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

Should you visit Flores 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 Flores 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: Flores or Santa Elena?


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.

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 Flores?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Flores is $32, 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 Flores and Santa Elena in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Flores $8.52
    Santa Elena $52
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Flores $17
    Santa Elena $104
Compare Hotels in Flores and Santa Elena

Looking for a hotel in Flores 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 Flores

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.

Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Flores Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Flores $7.77
    Santa Elena $11

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Flores

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

  • Round-Trip Exclusive Transfer to Tikal from Flores: $125
  • Private Transfer from Guatemala City to Puerto Quetzal Port: $45
  • Bus transfer from Flores, Guatemala to Belize City: $20

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Santa Elena

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

  • Shuttle Transfer Lake crossing from Monteverde To Arenal: $27
  • Private Transfer Service From Monteverde To Arenal La Fortuna: $305
  • Private Transfer Lake crossing from Monteverde To Arenal From 1 to 6 passengers: $249
  • Private Transfer From Monteverde to San Jose With 2 Stops: $211
  • Private Transfer From Monteverde To La Fortuna From 7 to 10 passengers: $268
  • Private Transfer From Monteverde To La Fortuna From 11 to 15 passengers: $402
  • Private Transfer From Monteverde To La Fortuna From 1 to 6 passengers: $211
  • Peñas Blancas to Liberia Airport (LIR) Departure Private Transfer: $38
  • One-Way Private Transfer: Monteverde to Quepos and Manuel Antonio: $276
  • One way Private Transfer from Monteverde to Jaco up to 5 passengers.: $320
  • One Way Private Transfer from Monteverde - Liberia: $276
  • Direct transfer from Monteverde to San Jose, English Speaking Driver: $179

Is it cheaper to fly into Flores or Santa Elena?

Prices for flights to both Santa Elena 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 $13
    Santa Elena $23

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Santa Elena

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

  • Farm Tour & Farm to Table Dinner: $50

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Flores $20
    Santa Elena $29
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
  • 2-Day Tour to Tikal and Yaxhá from Flores Island: $220
  • 4 Hours Private Tour to see the sunset at El Rey Canek Viewpoint: $100
  • 5-Day Trekking To El Mirador From Flores - All Included Camping Tour: $715
  • ATM Belize Cave Exclusive Day Tour from Flores Guatemala: $350
  • ATM Belize Cave Group Day Tour from Flores Guatemala : $250
  • Admire The Sunrise In Tikal - Private Tour From Flores: $225
  • Bird Observation Tour: $117
  • Discover "Crater Azul" & Its Crystal-Clear Waters On A Full-Day Tour From Flores: $220
  • Enjoy The Sunset On Top Of A Mayan Pyramid In Yaxha - Private Tour From Flores: $199
  • From 2-Day Tikal & Yaxhá Tour: $299
  • From El Pucte Blue Crater Private Day Tour: $207

Tours and Activities in Santa Elena

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

  • Cloud Forest hanging bridges Treetops Tour : $20
  • Curi-field Bird-Watching tour semi private: $40
  • Wildlife Tour in Curicancha : $20
  • 100% Adventure Park Combo: Zipline, Superman, and Mega Tarzan Tour in Monteverde: $57
  • 3 hours of the Longest and Highest Extreme Zip line Experience in Monteverde: $80
  • 5-Hour Birdwatching and Photography Tour in Monteverde: $100
  • 5-in-1 Monteverde Cloud Forest Experience with Ziplining and Hanging Bridges: $232
  • Admission Ticket to Las Pumas Rescue Center : $20
  • Adventure Day - Outdoor activities for Family and Friends Special Package.: $29
  • Adventure Park High Ropes Course : $69
  • Bird Watching Tour in Monteverde: $75
  • Bird-Watching private tour: $80

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Flores $20
    Santa Elena $5.96
Typical Alcohol prices in Flores

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

  • Two Margaritas

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

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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Flores vs. Santa Elena Travel Comparison

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