Should you visit Ponce or San Juan?
Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel cost comparison between Ponce and San Juan can help. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.
Ponce is on the south coast of Puerto Rico. It's the second largest city on the island and has been around since 1692 when it was originally founded by Ponce de Leon's grandson Juan Ponce de Leon y Loayza. The city has several nicknames, including La Perla del Sur (The Pearl of the South), La Ciudad Senorial (The Noble, or Lordly, City), and La Ciudad de las Quenepas (Genip City).
If you've ever set foot on a Caribbean cruise, you've probably spent a bit of time in San Juan, Puerto Rico. However, maybe you should consider spending more than just a port day in this beautiful and historically rich city.
As the capital and largest city in all of Puerto Rico, San Juan is home to approximately 400,000 people. Established in 1521, it is also the second oldest European-founded settlement in the Americas.
As this city fuses a historic paradise with modern day energy, it has absolutely everything to offer. Intellectual wanderers, beach bums, rainforest adventurers and radical surfers will all find plenty to do in San Juan.
Which city is cheaper, San Juan or Ponce?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Ponce is $164, while the average daily cost in San Juan is $153. 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 Ponce and San Juan in more detail.
The average price for accommodation for two people in Ponce is $242. This is for two people sharing a typical double occupancy hotel room.
An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $198 in San Juan For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.
Ponce food costs typically run travelers around $28 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 San Juan costs travelers about $29 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.
Meals for one day
San Juan $29
Food Tours and Cooking Classes in San Juan
For San Juan, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:
Flavors of Old San Juan Food Tour:
Authenic Puerto Rican Food Tasting Cooking Lesson (Volunteer Option Available):
Old San Juan Sunset Walk & Taste Food Tour:
Puerto Rican Food Tour:
The average price of local transportation around Ponce is $8.00 per person, per day. As this average includes both taxis and public transport, keep in mind that the prices of private drivers and taxis are significantly more expensive than public transportation.
To get around in San Juan, the average visitor spends $11 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.
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Ponce
Some specific examples of transportation prices in Ponce:
Private Departure Transfer from Ponce Hotel to San Juan Cruise Port:
Hired Cars and Shuttles in San Juan
Also for San Juan, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Private Departure Transfer - Hotel / Accommodation to San Juan Airport:
Airport Transfers: SJU to Hotels in Isla Verde/Condado/Old San Juan Puerto Rico:
San Juan Port Arrival Transfer:
San Juan Port Departure Transfer:
San Juan Bus Terminal Shuttle Transfer:
San Juan Airport Shuttle Transfer:
Private,One Way Transfer,To/From:Airport/CruisePort/Hotels to Dorado & RioGrande:
Transfers from San Juan (SJU, hotels, ports, locations nearby) to Dorado City:
Transfers from San Juan (SJU/hotels/ports/locations nearby) to Río Grande City:
Private Arrival Transfer from San Juan Cruise Port to Hotel in San Juan:
Private Departure Transfer from San Juan Hotel to San Juan Cruise Port:
Private Airport Transfer: from San Juan to Luis Munoz Marin Int. Airport (SJU):
Is it cheaper to fly into Ponce or San Juan?
Prices for flights to both San Juan and Ponce 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.
Ponce's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $45 per person, per day. This cost can vary widely by the type of activity, however, as this includes admission tickets, day tours, museums, and other things to do.
In San Juan, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $40 per person, per day.
Tours and Activities in Ponce
Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Ponce are as follows:
Guided Walking Tour in Ponce:
Typical Entertainment prices in San Juan
For San Juan, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:
Horseback Riding Tour
Full Day Snorkeling Trip
1 Hr Windsurfing Lesson
Tours and Activities in San Juan
Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for San Juan.
Old Let the city's buildings tell you their stories on an audio tour:
Skip the line! Port-Airport transportation:
Scenic Walking Tour in the Historic Old San Juan:
San Juan Sightseeing Tour:
City Tour San Juan and surroundings:
Guided Sunrise Kayak Experience at Condado Lagoon:
Old San Juan Walking Tour:
Oneway - to/from SJUAirport, Cruise Port, Hotels in SAN JUAN - Standard Sedan:
Pinones(Loiza) Tour: An Authentic Food & Beach Experience:
The Best Old San Juan Walking Tour:
Fountain of Youth Tour of Old San Juan:
San Juan Small-Group Snorkeling Tour on Coral Reef:
The average person spends about $13 on alcoholic beverages in Ponce per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.
Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In San Juan, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $9.83.
Sample the Local Flavors in San Juan
Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in San Juan:
Bacardi Rum Distillery and Old San Juan Tour:
Private Old San Juan and Bacardí or Barrilito Distillery Experience:
Bacardi Rum Distillery with Cocktail Class and Old San Juan tour:
3 Day Puerto Rico Extravaganza (Beach, Biobay, Rain Forest, Distillery & Old SJ):
When comparing the travel costs between Ponce and San Juan, we can see that Ponce 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 Caribbean Islands, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.
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