A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers San Pedro La Laguna vs. La Fortuna for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit San Pedro La Laguna or La Fortuna?

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

Should I visit San Pedro La Laguna or La Fortuna? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Where Should I go: San Pedro La Laguna or La Fortuna?

San Pedro La Laguna

Located in the Western Highlands of Guatemala, Lake Atitlan is a beautiful volcanic lake ringed by small towns and villages that are highly frequented by backpackers. Panajachal is one of the best known of the towns, as well as the main entry point of the region, while others like San Pedro La Laguna are quieter and more off the beaten path. Lake Atitlan and its villages attract visitors for its scenic beauty, outdoor activities, and Mayan culture nearby.

La Fortuna

La Fortuna is in San Carlos, in the province of Alajuela. It is the closest town to Arenal Volcano, and the area is often simply refered to as Arenal. The volcano itself is active and has been constantly erupting since 1968. It erupts on average 41 times a day. This area of northern Costa Rica is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the country.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Budget Tours to Guatemala, The Best Tours for Seniors to Guatemala, The Best Adventure Tours to Costa Rica, and The Best Eco Tours in Costa Rica.

Which place is cheaper, La Fortuna or San Pedro La Laguna?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in San Pedro La Laguna is $36, while the average daily cost in La Fortuna is $103. 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 destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for San Pedro La Laguna and La Fortuna in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    San Pedro La Laguna $8.25
    La Fortuna $51
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    San Pedro La Laguna $17
    La Fortuna $102
Compare Hotels in San Pedro La Laguna and La Fortuna

Looking for a hotel in San Pedro La Laguna or La Fortuna? 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 Pedro La Laguna

Hotels in La Fortuna

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: La Fortuna Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    San Pedro La Laguna $13
    La Fortuna $21

Hired Cars and Shuttles in La Fortuna

Some specific examples of transportation prices in La Fortuna:

  • VIP Private Transfer from La Fortuna (Arenal Volcano) to Tamarindo Beach: $299
  • Transfer from Arenal to SJO Airport or Hotels for up to 5 passengers ( One way) : $245
  • Transfer from Arenal or La Fortuna to Monteverde up to 5 passengers. (One Way): $295
  • Transfer from Arenal or Fortuna to Papagayo: $170
  • Transfer TO or FROM San Jose city to Arenal - Fortuna Area. Private: $210
  • Transfer TO or FROM La Fortuna Area to SJO Airport. Private, NOT SHARED: $210
  • Transfer International ATO to Fortuna or return one way: $250
  • Transfer Fortuna - Monteverde with Coffee Tour on The Way: $150
  • San Jose Airport: Private transfer from/to La Fortuna: $226
  • Puerto Viejo de Limon: Transfer to La Fortuna de Arenal: $400
  • Private Transfer from la Fortuna to Puerto Viejo & Cahuita Limon: $299
  • Private Transfer from San Jose Airport to La Fortuna: $225

Is it cheaper to fly into San Pedro La Laguna or La Fortuna?

Prices for flights to both La Fortuna and San Pedro La Laguna 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 Meals for one day
    San Pedro La Laguna $11
    La Fortuna $27
Typical Food Prices in San Pedro La Laguna

For San Pedro La Laguna, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:

  • Lemonade
  • Cake
  • Ice cream
  • Hot Cocoa & Banana Bread

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in San Pedro La Laguna

For San Pedro La Laguna, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Temazcal sauna and dinner, cultural sharing experience: $44
  • Maya Cooking Class from Panajachel: $50

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in La Fortuna

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in La Fortuna.

  • Sloth Tour in La Fortuna and Tortillas Cooking Class: $35
  • Cooking Class and Sugar Cane Experience: $38
  • Skip the Line: Mineral Hot Springs Full Day Ticket w/ Optional Lunch or Dinner: $42
  • Farm-To-Table Cooking Class : $45
  • Organic Farm Visit & Farm-to-Table Cooking Class: $45
  • 2 Hours Private Cooking Class in La Fortuna: $45
  • Typical Costa Rican Cooking Classes in La Fortuna: $48
  • Costa Rica Cooking, El Fogon de Chela: $50
  • Costa Rican cuisine Cooking Class at Rancho Don Lelo: $60
  • Rainforest Night Walk and Authentic Costa Rican Dinner from La Fortuna: $65
  • Costa Rican Cooking Class+Dinner+Night Frog Tour: $68
  • 3-Hour Costa Rican Cooking Class with Dinner: $68

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    San Pedro La Laguna $22
    La Fortuna $44
Typical Entertainment Prices in San Pedro La Laguna

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for San Pedro La Laguna's activities, tours, and tickets:

  • Canopy Tour (for 2)
  • Kayaking (for 2)
  • Coffee Tour (for 2)

Tours and Activities in San Pedro La Laguna

For San Pedro La Laguna, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Beading Class and tour a Non-profit vocational training center a Fun cultural sharing experience: $28
  • Tour a NGO non profit Vocational Training Center Amigos de Santa Cruz and explore the Mayan village: $33
  • Day of the Dead Giant Kite Festival Cultural Experience: $35
  • Coffee Tour in Lake Atitlán: $36
  • Biking tour through the towns of Santa Catarina and San Antonio: $46
  • Sololá Colourful Market Day Tour: $50
  • Private Tour of Lake Atitlán by Mototaxi: $50
  • 5-Hour Private Birdwatching Experience in San Juan La Laguna: $50
  • Lake Atitlan Lower Mayan Trail Hiking Tour from Panajachel: $51
  • Get fun with an Adventure Tour - Zip Line (Canopy): $51
  • Sunrise Hike Tour on Indian's Nose Mountain: $52
  • sunset tour : $55

Tours and Activities in La Fortuna

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

  • La Fortuna's 3 Essentials Private Tour: $280
  • Rio Celeste Tubing Experience: $60
  • 1-Hour Private Sloth Tour in the Rainforest from Costa Rica: $30
  • 12-Cable Zipline Canopy Tour Over Waterfalls: $101
  • 2-Hour Chachagua Rainforest - Birdwatching Tour: $60
  • 2-in-1 Arenal Combo Tour: Hanging Bridges, La Fortuna Waterfall: $164
  • 3-Hour Arenal Lake Flexi Pass Adventure In Costa Rica: $69
  • 7 Nights Costa Rica Fully Guided Adventure: $2,000
  • 7-Cable Zipline Canopy Tour Over La Fortuna Waterfall: $80
  • ATV Double Adventure + Horseback riding through the Volcano: $189
  • ATV Double Volcano Tour: $185
  • ATV Guided Experience in La Fortuna, Arenal Volcano: $91

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    San Pedro La Laguna $5.59
    La Fortuna $11

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

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is San Pedro La Laguna Expensive? and Is La Fortuna Expensive?.

Which is Bigger, San Pedro La Laguna or La Fortuna?

San Pedro La Laguna has a larger population, and is about 3 times larger than the population of La Fortuna. When comparing the sizes of San Pedro La Laguna and La Fortuna, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.