Should you visit San Juan del Sur or Leon?
Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the prices of travel for San Juan del Sur and Leon. 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.
Leon is one of the oldest city's in Nicaragua and you can see hints of its colonial past in the architecture around town. Tourism is not a major part of the economy in Leon, but the city is gaining popularity with budget travelers and backpackers and more recently tour groups are including Leon in their itinerary.
With a population of just over 200,000, Leon is the second largest city in Nicaragua, after Managua. During the university season the population grows dramatically as there is a heavy presence of students in Leon. It is a popular university town, and this young population gives the city plenty of energy and entertainment.
Which city is cheaper, Leon 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 $44, while the average daily cost in Leon is $49. 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 Leon in more detail.
Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $34 for a double occupancy room in San Juan del Sur.
The average price for accommodation for two people in Leon is $26. This is for two people sharing a typical double occupancy hotel room.
The average traveler spends about $15 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.
Leon food costs typically run travelers around $10 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 Juan del Sur $15
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:
Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Leon
Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Leon.
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.
The cost of a taxi ride in Leon is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $1.26 per person, per day, on local transportation in Leon.
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:
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Leon
Some specific examples of transportation prices in Leon:
León hotels to Del Bajio Airport (BJX) - Departure Private Transfer:
Reliable one-way transfer Guanajuato Leon International Airport to Hotel:
Is it cheaper to fly into San Juan del Sur or Leon?
Prices for flights to both Leon 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.
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.
Entertainment and activities in Leon typically cost an average of $4.87 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.
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:
SJDS PORT EXCURSION: Zipline and Adventure Park:
Mombacho Volcano Hike and Ziplining Adventure from San Juan del Sur:
San Juan del Sur Shore Excursion: Private Masaya Volcano and Catarina Tour:
Tours and Activities in Leon
Here are a few actual costs in Leon for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:
León 3-Hour Guided City Tour Including Entrance Fees:
León: 5-Hour Volcano Boarding Tour on Cerro Negro:
Volcano Board Adventure on Cerro Negro:
Leon City Walking Private Tour:
León: Flor de Caña Rum Factory 4-Hour Tour:
Leon City Tour:
León City tour and Mud pools of San Jacinto:
plant-based friendly tapas tour:
Volcano Boarding Private Tour:
Rum Tour & Chorotega Museum Experience:
Private: León City Walking Tour from León:
Hike El Hoyo Volcano "Private Tour":
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.
While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Leon may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $2.96 per day on alcoholic beverages.
When comparing the travel costs between San Juan del Sur and Leon, we can see that Leon 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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