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

Should you visit San Juan del Sur or Puerto Viejo?

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

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for San Juan del Sur and Puerto Viejo. 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, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Where Should I go: San Juan del Sur or Puerto Viejo?

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.

Puerto Viejo

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is a small coastal town in Caribbean Costa Rica in the province of Limon. There are two gorgeous National Parks nearby - Cahuita and Manzanillo, and it rains more than on the Pacific side, which is why it is so lush and green with the rainforest coming down to the sea. Clear water, coconut palms, great surf and a laid-back Caribbean atmosphere make Puerto Viejo a favorite among travelers. Located on about an hour south of Limon, Puerto Viejo is the center of activity between the smaller villages of Cahuita and Manzanillo. The relaxed, seaside town is framed by jungle, turquoise seas, banana plantations and scenic rivers. It's known for the Salsa Brava surf break and beaches like black-sand Playa Negra, but this burgeoning party town is no longer a destination only for intrepid surfers; it's bustling with tourist activity. Stylish eateries serve global fusion, and intentionally rustic bamboo bars pump dancehall and reggaeton. With its blend of Afro-Caribbean descendants, expat Europeans and indigenous Costa Ricans, Puerto Viejo charms visitors with a unique mix of people and cultures. Rastafari culture has a firm foothold in the town, and many Rastas sell handmade jewelry and other wares along the town's vibrant roadside. Nearby you'll find rainforest fruit and cacao farms and wide-open beaches. If you're looking to chill a little, party a little and eat a little, you've come to the right place.

Which city is cheaper, Puerto Viejo 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 $43, while the average daily cost in Puerto Viejo is $87. 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. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for San Juan del Sur and Puerto Viejo in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    San Juan del Sur $17
    Puerto Viejo $45
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    San Juan del Sur $34
    Puerto Viejo $90
Compare Hotels in San Juan del Sur and Puerto Viejo

Looking for a hotel in San Juan del Sur or Puerto Viejo? 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 Juan del Sur


Hotels in Puerto Viejo


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 Juan del Sur Hotel Prices and Puerto Viejo Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    San Juan del Sur $14
    Puerto Viejo $29

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 Puerto Viejo?

Prices for flights to both Puerto Viejo 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.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    San Juan del Sur $15
    Puerto Viejo $20

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

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    San Juan del Sur $12
    Puerto Viejo $24

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:

  • ATV Tour: $103
  • Mombacho Volcano Hike and Ziplining Adventure from San Juan del Sur: $159
  • SJDS PORT EXCURSION: Zipline and Adventure Park: $100
  • San Juan del Sur Shore Excursion: Private Masaya Volcano and Catarina Tour: $201

Tours and Activities in Puerto Viejo

For Puerto Viejo, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Tamarindo: ATV Quad Bike Adventure Tour: $100

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    San Juan del Sur $11
    Puerto Viejo $8.97


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between San Juan del Sur and Puerto Viejo, we can see that Puerto Viejo 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 Puerto Viejo would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Puerto Viejo than you might in San Juan del Sur.


When is the best time to visit San Juan del Sur or Puerto Viejo?

Both destinations experience a warmer tropical climate most of the year. Instead of summer and winter seasons, they usually have a rainy season and a dry season. Although in the rainy season, it doesn't necessarily rain every day.

Should I visit San Juan del Sur or Puerto Viejo in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to San Juan del Sur as well as Puerto Viejo. Plenty of visitors come to San Juan del Sur because of the warm tropical climate that lasts throughout the year. Plenty of visitors come to Puerto Viejo because of the warm tropical climate that lasts throughout the year.

It's quite rainy in Puerto Viejo. San Juan del Sur receives a lot of rain in the summer. San Juan del Sur usually gets less rain in July than Puerto Viejo. San Juan del Sur gets 144 mm (5.7 in) of rain, while Puerto Viejo receives 408 mm (16.1 in) of rain this time of the year.

In the summer, San Juan del Sur often gets more sunshine than Puerto Viejo. San Juan del Sur gets 175 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Puerto Viejo receives 124 hours of full sun.

In the summer, San Juan del Sur is around the same temperature as Puerto Viejo. Typically, the summer temperatures in San Juan del Sur in July are around 27°C (81°F), and Puerto Viejo is about 26°C (79°F).


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    San Juan del Sur 27°C (81°F) 
    Puerto Viejo 26°C (79°F)

Should I visit San Juan del Sur or Puerto Viejo in the Autumn?

Both Puerto Viejo and San Juan del Sur are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. San Juan del Sur attracts visitors year-round for its warm weather and tropical climate. Puerto Viejo attracts visitors year-round for its warm weather and tropical climate.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Puerto Viejo. It's quite rainy in San Juan del Sur. In October, San Juan del Sur usually receives around the same amount of rain as Puerto Viejo. San Juan del Sur gets 197 mm (7.8 in) of rain, while Puerto Viejo receives 198 mm (7.8 in) of rain each month for the autumn.

San Juan del Sur usually receives more sunshine than Puerto Viejo during autumn. San Juan del Sur gets 195 hours of sunny skies, while Puerto Viejo receives 159 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, San Juan del Sur is generally around the same temperature as Puerto Viejo. Temperatures in San Juan del Sur average around 27°C (81°F), and Puerto Viejo stays around 26°C (79°F).


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    San Juan del Sur 27°C (81°F) 
    Puerto Viejo 26°C (79°F)

Should I visit San Juan del Sur or Puerto Viejo in the Winter?

Both Puerto Viejo and San Juan del Sur during the winter are popular places to visit. The warm tropical climate attracts visitors to San Juan del Sur throughout the year. The warm tropical climate attracts visitors to Puerto Viejo throughout the year.

Puerto Viejo gets a good bit of rain this time of year. San Juan del Sur usually gets less rain in January than Puerto Viejo. San Juan del Sur gets 4 mm (0.2 in) of rain, while Puerto Viejo receives 319 mm (12.6 in) of rain this time of the year.

It's quite sunny in San Juan del Sur. In the winter, San Juan del Sur often gets more sunshine than Puerto Viejo. San Juan del Sur gets 244 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Puerto Viejo receives 159 hours of full sun.

San Juan del Sur is around the same temperature as Puerto Viejo in the winter. The temperature in San Juan del Sur is usually 26°C (79°F) in January, and Puerto Viejo stays around 25°C (77°F).


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    San Juan del Sur 26°C (79°F) 
    Puerto Viejo 25°C (77°F)

Should I visit San Juan del Sur or Puerto Viejo in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both San Juan del Sur and Puerto Viejo. Plenty of visitors come to San Juan del Sur because of the warm tropical climate that lasts throughout the year. Plenty of visitors come to Puerto Viejo because of the warm tropical climate that lasts throughout the year.

Puerto Viejo receives a lot of rain in the spring. In April, San Juan del Sur usually receives less rain than Puerto Viejo. San Juan del Sur gets 6 mm (0.2 in) of rain, while Puerto Viejo receives 287 mm (11.3 in) of rain each month for the spring.

In San Juan del Sur, it's very sunny this time of the year. San Juan del Sur usually receives more sunshine than Puerto Viejo during spring. San Juan del Sur gets 242 hours of sunny skies, while Puerto Viejo receives 172 hours of full sun in the spring.

In the spring, San Juan del Sur is a little warmer than Puerto Viejo. Typically, the spring temperatures in San Juan del Sur in April are around 29°C (84°F), and Puerto Viejo is about 26°C (79°F).


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    San Juan del Sur 29°C (84°F) 
    Puerto Viejo 26°C (79°F)

Typical Weather for Puerto Viejo and San Juan del Sur

San Juan del Sur Puerto Viejo
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 26°C (79°F) 4 mm (0.2 in) 25°C (77°F) 319 mm (12.6 in)
Feb 27°C (80°F) 2 mm (0.1 in) 25°C (77°F) 201 mm (7.9 in)
Mar 28°C (82°F) 3 mm (0.1 in) 26°C (78°F) 193 mm (7.6 in)
Apr 29°C (84°F) 6 mm (0.2 in) 26°C (79°F) 287 mm (11.3 in)
May 29°C (84°F) 131 mm (5.2 in) 27°C (80°F) 281 mm (11.1 in)
Jun 28°C (82°F) 196 mm (7.7 in) 26°C (80°F) 276 mm (10.9 in)
Jul 27°C (81°F) 144 mm (5.7 in) 26°C (79°F) 408 mm (16.1 in)
Aug 27°C (81°F) 151 mm (5.9 in) 28°C (82°F) 255 mm (10 in)
Sep 27°C (81°F) 210 mm (8.3 in) 26°C (79°F) 163 mm (6.4 in)
Oct 27°C (81°F) 197 mm (7.8 in) 26°C (79°F) 198 mm (7.8 in)
Nov 31°C (88°F) 54 mm (2.1 in) 26°C (78°F) 367 mm (14.4 in)
Dec 26°C (79°F) 11 mm (0.4 in) 25°C (77°F) 402 mm (15.8 in)


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San Juan del Sur vs. Puerto Viejo Travel Comparison

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