A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Roatan vs. Jaco for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Roatan or Jaco?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Roatan and Jaco. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Where Should I go: Roatan or Jaco?


Your next great vacation lies just thirty miles off the north coast of Honduras. Right above the world's largest coral reef is the island of Roatan. As a popular tourist attraction and standard cruise destination, it's not uncommon to see tons of Americans during your trip. In fact, the cruising industry has had huge impact on the island's culture. While ships are in port, traffic will be heavier and prices may go up. Because of the growth of tourism, most locals speak both Spanish and English.


Jaco is a beach destination on the Central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. This resort city is located in the county of Garabito in the Puntarenas province. It has a population of about 10,000 residents and a 2.5 mile long beach that is an excellent surfing destination.

Because Jaco is located on the coast, it's weather is influenced by the water. The climate is humid with a relative humidity of about 80%, but climbing to 90% in the month of June. The temperature is usually between 85 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit at night. There are distinct wet and dry seasons with August through early December being the rainy season and late December through early April being the dry season. Rain is irregular during the rest of the year.

Which place is cheaper, Jaco or Roatan?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Roatan is $38, while the average daily cost in Jaco is $102. 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 destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Roatan and Jaco in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Roatan $11
    Jaco $66
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Roatan $22
    Jaco $132
Compare Hotels in Roatan and Jaco

Looking for a hotel in Roatan or Jaco? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Roatan

Hotels in Jaco

Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.

Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Roatan Hotel Prices and Jaco Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Roatan $19
    Jaco -
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Roatan

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Roatan are as follows:

  • Water Taxi

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Roatan

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Roatan:

  • West Bay Beach, Chocolate, & Rum Factory & Transfer: $67
  • West Bay Aquarium Snorkeling, Chocolate & Rum Factory, City Tour plus Transfer: $91
  • West Bay Aquarium Snorkeling, Beach, Zipline, City Tour & Transfer: $140
  • Transfers, Zip Line and Monkey Park: $110
  • Transfers to West End by night from hotels in West Bay or Sandy Bay: $15
  • South Side Horseback Riding, Beach Break & Roundway Transfer: $120
  • Scuba Dive in the West End of Roatan with Private Transfer: $113
  • Round trip transfers from airport or ferry to hotel: $40
  • Roatan to Mahogany Bay Cruise Port - Departure Private Transfer: $39
  • Roatan Zipline, Monkey, Macaws & Sloths Eco Park, Snorkeling, Transfer: $128
  • Roatan Sun & Fun, Sloths & Monkeys, Beach & Private Transfer: $63
  • Roatan Special Catamaran for Cruise Ship Passengers plus Transfer: $113

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Jaco

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

  • Shuttle & transfer rides to SJO Airport Costa Rica: $55
  • Private Transfer From Guacaste Airport to Jaco: $64
  • Jaco to Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) - Departure Private Transfer: $68
  • Transfer FROM Jaco Beach TO SJO Airport OR RETURN (One Way): $70
  • Arrival Transfer Barcelo Tambor to Juan Santamaria Airport SJO : $83
  • Jaco/Monteverde to Liberia Airport (LIR) - Departure Transfer : $90
  • From Tortuga Island Boat Tour with Lunch and Transfer: $135
  • One-Way Private Transfer from Quepos - Manuel Antonio to Uvita: $140
  • Jaco or Playa Hermosa: Transfer to San Jose or Alajuela: $173
  • Private Transfer - San Jose Airport & Los Sueños Resort/Marriot : $200
  • Jacó Private Transfer to San Jose Airport 1 to 4 People: $205
  • Private transfer from Jaco Beach to Hotels in San Jose or the Airport: $219

Is it cheaper to fly into Roatan or Jaco?

Prices for flights to both Jaco and Roatan 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 Meals for one day
    Roatan $9.42
    Jaco $21

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Roatan

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

  • Tiki Boat Sunset Cruise in Roatan with Snorkeling and Dinner : $100
  • Cooking classes from a Local!: $200

Typical Food Prices in Jaco

For Jaco, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:

  • Hermosa BeachLlunch
  • Tsunami Sushi Dinner
  • Taco Bar Dinner
  • Pizza & Smoothie Lunch
  • Ice Cream
  • Breakfast Taco Bar
  • Fruit Plate

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Jaco

For Jaco, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Traveling Spoon Ceviche Private Online Cooking Class: $40
  • Costa Rican cooking class with cookbook author Melissa Guzman: $85
  • Night Walk Tour and Jungle Dinner in Jaco: $85
  • Taste of Costa Rica: Traditional Food Tour in Jacó: $87
  • Traditional Costa Rican cooking class and meal with a modern twist: $136
  • Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna Waterfall, Hot Springs Combo Tour with Lunch & Dinner: $195

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Roatan $27
    Jaco $59

Tours and Activities in Roatan

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Roatan are as follows:

  • Mangrove cruise garífuna Culture sightseeing and Lunch : $89
  • Private Island Tour with Private Driver: Explore Roatán: $45
  • Private Tour: Chocolate Factory Rum cake Factory, Sightseeing and Beach Tour: $45
  • Roatan Island Tour & Daniel Johnson's Monkey and Sloth Hangout Tour: $70
  • Shore Excursion: VIP Island City Tour and Drift Snorkel : $60
  • Shore Excursion: Zip & Dip Adventure: $69
  • Sloths Sanctuary/Monkeys Play + Dune Buggy/ATV Adventure & Private Beach Resort: $139
  • 2 Hour Zip Lining Private Tour in Mahogany Bay: $65
  • 2 Tank Roatan Fun Dive, Boat Sightseeing Tour, including ground transportation: $145
  • 3 Hours ATV Adventure in Politilly Bight: $85
  • 3-Hours Private Tour in Roatan with Pick Up: $66
  • 4 Hours Private Tour with Snorkel Experience in Roatan: $50

Typical Entertainment Prices in Jaco

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Jaco's activities, tours, and tickets:

  • Dance Class
  • Surf Lesson
  • Bike Rental
  • Tortuga Island Tour
  • Massage

Tours and Activities in Jaco

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

  • Guided Walking Street Art & Graffiti Tour in Jaco Costa Rica : $30
  • Carara National Park Tour: $31
  • Jungle Crocodile Safari and Bird Watching Tour: $35
  • Crocodile Man Tour THE ORIGINAL: $40
  • Jason Crocodile Tours: $40
  • 1 hour 45 minutes Crocodile Adventure Tour in Tarcoles River: $43
  • Jaco Beach: 2-Hour Chocolate Experience Tour: $43
  • Bird watching tour in Carara National Park: $45
  • Chocolate Experience in Jaco Beach and Los Suenos : $45
  • From Canopy Tour in Hacienda Nosavar: $50
  • Guided visit to Carara National Park (Ticket included): $50
  • Guided Street Art & Graffiti Bike Tour in Jaco Costa Rica: $50

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Roatan $7.07
    Jaco $31

Sample the Local Flavors in Roatan

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Roatan:

  • Half-Day Tour in Roatan With Brewery, Rum and Chocolate Factories visit: $46
  • Bar Crawl Tour in West End Village by Pedibike- Let the Good Times Roll: $80

Typical Alcohol Prices in Jaco

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in Jaco:

  • Wine
  • Night at the Bar

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

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Roatan Expensive? and Is Jaco Expensive?.

Which is Bigger, Roatan or Jaco?

Roatan has a larger population, and is about 84% larger than the population of Jaco. When comparing the sizes of Roatan and Jaco, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.