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

Should you visit Copan or Santa Elena?

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

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Copan and Santa Elena can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Where Should I go: Copan or Santa Elena?


If you are a lover of history, or just really want to tap into your inner Indiana Jones, a trip to Copan, Honduras is right up your alley. Located in western Honduras, the cobblestone lined streets and white adobe buildings topped with red roofs provide the beautiful backdrop to this once powerful city.

Occupied by the Maya for 2,000 years, Copan was the ruling city in the southern Mayan kingdom. Settled nicely in a fertile river valley among rolling hills, this city is absolutely fascinating and the perfect place to explore history.

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 place is cheaper, Santa Elena or Copan?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Copan is $90, while the average daily cost in Santa Elena is $88. 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 Copan and Santa Elena in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Copan $23
    Santa Elena $53
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Copan $46
    Santa Elena $106
Compare Hotels in Copan and Santa Elena

Looking for a hotel in Copan or Santa Elena? 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 Copan

Hotels in Santa Elena

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.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Copan $78
    Santa Elena $11

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Santa Elena

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

  • Direct transfer from Monteverde to San Jose, English Speaking Driver: $181
  • One Way Private Transfer from Monteverde - Liberia: $276
  • One way Private Transfer from Monteverde to Jaco up to 5 passengers.: $320
  • One-Way Private Transfer: Monteverde to Quepos and Manuel Antonio: $276
  • Peñas Blancas to Liberia Airport (LIR) Departure Private Transfer: $38
  • Private Transfer From Monteverde To La Fortuna From 1 to 6 passengers: $211
  • Private Transfer From Monteverde To La Fortuna From 11 to 15 passengers: $402
  • Private Transfer From Monteverde To La Fortuna From 7 to 10 passengers: $268
  • Private Transfer From Monteverde to San Jose With 2 Stops: $214
  • Private Transfer Lake crossing from Monteverde To Arenal From 1 to 6 passengers: $249
  • Shuttle Transfer Lake crossing from Monteverde To Arenal: $27

Is it cheaper to fly into Copan or Santa Elena?

Prices for flights to both Santa Elena and Copan 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 Meals for one day
    Copan $21
    Santa Elena $23

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Copan $25
    Santa Elena $29

Tours and Activities in Santa Elena

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

  • Cloud Forest hanging bridges with a local naturalist tour guide: $20
  • Admission Ticket to Las Pumas Rescue Center : $20
  • Selvatura Park: Herpetarium Tour in Monteverde: $22
  • Butterfly Garden Tour in Monteverde: $22
  • Tour in Monteverde Curi-cancha reserve : $25
  • Wildlife Tour in Curicancha : $25
  • Guided Butterfly Conservatory Tour in Costa Rica: $26
  • Monteverde Cloud Forest Tour: $28
  • Adventure Day - Outdoor activities for Family and Friends Special Package.: $29
  • Night Adventures in Monteverde: $30
  • Curicancha wildlife & birdwatching tour: $30
  • CuriCancha Reserve Admission Ticket: $33

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Copan $7.23
    Santa Elena $5.97

When comparing the travel costs between Copan and Santa Elena, we can see that Copan is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in Central America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

Budget Your Trip is all about finding out how much everything costs so that you can travel cheaper and longer. Created by avid travelers Laurie and Bryan, our goal is to help you plan your next trip on the right budget. With average daily travel costs that are calculated from the budgets of real travelers, plus an analysis of hotel and tour prices, you can find out how much money you need to plan your next adventure. We also have plenty of travel advice, accommodation reviews, and activity suggestions.
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Copan vs. Santa Elena Travel Comparison

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