A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers La Fortuna vs. Bocas del Toro for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit La Fortuna or Bocas del Toro?

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

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for La Fortuna and Bocas del Toro. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Where Should I go: La Fortuna or Bocas del Toro?

La Fortuna

La Fortuna is in San Carlos, in the province of Alajuela. It is the closest town to Arenal Volcano, and the area is often simply refered to as Arenal. The volcano itself is active and has been constantly erupting since 1968. It erupts on average 41 times a day. This area of northern Costa Rica is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the country.

Bocas del Toro

The capital of the Bocas del Toro province, this city of the same name sits in the Caribbean West region of Panama. Bocas del Toro, or Bocas Town, is in the district of Bocas del Toro, which also includes the towns of Bastimentos, Cauchero, Punta Laurel, and Tierra Oscura. The district has a population of about 17,000 and covers a total area of 433.2 square kilometers, and the town has a population of about 13,000. The area is a tourist destination for its beautiful beaches, excellent snorkeling and diving, and interesting culture.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Adventure Tours to Costa Rica, The Best Eco Tours in Costa Rica, The Best Adventure Tours to Panama, and The Best Romantic Tours for Couples in Panama.


Which place is cheaper, Bocas del Toro or La Fortuna?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in La Fortuna is $104, while the average daily cost in Bocas del Toro is $77. 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 La Fortuna and Bocas del Toro in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    La Fortuna $51
    Bocas del Toro $33
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    La Fortuna $102
    Bocas del Toro $66
Compare Hotels in La Fortuna and Bocas del Toro

Looking for a hotel in La Fortuna or Bocas del Toro? 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 La Fortuna


Hotels in Bocas del Toro


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: La Fortuna Hotel Prices and Bocas del Toro Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    La Fortuna $21
    Bocas del Toro $10

Hired Cars and Shuttles in La Fortuna

Some specific examples of transportation prices in La Fortuna:

  • Puerto Viejo de Limon: Transfer to La Fortuna de Arenal: $400
  • La Fortuna de Arenal: Transfer to Puerto Viejo de Limon: $400
  • La Fortuna de Arenal: Transfer to Manuel Antonio or Quepos: $320
  • Private One-Way Transfer to Manuel Antonio: $310
  • La Fortuna de Arenal: Transfer to Tamarindo: $307
  • VIP Private Transfer from La Fortuna (Arenal Volcano) to Tamarindo Beach: $299
  • Private Transfer From La Fortuna To Manuel Antonio From 1 to 6 passengers: $297
  • From San Jose Airport To Arenal - La Fortuna - PRIVATE TRANSFER: $295
  • Transfer from Arenal or La Fortuna to Monteverde up to 5 passengers. (One Way): $295
  • Private One-Way Transfer from/to La Fortuna to Papagayo Peninsula: $289
  • Private Transfer From Liberia Airport To Arenal La Fortuna: $280
  • From La Fortuna/La Palma: Private Transfer to Tamarindo: $280

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Bocas del Toro

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Bocas del Toro:


  • Water Taxi
    $3.01

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Bocas del Toro

Also for Bocas del Toro, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Private Transfer from Colón Port to Panama Tocumen Airport PTY: $42
  • Transfer from Bocas del Toro to Puerto Viejo: $54
  • Transfer Colon Cruise Terminal - Tocumen Airport or Panama City: $55

Is it cheaper to fly into La Fortuna or Bocas del Toro?

Prices for flights to both Bocas del Toro and La Fortuna 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
    La Fortuna $27
    Bocas del Toro $27

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in La Fortuna

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in La Fortuna.

  • Sloth Tour in La Fortuna and Tortillas Cooking Class: $35
  • Organic Farm Visit & Farm-to-Table Cooking Class: $45
  • Cooking Class and Sugar Cane Experience: $45
  • Typical Costa Rican Cooking Classes in La Fortuna: $48
  • Costa Rica Cooking, El Fogon de Chela: $50
  • Costa Rican cuisine Cooking Class at Rancho Don Lelo: $60
  • Cooking Class "Cook Like a Local" La Fortuna: $63
  • Rainforest Night Walk and Authentic Costa Rican Dinner from La Fortuna: $65
  • 3-Hour Costa Rican Cooking Class with Dinner: $68
  • Cooking and Salsa Dance Lesson Combo : $74
  • Private cooking class in organic farm at La Fortuna: $75
  • Ceviche & Empanadas Cooking Class: $77

Typical Food Prices in Bocas del Toro

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Bocas del Toro:


  • Lunch
    $15
  • Breakfast
    $14

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    La Fortuna $44
    Bocas del Toro $22

Tours and Activities in La Fortuna

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

  • Arenal Volcano Hike Experience (not guide included): $23
  • La Fortuna's 3 Essentials Private Tour: $280
  • Rio Celeste Tubing Experience: $54
  • Sky Adventures Arenal : Zipline - Sky Tram & Sky Walk (guided): $260
  • 1-Hour Private Sloth Tour in the Rainforest from Costa Rica: $30
  • 2-Hour Chachagua Rainforest - Birdwatching Tour: $60
  • 2-in-1 Arenal Combo Tour: River Safari Float and La Fortuna Waterfall: $170
  • 2-in-1 Arenal Volcano Combo Tour: La Fortuna Waterfall and Volcano Hike: $170
  • 3-Hour Arenal Lake Flexi Pass Adventure In Costa Rica: $69
  • 6 Course Tropical Rainforest Foodie Adventure: $199
  • 7 Nights Costa Rica Fully Guided Adventure: $2,000
  • 7 cable Zipline Canopy Tour Over La Fortuna Waterfall!: $80

Typical Entertainment Prices in Bocas del Toro

For Bocas del Toro, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:


  • Island Boat Tour
    $25
  • Starfish Island Boat Trip
    $20
  • Yoga Class
    $5.01

Tours and Activities in Bocas del Toro

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Bocas del Toro.

  • Stand Up Paddle Board Experience in Bahia Honda Bocas del Toro: $60
  • Speed Boat tour to Mangrove Point -Starfish Beach -Bocas del Drago and Birds Island: $65
  • Dolphin Bay and Coral Cay with Drinks Private Tour in Zapatilla: $66
  • Full-Day Speedboat Tour, Wildlife, and Snorkeling in Bocas del Toro in Panama: $68
  • Full Day Private Shore Tour in Panama from Colón Cruise Port: $231

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    La Fortuna $11
    Bocas del Toro $12


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between La Fortuna and Bocas del Toro, we can see that La Fortuna is more expensive. And not only is Bocas del Toro much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Bocas del Toro would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Bocas del Toro 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 La Fortuna would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in La Fortuna than you might in Bocas del Toro.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is La Fortuna Expensive? and Is Bocas del Toro Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, La Fortuna or Bocas del Toro?

Bocas del Toro has a larger population, and is about 3 times larger than the population of La Fortuna. When comparing the sizes of La Fortuna and Bocas del Toro, 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 along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit La Fortuna or Bocas del Toro?

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 La Fortuna or Bocas del Toro in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to La Fortuna as well as Bocas del Toro. La Fortuna attracts visitors year-round for its warm weather and sunny climate. The warm climate attracts visitors to Bocas del Toro throughout the year.

It's quite rainy in Bocas del Toro. La Fortuna receives a lot of rain in the summer. La Fortuna usually gets less rain in July than Bocas del Toro. La Fortuna gets 164 mm (6.5 in) of rain, while Bocas del Toro receives 408 mm (16.1 in) of rain this time of the year.

In the summer, La Fortuna often gets more sunshine than Bocas del Toro. La Fortuna gets 164 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Bocas del Toro receives 124 hours of full sun.

La Fortuna is around the same temperature as Bocas del Toro in the summer. The daily temperature in La Fortuna averages around 28°C (82°F) in July, and Bocas del Toro fluctuates around 26°C (79°F).


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    La Fortuna 28°C (82°F) 
    Bocas del Toro 26°C (79°F)

Should I visit La Fortuna or Bocas del Toro in the Autumn?

Both Bocas del Toro and La Fortuna are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. The warm climate attracts visitors to La Fortuna throughout the year. Plenty of visitors come to Bocas del Toro because of the warm climate and sunshine that lasts throughout the year.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Bocas del Toro. It's quite rainy in La Fortuna. In October, La Fortuna usually receives more rain than Bocas del Toro. La Fortuna gets 254 mm (10 in) of rain, while Bocas del Toro receives 198 mm (7.8 in) of rain each month for the autumn.

La Fortuna usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Bocas del Toro during autumn. La Fortuna gets 169 hours of sunny skies, while Bocas del Toro receives 159 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In the autumn, La Fortuna is around the same temperature as Bocas del Toro. Typically, the autumn temperatures in La Fortuna in October average around 27°C (81°F), and Bocas del Toro averages at about 26°C (79°F).


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    La Fortuna 27°C (81°F) 
    Bocas del Toro 26°C (79°F)

Should I visit La Fortuna or Bocas del Toro in the Winter?

Both Bocas del Toro and La Fortuna during the winter are popular places to visit. Plenty of visitors come to La Fortuna because of the warm climate and sunshine that lasts throughout the year. Warm weather and sunshine bring visitors to Bocas del Toro year-round.

Bocas del Toro gets a good bit of rain this time of year. La Fortuna usually gets less rain in January than Bocas del Toro. La Fortuna gets 8 mm (0.3 in) of rain, while Bocas del Toro receives 319 mm (12.6 in) of rain this time of the year.

It's quite sunny in La Fortuna. In the winter, La Fortuna often gets more sunshine than Bocas del Toro. La Fortuna gets 264 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Bocas del Toro receives 159 hours of full sun.

In January, La Fortuna is generally around the same temperature as Bocas del Toro. Daily temperatures in La Fortuna average around 27°C (81°F), and Bocas del Toro fluctuates around 25°C (77°F).


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    La Fortuna 27°C (81°F) 
    Bocas del Toro 25°C (77°F)

Should I visit La Fortuna or Bocas del Toro in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both La Fortuna and Bocas del Toro. Warm weather and sunshine bring visitors to La Fortuna year-round. Bocas del Toro attracts visitors year-round for its warm weather and sunny climate.

Bocas del Toro receives a lot of rain in the spring. In April, La Fortuna usually receives less rain than Bocas del Toro. La Fortuna gets 28 mm (1.1 in) of rain, while Bocas del Toro receives 287 mm (11.3 in) of rain each month for the spring.

In La Fortuna, it's very sunny this time of the year. La Fortuna usually receives more sunshine than Bocas del Toro during spring. La Fortuna gets 255 hours of sunny skies, while Bocas del Toro receives 172 hours of full sun in the spring.

La Fortuna is a little warmer than Bocas del Toro in the spring. The daily temperature in La Fortuna averages around 29°C (85°F) in April, and Bocas del Toro fluctuates around 26°C (79°F).


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    La Fortuna 29°C (85°F) 
    Bocas del Toro 26°C (79°F)

Typical Weather for Bocas del Toro and La Fortuna

La Fortuna Bocas del Toro
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 27°C (81°F) 8 mm (0.3 in) 25°C (77°F) 319 mm (12.6 in)
Feb 28°C (83°F) 2 mm (0.1 in) 25°C (77°F) 201 mm (7.9 in)
Mar 29°C (84°F) 4 mm (0.2 in) 26°C (78°F) 193 mm (7.6 in)
Apr 29°C (85°F) 28 mm (1.1 in) 26°C (79°F) 287 mm (11.3 in)
May 29°C (83°F) 226 mm (8.9 in) 27°C (80°F) 281 mm (11.1 in)
Jun 28°C (82°F) 226 mm (8.9 in) 26°C (80°F) 276 mm (10.9 in)
Jul 28°C (82°F) 164 mm (6.5 in) 26°C (79°F) 408 mm (16.1 in)
Aug 26°C (79°F) 289 mm (11.4 in) 28°C (82°F) 255 mm (10 in)
Sep 28°C (82°F) 328 mm (12.9 in) 26°C (79°F) 163 mm (6.4 in)
Oct 27°C (81°F) 254 mm (10 in) 26°C (79°F) 198 mm (7.8 in)
Nov 27°C (81°F) 121 mm (4.8 in) 26°C (78°F) 367 mm (14.4 in)
Dec 27°C (81°F) 33 mm (1.3 in) 25°C (77°F) 402 mm (15.8 in)