A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Guatemala City vs. San Juan del Sur for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Guatemala City or San Juan del Sur?

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

Should I visit Guatemala City or San Juan del Sur? 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 San Juan del Sur?

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.

San Juan del Sur

San Juan del Sur is a popular port destination on the Pacific coast of southwest Nicaragua. The town was once a quaint fishing village but has grown into a tourist town with activities for visitors that include surfing, fishing, and, of course, partying. The town has a population of just over 15,000, most of whom are either fishermen or involved in the tourism industry. There is also a large expat community from the United States, Canada, and Europe.

Which place is cheaper, San Juan del Sur 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 San Juan del Sur is $53. 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 San Juan del Sur in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Guatemala City $24
    San Juan del Sur $21
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Guatemala City $48
    San Juan del Sur $42
Compare Hotels in Guatemala City and San Juan del Sur

Looking for a hotel in Guatemala City or San Juan del Sur? 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 San Juan del Sur

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 San Juan del Sur Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Guatemala City $6.09
    San Juan del Sur $18

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Guatemala City

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Guatemala City:

  • Antigua Hotels to Guatemala Airport GUA Departure Transfer: $40
  • Antigua to Guatemala La Aurora Airport (GUA) - Private Transfer: $40
  • Ground Transfer Airport - Antigua Guatemala: $23
  • Ground Transfer From Antigua To Guatemala City Airport: $23
  • Ground Transfer Guatemala City To Panajachel, Lake Atitlan: $150
  • Guatemala Airport GUA to Antigua Hotels Arrival Transfer: $40
  • Guatemala Airport GUA to Antigua Hotels Round Trip Transfer: $80
  • Guatemala Airport Roundtrip Transfer to Antigua Guatemala: $33
  • Guatemala Airport to San Felipe de Lara RoundTrip PrivateTransfer: $152
  • Guatemala City Airport (GUA) to Quetzaltenango-Arrival Transfer: $65
  • Guatemala City Airport GUA to San Felipe de Lara-Arrival Transfer: $76
  • Guatemala City Airport(GUA) to Quetzaltenango-Round-Trip Transfer: $130

Is it cheaper to fly into Guatemala City or San Juan del Sur?

Prices for flights to both San Juan del Sur 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
    San Juan del Sur $19

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 of Guatemala,Walking Food Tour in Antigua Guatemala : $50
  • Private Street Food Tour in Antigua Guatemala: $65
  • Make your own Mayan Pepian - Cooking class: $69
  • Taste Antigua Guatemala Walking Food Tour : $75
  • Market food tour and tortilla workshop: $79
  • Market and Mayan Cooking Class: $80
  • Foodie & street food tour: $85
  • Authentic Guatemalan Cooking Class in Antigua: $90
  • Guatemalan Cooking Class and Market Tour: $98
  • Small-Group Cooking Class in Antigua from Guatemala City: $120
  • Antigua Market, Cooking Class and Choco Museum from Guatemala City: $178

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Guatemala City $1.19
    San Juan del Sur $15

Tours and Activities in Guatemala City

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

  • Artisan Shoemaking & Leather Craft Tour: $10
  • Antigua Private Cultural Walking Tour: $15
  • Culinary Experience in Guatemala City: $15
  • Half Day Antigua Guatemala Tour: $17
  • Antigua Cultural Walking Tour : $18
  • Historical and Cultural Walking Tour of Antigua Guatemala : $20
  • Walking Tour of the Wonders of La Antigua Guatemala: $20
  • Graffiti Walking Tour in 4 Grados Norte Guatemala City : $20
  • Chicken Bus Experience to San Juan del Obispo : $22
  • Antigua Walking Tour: $23
  • Antigua Market Culture and Cuisine Tour: $25
  • Antigua Walking Tour Morning and Afternoon: $25

Tours and Activities in San Juan del Sur

Here are a few actual costs in San Juan del Sur for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Horseback Riding Tour in Playa Maderas, San Juan del Sur also in Costa Rica: $100
  • San Juan del Sur Shore Excursion: Private Masaya Volcano and Catarina Tour: $118
  • ATV Adventure Tour in San Juan del Sur, NICARAGUA: $130
  • ATV Tour only in Costa Rica: $140
  • Mombacho Volcano Hike and Ziplining Adventure from San Juan del Sur: $159
  • 2-Day ATV Adventure Tour in Nicaragua with Pickup: $550

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Guatemala City $6.76
    San Juan del Sur $13

Sample the Local Flavors in Guatemala City

Also in Guatemala City, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Antigua Bar Crawl: $26

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

Which is Bigger, Guatemala City or San Juan del Sur?

Guatemala City is bigger, and its population is about 127.7 times larger than the population of San Juan del Sur. When comparing the population of Guatemala City vs. San Juan del Sur, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit and the activities that interest you.

Budget Your Trip is all about finding out how much everything costs so that you can travel cheaper and longer. Created by avid travelers Laurie and Bryan, our goal is to help you plan your next trip on the right budget. With average daily travel costs that are calculated from the budgets of real travelers, plus an analysis of hotel and tour prices, you can find out how much money you need to plan your next adventure. We also have plenty of travel advice, accommodation reviews, and activity suggestions.
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Guatemala City vs. San Juan del Sur Travel Comparison

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