Should you visit Guatemala City or Leon?
Should I visit Guatemala City or Leon? 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.
Leon is one of the oldest city's in Nicaragua and you can see hints of its colonial past in the architecture around town. Tourism is not a major part of the economy in Leon, but the city is gaining popularity with budget travelers and backpackers and more recently tour groups are including Leon in their itinerary.
With a population of just over 200,000, Leon is the second largest city in Nicaragua, after Managua. During the university season the population grows dramatically as there is a heavy presence of students in Leon. It is a popular university town, and this young population gives the city plenty of energy and entertainment.
Which city is cheaper, Leon 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 Leon is $49. 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 Leon 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 average price for accommodation for two people in Leon is $26. This is for two people sharing a typical double occupancy hotel room.
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.
Leon food costs typically run travelers around $10 per day. Eating every meal in a nicer restaurant will drive the cost up, and grabbing fast food or casual meals will help you save money.
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:
Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Leon
Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Leon.
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.
The cost of a taxi ride in Leon is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $1.25 per person, per day, on local transportation in Leon.
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Guatemala City
Some specific examples of transportation prices in Guatemala City:
Airport transfer from Guatemala City airport to Antigua:
Collective Transfer From Guatemala City to La Aurora Airport:
Ground Transfer Guatemala City To Panajachel, Lake Atitlan:
Private Airport Transfer: Guatemala to La Aurora International Airport (GUA):
Private Transfer from Guatemala City to Coban:
Private Transfer from Guatemala City to Lake Atitlán:
Private Transfer from La Aurora Airport to Antigua Guatemala:
Shared Arrival Transfer: Guatemala City Airport to Antigua:
Shared Arrival Transfer: Guatemala City Airport to Hotels:
Shared Departure Transfer: Guatemala City Hotels to Airport:
Transfer from Airport to Antigua:
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Leon
Some specific examples of transportation prices in Leon:
León hotels to Del Bajio Airport (BJX) - Departure Private Transfer:
Reliable one-way transfer Guanajuato Leon International Airport to Hotel:
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.
Entertainment and activities in Leon typically cost an average of $4.83 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.
Tours and Activities in Guatemala City
Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Guatemala City are as follows:
Walking tour Guatemala City Downtown:
Half Day Antigua Guatemala Tour:
La Aurora Zoo Admission Ticket:
Half Day Guatemala City Tour:
Half Day Experience in Guatemala City:
Guatemala City Tour:
Guatemala City Afternoon Sightseeing Tour:
Private Tour: Antigua Guatemala Walking Tour from Antigua Guatemala:
Guatemala city walking tour:
UNESCO JEWELS: Antigua Half Day Tour from Guatemala City:
Crafted BEER Tour , Guatemala City.:
Full Day Experience in Guatemala City:
Tours and Activities in Leon
Here are a few actual costs in Leon for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:
León 3-Hour Guided City Tour Including Entrance Fees:
León: 5-Hour Volcano Boarding Tour on Cerro Negro:
Volcano Board Adventure on Cerro Negro:
Leon City Walking Private Tour:
León: Flor de Caña Rum Factory 4-Hour Tour:
Leon City Tour:
León City tour and Mud pools of San Jacinto:
plant-based friendly tapas tour:
Volcano Boarding Private Tour:
Rum Tour & Chorotega Museum Experience:
Private: León City Walking Tour from León:
Hike El Hoyo Volcano "Private Tour":
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.
While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Leon may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $2.94 per day on alcoholic beverages.
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Guatemala City and Leon, we can see that Leon 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 Leon would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Leon than you might in Guatemala City.
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