A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Banos vs. San Carlos de Bariloche for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Banos or San Carlos de Bariloche?

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

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Banos and San Carlos de Bariloche. 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, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Where Should I go: Banos or San Carlos de Bariloche?

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.

San Carlos de Bariloche

Set in the foothills of the Andes Mountains in Argentina, San Carlos de Bariloche is the biggest city in the Lake District. Bariloche is popular for skiing and snowboarding in the winter and trekking, swimming, fishing and horseback riding in the summertime.

No matter the time of year, there is something for everyone in Bariloche. Skiing season begins from June to October while fishing season is from November to April. Summer is from December to March, but visiting during low seasons (Spring in October to December and Autumn in late-April to mid-June) also has its benefits when it comes to saving cash and avoiding crowds.

Check out our ultimate guide to Hiking in Patagonia.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Wildlife Tours to Ecuador, The Best Hiking & Trekking Tours in Ecuador, The Best Eco Tours in Argentina, and The Best Food and Culinary Tours in Argentina.


Which place is cheaper, San Carlos de Bariloche or Banos?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Banos is $46, while the average daily cost in San Carlos de Bariloche is $7.40. 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 Banos and San Carlos de Bariloche in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Banos $16
    San Carlos de Bariloche $2.68
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Banos $32
    San Carlos de Bariloche $5.36
Compare Hotels in Banos and San Carlos de Bariloche

Looking for a hotel in Banos or San Carlos de Bariloche? 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 Banos


Hotels in San Carlos de Bariloche


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.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Banos Hotel Prices and San Carlos de Bariloche Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Banos $10
    San Carlos de Bariloche $2.28

Hired Cars and Shuttles in San Carlos de Bariloche

Some specific examples of transportation prices in San Carlos de Bariloche:

  • Bariloche Airport Arrival Private Transfer: $106
  • Bariloche Airport Arrival Shuttle Transfer: $36
  • Bariloche Airport BRC to Cerro Catedral RoundTrip Transfer: $54
  • Bariloche Airport Departure Shuttle Transfer: $36
  • Bariloche Airport Round Trip PrivateTransfer: $147
  • Bariloche: 1-Way or Round-Trip BRC Airport Transfer: $9.00
  • Bariloche: One-Way Private Transfer from Airport: $35
  • One Way Transfer from Bariloche Airport to or from Llao Llao: $60
  • Private Transfer Bariloche or Villa La Angostura to Bariloche Airport BRC by van: $69
  • Private Transfer from Bahía López to Bariloche (BRC) Airport: $73
  • Private Transfer from Bariloche (BRC) Airport to Bahia López: $73
  • Private Transfer from Bariloche (BRC) Airport to Camping los Rápidos: $90

Is it cheaper to fly into Banos or San Carlos de Bariloche?

Prices for flights to both San Carlos de Bariloche 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.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Banos $15
    San Carlos de Bariloche $2.78
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

Typical Food Prices in San Carlos de Bariloche

Some typical examples of dining costs in San Carlos de Bariloche are as follows:


  • Pastries
    $0.01
  • Empanadas
    $0.03

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Banos $19
    San Carlos de Bariloche $3.05
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:

  • Adventure Circuit 4 activities in 1. All within an impressive cascade: $25
  • Canopy Ziplining in Puntzan Adventure Park: $26
  • Private Canyoning Experience in Baños de Agua Santa Ecuador: $26
  • 2 Hours Small-Group Horseback Riding Experience in Banos: $30
  • Canyoning Adventure Tour in the Ravine: $30
  • Private 3-Hour Canyoning Experience in Chamana: $30
  • Full Day Jungle Tour: $32
  • Full Day Guided Tour in the Ecuadorian Amazon: $35
  • Pailón del Diablo | Waterfall Route | Tour for 3 hours: $35
  • Puyo Jungle Tour in 1 Day: $35
  • Adventure and Fun River Rafting in Baños Ecuador: $35
  • One day tour in the jungle. all inclusive.: $39

Tours and Activities in San Carlos de Bariloche

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

  • Bariloche: 4-Hour Cerro Catedral Base Tour: $15
  • Classic Bariloche: Half-Day Sightseeing Excursion: $26
  • Bariloche: Half Day Small Circuit Tour - Mt Campanario and Llao Llao Peninsula: $28
  • German Footprint & Nazi presence - Walking Tour in Bariloche: $29
  • Indigenous People of Patagonia History Tour: $29
  • German Footprint Tour: $29
  • From Bariloche: Half-Day Circuito Chico Sightseeing Tour: $38
  • Small Circuit Tour: Mt Campanario and Llao Llao Peninsula: $39
  • Bariloche: Full-Day El Bolsón and Puelo Lake Tour: $42
  • Private Tour of Bariloche and Los Balcones Panoramicos: $54
  • Half-Day Tour to Circuito Chico and Cerro Catedral with Transportation: $56
  • Pablo Bernasconi's Art Gallery Guided Tour: $60

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Banos $9.74
    San Carlos de Bariloche $1.83
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

Typical Alcohol Prices in San Carlos de Bariloche

Here are a few samples of the prices for alcohol and nightlife in San Carlos de Bariloche from other travelers:


  • Beer
    $0.01


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

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Banos Expensive? and Is San Carlos de Bariloche Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Banos or San Carlos de Bariloche?

San Carlos de Bariloche has a larger population, and is about 10 times larger than the population of Banos. When comparing the sizes of Banos and San Carlos de Bariloche, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.