A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Kingston vs. Santa Elena for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Kingston or Santa Elena?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Kingston or Santa Elena, this travel comparison, which includes costs, can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison down below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Where Should I go: Kingston or Santa Elena?

Kingston

Kingston is Jamaica's capital city with a population of about 579,000. For being located on an island, Kingston is a very large city with several different zip codes. Not only is Kingston the cultural capital of the country, but also the commercial one as well.

Santa Elena

Santa Elena is a cute town, and the closest to the Monteverde Cloud Forest. It's one of the most popular destinations in Costa Rica, and is a great place to experience the cloud forest and see some of country's unique wildlife.

In the Monteverde Cloud Forest you have a good chance of seeing rare quetzals which are the national bird of Costa Rica. Other common animals include white-faced capuchin monkeys, howler monkeys, orange-kneed tarantulas, any of 8-9 species of hummingbirds, and sloth.

Santa Elena is about 1,400 meters above sea level and has a humid and damp environment. The average yearly temperature is 64 degrees Fahrenheit and the average rainfall is 3,000 millimetres. Humidity can be anywhere between 74% and 97%.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best G Adventures Tours to Costa Rica, and The Best One Week (7-Day) Tours in Costa Rica.


Which place is cheaper, Santa Elena or Kingston?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Kingston is $108, while the average daily cost in Santa Elena is $91. 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 Kingston and Santa Elena in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Kingston $64
    Santa Elena $54
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Kingston $128
    Santa Elena $108
Compare Hotels in Kingston and Santa Elena

Looking for a hotel in Kingston or Santa Elena? 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 Kingston


Hotels in Santa Elena


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: Kingston Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Kingston $29
    Santa Elena $11

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Kingston

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Kingston:

  • From Montego Bay Airport (MBJ): Private Transfer to Kingston: $388
  • Montego Bay Group transfer to all attractions in Jamaica.: $320
  • Tropical Off-Road ATV Tour with Lunch and Transfer: $280
  • Norman Manley Airport Private Round-trip Transfer to Kingston : $260
  • Airport transfer from Norman Manley international to Ocho: $240
  • Private Transfer Kingston Airport (KIN) To & From Sandals South Coast : $240
  • Port Antonio Hotel Private Roundtrip Airport Transfer from Kingston Airport(KIN): $235
  • NMIA & Kingston transfer to Negril: $225
  • Kingston Airport to & From Sandals Ocho Rios Transfer: $200
  • Kingston Airport Private Transfer to Riu Ocho Rios: $200
  • Private Transfer Kingston Airport to Jewel Grande Montego Bay: $187
  • Kingston : Private Airport Transfer to Montego Bay: $169

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Santa Elena

Also for Santa Elena, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Direct transfer from Monteverde to San Jose, English Speaking Driver: $182
  • One Way Private Transfer from Monteverde - Liberia: $276
  • One Way Private Transfer from Monteverde to Samara : $269
  • One-Way Private Transfer: Monteverde to Quepos and Manuel Antonio: $276
  • Peñas Blancas to Liberia Airport (LIR) Departure Private Transfer: $38
  • Private Transfer From Monteverde To La Fortuna From 1 to 6 passengers: $270
  • Private Transfer Lake crossing from Monteverde To Arenal From 1 to 6 passengers: $249
  • Shuttle Transfer Lake crossing from Monteverde To Arenal: $27

Is it cheaper to fly into Kingston or Santa Elena?

Prices for flights to both Santa Elena and Kingston 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
  • Food Meals for one day
    Kingston $26
    Santa Elena $23

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Santa Elena

For Santa Elena, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Night Walk in Monteverde with Dinner Included: $55

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Kingston $13
    Santa Elena $30

Tours and Activities in Kingston

Here are a few actual costs in Kingston for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Blue Mountain strawberry hills tour with transportation in JA: $145
  • Dunn's River Falls Party Cruise, Blue Hole with Snorkeling, free beverages: $174
  • 4x4 Jeep Safari & Blue Hole Adventure from Ocho Rios: $158
  • ATV Outback Adventure from Kingston: $288
  • Appleton Estate Rum Tour and Tasting from Ocho Rios: $232
  • Authentic Jamaican Food Experience: $140
  • Bamboo Rafting Adventure in Ocho Rios : $85
  • Blue Mountain Bicycle Hike & Bike Tour from Runaway Bay: $178
  • Blue Mountain Bicycle Tour from Runaway Bay: $142
  • Bob Marley Museum Admission & Kingston Sightseeing Tour from Ocho Rios: $258
  • Bob Marley Museum Tour from Runaway Bay: $258
  • Bob Marley Museum and Devon House Kingston Day Tour: $321

Tours and Activities in Santa Elena

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Santa Elena.

  • Admission Ticket to Las Pumas Rescue Center : $20
  • Selvatura Park: Herpetarium Tour in Monteverde: $22
  • Monteverde Cloud Forest Tour: $25
  • Wildlife Tour in Curicancha : $25
  • The Quetzal Tour In Monteverde : $26
  • Monteverde Butterfly Gardens Tour: $26
  • Adventure Day - Outdoor activities for Family and Friends Special Package.: $29
  • Night Adventures in Monteverde: $30
  • Kinkajou Night Walk Tour: $30
  • Monteverde: Kinkajou Forest Night Walking Tour: $30
  • Cloud Forest hanging bridges with a local naturalist tour guide: $32
  • CuriCancha Reserve Admission Ticket: $33

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Kingston $11
    Santa Elena $6.16

Sample the Local Flavors in Kingston

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Kingston:

  • Ocho Rios Pub Crawl and Sightseeing Tour from Ocho Rios: $185


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Kingston and Santa Elena, we can see that Kingston is more expensive. And not only is Santa Elena much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. Since Kingston is in Caribbean Islands and Santa Elena is in Central America, this is one of the main reasons why the costs are so different, as different regions of the world tend to have overall different travel costs. So, traveling to Santa Elena would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Santa Elena 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 Kingston would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Kingston than you might in Santa Elena.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Kingston Expensive? and Is Santa Elena Expensive?.



When is the best time to visit Kingston or Santa Elena?

Both destinations experience a warmer climate most of the year. Instead of summer and winter seasons, they usually have a rainy season and a dry season. Although in the rainy season, it doesn't necessarily rain every day.

Should I visit Kingston or Santa Elena in the Summer?

Both Santa Elena and Kingston during the summer are popular places to visit. Plenty of visitors come to Kingston because of the warm climate and sunshine that lasts throughout the year. Warm weather and sunshine bring visitors to Santa Elena year-round.

Santa Elena gets a good bit of rain this time of year. Kingston usually gets less rain in July than Santa Elena. Kingston gets 40 mm (1.6 in) of rain, while Santa Elena receives 164 mm (6.5 in) of rain this time of the year.

It's quite sunny in Kingston. In the summer, Kingston often gets more sunshine than Santa Elena. Kingston gets 254 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Santa Elena receives 164 hours of full sun.

Kingston is around the same temperature as Santa Elena in the summer. The daily temperature in Kingston averages around 29°C (83°F) in July, and Santa Elena fluctuates around 28°C (82°F).


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Kingston 29°C (83°F) 
    Santa Elena 28°C (82°F)

Should I visit Kingston or Santa Elena in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Kingston and Santa Elena. Warm weather and sunshine bring visitors to Kingston year-round. Santa Elena attracts visitors year-round for its warm weather and sunny climate.

Santa Elena receives a lot of rain in the autumn. Kingston gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In October, Kingston usually receives less rain than Santa Elena. Kingston gets 167 mm (6.6 in) of rain, while Santa Elena receives 254 mm (10 in) of rain each month for the autumn.

In Kingston, it's very sunny this time of the year. Kingston usually receives more sunshine than Santa Elena during autumn. Kingston gets 229 hours of sunny skies, while Santa Elena receives 169 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In the autumn, Kingston is around the same temperature as Santa Elena. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Kingston in October average around 28°C (82°F), and Santa Elena averages at about 27°C (81°F).


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Kingston 28°C (82°F) 
    Santa Elena 27°C (81°F)

Should I visit Kingston or Santa Elena in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Kingston as well as Santa Elena. Kingston attracts visitors year-round for its warm weather and sunny climate. The warm climate attracts visitors to Santa Elena throughout the year.

Kingston usually gets more rain in January than Santa Elena. Kingston gets 18 mm (0.7 in) of rain, while Santa Elena receives 8 mm (0.3 in) of rain this time of the year.

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Santa Elena. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Kingston this time of the year. In the winter, Kingston often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Santa Elena. Kingston gets 257 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Santa Elena receives 264 hours of full sun.

In January, Kingston is generally around the same temperature as Santa Elena. Daily temperatures in Kingston average around 26°C (79°F), and Santa Elena fluctuates around 27°C (81°F).


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Kingston 26°C (79°F) 
    Santa Elena 27°C (81°F)

Should I visit Kingston or Santa Elena in the Spring?

Both Santa Elena and Kingston are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. The warm climate attracts visitors to Kingston throughout the year. Plenty of visitors come to Santa Elena because of the warm climate and sunshine that lasts throughout the year.

In April, Kingston usually receives around the same amount of rain as Santa Elena. Kingston gets 27 mm (1.1 in) of rain, while Santa Elena receives 28 mm (1.1 in) of rain each month for the spring.

It's quite sunny in Santa Elena. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Kingston. Kingston usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Santa Elena during spring. Kingston gets 251 hours of sunny skies, while Santa Elena receives 255 hours of full sun in the spring.

Kingston is cooler than Santa Elena in the spring. The daily temperature in Kingston averages around 26°C (80°F) in April, and Santa Elena fluctuates around 29°C (85°F).


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Kingston 26°C (80°F) 
    Santa Elena 29°C (85°F)

Typical Weather for Santa Elena and Kingston

Kingston Santa Elena
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 26°C (79°F) 18 mm (0.7 in) 27°C (81°F) 8 mm (0.3 in)
Feb 26°C (79°F) 16 mm (0.6 in) 28°C (83°F) 2 mm (0.1 in)
Mar 26°C (80°F) 14 mm (0.6 in) 29°C (84°F) 4 mm (0.2 in)
Apr 26°C (80°F) 27 mm (1.1 in) 29°C (85°F) 28 mm (1.1 in)
May 28°C (82°F) 100 mm (3.9 in) 29°C (83°F) 226 mm (8.9 in)
Jun 28°C (83°F) 83 mm (3.3 in) 28°C (82°F) 226 mm (8.9 in)
Jul 29°C (83°F) 40 mm (1.6 in) 28°C (82°F) 164 mm (6.5 in)
Aug 29°C (83°F) 81 mm (3.2 in) 26°C (79°F) 289 mm (11.4 in)
Sep 29°C (83°F) 107 mm (4.2 in) 28°C (82°F) 328 mm (12.9 in)
Oct 28°C (82°F) 167 mm (6.6 in) 27°C (81°F) 254 mm (10 in)
Nov 28°C (82°F) 61 mm (2.4 in) 27°C (81°F) 121 mm (4.8 in)
Dec 27°C (80°F) 31 mm (1.2 in) 27°C (81°F) 33 mm (1.3 in)