A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers San Ignacio vs. Panama City for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit San Ignacio or Panama City?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between San Ignacio or Panama City, this travel comparison, which includes costs, can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison down below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Where Should I go: San Ignacio or Panama City?

San Ignacio

So you want a tropical getaway, but also don't want to lay around with nothing to do. You want an adventure! You want relaxation and exploration.

You want to visit the small town of San Ignacio, Belize.

This section of the Cayo region is really more of a jungle than a typical Belize beach getaway. Located close the ancient Mayan ruins on the western and inland side of Belize, this town is most popular for its many outdoor adventures including hiking, climbing, and caving!

Panama City

Panama City is the cosmopolitan capital city of the country of Panama. With a population of almost 900,000 and almost 1.5 million in the metropolitan area, it's a very diverse city with expat residents from all over the world. You don't have to search far to find someone who speaks English, and many Panamanians are quite helpful and friendly.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Budget Tours to Belize, The Best G Adventures Tours to Belize, The Best Budget Tours to Panama, and The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Panama City.

Which place is cheaper, Panama City or San Ignacio?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in San Ignacio is $72, while the average daily cost in Panama City is $86. 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 San Ignacio and Panama City in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    San Ignacio $19
    Panama City $35
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    San Ignacio $38
    Panama City $70
Compare Hotels in San Ignacio and Panama City

Looking for a hotel in San Ignacio or Panama City? 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 San Ignacio

Hotels in Panama City

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: San Ignacio Hotel Prices and Panama City Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    San Ignacio $3.11
    Panama City $11

Hired Cars and Shuttles in San Ignacio

Some specific examples of transportation prices in San Ignacio:

  • From Van Transfer To Flores Peten in Guatemala: $20
  • San Ignacio Hotel to Belize City Transfer: $20

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Panama City

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

  • Airport TRANSFER 1 way Tocumen Howard BLB Albrook Rio Hato Colon: $28
  • PTY Tocumen Airport Private Transfer One Way or Round Trip!: $45
  • Panama Airport (PTY) to Panama city - Arrival Private Transfer: $28
  • Panama Airport (PTY) to Playa Bonita/Gamboa - Private Transfer: $38
  • Embera Indian Village Tour w/ Airport Transfer: $290
  • Guided Panama Canal & City Tour with Transfers: $65
  • Half-Day City & Canal Tour w/ Airport Transfer: $215
  • Historic District and Canal Tour with Transfer: $65
  • One-Way or Round-Trip PTY Airport Transfer: $47
  • Shopping at Albrook Mall & Round-Trip Transfer: $36
  • Panama One Way Transfer: Van from Tocumen Airport to Panama City: $76
  • Panama Tocumen Airport (PTY): Private Transfer to Coronado: $269

Is it cheaper to fly into San Ignacio or Panama City?

Prices for flights to both Panama City and San Ignacio 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
    San Ignacio $21
    Panama City $21

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in San Ignacio

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

  • Xunantunich & Food Tour with local chocolate experience: $150

Typical Food Prices in Panama City

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Panama City:

  • Sandwich

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Panama City

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

  • Panamanian Dinner and Folkloric Show Ticket with Pickup: $60
  • Panama Evening Food Tour: $60
  • 4-Hour Guided Panamanian Cooking Class and Markets Experience: $85
  • 10-Recipe Boozy Panamanian Cooking Class : $85
  • Panama: 10-Recipe Boozy Panamanian Cooking Class + Dinner: $85
  • The 'Real' Panamanian Private Food Tour: $200

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    San Ignacio $100
    Panama City $66

Tours and Activities in San Ignacio

Here are a few actual costs in San Ignacio for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • ATV Excursions in Cayo with Waterfalls Experience: $174
  • Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave Tour and Picnic: $125
  • Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave Tour from San Ignacio : $120
  • Actun Tunichil Muknal with Local Tour guide & Belizean Lunch: $120
  • Barton Creek Tour: $98
  • Belize Cave Tubing Adventure from San Ignacio: $90
  • Caracol Maya Ruins Tour Including Rio On Pools, Rio Frio Cave and a Picnic Lunch: $125
  • Cave Canoeing with Local Tour Guide: $80
  • Cave Tubing Adventure at Nohoch Che'en and Jaguar Paw : $115
  • Cave Tubing and Zip line Adventure from San Ignacio: $144
  • Cave Tubing with local tour Guide and Belizean Lunch: $90
  • Deluxe Cave Tubing combo Adventure: $125

Tours and Activities in Panama City

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Panama City.

  • Casco Antiguo Virtual Live Tour: $12
  • Bar tour in El Cangrejo with Bar Hopping Panama: $20
  • Tour de bares en El Cangrejo con Bar Hopping Panama: $20
  • POIN Glass Viewpoint Experience: $27
  • POIN The Edge Experience: $27
  • POIN Swing Experience: $27
  • Highlights Bike Tour in Casco Viejo & Cinta Costera: $28
  • Panama City Bike Tour: $30
  • City Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour: $30
  • Sunset Walking Tour at Casco Viejo El Chorrillo and the fish market: $30
  • walking tour in Casco Antiguo !: $30
  • Bike tour in Panama City and Old City with locals: $31

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    San Ignacio $17
    Panama City $18

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

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

Which is Bigger, San Ignacio or Panama City?

Panama City has a larger population, and is about 20 times larger than the population of San Ignacio. When comparing the sizes of San Ignacio and Panama City, 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.