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

Should you visit San Pedro or Santa Elena?

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

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

Where Should I go: San Pedro or Santa Elena?

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.

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%.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best G Adventures Tours to Belize, The Best Adventure Tours to Belize, The Best G Adventures Tours to Costa Rica, and The Best One Week (7-Day) Tours in Costa Rica.


Which place is cheaper, Santa Elena or San Pedro?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in San Pedro is $134, while the average daily cost in Santa Elena is $91. 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 and Santa Elena in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    San Pedro $66
    Santa Elena $54
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    San Pedro $132
    Santa Elena $108
Compare Hotels in San Pedro and Santa Elena

Looking for a hotel in San Pedro or Santa Elena? 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


Hotels in Santa Elena


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.


Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    San Pedro $34
    Santa Elena $11

Hired Cars and Shuttles in San Pedro

Some specific examples of transportation prices in San Pedro:

  • Cave Tubing and Zipline Adventure (Boat Transfer): $205

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Santa Elena

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

  • Peñas Blancas to Liberia Airport (LIR) Departure Private Transfer: $39
  • Direct transfer from Monteverde to San Jose, English Speaking Driver: $182
  • Private Transfer From Monteverde to San Jose With 2 Stops: $216
  • Private Transfer Lake crossing from Monteverde To Arenal From 1 to 6 passengers: $249
  • One Way Private Transfer from Monteverde - Liberia: $276

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

Prices for flights to both Santa Elena 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.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    San Pedro $40
    Santa Elena $23

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Santa Elena

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

  • Night Walk in Monteverde with Dinner Included: $55

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    San Pedro $33
    Santa Elena $30

Tours and Activities in San Pedro

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

  • The best of San Pedro Town walking tour: $204
  • 3 Hours Barrier Reef Tour in Caye Caulker, Belize: $54
  • 5-Hour Guided Jetboat Tour to Secret Beach, San Pedro, Belize.: $200
  • All-Inclusive Full-Day Hol Chan Snorkeling Tour : $120
  • Altun Ha Cave Tubing and Zip line Tours from San Pedro Ambergris Caye: $250
  • Ambergris Caye Sunset Sail Tour on the 40' Sirena Azul Sailboat: $75
  • Belize Hol Chan Marine Reserve & Shark Ray Alley Snorkel Tour - Ambergris Caye: $93
  • Cave Tubing and Zip line Adventure from San pedro Ambergris caye: $250
  • Double Activity Limo Tour: Xunantunich Ruins & Cave Tubing Adventure: $220
  • Exclusive All-in-1 Full Day Shared Guided Tour: $139
  • Hol Chan Full-Day Bucket List Snorkeling and Marine Life Tour: $105
  • Hol Chan Marine Reserve Snorkel Tour on the 40' Sirena Azul Sailboat: $89

Tours and Activities in Santa Elena

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

  • Admission Ticket to Las Pumas Rescue Center : $20
  • Selvatura Park: Herpetarium Tour in Monteverde: $22
  • Wildlife Tour in Curicancha : $25
  • Monteverde Butterfly Gardens Tour: $26
  • Guided Butterfly Conservatory Tour in Costa Rica: $26
  • Adventure Day - Outdoor activities for Family and Friends Special Package.: $29
  • Kinkajou Night Walk Tour: $30
  • Monteverde: Kinkajou Forest Night Walking Tour: $30
  • CuriCancha Reserve Admission Ticket: $33
  • Cloud Forest hanging bridges with a local naturalist tour guide: $34
  • Curicancha Birdwatching Tour: $34
  • Night Adventures in Monteverde: $35

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    San Pedro $16
    Santa Elena $6.16


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between San Pedro and Santa Elena, we can see that San Pedro is more expensive. And not only is Santa Elena much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Santa Elena would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Santa Elena 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 Santa Elena.

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



When is the best time to visit San Pedro or Santa Elena?

Both destinations experience a warmer climate most of the year. Instead of summer and winter seasons, they usually have a rainy season and a dry season. Although in the rainy season, it doesn't necessarily rain every day.

Should I visit San Pedro or Santa Elena in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to San Pedro as well as Santa Elena. San Pedro attracts visitors year-round for its warm weather and sunny climate. The warm climate attracts visitors to Santa Elena throughout the year.

It's quite rainy in Santa Elena. San Pedro receives a lot of rain in the summer. San Pedro usually gets more rain in July than Santa Elena. San Pedro gets 243 mm (9.6 in) of rain, while Santa Elena receives 164 mm (6.5 in) of rain this time of the year.

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in San Pedro this time of the year. In the summer, San Pedro often gets more sunshine than Santa Elena. San Pedro gets 226 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Santa Elena receives 164 hours of full sun.

In the summer, San Pedro is around the same temperature as Santa Elena. Typically, the summer temperatures in San Pedro in July average around 28°C (82°F), and Santa Elena averages at about 28°C (82°F).


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    San Pedro 28°C (82°F) 
    Santa Elena 28°C (82°F)

Should I visit San Pedro or Santa Elena in the Autumn?

Both Santa Elena and San Pedro are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. The warm climate attracts visitors to San Pedro throughout the year. Plenty of visitors come to Santa Elena because of the warm climate and sunshine that lasts throughout the year.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Santa Elena. It's quite rainy in San Pedro. In October, San Pedro usually receives around the same amount of rain as Santa Elena. San Pedro gets 255 mm (10 in) of rain, while Santa Elena receives 254 mm (10 in) of rain each month for the autumn.

San Pedro usually receives more sunshine than Santa Elena during autumn. San Pedro gets 196 hours of sunny skies, while Santa Elena receives 169 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, San Pedro is generally around the same temperature as Santa Elena. Daily temperatures in San Pedro average around 26°C (80°F), and Santa Elena fluctuates around 27°C (81°F).


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    San Pedro 26°C (80°F) 
    Santa Elena 27°C (81°F)

Should I visit San Pedro or Santa Elena in the Winter?

Both Santa Elena and San Pedro during the winter are popular places to visit. Plenty of visitors come to San Pedro because of the warm climate and sunshine that lasts throughout the year. Warm weather and sunshine bring visitors to Santa Elena year-round.

It rains a lot this time of the year in San Pedro. San Pedro usually gets more rain in January than Santa Elena. San Pedro gets 138 mm (5.4 in) of rain, while Santa Elena receives 8 mm (0.3 in) of rain this time of the year.

In Santa Elena, it's very sunny this time of the year. In the winter, San Pedro often gets less sunshine than Santa Elena. San Pedro gets 199 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Santa Elena receives 264 hours of full sun.

San Pedro is cooler than Santa Elena in the winter. The daily temperature in San Pedro averages around 24°C (74°F) in January, and Santa Elena fluctuates around 27°C (81°F).


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    San Pedro 24°C (74°F) 
    Santa Elena 27°C (81°F)

Should I visit San Pedro or Santa Elena in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both San Pedro and Santa Elena. Warm weather and sunshine bring visitors to San Pedro year-round. Santa Elena attracts visitors year-round for its warm weather and sunny climate.

In April, San Pedro usually receives more rain than Santa Elena. San Pedro gets 52 mm (2 in) of rain, while Santa Elena receives 28 mm (1.1 in) of rain each month for the spring.

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Santa Elena this time of the year. In San Pedro, it's very sunny this time of the year. San Pedro usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Santa Elena during spring. San Pedro gets 256 hours of sunny skies, while Santa Elena receives 255 hours of full sun in the spring.

In the spring, San Pedro is around the same temperature as Santa Elena. Typically, the spring temperatures in San Pedro in April average around 27°C (80°F), and Santa Elena averages at about 29°C (85°F).


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    San Pedro 27°C (80°F) 
    Santa Elena 29°C (85°F)

Typical Weather for Santa Elena and San Pedro

San Pedro Santa Elena
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 24°C (74°F) 138 mm (5.4 in) 27°C (81°F) 8 mm (0.3 in)
Feb 24°C (76°F) 73 mm (2.9 in) 28°C (83°F) 2 mm (0.1 in)
Mar 26°C (78°F) 25 mm (1 in) 29°C (84°F) 4 mm (0.2 in)
Apr 27°C (80°F) 52 mm (2 in) 29°C (85°F) 28 mm (1.1 in)
May 28°C (82°F) 105 mm (4.1 in) 29°C (83°F) 226 mm (8.9 in)
Jun 28°C (82°F) 258 mm (10.2 in) 28°C (82°F) 226 mm (8.9 in)
Jul 28°C (82°F) 243 mm (9.6 in) 28°C (82°F) 164 mm (6.5 in)
Aug 28°C (82°F) 187 mm (7.4 in) 26°C (79°F) 289 mm (11.4 in)
Sep 28°C (82°F) 287 mm (11.3 in) 28°C (82°F) 328 mm (12.9 in)
Oct 26°C (80°F) 255 mm (10 in) 27°C (81°F) 254 mm (10 in)
Nov 25°C (77°F) 183 mm (7.2 in) 27°C (81°F) 121 mm (4.8 in)
Dec 25°C (76°F) 138 mm (5.4 in) 27°C (81°F) 33 mm (1.3 in)