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

Should you visit Roatan or San Jose?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the prices of travel for Roatan and San Jose. 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. So, let's dig into it.

Roatan

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.

San Jose

San Jose is the capital city of Costa Rica and is likely to be your first and last stop in a visit to the country. The city is situated in the Central Valley and is surrounded by beautiful mountains and valleys, making for a beautiful flight in. The city has an elevation of 1200 meters and sits on a plateau with a beautiful backdrop of lush green forest. Half of the people in Costa Rica reside in the country's capital city. You are likely to stay only a day or two, but there are a handful of things to do and see including museums and markets. You will also find many embassies, as well as the University of Costa Rica in San Jose.

Which city is cheaper, San Jose or Roatan?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Roatan is $31, while the average daily cost in San Jose is $60. 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 Roatan and San Jose in more detail.



Accommodation

Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $18 for a double occupancy room in Roatan.

The prices for places to stay in San Jose can vary by date, location, and type. Generally, the average cost for accommodation per person is $32, while a typical double-occupancy hotel room for two people will cost around $64.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Roatan $9.18
    San Jose $32
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Roatan $18
    San Jose $64

Food

Food in Roatan costs travelers about $7.72 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.

While meal prices in San Jose can vary, the average travelers spends about $11 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in San Jose should cost around $4.40 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in San Jose is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Roatan $7.72
    San Jose $11

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in San Jose

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

  • Half-Day San Jose Evening Bus Tour with Dinner and Pickup: $66
  • Vip Evening Sightseeing Tour with Dinner: $66
  • San Jose Evening Tour with Dinner: $77
  • Arenal Volcano Full-Day Combo Tour with Lunch and Dinner: $160

Local Transportation

The cost of a taxi ride in Roatan is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $15 per person, per day, on local transportation in Roatan.

To get around in San Jose, 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.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Roatan $15
    San Jose $17
Typical Local Transportation prices in Roatan

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


  • Water Taxi
    $4.37

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Roatan

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Roatan:

  • bus & Taxi Uber Roatan transfer to the beach customize your tour: $26

Typical Local Transportation prices in San Jose

Some typical examples of transportation costs in San Jose are as follows:


  • Taxi from SJO
    $20
  • Local Bus
    $2.21

Hired Cars and Shuttles in San Jose

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

  • Private Airport Transfer: Juan Santamaria Int. Airport (SJO) to Alajuela: $25
  • Departure Private Transfer: San Jose City to San Jose Airport SJO by Minivan: $29
  • Transfer in Private Vehicle from SanJose City to SanJose Juan Santamaría Airport: $30
  • Private transfer from San Jose-Heredia-Alajuela Hotels to International Airport: $55
  • Private Transfer from San Jose Airport One Way: $56
  • San Jose Arrival Chauffeur Driven Airport Transfer: $65
  • San Jose Departure Chauffeur Driven Airport Transfer: $65
  • San Jose Arrival Chauffeur Driven Airport Transfer by Executive Sedan: $65
  • San Jose Departure Chauffeur Driven Airport Transfer by Executive Sedan: $65
  • Private transfer from SJO Intl Airport to downtown Hotels: $65
  • Low Cost Private Transfer From Norman Y Mineta San Jose International Airport to San Jose City - One Way: $73
  • Low Cost Private Transfer From Norman Y Mineta San Jose International Airport to Mountain View City - One Way: $73

Is it cheaper to fly into Roatan or San Jose?

Prices for flights to both San Jose 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.





Entertainment

Entertainment and activities in Roatan typically cost an average of $22 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.

In San Jose, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $14 per person, per day.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Roatan $22
    San Jose $14

Tours and Activities in Roatan

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

  • 2 Hour Zip Lining Private Tour in Mahogany Bay: $65
  • 4-Hour East Side Roatan Private Guided Tour with Canoe Ride: $85
  • AJ's Monkey/Sloth Family Experience, City Tour and Chocolate Tasting: $55
  • ATV East & West End Tour: $107
  • Cruise Ship Multiple Snorkeling, Snacks, Music & Private Vehicle: $85
  • Do It Your Way Roatán Free Style Tour.: $32
  • Garifuna Village plus Daniel Johnson Monkey and Sloth and Mangrove Tunnel Tour.: $82
  • Good Samaritan Tour: $51
  • Island tour in Roatan: $49
  • Island tour sightseeing +sanctuary and beach: $60
  • Mangrove tunnel and Garifuna culture tour: $90
  • Mayan Jungle Canopy & Zip-line Tour, Monkey Business & West Bay Beach!: $127

Tours and Activities in San Jose

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

  • Skip the Line: The Childrens Museum Ticket in Costa Rica: $7.00
  • San Jose Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $21
  • San Jose Welcome Tour: Private Tour with a Local: $30
  • Skip the Line: The National Museum Admission Ticket: $30
  • San Jose Like a Local: Customized Private Tour: $31
  • San Jose ART Walking Tour - small groups, creative experience: $32
  • San Jose Bites and Sights Tour: $34
  • San Jose Walking Tour: Food, History and Architecture: $38
  • Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary Admission Ticket: $39
  • Manuel Antonio National Park Guided Tour: $44
  • From 2.5-Hour Costa Rica Atlantic Zip Line Tour: $50
  • San Jose City Tour: $53

Alcohol

The average person spends about $5.79 on alcoholic beverages in Roatan per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

Typically, people visiting San Jose spend on average $11 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Roatan $5.79
    San Jose $11

Sample the Local Flavors in San Jose

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in San Jose:

  • San Jose Bar Hunt: Sweet San Jose Bar Crawl: $12


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

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Roatan vs. San Jose Travel Comparison

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