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

Should you visit San Pedro or San Jose?

If you're trying to decide where to visit between San Pedro or San Jose, this travel cost comparison can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

San Pedro

San Pedro is the largest town on Ambergris Caye, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Belize. Here you can find a tropical paradise with warm weather, clear blue waters, plenty of activities such as snorkeling and scuba diving, and a host of hotels, restaurants, and other amenities.

San Jose

San Jose is the capital city of Costa Rica and is likely to be your first and last stop in a visit to the country. The city is situated in the Central Valley and is surrounded by beautiful mountains and valleys, making for a beautiful flight in. The city has an elevation of 1200 meters and sits on a plateau with a beautiful backdrop of lush green forest. Half of the people in Costa Rica reside in the country's capital city. You are likely to stay only a day or two, but there are a handful of things to do and see including museums and markets. You will also find many embassies, as well as the University of Costa Rica in San Jose.

Which city is cheaper, San Jose or San Pedro?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in San Pedro is $107, while the average daily cost in San Jose 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 and San Jose in more detail.



Accommodation

A hotel room in San Pedro is about $106 This assumes double occupancy and modest accommodations.

The prices for places to stay in San Jose can vary by date, location, and type. Generally, the average cost for accommodation per person is $32, while a typical double-occupancy hotel room for two people will cost around $64.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    San Pedro $53
    San Jose $32
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    San Pedro $106
    San Jose $64

Food

On average, meal and food prices in San Pedro cost around $32 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 $13.

While meal prices in San Jose can vary, the average travelers spends about $11 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in San Jose should cost around $4.40 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in San Jose is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.


  • Food Meals for one day
    San Pedro $32
    San Jose $11

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in San Jose

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

  • Half-Day San Jose Evening Bus Tour with Dinner and Pickup: $66
  • Vip Evening Sightseeing Tour with Dinner: $66
  • San Jose Evening Tour with Dinner: $77
  • Arenal Volcano Full-Day Combo Tour with Lunch and Dinner: $160

Local Transportation

The average price of local transportation around San Pedro is $27 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.

To get around in San Jose, the average visitor spends $17 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.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    San Pedro $27
    San Jose $17

Hired Cars and Shuttles in San Pedro

Some specific examples of transportation prices in San Pedro:

  • Cave Tubing Adventure Air Transfer: $255

Typical Local Transportation prices in San Jose

Some typical examples of transportation costs in San Jose are as follows:


  • Taxi from SJO
    $20
  • Local Bus
    $2.21

Hired Cars and Shuttles in San Jose

Also for San Jose, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Private Airport Transfer: Juan Santamaria Int. Airport (SJO) to Alajuela: $25
  • Departure Private Transfer: San Jose City to San Jose Airport SJO by Minivan: $29
  • Transfer in Private Vehicle from SanJose City to SanJose Juan Santamaría Airport: $30
  • Private transfer from San Jose-Heredia-Alajuela Hotels to International Airport: $55
  • Private Transfer from San Jose Airport One Way: $56
  • San Jose Arrival Chauffeur Driven Airport Transfer: $65
  • San Jose Departure Chauffeur Driven Airport Transfer: $65
  • San Jose Arrival Chauffeur Driven Airport Transfer by Executive Sedan: $65
  • San Jose Departure Chauffeur Driven Airport Transfer by Executive Sedan: $65
  • Private transfer from SJO Intl Airport to downtown Hotels: $65
  • Low Cost Private Transfer From Norman Y Mineta San Jose International Airport to San Jose City - One Way: $73
  • Low Cost Private Transfer From Norman Y Mineta San Jose International Airport to Mountain View City - One Way: $73

Is it cheaper to fly into San Pedro or San Jose?

Prices for flights to both San Jose and San Pedro 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

San Pedro's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $26 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.

In San Jose, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $14 per person, per day.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    San Pedro $26
    San Jose $14

Tours and Activities in San Pedro

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

  • Altun Ha Cave Tubing and Zip line Tours from San Pedro Ambergris Caye: $220
  • Ambergris Caye Sunset Sail Tour on the 40' Sirena Azul Sailboat: $62
  • Belize Hol Chan Marine Reserve & Shark Ray Alley Snorkel Tour - Ambergris Caye: $107
  • Cave Tubing and Zip line Adventure from San pedro Ambergris caye: $208
  • Cave Tubing and Zipline Adventure: $190
  • Caves Kayaking Zipline Experience from Ambergris Caye San Pedro: $142
  • Crossing the highlands: From Cusco to Puno or Viceversa - Private tour: $421
  • Hol Chan Marine Reserve Snorkel Tour on the 40' Sirena Azul Sailboat: $67
  • Jungle Tour in the City - from San Jose: $45
  • Mexico Rocks Snorkel Tour on the 40' Sirena Azul Sailboat: $67
  • The Best of San Jose Walking Tour: $509
  • The best of San Pedro Town walking tour: $496

Tours and Activities in San Jose

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

  • Skip the Line: The Childrens Museum Ticket in Costa Rica: $7.00
  • San Jose Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $21
  • San Jose Welcome Tour: Private Tour with a Local: $30
  • Skip the Line: The National Museum Admission Ticket: $30
  • San Jose Like a Local: Customized Private Tour: $31
  • San Jose ART Walking Tour - small groups, creative experience: $32
  • San Jose Bites and Sights Tour: $34
  • San Jose Walking Tour: Food, History and Architecture: $38
  • Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary Admission Ticket: $39
  • Manuel Antonio National Park Guided Tour: $44
  • From 2.5-Hour Costa Rica Atlantic Zip Line Tour: $50
  • San Jose City Tour: $53

Alcohol

The average person spends about $13 on alcoholic beverages in San Pedro per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

Typically, people visiting San Jose spend on average $11 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    San Pedro $13
    San Jose $11

Sample the Local Flavors in San Jose

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in San Jose:

  • San Jose Bar Hunt: Sweet San Jose Bar Crawl: $12


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

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San Pedro vs. San Jose Travel Comparison

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