Should you visit Guatemala City or Jaco?
Should I visit Guatemala City or Jaco? 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.
Jaco is a beach destination on the Central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. This resort city is located in the county of Garabito in the Puntarenas province. It has a population of about 10,000 residents and a 2.5 mile long beach that is an excellent surfing destination.
Because Jaco is located on the coast, it's weather is influenced by the water. The climate is humid with a relative humidity of about 80%, but climbing to 90% in the month of June. The temperature is usually between 85 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit at night. There are distinct wet and dry seasons with August through early December being the rainy season and late December through early April being the dry season. Rain is irregular during the rest of the year.
Which city is cheaper, Jaco 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 Jaco is $63. 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 Jaco 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 Jaco can vary by date, location, and type. Generally, the average cost for accommodation per person is $40, while a typical double-occupancy hotel room for two people will cost around $80.
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.
The average traveler spends about $13 per day in Jaco for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.
Meals for one day
Guatemala City $12
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 Jaco
For Jaco, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:
Taco Bar Dinner
Pizza & Smoothie Lunch
Breakfast Taco Bar
Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Jaco
For Jaco, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:
Traveling Spoon Ceviche Private Online Cooking Class:
Online Costa Rican Cooking Class with cookbook author Melissa Guzman:
Costa Rican cooking class with cookbook author Melissa Guzman:
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.
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Guatemala City
Some specific examples of transportation prices in Guatemala City:
Transfer from Airport to Antigua:
Shared Departure Transfer: Guatemala City Hotels to Airport:
Shared Arrival Transfer: Guatemala City Airport to Hotels:
Shared Arrival Transfer: Guatemala City Airport to Antigua:
Private Transfer from La Aurora Airport to Antigua Guatemala:
Private Transfer from Guatemala City to Lake Atitlán:
Private Transfer from Guatemala City to Coban:
Private Airport Transfer: Guatemala to La Aurora International Airport (GUA):
Ground Transfer Guatemala City To Panajachel, Lake Atitlan:
Collective Transfer From Guatemala City to La Aurora Airport:
Airport transfer from Guatemala City airport to Antigua:
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Jaco
Also for Jaco, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Transfer TO or FROM Jaco Beach Area to SJO Airport:
Jaco to Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) - Departure Private Transfer:
Jacó Private Transfer to San Jose Airport for 1 to 5 People:
Jaco Airport Transfers:
Private transfer from Jaco Beach to Hotels in San Jose or the Airport:
Private Departure Transfer: Jaco Beach to Juan Santamaría International Airport:
Transfer from Jaco to Monteverde up to 5 passengers:
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, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Jaco can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $39 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.
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 Jaco
Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Jaco's activities, tours, and tickets:
Tortuga Island Tour
Tours and Activities in Jaco
For Jaco, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:
High Ropes Course Adventure in Jaco:
4x4 Land Cruiser Ride to the Waterfalls Tour:
Jungle Crocodile Safari and Bird Watching Tour:
Rainforest Costa Rica Sunset Tour:
Guided Motorcycle Tour of Jaco:
Chocolate Experience by CRHR:
ATV Tour in Jaco:
Jacó beach horseback riding experience:
Rainforest Adventures Costa Rica Pacific Aerial Tram:
Jungle Waterfall and River Crossing ATV Tour at Jaco:
Waterfall Adventure Prohiker:
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.
Typically, people visiting Jaco spend on average $21 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
Typical Alcohol prices in Jaco
Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in Jaco:
Night at the Bar
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Guatemala City and Jaco, we can see that Jaco 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 Jaco would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Jaco than you might in Guatemala City.
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