Should you visit San Juan or Saint Thomas?
Should I visit San Juan or Saint Thomas? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the data, which all comes from actual travelers.
If you've ever set foot on a Caribbean cruise, you've probably spent a bit of time in San Juan, Puerto Rico. However, maybe you should consider spending more than just a port day in this beautiful and historically rich city.
As the capital and largest city in all of Puerto Rico, San Juan is home to approximately 400,000 people. Established in 1521, it is also the second oldest European-founded settlement in the Americas.
As this city fuses a historic paradise with modern day energy, it has absolutely everything to offer. Intellectual wanderers, beach bums, rainforest adventurers and radical surfers will all find plenty to do in San Juan.
Saint Thomas is a beautiful island in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Together with St. John, St. Croix, and Water Island, it forms the unincorporated territory of the United States. The island is also home to the territorial capital and port of Charlotte Amalie. The island's population is just over 50,000, which is slightly less than half of the territory's total population.
Which city is cheaper, Saint Thomas or San Juan?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in San Juan is $153, while the average daily cost in Saint Thomas is $175. 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 and Saint Thomas in more detail.
An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $198 in San Juan For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.
An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $210 in Saint Thomas For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.
Food in San Juan costs travelers about $29 per day on average. Restaurants can vary significantly in price, so choose wisely if you're trying to save money. Fast food and street stalls are typically your cheapest options, which sit down restaurants can be significantly more expensive.
The price of a meal in Saint Thomas can vary widely. However, the average price for food per day is $43 per person, and a typical meal will cost around $17 based on the spending of previous visitors. Less expensive dining options can be found by eating street food or at fast food restaurants.
Meals for one day
San Juan $29
Saint Thomas $43
Food Tours and Cooking Classes in San Juan
For San Juan, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:
Flavors of Old San Juan Food Tour:
Authenic Puerto Rican Food Tasting Cooking Lesson (Volunteer Option Available):
Old San Juan Sunset Walk & Taste Food Tour:
Puerto Rican Food Tour:
To get around in San Juan, the average visitor spends $11 per day, per person. This includes the costs of taxi rides and private drivers as well as public transportation, which tends to be much more affordable.
To get around in Saint Thomas, the average visitor spends $29 per day, per person. This includes the costs of taxi rides and private drivers as well as public transportation, which tends to be much more affordable.
Hired Cars and Shuttles in San Juan
Also for San Juan, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Private transfer: San Juan to San Juan Airport (SJU):
Roun Trip Transfer Zip Line Toro Verde:
Private Arrival Transfer from San Juan Cruise Port to Hotel in Ponce:
Private Arrival Transfer from San Juan Cruise Port to Hotel in Vieques:
Private Transfer San Juan SJU Airport to San Juan-Isla Verde-Condado by Van:
Transfers between Culebra, Vieques ferry port to SJU airport or San Juan hotels:
Private Arrival Transfer from San Juan Cruise Port to Hotel in Fajardo:
Transfers from San Juan (Rincón/Mayaguez/Aguadilla/Cabo Rojo) to the West Side:
Private San Juan, PR Transfer: Cruise Port to Airport or Hotel:
Private San Juan, PR Transfer: Hotel to Airport or Cruise Port:
Private Transfer San Juan, Isla Verde or Condado to San Juan SJU Airport by SUV:
Private Transfer San Juan-Isla Verde-Condado to San Juan SJU Airport by Town Car:
Typical Local Transportation prices in Saint Thomas
Some typical examples of transportation costs in Saint Thomas are as follows:
Is it cheaper to fly into San Juan or Saint Thomas?
Prices for flights to both Saint Thomas and San Juan 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.
In San Juan, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $40 per person, per day.
In Saint Thomas, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $48 per person, per day.
Typical Entertainment prices in San Juan
For San Juan, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:
Horseback Riding Tour
Full Day Snorkeling Trip
1 Hr Windsurfing Lesson
Tours and Activities in San Juan
Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for San Juan.
(Cruise ship Travelers) Hike to a Hidden Waterfall:
(cruise ship travelers) Center of Puerto Rico Day tour:
2.5-Hour Historical Walking Tour of Old San Juan:
ATV and Kioscos de Luquillo Experience!:
Aguas Buenas Agricultural Paradise Tour:
Aquafari Flight Tour Culebra Island from San Juan:
Arecibo Caves Experience!:
Arenales Caves and River Adventure in Puerto Rico:
Arte Boriken-Puerto Rican Urban Art Tour W/ Sip & Paint:
Be Happy Puerto Rico Hop On Hop Off Tour:
Beginners Scuba Diving Tour in San Juan:
Big Waterfall Hiking Adventure - Puerto Rico:
Tours and Activities in Saint Thomas
Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Saint Thomas.
Snorkel St. John Tour from Sapphire & Margaritaville:
Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In San Juan, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $9.83.
Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Saint Thomas, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $22.
Sample the Local Flavors in San Juan
Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in San Juan:
Bacardi Rum Distillery and Old San Juan Tour:
Private Old San Juan and Bacardí or Barrilito Distillery Experience:
Bacardi Rum Distillery with Cocktail Class and Old San Juan tour:
3 Day Puerto Rico Extravaganza (Beach, Biobay, Rain Forest, Distillery & Old SJ):
When comparing the travel costs between San Juan and Saint Thomas, we can see that Saint Thomas 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 Caribbean Islands, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.
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