Should you visit Managua or Leon?
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 Leon can help you decide which place is right for you.
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.
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.
Which city is cheaper, Leon 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 Leon is $49. 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 Leon in more detail.
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 average price for accommodation for two people in Leon is $26. This is for two people sharing a typical double occupancy hotel room.
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.
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.
Meals for one day
Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Leon
Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Leon.
To get around in Managua, the average visitor spends $16 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.
The cost of a taxi ride in Leon is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $1.26 per person, per day, on local transportation in Leon.
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Managua
Also for Managua, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Las Peñitas or Poneloya beach Transfer:
One-Way Private Transfer from Managua to Granada:
One-Way Private Transfer from Managua to San Juan del Sur:
Popoyo Beach Transfer:
Private Airport Transfer: Augusto C Sandino Int. Airport (MGA) to Managua:
Private Airport Transfer: from Managua to Augusto C Sandino Int. Airport (MGA):
Private Transfer From Managua International Airport:
Private Transfer from and To Poneloya or Las Peñitas Beach- Leon, Nicaragua:
Private Transfer in Nicaragua:
San Jorge Rivas Transfer:
San Juan Del Sur Transfer:
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Leon
Some specific examples of transportation prices in Leon:
Reliable one-way transfer Guanajuato Leon International Airport to Hotel:
León hotels to Del Bajio Airport (BJX) - Departure Private Transfer:
Is it cheaper to fly into Managua or Leon?
Prices for flights to both Leon 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.
In Managua, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $13 per person, per day.
Entertainment and activities in Leon typically cost an average of $4.87 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.
Tours and Activities in Managua
Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Managua.
Masaya Volcano Night Tour:
Masaya Volcano National Park Evening Tour, with hotel pickup:
Nicaragua Private Guide and Transportation Service: Customized Tours:
Masaya Volcano Night Tour from Granada:
Amazing Masaya Volcano at Night "Private Tour":
Granada+Apoyo Lagoon +handicraft market+ Masaya volcano night tour:
Laguna de apoyo day pass + masaya volcano lava tour:
Laguna de Apoyo Day pass plus Masaya Volcano Night Tour:
Managua City Tour:
Granada Isletas +Colonial City tour:
Granada Isletas and City tour:
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:
7-Day Tour: Learn to Surf in Nicaragua:
7-Days Tour: Punta Miramar Surf Camp:
Best of Leon and Granada *Private Tour*:
Charming Nicaragua "9 days Private Tour":
Hike El Hoyo Volcano "Private Tour":
Horseback Riding Private Tour:
Kayak Private tour at Juan Venado Island:
León 3-Hour Guided City Tour Including Entrance Fees:
León: 5-Hour Volcano Boarding Tour on Cerro Negro:
León: Flor de Caña Rum Factory 4-Hour Tour:
Leon City Tour:
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 $9.28.
While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Leon may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $2.96 per day on alcoholic beverages.
Sample the Local Flavors in Managua
Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Managua:
Private Flor de Caña Rum Distillery and León City:
When comparing the travel costs between Managua and Leon, we can see that Leon 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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