Should you visit San Pedro or Santa Elena?
If you're trying to decide where to visit between San Pedro or Santa Elena, 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 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 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?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in San Pedro is $108, 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 and Santa Elena in more detail.
A hotel room in San Pedro is about $106 This assumes double occupancy and modest accommodations.
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.
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.
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.
Meals for one day
San Pedro $32
Santa Elena $15
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.
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.
Hired Cars and Shuttles in San Pedro
Some specific examples of transportation prices in San Pedro:
Cave Tubing Adventure Air Transfer:
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:
One Way Private Transfer from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio:
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.
San Pedro's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $27 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.
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.
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:
Ambergris Caye Sunset Sail Tour on the 40' Sirena Azul Sailboat:
Belize Hol Chan Marine Reserve & Shark Ray Alley Snorkel Tour - Ambergris Caye:
Cave Tubing and Zip line Adventure from San pedro Ambergris caye:
Cave Tubing and Zipline Adventure:
Caves Kayaking Zipline Experience from Ambergris Caye San Pedro:
Crossing the highlands: From Cusco to Puno or Viceversa - Private tour:
Hol Chan Marine Reserve Snorkel Tour on the 40' Sirena Azul Sailboat:
Jungle Tour in the City - from San Jose:
Mexico Rocks Snorkel Tour on the 40' Sirena Azul Sailboat:
The Best of San Jose Walking Tour:
The best of San Pedro Town walking tour:
Tours and Activities in Santa Elena
Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Santa Elena.
The Original Canopy Tour Monteverde:
Night Walk Tour:
Coffee Tour 3 in 1 (Coffee Chocolate and sugar cane):
100% Adventure Park Combo: Zipline, Superman, and Mega Tarzan Tour in Monteverde:
Monteverde Cloud Forest Canopy Tour:
Horseback Riding Tour in Monteverde:
Tikal Sunset Tour in Small Group from El Remate:
Tikal Sunrise Tour from El Remate in Small Group:
Ceibal Day Tour from Flores:
Tikal Guided Sunrise Tour in Small Group from Flores:
Night Walk Tour plus Coffee Tour 3 in 1(Coffee Chocolate and sugar cane):
Canopy Tour Plus Night Walk:
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.
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.
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.
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