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

Should you visit La Ceiba or Santa Elena?

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between La Ceiba and Santa Elena can help you decide which place is right for you.

La Ceiba

La Ceiba is the third largest city in Honduras, situated on the north Caribbean coast. The city has a population of about a quarter million people. Many people who visit this city do so before heading into Pico Bonito National Park. It hasn't had the best infrastructure for tourists in the past but is developing fast. It is about 200 kilometers from San Pedro Sula, another large city in Honduras.

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%.

Which city is cheaper, Santa Elena or La Ceiba?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in La Ceiba is $54, while the average daily cost in Santa Elena is $60. 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 La Ceiba and Santa Elena in more detail.



Accommodation

La Ceiba's average price for two people sharing a typical double-occupancy hotel room is $38. A typical place to stay for one person, per day is $19.

For a normal double-occupancy room in Santa Elena, $72 is the average cost for a hotel room. Also in Santa Elena, the typical price for a place to stay for one person is $36, such as in a hostel.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    La Ceiba $19
    Santa Elena $36
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    La Ceiba $38
    Santa Elena $72

Food

While meal prices in La Ceiba can vary, the average travelers spends about $15 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in La Ceiba should cost around $6.00 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in La Ceiba is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.

Santa Elena food costs typically run travelers around $15 per day. Eating every meal in a nicer restaurant will drive the cost up, and grabbing fast food or casual meals will help you save money.


  • Food Meals for one day
    La Ceiba $15
    Santa Elena $15

Local Transportation

The average price of local transportation around La Ceiba is $26 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.

Santa Elena'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 $7.23 per person, per day on transportation in Santa Elena.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    La Ceiba $26
    Santa Elena $7.23

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Santa Elena

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

  • One Way Private Transfer from Monteverde to Samara: $262
  • One Way Private Transfer from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio: $265

Is it cheaper to fly into La Ceiba or Santa Elena?

Prices for flights to both Santa Elena and La Ceiba 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.





Entertainment

La Ceiba's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $18 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 Santa Elena can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $20 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    La Ceiba $18
    Santa Elena $20

Tours and Activities in La Ceiba

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for La Ceiba are as follows:

  • Romantic tour in La Ceiba: $496
  • The best of La Ceiba walking tour: $496

Tours and Activities in Santa Elena

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

  • The Original Canopy Tour Monteverde: $50
  • Night Walk Tour: $53
  • Coffee Tour 3 in 1 (Coffee Chocolate and sugar cane): $56
  • 100% Adventure Park Combo: Zipline, Superman, and Mega Tarzan Tour in Monteverde: $58
  • Monteverde Cloud Forest Canopy Tour: $77
  • Horseback Riding Tour in Monteverde: $81
  • Tikal Sunset Tour in Small Group from El Remate: $93
  • Tikal Sunrise Tour from El Remate in Small Group: $96
  • Ceibal Day Tour from Flores: $100
  • Tikal Guided Sunrise Tour in Small Group from Flores: $103
  • Night Walk Tour plus Coffee Tour 3 in 1(Coffee Chocolate and sugar cane): $110
  • Canopy Tour Plus Night Walk: $111

Alcohol

The average person spends about $4.23 on alcoholic beverages in La Ceiba per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Santa Elena, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $4.04.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    La Ceiba $4.23
    Santa Elena $4.04


When comparing the travel costs between La Ceiba and Santa Elena, we can see that Santa Elena is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in Central America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

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La Ceiba vs. Santa Elena Travel Comparison

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