make Puerto Viejo a favorite among travelers. Located on about an hour south of Limon, Puerto Viejo is the center of activity between the smaller villages of Cahuita and Manzanillo. The relaxed, seaside town is framed by jungle, turquoise seas, banana plantations and scenic rivers. It's known for the Salsa Brava surf break and beaches like black-sand Playa Negra, but this burgeoning party town is no longer a destination only for intrepid surfers; it's bustling with tourist activity. Stylish eateries serve global fusion, and intentionally rustic bamboo bars pump dancehall and reggaeton. With its blend of Afro-Caribbean descendants, expat Europeans and indigenous Costa Ricans, Puerto Viejo charms visitors with a unique mix of people and cultures. Rastafari culture has a firm foothold in the town, and many Rastas sell handmade jewelry and other wares along the town's vibrant roadside. Nearby you'll find rainforest fruit and cacao farms and wide-open beaches. If you're looking to chill a little, party a little and eat a little, you've come to the right place.

Which city is cheaper, Puerto Viejo or Bocas del Toro?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Bocas del Toro is $61, while the average daily cost in Puerto Viejo is $85. 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 Bocas del Toro and Puerto Viejo in more detail.



Accommodation

The prices for places to stay in Bocas del Toro can vary by date, location, and type. Generally, the average cost for accommodation per person is $27, while a typical double-occupancy hotel room for two people will cost around $54.

Double occupancy rooms typically run around $88 in Puerto Viejo For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Bocas del Toro $27
    Puerto Viejo $44
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Bocas del Toro $54
    Puerto Viejo $88

Food

Food in Bocas del Toro costs travelers about $22 per day on average. Restaurants can vary significantly in price, so choose wisely if you're trying to save money. Fast food and street stalls are typically your cheapest options, which sit down restaurants can be significantly more expensive.

The average traveler spends about $20 per day in Puerto Viejo 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.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Bocas del Toro $22
    Puerto Viejo $20
Typical Food prices in Bocas del Toro

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Bocas del Toro:


  • Lunch
    $15
  • Breakfast
    $14

Local Transportation

Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Bocas del Toro than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $8.20 on transportation in Bocas del Toro on average per day.

Puerto Viejo'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 $28 per person, per day on transportation in Puerto Viejo.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Bocas del Toro $8.20
    Puerto Viejo $28
Typical Local Transportation prices in Bocas del Toro

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Bocas del Toro:


  • Water Taxi
    $3.00

Is it cheaper to fly into Bocas del Toro or Puerto Viejo?

Prices for flights to both Puerto Viejo and Bocas del Toro 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 expenses in Bocas del Toro, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $17 per day, per person.

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Puerto Viejo can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $23 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Bocas del Toro $17
    Puerto Viejo $23
Typical Entertainment prices in Bocas del Toro

For Bocas del Toro, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:


  • Island Boat Tour
    $25
  • Starfish Island Boat Trip
    $20
  • Yoga Class
    $5.00

Tours and Activities in Bocas del Toro

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Bocas del Toro.

  • Small-Group Speed Boat and Snorkel Tour from Bocas del Toro: $68

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 Bocas del Toro, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $9.48.

Typically, people visiting Puerto Viejo spend on average $8.72 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Bocas del Toro $9.48
    Puerto Viejo $8.72


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Bocas del Toro and Puerto Viejo, we can see that Puerto Viejo is more expensive. And not only is Bocas del Toro much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Bocas del Toro would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Bocas del Toro 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 Puerto Viejo would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Puerto Viejo than you might in Bocas del Toro.

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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Bocas del Toro vs. Puerto Viejo Travel Comparison

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