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

Should you visit Bocas del Toro or Tamarindo?

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


Tamarindo is a small beach town in the Guanacaste province of Costa Rica on the Pacific Coast. This town is usually sought out by surfers, fishers, couples, and families. There are delicious restaurants, beautiful beaches, and friendly Tico's and Tica's (local Costa Rican nicknames) everywhere.

Which city is cheaper, Tamarindo 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 Tamarindo is $77. 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 Tamarindo in more detail.


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.

A hotel room in Tamarindo is about $64 This assumes double occupancy and modest accommodations.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Bocas del Toro $27
    Tamarindo $32
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Bocas del Toro $54
    Tamarindo $64


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.

On average, meal and food prices in Tamarindo cost around $21 per person, per day. While this price can vary widely by location, the type of restaurant, and the amount of food ordered, a typical meal often costs around $8.40.

  • Food Meals for one day
    Bocas del Toro $22
    Tamarindo $21
Typical Food prices in Bocas del Toro

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

  • Lunch
  • Breakfast

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.

The average price of local transportation around Tamarindo is $44 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.

  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Bocas del Toro $8.20
    Tamarindo $44
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

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Tamarindo

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Tamarindo:

  • Transfer TO or FROM Tamarindo Area to SJO Airport: $325
  • Private transfer from Tamarindo to Hotels in San Jose or the Airport: $265
  • Volcano Adventure Sisisi Transfers & Tours Costa Rica: $155
  • Private Transfer to Tamarindo Beach from Liberia Airport: $100
  • Transfer Liberia to Tamarindo: $90
  • Private Round-Trip Transfer: Liberia Airport to Tamarindo with Free Drinks: $89
  • Liberia Airport Private Transfer To Or From Tamarindo: $86
  • Private Premium Transfer: From Tamarindo Zone: $85

Is it cheaper to fly into Bocas del Toro or Tamarindo?

Prices for flights to both Tamarindo 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.


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.

Tamarindo's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $11 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.

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Bocas del Toro $17
    Tamarindo $11
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
  • Starfish Island Boat Trip
  • Yoga Class

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

Tours and Activities in Tamarindo

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Tamarindo are as follows:

  • 2 Days & 2 Nights Diving Adventure: $1,750
  • 2.5 Hours Tamarindo ATV Snorkel Tour to Secluded Beaches: $77
  • 4 Hour Beach & Mountain Tamarindo ATV Adventure: $144
  • ATV Adventures: $85
  • ATV Tour at Tamarindo: $77
  • ATV Tour in Tamarindo: $92
  • ATV Zipline Tour from Tamarindo/Flamingo: $125
  • ATV and SUP Tour from Tamarindo Beach: $128
  • Afternoon Sailing Tour in Guanacaste: $85
  • Antares Sailing Adventures tour: $87
  • Arenal One Day Tour: $230
  • Blue Dolphin Sailing Adventure: $81


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 $9.49.

The average person spends about $8.87 on alcoholic beverages in Tamarindo per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Bocas del Toro $9.49
    Tamarindo $8.87

When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Bocas del Toro and Tamarindo, we can see that Tamarindo 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 Tamarindo would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Tamarindo than you might in Bocas del Toro.

Budget Your Trip

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Bocas del Toro vs. Tamarindo Travel Comparison

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