A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Banos vs. El Chalten for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Banos or El Chalten?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the prices of travel for Banos and El Chalten. We’ll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget. So, let's dig into it.

Banos

Banos (de Agua Santa) is a small city in the Andean highlands of Ecuador under volcano Tungurahua. Its name, which is Spanish for "Baths (of sacred water)," comes from the famous hydrothermal springs in the area. It's equally popular with foreigners as with Ecuadorians, and is known as the adventure capital of Ecuador. The streets are lined with hotels, restaurants, souvenir shops, and tour agencies. Although it is very touristy, lots of people love it, more for the activities and surroundings than for the city itself. It is an important hub for outdoor sports and jungle tours.

El Chalten

El Chalten is probably one of the most beautiful areas of Patagonia, especially at the slightest ray of sunshine and one of your cheapest destination while you are travelling in Patagonia. Indeed, you will spend your days hiking and there are no park fees. There are restaurants, souvenir shops, and outdoor stores but most of them will not accept credit cards so before heading out, get cash in El Calafate or your previous stop. For the beginners, it will be long hikes in a magical setting and for the experts perhaps a week long expedition to the greatest glaciers of the world. To discover the way people live in the pampa, you may also decide to stay at an Estancia. In the stunning Estancia Santa Thelma, about 300km away from El Chalten, you will be able to explore the surroundings by horse, live a unique experience in the middle of the nature and its vast plains occupied by thousands of merino sheep and horses and of course eat a typical meal of the region.

Which city is cheaper, El Chalten or Banos?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Banos is $37, while the average daily cost in El Chalten is $70. 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 Banos and El Chalten in more detail.



Accommodation

Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $24 for a double occupancy room in Banos.

The average price for accommodation for two people in El Chalten is $62. This is for two people sharing a typical double occupancy hotel room.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Banos $12
    El Chalten $31
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Banos $24
    El Chalten $62

Food

Food in Banos costs travelers about $12 per day on average. Restaurants can vary significantly in price, so choose wisely if you're trying to save money. Fast food and street stalls are typically your cheapest options, which sit down restaurants can be significantly more expensive.

While meal prices in El Chalten can vary, the average travelers spends about $26 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in El Chalten should cost around $10 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in El Chalten is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Banos $12
    El Chalten $26
Typical Food prices in Banos

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Banos:


  • Dinner
    $13
  • Ice cream
    $1.50
  • Coffee
    $2.50

Local Transportation

The average price of local transportation around Banos is $8.27 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.

The cost of a taxi ride in El Chalten is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $17 per person, per day, on local transportation in El Chalten.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Banos $8.27
    El Chalten $17

Is it cheaper to fly into Banos or El Chalten?

Prices for flights to both El Chalten and Banos 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

Banos's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $15 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.

Entertainment and activities in El Chalten typically cost an average of $19 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Banos $15
    El Chalten $19
Typical Entertainment prices in Banos

Here are a few typical costs in Banos for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:


  • Two Rented Bikes for the Day
    $10
  • Cost to see Waterfall
    $2.00
  • Day at the Spa
    $45
  • 2 Bike Rentals (1 Day)
    $10
  • Entrance to Waterfall
    $2.00

Tours and Activities in Banos

Here are a few actual costs in Banos for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Baños's Top Attractions Pass (Save 10% on tickets): $65
  • Fishing Tour & Local Life in Baños: $90
  • Chimborazo Volcano from Baños private day Tour: $102
  • Adventure in Baños 3 Days 2 Nights: $335

Tours and Activities in El Chalten

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for El Chalten are as follows:

  • El Chalten Rafting Experience: $149
  • El Chalten Rafting Experience: $225
  • Module Fitz Roy Adventure: $305
  • 2-Day Chalten Adventure tour: Laguna de los Tres, Mount Fitz Roy & Cerro Torre: $333
  • 2-Day Hiking Tour of Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre from El Chalten: $553
  • 3-Day Eco-Lodge Trekking Tour at Los Glaciares National Park from El Chalten: $789

Alcohol

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Banos may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $7.79 per day on alcoholic beverages.

The average person spends about $8.59 on alcoholic beverages in El Chalten per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Banos $7.79
    El Chalten $8.59
Typical Alcohol prices in Banos

Here are a few samples of the prices for alcohol and nightlife in Banos from other travelers:


  • Beer
    $4.00


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

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Banos vs. El Chalten Travel Comparison

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