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

Should you visit San Juan del Sur or Tamarindo?

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

Tamarindo

Tamarindo is a small beach town in the Guanacaste province of Costa Rica on the Pacific Coast. This town is usually sought out by surfers, fishers, couples, and families. There are delicious restaurants, beautiful beaches, and friendly Tico's and Tica's (local Costa Rican nicknames) everywhere.

Which city is cheaper, Tamarindo 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 Tamarindo 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 Tamarindo 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.

A hotel room in Tamarindo is about $60 This assumes double occupancy and modest accommodations.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    San Juan del Sur $17
    Tamarindo $30
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    San Juan del Sur $34
    Tamarindo $60

Local Transportation

The average price of local transportation around San Juan del Sur is $14 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 average price of local transportation around Tamarindo is $42 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.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    San Juan del Sur $14
    Tamarindo $42

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

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Tamarindo

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Tamarindo:

  • Liberia Airport Private Transfer To Or From Tamarindo: $86
  • Private Premium Transfer: From Tamarindo Zone: $85
  • Private Round-Trip Transfer: Liberia Airport to Tamarindo with Free Drinks: $89
  • Private Transfer to Tamarindo Beach from Liberia Airport: $100
  • Private transfer from Tamarindo to Hotels in San Jose or the Airport: $265
  • Transfer Liberia to Tamarindo: $90
  • Transfer TO or FROM Tamarindo Area to SJO Airport: $325
  • Volcano Adventure Sisisi Transfers & Tours Costa Rica: $155

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

Prices for flights to both Tamarindo 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

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.

On average, meal and food prices in Tamarindo cost around $20 per person, per day. While this price can vary widely by location, the type of restaurant, and the amount of food ordered, a typical meal often costs around $8.00.


  • Food Meals for one day
    San Juan del Sur $15
    Tamarindo $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

San Juan del Sur's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $12 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.

Tamarindo's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $10 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 Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    San Juan del Sur $12
    Tamarindo $10

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:

  • 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 Tamarindo

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

  • Skip the Line: Monkey Park Admission Ticket: $27
  • Kayak Tour: $45
  • Turtle Watching Tour: $45
  • Turtle Nesting Tour: $46
  • Night Turtle Nesting Tour from Tamarindo: $46
  • Tamarindo River Boat Tour: $50
  • Canopy Tour Costa Rica: $55
  • Tamarindo Kayak Estuary Mangrove Tour: $56
  • Tamarindo Kayaking Tour with Snorkeling at Captain Island: $60
  • Premium Tour: Turtle Nesting Tour: $62
  • Early Bird Watching Tour: $65
  • Private Buggy/ATV Sunset Tour at Tamarindo: $65

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 $8.40 on alcoholic beverages in Tamarindo 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
    Tamarindo $8.40


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

Budget Your Trip

Budget Your Trip has average travel costs for thousands of cities around the world, all provided by other travelers. You can also register to organize your spending by category and location with graphs, maps, charts, and tables.

Share This Page
Pin This Page
San Juan del Sur vs. Tamarindo Travel Comparison

Some of the links on this website are sponsored or affiliate links which help to financially support this site. By clicking the link and making a purchase, we may receive a small commission, but this does not affect the price of your purchase.