A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Flores vs. San Jose for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Flores or San Jose?

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

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Flores and San Jose 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.


The town of Flores is located in Peten, Guatemala. The main hub is located on an island on Lago Peten Itza, which is connected to the mainland by a causeway. On the other side of the causeway are the towns of Santa Elena and San Benito, however, all three are often referred to as Flores. Most people visit the area for its proximity to the ancient Mayan ruins of Tikal, though the town itself is also charming with colonial buildings and historic churches lining the cobbled streets.

San Jose

San Jose is the capital city of Costa Rica and is likely to be your first and last stop in a visit to the country. The city is situated in the Central Valley and is surrounded by beautiful mountains and valleys, making for a beautiful flight in. The city has an elevation of 1200 meters and sits on a plateau with a beautiful backdrop of lush green forest. Half of the people in Costa Rica reside in the country's capital city. You are likely to stay only a day or two, but there are a handful of things to do and see including museums and markets. You will also find many embassies, as well as the University of Costa Rica in San Jose.

Which city is cheaper, San Jose or Flores?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Flores is $26, while the average daily cost in San Jose is $56. 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 Flores and San Jose in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Flores $6.92
    San Jose $30
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Flores $14
    San Jose $60

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Flores $6.32
    San Jose $16

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Flores

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

  • Tikal National Park Tour with Guide and Transfer: $45
  • Round-Trip Private Transfer to Tikal from Flores: $90

Typical Local Transportation prices in San Jose

Some typical examples of transportation costs in San Jose are as follows:

  • Taxi from SJO
  • Local Bus

Hired Cars and Shuttles in San Jose

Also for San Jose, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Transfer in Private Vehicle from SanJose City to SanJose Juan Santamaría Airport: $30
  • Transfer from San Jose Airport CR (SJO) to Arenal La Fortuna Hotels: $145
  • Transfer from Norman Y. Mineta San José International Airport to San Jose: $75
  • Transfer from Manuel Antonio to San Jose Airport: $169
  • Transfer TO or FROM SJO Airport to Samara Beach: $292
  • Transfer TO or FROM SJO Airport to Puerto Viejo Talamanca Limón: $275
  • Transfer From San Jose To La Fortuna, Arenal: $162
  • San José to Norman Y. Mineta San José Airport (SJC) - Departure Private Transfer: $75
  • San José Airport (SJC) to San Francisco - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $321
  • San José Airport (SJC) to San Francisco - Arrival Private Transfer: $160
  • San Jose Round Trip Chauffeur Driven Airport Transfer by Executive Sedan: $130
  • San Jose Round Trip Chauffeur Driven Airport Transfer by Executive SUV: $160

Is it cheaper to fly into Flores or San Jose?

Prices for flights to both San Jose and Flores 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
    Flores $10
    San Jose $10

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in San Jose

For San Jose, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Vip Evening Sightseeing Tour with Dinner: $66
  • Half-Day San Jose Evening Bus Tour with Dinner and Pickup: $66
  • Arenal Volcano Full-Day Combo Tour with Lunch and Dinner: $160

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Flores $16
    San Jose $13
Typical Entertainment prices in Flores

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Flores's activities, tours, and tickets:

  • Tikal Entrance (for 2)
  • Map of Tikal

Tours and Activities in Flores

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

  • 2-Day Mayan Ruins Tour of Tikal and Yaxha from Flores: $302
  • Bird Observation Tour: $117
  • Bird Watch Tour in Ixpanpajul, Tikal or Taxha: $274
  • Birding Tour In Tikal: $130
  • Crater Azul, Full day Tour, From FLORES, Petén.: $171
  • Day Tour to Ixpanpajul Natural Park: $171
  • Day Tour to Petén Itzá Lake and Petencito Zoo: $123
  • Day Trip from Flores with Sunrise in Tikal and Archeology Tour: $80
  • El Mirador And Crater Azul Tour From Flores 2d / 1n: $703
  • El Mirador And Tikal Tour From Flores 2d / 1n: $670
  • El Mirador And Yaxha Tour From Flores City 2d / 1 N: $650
  • El Mirador Tour By Helicopter From Flores: $482

Tours and Activities in San Jose

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

  • 1 Night in Tortuguero + Tour to the Tortuguero National Park: $555
  • 11-Day Tour from Monteverde Cloud Forest and Tortuguero, Arenal Volcano and Manuel Antonio National Parks: $1,693
  • 13 Days - Fly & Drive - Touring Costa Rica: $2,770
  • 3 in 1 Eco Tour Rain Forest Aerial Tram, River Cruise & Nature Walk Private Tour: $315
  • 3-Day Monteverde Arenal Volcano and Manuel Antonio Park Tour All Inclusive: $485
  • 3-Day Tour to Tortuguero National Park from San Jose: $708
  • 3-Days Eco Adventure Tortuguero National Park walking & Canoe Tour All Inclusive: $390
  • 4 Days Adventure in Costa Rica's Eco-tourism Destinations All Inclusive: $725
  • 4-Day Adventure in Tortuguero National Park: $465
  • 4-Day Arenal Volcano Monteverde and Manuel Antonio Park Tour All Inclusive: $570
  • 5-Hour Guided VIP City Bus Tour from San Jose: $66
  • 6 in 1 RainForest Adventure From San Jose: $139

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Flores $17
    San Jose $10
Typical Alcohol prices in Flores

Some typical examples of the costs for nightlife and alcohol in Flores are as follows:

  • Two Margaritas

Sample the Local Flavors in San Jose

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in San Jose:

  • San Jose Bar Hunt: Sweet San Jose Bar Crawl: $12

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

Budget Your Trip

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Flores vs. San Jose Travel Comparison

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