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

Should you visit Managua or Bocas del Toro?

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 Managua and Bocas del Toro can help you decide which place is right for you.

Managua

Managua is the capital, and largest city in Nicaragua. The economy is generally centered around the trade of coffee, cotton, and other types of agriculture. It also is a textile capital for the area. Managua is also a very reasonably priced destination in Central America. Restaurants and hotels are quite affordable and you'll find all kinds of international cuisine around the city. Transportation is also incredibly affordable and you'll find yourself pleasantly surprised at the cost of intercity bus rides.

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 Managua?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Managua is $45, 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 Managua and Bocas del Toro in more detail.



Accommodation

Double occupancy rooms typically run around $36 in Managua For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.

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
    Managua $18
    Bocas del Toro $27
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Managua $36
    Bocas del Toro $54

Food

In Managua travelers spend around $15 a day on food. You can save money by choosing casual restaurants or food stalls, or you can spend plenty more by dining in nicer restaurants at every meal.

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
    Managua $15
    Bocas del Toro $22

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

To get around in Managua, the average visitor spends $17 per day, per person. This includes the costs of taxi rides and private drivers as well as public transportation, which tends to be much more affordable.

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.
    Managua $17
    Bocas del Toro $8.21

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Managua

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

  • One-Way Private Transfer from Managua to San Juan del Sur: $146
  • Private Transfer in Nicaragua: $110
  • Popoyo Beach Transfer: $90
  • One-Way Private Transfer from Managua to Granada: $83
  • Private Transfer from and To Poneloya or Las Peñitas Beach- Leon, Nicaragua: $68
  • Las Peñitas or Poneloya beach Transfer: $67
  • San Juan Del Sur Transfer: $56
  • Transfer Managua to Granada: $52
  • San Jorge Rivas Transfer: $47
  • Granada Transfer: $44
  • Private Transfer From Managua International Airport: $17
  • Private Airport Transfer: Augusto C Sandino Int. Airport (MGA) to Managua: $13

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 Managua or Bocas del Toro?

Prices for flights to both Bocas del Toro and Managua 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

In Managua, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $13 per person, per day.

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.
    Managua $13
    Bocas del Toro $17

Tours and Activities in Managua

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

  • 3 full days tour at Granada, Masaya and Leon area from Managua: $271
  • 4-Days Tour in Colonial Nicaragua: $1,090
  • 5-Day Granada Adventure from Managua: $853
  • 7-Day Best of Nicaragua Experience from Managua: $914
  • 7-Day Volcano Adventure: $1,587
  • Amazing Masaya Volcano at Night "Private Tour": $54
  • Best of Nicaragua 7-Day Tour: Lakes, Islands and Volcanoes: $1,608
  • Boat ride + Colonial city tour at Granada+Catarina lookout: $68
  • Boat ride on lake Granada+Colonial sightseeing+Night tour at Masaya volcano: $68
  • Boat tour + Granada City +Masaya Volcano Night Tour: $68
  • Boat tour+Granada City and Catarina lookout: $68
  • Cerro Negro Volcano Boarding & Boat Tour: $145

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

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Managua, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $9.34.

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
    Managua $9.34
    Bocas del Toro $9.50

Sample the Local Flavors in Managua

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Managua:

  • Private Flor de Caña Rum Distillery and León City: $165


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Managua and Bocas del Toro, we can see that Bocas del Toro is more expensive. And not only is Managua much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Managua would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Managua 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 Managua.

Budget Your Trip

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Managua vs. Bocas del Toro Travel Comparison

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