A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Guatemala City vs. Puerto Viejo for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Guatemala City or Puerto Viejo?

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

Should I visit Guatemala City or Puerto Viejo? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Where Should I go: Guatemala City or Puerto Viejo?

Guatemala City

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.

Puerto Viejo

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is a small coastal town in Caribbean Costa Rica in the province of Limon. There are two gorgeous National Parks nearby - Cahuita and Manzanillo, and it rains more than on the Pacific side, which is why it is so lush and green with the rainforest coming down to the sea. Clear water, coconut palms, great surf and a laid-back Caribbean atmosphere make Puerto Viejo a favorite among travelers. Located on about an hour south of Limon, Puerto Viejo is the center of activity between the smaller villages of Cahuita and Manzanillo. The relaxed, seaside town is framed by jungle, turquoise seas, banana plantations and scenic rivers. It's known for the Salsa Brava surf break and beaches like black-sand Playa Negra, but this burgeoning party town is no longer a destination only for intrepid surfers; it's bustling with tourist activity. Stylish eateries serve global fusion, and intentionally rustic bamboo bars pump dancehall and reggaeton. With its blend of Afro-Caribbean descendants, expat Europeans and indigenous Costa Ricans, Puerto Viejo charms visitors with a unique mix of people and cultures. Rastafari culture has a firm foothold in the town, and many Rastas sell handmade jewelry and other wares along the town's vibrant roadside. Nearby you'll find rainforest fruit and cacao farms and wide-open beaches. If you're looking to chill a little, party a little and eat a little, you've come to the right place.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Guatemala City, The Best Family-Friendly Tours to Guatemala, The Best 2-Week Tours in Costa Rica, and The Best 10-Day Tours in Costa Rica.

Which place is cheaper, Puerto Viejo or Guatemala City?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Guatemala City is $44, while the average daily cost in Puerto Viejo is $145. 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 Guatemala City and Puerto Viejo in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Guatemala City $24
    Puerto Viejo $71
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Guatemala City $48
    Puerto Viejo $142
Compare Hotels in Guatemala City and Puerto Viejo

Looking for a hotel in Guatemala City or Puerto Viejo? 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 Guatemala City

Hotels in Puerto Viejo

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: Guatemala City Hotel Prices and Puerto Viejo Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Guatemala City $6.17
    Puerto Viejo $38

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Guatemala City

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Guatemala City:

  • Transfer from Guatemala City hotel to INTL Airport La Aurora: $75
  • Transfer from Airport to Antigua: $80
  • Shared Arrival Transfer: Guatemala City Airport to Hotels: $43
  • Shared Arrival Transfer: Guatemala City Airport to Antigua: $16
  • Private one way transfer in Guatemala: $45
  • Private Transfer from La Aurora Airport to Puerto Quetzal Port: $73
  • Private Transfer from La Aurora Airport to Antigua Guatemala: $120
  • Private Transfer from Guatemala City to Panajachel or Atitlan: $254
  • Private Transfer from Guatemala City to Antigua: $74
  • Private Transfer From Airport to Hotel in Guatemala City: $30
  • Private Ground Transfer Guatemala City To Panajachel, LakeAtitlan: $150
  • Private Ground Transfer Airport - Antigua Guatemala: $23

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Puerto Viejo

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

  • Puerto Viejo de Limon: Transfer to San Jose or Alajuela: $373

Is it cheaper to fly into Guatemala City or Puerto Viejo?

Prices for flights to both Puerto Viejo and Guatemala City 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
    Guatemala City $15
    Puerto Viejo $33

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Guatemala City

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Guatemala City.

  • Cooking class/Pepian Workshop: $35
  • Taste Antigua Guatemala Walking Food Tour : $75
  • Small-Group Cooking Class in Antigua from Guatemala City: $120
  • Antigua Market, Cooking Class and Choco Museum from Guatemala City: $178
  • Pacaya Volcano Vistas + Enjoy Pizza Cooked Under Volcanic Heat: $180

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Guatemala City $1.21
    Puerto Viejo $78

Tours and Activities in Guatemala City

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Guatemala City are as follows:

  • 2-Day Chichicastenango and Lake Atitlan Tour from Guatemala City or Antigua: $265
  • 2-Hour Culture and Historical Tour From Guatemala: $29
  • 2in1 Tour: Avocado Farm + Private Tour in Antigua Guatemala: $130
  • 3-hour Bike Tour Guatemala City South: $55
  • 4-hour Bike Tour Guatemala City South Center: $65
  • Acatenango Volcano Overnight Adventure from Guatemala City : $300
  • Antigua City Tour from Guatemala City: $77
  • Antigua Guatemala Full Day Tour: $58
  • Antigua walking tour from Guatemala City : $90
  • Bike Tour to Antigua Villages from Guatemala City : $175
  • Chichicastenango - Panajachel collective tour: $150
  • Chichicastenango Market Tour: $116

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Guatemala City $6.84
    Puerto Viejo $13

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

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Guatemala City Expensive? and Is Puerto Viejo Expensive?.