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

Should you visit San Juan del Sur or Liberia?

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

Liberia

Liberia is a town in northwestern Costa Rica. It is the capital of the Guanacaste province, which is about 140 miles away from Costa Rica's capital, San Jose. The town has a population of about 56,000 and is one of the tourism centers of the country.

Which city is cheaper, Liberia 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 Liberia is $73. 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 Liberia in more detail.



Accommodation

Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $34 for a double occupancy room in San Juan del Sur.

Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $78 for a double occupancy room in Liberia.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    San Juan del Sur $17
    Liberia $39
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    San Juan del Sur $34
    Liberia $78

Food

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.

In Liberia travelers spend around $14 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 $15
    Liberia $14

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

Typical Food prices in Liberia

Some typical examples of dining costs in Liberia are as follows:


  • Snacks
    $1.60
  • Lunch at The Shack (for 1)
    $4.02
  • Lunch
    $9.29
  • Coffee & Tres Leches (for 2)
    $11
  • Ginger Ale
    $1.04

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.

The cost of a taxi ride in Liberia is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $28 per person, per day, on local transportation in Liberia.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    San Juan del Sur $15
    Liberia $28

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

Typical Local Transportation prices in Liberia

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Liberia are as follows:


  • Bike Rental
    $20

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Liberia

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Liberia:

  • Ground transfer Liberia Airport to La Fortuna Volcan Arenal: $160
  • Liberia Airport Private Transfer to La Fortuna: $231
  • Liberia Airport Transfer from/to Playa Tamarindo: $85
  • One Way Private Transfer from Monteverde - Liberia: $271
  • PRIVATE TRANSFER LIBERIA AIRPORT - LA FORTUNA or viceversa: $159
  • Private Airport Transfer to Andaz Peninsula Papagayo: $80
  • Private Airport Transfer to Punta Islita Hotel: $380
  • Private Airport Transfer: Liberia Airport (LIR) to Liberia: $27
  • Private Airport Transfer: from Liberia to Liberia Airport (LIR): $27
  • Private Premium Transfer: From Liberia Airport: $85
  • Private Transfer ATO LIR to Westin Conchal Standar: $187
  • Private Transfer Ato Lir - JW Marriott Standar: $168

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

Prices for flights to both Liberia 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.

Entertainment and activities in Liberia typically cost an average of $16 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    San Juan del Sur $13
    Liberia $16

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

Tours and Activities in Liberia

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Liberia are as follows:

  • Eco-Adventure Park Day Pass: $82
  • Palo Verde National Park Boat Tour and Liberia City Sightseeing: $95
  • Nosara river guided kayak mangrove and environment watching tour in Guanacaste: $100
  • La Vieja Waterfalls Hike - All in ONE experience: $100
  • Guachipelin Adventure Volcano Zipline Horseback River Tubing Combo: $113
  • Sloth and Rainforest Adventure with Lunch: $120
  • Palo Verde National Park boat tour: $120
  • Rincon de la Vieja National Park Hike - All in ONE experience: $125
  • Water Tubing Adventure and Hot Springs at Rincon de la Vieja from Liberia: $128
  • Dino Park and Blue River Resort Adventure in Rincon de la Vieja from Playa Del Coco: $128
  • Zipline, Tarzan Swing, and Blue River Adventure from Liberia: $128
  • Blue Volcanic River Waterfalls and Hot Springs Mud Bath Adventure in Rincon de la Vieja from Liberia: $128

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.

The average person spends about $8.15 on alcoholic beverages in Liberia per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    San Juan del Sur $11
    Liberia $8.15


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

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San Juan del Sur vs. Liberia Travel Comparison

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