Should you visit Guatemala City or Puerto Viejo?
Should I visit Guatemala City or Puerto Viejo? 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.
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.
Which city 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 $35, while the average daily cost in Puerto Viejo is $55. 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 Puerto Viejo 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.
Double occupancy rooms typically run around $56 in Puerto Viejo For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.
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 $18 per day in Puerto Viejo 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
Puerto Viejo $18
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:
The average price of local transportation around Guatemala City is $4.95 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.
Puerto Viejo's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $5.61 per person, per day on transportation in Puerto Viejo.
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:
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 Puerto Viejo can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $17 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:
The average person spends about $5.49 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.
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.
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