Should you visit San Ignacio or Santa Elena?
If you're trying to decide where to visit between San Ignacio or Santa Elena, this travel cost comparison can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.
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!
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 San Ignacio?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in San Ignacio is $57, 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 San Ignacio and Santa Elena in more detail.
A hotel room in San Ignacio is about $30 This assumes double occupancy and modest accommodations.
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.
The average traveler spends about $16 per day in San Ignacio for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.
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.
Meals for one day
San Ignacio $16
Santa Elena $15
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 from San Ignacio:
The average price of local transportation around San Ignacio is $2.48 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.
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 $7.22 per person, per day on transportation in Santa Elena.
Hired Cars and Shuttles in San Ignacio
Some specific examples of transportation prices in San Ignacio:
Shared Departure Transfer: San Ignacio Hotels to Belize International Airport:
Shared Arrival Transfer: Belize International Airport to San Ignacio Hotels:
Shared Departure Transfer: San Ignacio Hotel to Belize International Airport:
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 Manuel Antonio:
One Way Private Transfer from Monteverde to Samara:
Is it cheaper to fly into San Ignacio or Santa Elena?
Prices for flights to both Santa Elena 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.
San Ignacio's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $80 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.
Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Santa Elena can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $19 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.
Tours and Activities in San Ignacio
Here are a few actual costs in San Ignacio for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:
ATM Cave Tour from San Ignacio:
ATV, Zipline and Cave Tubing Tour from San Ignacio:
Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave Tour and Picnic:
Actun Tunichil Muknal with Local Tour guide & Belizean Lunch:
Barton Creek Tour:
Belize Cave Tubing Adventure from San Ignacio:
Caracol Maya Ruin Tour:
Caracol Maya Ruins Tour Including Rio On Pools, Rio Frio Cave and a Picnic Lunch:
Caracol Maya Site & Pools with Local Tour guide & Belizean Lunch:
Cave Canoeing with Local Tour Guide:
Cave Tubing Adventure:
Cave Tubing and Zip line Adventure from San Ignacio:
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:
Night Walk Tour:
Coffee Tour 3 in 1 (Coffee Chocolate and sugar cane):
100% Adventure Park Combo: Zipline, Superman, and Mega Tarzan Tour in Monteverde:
Monteverde Cloud Forest Canopy Tour:
Horseback Riding Tour in Monteverde:
Tikal Sunset Tour in Small Group from El Remate:
Tikal Sunrise Tour from El Remate in Small Group:
Ceibal Day Tour from Flores:
Tikal Guided Sunrise Tour in Small Group from Flores:
Night Walk Tour plus Coffee Tour 3 in 1(Coffee Chocolate and sugar cane):
Canopy Tour Plus Night Walk:
While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting San Ignacio may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $14 per day on alcoholic beverages.
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 $4.03.
When comparing the travel costs between San Ignacio and Santa Elena, we can see that Santa Elena 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 Central America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.
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