A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers San Juan del Sur vs. David for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit San Juan del Sur or David?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the prices of travel for San Juan del Sur and David. 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.

San Juan del Sur

San Juan del Sur is a popular port destination on the Pacific coast of southwest Nicaragua. The town was once a quaint fishing village but has grown into a tourist town with activities for visitors that include surfing, fishing, and, of course, partying. The town has a population of just over 15,000, most of whom are either fishermen or involved in the tourism industry. There is also a large expat community from the United States, Canada, and Europe.

David

In the Pacific West of Panama, David is the capital city of Chiriqui province. The city's population of almost 150,000 is among the wealthiest in the country. There is a well established middle class and unemployment remains low in the area. The area has grown rapidly in recent years with growing commercial and banking sectors. The city is well connected to the rest of the country by the Pan American Highway.

Which city is cheaper, David or San Juan del Sur?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in San Juan del Sur is $45, while the average daily cost in David is $25. 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 Juan del Sur and David in more detail.



Accommodation

Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $36 for a double occupancy room in San Juan del Sur.

David's average price for two people sharing a typical double-occupancy hotel room is $20. A typical place to stay for one person, per day is $9.88.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    San Juan del Sur $18
    David $9.88
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    San Juan del Sur $36
    David $20

Food

The average traveler spends about $16 per day in San Juan del Sur 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.

In David travelers spend around $8.09 a day on food. You can save money by choosing casual restaurants or food stalls, or you can spend plenty more by dining in nicer restaurants at every meal.


  • Food Meals for one day
    San Juan del Sur $16
    David $8.09

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in San Juan del Sur

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

  • Food Tour - Nicaragua Gastronomy: $102

Local Transportation

The average price of local transportation around San Juan del Sur is $15 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.

While taxis and private drivers typically cost much more than public transportation, people usually spend around $9.64 per day to get around in David.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    San Juan del Sur $15
    David $9.64

Hired Cars and Shuttles in San Juan del Sur

Some specific examples of transportation prices in San Juan del Sur:

  • One-Way Private Transfer from San Juan del Sur to Managua: $146

Is it cheaper to fly into San Juan del Sur or David?

Prices for flights to both David and San Juan del Sur 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

San Juan del Sur's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $13 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.

Activities, things to do, and other forms of entertainment usually cost around $3.51 per person, per day in David. This cost includes the price of admission tickets to attractions and museums as well as daily tours.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    San Juan del Sur $13
    David $3.51

Tours and Activities in San Juan del Sur

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

  • Open Bar Sunset Cruise in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua: $30
  • SJDS PORT EXCURSION: Zipline and Adventure Park: $100
  • ATV Tour: $103
  • Mombacho Volcano Hike and Ziplining Adventure from San Juan del Sur: $159
  • San Juan del Sur Shore Excursion: Private Masaya Volcano and Catarina Tour: $201

Alcohol

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting San Juan del Sur may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $11 per day on alcoholic beverages.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    San Juan del Sur $11
    David -


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

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San Juan del Sur vs. David Travel Comparison

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