Should you visit Guatemala City or Bocas del Toro?
Should I visit Guatemala City or Bocas del Toro? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the data, which all comes from actual travelers.
Referred to by the locals as "Guate," Guatemala City is the largest and most modern city in Guatemala, as well as its capital. While the atmosphere of the place is big, dirty, and dangerous with city fumes and skyscrapers, it is the hub of the country. It is the place where travelers first step foot into Guatemala and, though it is a place of modern chaos, it does have some of the best galleries and museums as well as a selection of bars, cafes, and restaurants.
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.
Which city is cheaper, Bocas del Toro or Guatemala City?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Guatemala City is $36, while the average daily cost in Bocas del Toro is $61. 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 Guatemala City and Bocas del Toro in more detail.
If you're traveling alone, you may be able to find a budget hotel or hostel for around $19. But for two people in a standard two-person hotel room in Guatemala City the cost is $38 on average.
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.
On average, meal and food prices in Guatemala City cost around $12 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 $4.80.
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.
Meals for one day
Guatemala City $12
Bocas del Toro $22
Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Guatemala City
Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Guatemala City.
Taste Antigua Guatemala Walking Food Tour:
Guatemala Food Tour from Guatemala City:
Small-Group Cooking Class in Antigua from Guatemala City:
Antigua Market, Cooking Class and Choco Museum from Guatemala City:
Typical Food prices in Bocas del Toro
Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Bocas del Toro:
The average price of local transportation around Guatemala City is $4.96 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.
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.
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Guatemala City
Some specific examples of transportation prices in Guatemala City:
Private Transfer from Guatemala City to Coban:
Ground Transfer Guatemala City To Panajachel, Lake Atitlan:
Private Transfer from Guatemala City to Lake Atitlán:
Transfer from Airport to Antigua:
Private Airport Transfer: Guatemala to La Aurora International Airport (GUA):
Private Transfer from La Aurora Airport to Antigua Guatemala:
Airport transfer from Guatemala City airport to Antigua:
Collective Transfer From Guatemala City to La Aurora Airport:
Shared Arrival Transfer: Guatemala City Airport to Antigua:
Shared Arrival Transfer: Guatemala City Airport to Hotels:
Shared Departure Transfer: Guatemala City Hotels to Airport:
Typical Local Transportation prices in Bocas del Toro
Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Bocas del Toro:
Guatemala City's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $0.97 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.
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.
Tours and Activities in Guatemala City
Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Guatemala City are as follows:
11-Day Mayan Ruins Tour: Guatemala and Copán:
2 Day Tour Share and Private to Copan and Quirigua:
2 Day Tour: Chichicastenango Market and Lake Atitlan from Guatemala City:
2-Day Chichicastenango and Lake Atitlan Tour from Guatemala City or Antigua:
2-Day Tour: Auto Safari Chapín Zoo and Monterrico Black Sand Beach from Guatemala City or Antigua:
3-Day Tour of Cobán and Semuc Champey from Guatemala City:
4-Day Tour: Guatemala City, Antigua, Chichicastenango Market and Lake Atitlan:
5-Day Tour from Antigua, Chichicastenango, Panajachel and Santiago Atitlán:
6-Day Tour: Traditional Guatemala Including Antigua, Chichicastenango Market, Lake Atitlan and Tikal:
8-Day Best of Guatemala Tour: Antigua, Pacaya Volcano, Lake Atitlan and Tikal Ruins:
Acatenango Volcano Overnight Adventure from Guatemala City:
Antigua City Tour from Guatemala City:
Typical Entertainment prices in Bocas del Toro
For Bocas del Toro, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:
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:
The average person spends about $5.50 on alcoholic beverages in Guatemala City per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.
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.
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Guatemala City and Bocas del Toro, we can see that Bocas del Toro is more expensive. And not only is Guatemala City much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Guatemala City would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Guatemala City 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 Bocas del Toro would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Bocas del Toro than you might in Guatemala City.
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