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

Should you visit Leon or Bocas del Toro?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel cost comparison between Leon and Bocas del Toro can help. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Leon

Leon is one of the oldest city's in Nicaragua and you can see hints of its colonial past in the architecture around town. Tourism is not a major part of the economy in Leon, but the city is gaining popularity with budget travelers and backpackers and more recently tour groups are including Leon in their itinerary.

With a population of just over 200,000, Leon is the second largest city in Nicaragua, after Managua. During the university season the population grows dramatically as there is a heavy presence of students in Leon. It is a popular university town, and this young population gives the city plenty of energy and entertainment.

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.

Which city is cheaper, Bocas del Toro or Leon?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Leon is $50, while the average daily cost in Bocas del Toro is $61. 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 Leon and Bocas del Toro in more detail.



Accommodation

The average price for accommodation for two people in Leon is $28. This is for two people sharing a typical double occupancy hotel room.

The prices for places to stay in Bocas del Toro can vary by date, location, and type. Generally, the average cost for accommodation per person is $27, while a typical double-occupancy hotel room for two people will cost around $54.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Leon $14
    Bocas del Toro $27
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Leon $28
    Bocas del Toro $54

Food

Leon food costs typically run travelers around $10 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 in Bocas del Toro costs travelers about $22 per day on average. Restaurants can vary significantly in price, so choose wisely if you're trying to save money. Fast food and street stalls are typically your cheapest options, which sit down restaurants can be significantly more expensive.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Leon $10
    Bocas del Toro $22

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Leon

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

  • Tlakualli Food Tour: $12

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

Local Transportation

The cost of a taxi ride in Leon is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $1.27 per person, per day, on local transportation in Leon.

Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Bocas del Toro than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $8.21 on transportation in Bocas del Toro on average per day.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Leon $1.27
    Bocas del Toro $8.21

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Leon

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Leon:

  • Reliable one-way transfer Guanajuato Leon International Airport to Hotel: $161
  • León hotels to Del Bajio Airport (BJX) - Departure Private Transfer: $138

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

Is it cheaper to fly into Leon or Bocas del Toro?

Prices for flights to both Bocas del Toro and Leon 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

Entertainment and activities in Leon typically cost an average of $4.90 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.

Sightseeing expenses in Bocas del Toro, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $17 per day, per person.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Leon $4.90
    Bocas del Toro $17

Tours and Activities in Leon

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

  • 3-Day Tour to Ometepe Island from León: $500
  • 7-Day Tour: Learn to Surf in Nicaragua: $1,436
  • 7-Days Tour: Punta Miramar Surf Camp: $1,179
  • Best of Leon and Granada *Private Tour*: $626
  • Charming Nicaragua "9 days Private Tour": $1,080
  • Hike El Hoyo Volcano "Private Tour": $67
  • Horseback Riding Private Tour: $87
  • Kayak Private tour at Juan Venado Island: $92
  • León 3-Hour Guided City Tour Including Entrance Fees: $25
  • León: 5-Hour Volcano Boarding Tour on Cerro Negro: $35
  • León: Flor de Caña Rum Factory 4-Hour Tour: $45
  • Leon City Tour: $46

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.

  • Small-Group Speed Boat and Snorkel Tour from Bocas del Toro: $68

Alcohol

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Leon may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $2.98 per day on alcoholic beverages.

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Bocas del Toro, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $9.50.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Leon $2.98
    Bocas del Toro $9.50


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

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Leon vs. Bocas del Toro Travel Comparison

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