A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Leon vs. Puerto Viejo for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Leon or Puerto Viejo?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel cost comparison between Leon and Puerto Viejo 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.

Puerto Viejo

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is a small coastal town in Caribbean Costa Rica in the province of Limon. There are two gorgeous National Parks nearby - Cahuita and Manzanillo, and it rains more than on the Pacific side, which is why it is so lush and green with the rainforest coming down to the sea. Clear water, coconut palms, great surf and a laid-back Caribbean atmosphere make Puerto Viejo a favorite among travelers. Located on about an hour south of Limon, Puerto Viejo is the center of activity between the smaller villages of Cahuita and Manzanillo. The relaxed, seaside town is framed by jungle, turquoise seas, banana plantations and scenic rivers. It's known for the Salsa Brava surf break and beaches like black-sand Playa Negra, but this burgeoning party town is no longer a destination only for intrepid surfers; it's bustling with tourist activity. Stylish eateries serve global fusion, and intentionally rustic bamboo bars pump dancehall and reggaeton. With its blend of Afro-Caribbean descendants, expat Europeans and indigenous Costa Ricans, Puerto Viejo charms visitors with a unique mix of people and cultures. Rastafari culture has a firm foothold in the town, and many Rastas sell handmade jewelry and other wares along the town's vibrant roadside. Nearby you'll find rainforest fruit and cacao farms and wide-open beaches. If you're looking to chill a little, party a little and eat a little, you've come to the right place.

Which city is cheaper, Puerto Viejo or Leon?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Leon is $49, while the average daily cost in Puerto Viejo is $80. 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 Puerto Viejo in more detail.



Accommodation

The average price for accommodation for two people in Leon is $26. This is for two people sharing a typical double occupancy hotel room.

Double occupancy rooms typically run around $82 in Puerto Viejo For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Leon $13
    Puerto Viejo $41
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Leon $26
    Puerto Viejo $82

Local Transportation

The cost of a taxi ride in Leon is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $1.24 per person, per day, on local transportation in Leon.

Puerto Viejo'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 $26 per person, per day on transportation in Puerto Viejo.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Leon $1.24
    Puerto Viejo $26

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

Is it cheaper to fly into Leon or Puerto Viejo?

Prices for flights to both Puerto Viejo 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.





Food

Leon food costs typically run travelers around $9.94 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.

The average traveler spends about $19 per day in Puerto Viejo 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.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Leon $9.94
    Puerto Viejo $19

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

Entertainment

Entertainment and activities in Leon typically cost an average of $4.78 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Puerto Viejo can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $22 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Leon $4.78
    Puerto Viejo $22

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

Tours and Activities in Puerto Viejo

For Puerto Viejo, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Tamarindo: ATV Quad Bike Adventure Tour: $100

Alcohol

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Leon may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $2.90 per day on alcoholic beverages.

Typically, people visiting Puerto Viejo spend on average $8.22 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Leon $2.90
    Puerto Viejo $8.22


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Leon and Puerto Viejo, we can see that Puerto Viejo 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 Puerto Viejo would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Puerto Viejo than you might in Leon.

Budget Your Trip

Budget Your Trip has average travel costs for thousands of cities around the world, all provided by other travelers. You can also register to organize your spending by category and location with graphs, maps, charts, and tables.

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Leon vs. Puerto Viejo Travel Comparison

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