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

Should you visit Roatan or Santa Elena?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the prices of travel for Roatan and Santa Elena. 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.

Santa Elena

Santa Elena is a cute town, and the closest to the Monteverde Cloud Forest. It's one of the most popular destinations in Costa Rica, and is a great place to experience the cloud forest and see some of country's unique wildlife.

In the Monteverde Cloud Forest you have a good chance of seeing rare quetzals which are the national bird of Costa Rica. Other common animals include white-faced capuchin monkeys, howler monkeys, orange-kneed tarantulas, any of 8-9 species of hummingbirds, and sloth.

Santa Elena is about 1,400 meters above sea level and has a humid and damp environment. The average yearly temperature is 64 degrees Fahrenheit and the average rainfall is 3,000 millimetres. Humidity can be anywhere between 74% and 97%.

Which city is cheaper, Santa Elena 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 Santa Elena 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 Santa Elena 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.

For a normal double-occupancy room in Santa Elena, $72 is the average cost for a hotel room. Also in Santa Elena, the typical price for a place to stay for one person is $36, such as in a hostel.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Roatan $9.18
    Santa Elena $36
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Roatan $18
    Santa Elena $72

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.

Santa Elena food costs typically run travelers around $15 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 Meals for one day
    Roatan $7.72
    Santa Elena $15

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.

Santa Elena's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $7.23 per person, per day on transportation in Santa Elena.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Roatan $15
    Santa Elena $7.23
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

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Santa Elena

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

  • One Way Private Transfer from Monteverde to Samara: $262
  • One Way Private Transfer from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio: $265

Is it cheaper to fly into Roatan or Santa Elena?

Prices for flights to both Santa Elena 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.

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Santa Elena can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $20 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Roatan $22
    Santa Elena $20

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 Santa Elena

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

  • The Original Canopy Tour Monteverde: $50
  • Night Walk Tour: $53
  • Coffee Tour 3 in 1 (Coffee Chocolate and sugar cane): $56
  • 100% Adventure Park Combo: Zipline, Superman, and Mega Tarzan Tour in Monteverde: $58
  • Monteverde Cloud Forest Canopy Tour: $77
  • Horseback Riding Tour in Monteverde: $81
  • Tikal Sunset Tour in Small Group from El Remate: $93
  • Tikal Sunrise Tour from El Remate in Small Group: $96
  • Ceibal Day Tour from Flores: $100
  • Tikal Guided Sunrise Tour in Small Group from Flores: $103
  • Night Walk Tour plus Coffee Tour 3 in 1(Coffee Chocolate and sugar cane): $110
  • Canopy Tour Plus Night Walk: $111

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.

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Santa Elena, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $4.04.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Roatan $5.79
    Santa Elena $4.04


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

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Roatan vs. Santa Elena Travel Comparison

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