Should you visit Guatemala City or San Juan del Sur?
Should I visit Guatemala City or San Juan del Sur? 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.
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 city 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 $36, while the average daily cost in San Juan del Sur is $13. 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 San Juan del Sur 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.
Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $14 for a double occupancy room in San Juan del Sur.
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 $3.30 per day in San Juan del Sur 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
San Juan del Sur $3.30
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 San Juan del Sur
Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in San Juan del Sur.
Food Tour - Nicaragua Gastronomy:
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 average price of local transportation around San Juan del Sur is $0.65 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:
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 San Juan del Sur
Some specific examples of transportation prices in San Juan del Sur:
One-Way Private Transfer from San Juan del Sur to Managua:
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.
San Juan del Sur's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $4.85 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.
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 San Juan del Sur
Here are a few actual costs in San Juan del Sur for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:
Open Bar Sunset Cruise in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua:
SJDS PORT EXCURSION: Zipline and Adventure Park:
Mombacho Volcano Hike and Ziplining Adventure from San Juan del Sur:
San Juan del Sur Shore Excursion: Private Masaya Volcano and Catarina 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 San Juan del Sur may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $2.54 per day on alcoholic beverages.
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Guatemala City and San Juan del Sur, we can see that Guatemala City is more expensive. And not only is San Juan del Sur much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to San Juan del Sur would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in San Juan del Sur 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 Guatemala City would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Guatemala City than you might in San Juan del Sur.
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