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

Should you visit San Pedro La Laguna or Santa Elena?

Should I visit San Pedro La Laguna or Santa Elena? 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.

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.

Santa Elena

Santa Elena is a cute town, and the closest to the Monteverde Cloud Forest. It's one of the most popular destinations in Costa Rica, and is a great place to experience the cloud forest and see some of country's unique wildlife.

In the Monteverde Cloud Forest you have a good chance of seeing rare quetzals which are the national bird of Costa Rica. Other common animals include white-faced capuchin monkeys, howler monkeys, orange-kneed tarantulas, any of 8-9 species of hummingbirds, and sloth.

Santa Elena is about 1,400 meters above sea level and has a humid and damp environment. The average yearly temperature is 64 degrees Fahrenheit and the average rainfall is 3,000 millimetres. Humidity can be anywhere between 74% and 97%.

Which city is cheaper, Santa Elena 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 $29, while the average daily cost in Santa Elena is $60. 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 Pedro La Laguna and Santa Elena in more detail.



Accommodation

An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $13 in San Pedro La Laguna For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.

For a normal double-occupancy room in Santa Elena, $72 is the average cost for a hotel room. Also in Santa Elena, the typical price for a place to stay for one person is $36, such as in a hostel.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    San Pedro La Laguna $6.61
    Santa Elena $36
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    San Pedro La Laguna $13
    Santa Elena $72

Food

In San Pedro La Laguna travelers spend around $8.80 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.

Santa Elena food costs typically run travelers around $15 per day. Eating every meal in a nicer restaurant will drive the cost up, and grabbing fast food or casual meals will help you save money.


  • Food Meals for one day
    San Pedro La Laguna $8.80
    Santa Elena $15
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
    $2.07
  • Cake
    $1.29
  • Ice cream
    $0.39
  • Hot Cocoa & Banana Bread
    $2.97

Local Transportation

San Pedro La Laguna's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $11 per person, per day on transportation in San Pedro La Laguna.

Santa Elena's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $7.28 per person, per day on transportation in Santa Elena.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    San Pedro La Laguna $11
    Santa Elena $7.28

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Santa Elena

Also for Santa Elena, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • One Way Private Transfer from Monteverde to Samara: $262
  • One Way Private Transfer from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio: $265

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

Prices for flights to both Santa Elena 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.





Entertainment

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in San Pedro La Laguna can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $17 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Santa Elena can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $20 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    San Pedro La Laguna $17
    Santa Elena $20
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)
    $39
  • Kayaking (for 2)
    $1.94
  • Coffee Tour (for 2)
    $6.98

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:

  • Camping, Short hike & Watch the sunrise on the top of Indian Nose (Private tour): $85
  • Chichicastenango Market Day Tour: $60
  • Get fun with an Adventure Tour - Zip Line (Canopy): $51
  • Horseback Riding Tour: $51
  • Indian Nose Hiking Adventure (custom and private tour): $51
  • Lake Atitlan Village Tour - from Panajachel: $205

Tours and Activities in Santa Elena

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Santa Elena.

  • 100% Adventure Park Combo: Zipline, Superman, and Mega Tarzan Tour in Monteverde: $58
  • Canopy Tour Plus Night Walk: $111
  • Canopy Tour Plus Walk in Monteverde Cloud Forest: $164
  • Canopy plus Coffee Tour 3 in 1 (Coffee Chocolate and sugar cane): $121
  • Ceibal Day Tour from Flores: $100
  • Coffee Tour 3 in 1 (Coffee Chocolate and sugar cane): $56
  • Crocodile Tour on the Tarcoles River from Monteverde: $318
  • El Mirador Helicopter Tour: $535
  • Guatemala Birding Tour at Tikal and UaxactĂșn National Park: $643
  • Horseback Riding Tour Plus Coffee Tour 3 in 1 (Coffee Chocolate and sugar cane): $133
  • Horseback Riding Tour in Monteverde: $81
  • Horseback Riding Tour in Monteverde Plus Walk in Monteverde Cloud Forest: $181

Alcohol

Typically, people visiting San Pedro La Laguna spend on average $4.48 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Santa Elena, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $4.07.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    San Pedro La Laguna $4.48
    Santa Elena $4.07


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

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San Pedro La Laguna vs. Santa Elena Travel Comparison

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