Should you visit Banos or Santa Marta?
Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the prices of travel for Banos and Santa Marta. 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 (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.
Santa Marta is a city in the Magdalena Department of Colombia's Costa Norte. Over the last decade, security has steadily been replacing the shadow of the Colombia's violent past. One destination in Colombia's northeast region is now attracting more international visitors: the coastal Caribbean area of Santa Marta. Established in 1525 by the Spanish as a base of conquest, Santa Marta sits at the foot of the world's highest coastal mountain range, the towering Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. It is South America's oldest European-founded town and the second most important colonial city on Colombia's Caribbean coast. While many travelers complain about Santa Marta's horrible traffic and unsightly urban sprawl, the city holds a numerous amounts of great hotels, bars and restaurants and holds a few fantastic destinations nearby to which you can go during the daytime.
Which city is cheaper, Santa Marta 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 Santa Marta is $25. 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 Santa Marta in more detail.
Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $24 for a double occupancy room in Banos.
Travelers usually pay around $22 for a double occupancy room in Santa Marta If you want to be in a premiere location or have high end amenities, you can expect to pay a bit more.
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.
Santa Marta food costs typically run travelers around $7.64 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
Santa Marta $7.64
Typical Food prices in Banos
Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Banos:
Typical Food prices in Santa Marta
For Santa Marta, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:
Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Santa Marta
For Santa Marta, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:
Food Tour in Santa Marta Old City Half-Day:
Santa Marta 2-hour Street Food Tour:
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.
Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Santa Marta than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $4.02 on transportation in Santa Marta on average per day.
Typical Local Transportation prices in Santa Marta
Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Santa Marta:
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Santa Marta
Also for Santa Marta, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Private Airport Transfer: From Santa Marta Airport to Hotel in Santa Marta:
Private Airport Transfer: From Santa Marta Airport to Hotel in Taganga:
Private Airport Transfer: From Santa Marta Airport to Hotel in Tayrona Park:
Private Transfer Santa Marta to Palomino (or vice versa):
Private Transfer to / from Palomino, Tayrona Park or Minca from Santa Marta:
Private Transfer to Cartagena or Barranquilla City from Santa Marta:
Private transfer between Santa Marta and Cartagena (or vice versa):
Round trip transfer in Private Car from-to Santa Marta Airport(SMR) to City:
Round trip transfer in private minivan from-to Santa Marta Airport (SMR) to city:
Santa Marta Arrival or Departure Transfer: Airport / Cruise Ship Terminal:
Transfer Round Trip Airport - Hotel (santa Marta):
Transfer in Private Car from Santa Marta Airport (SMR) to Santa Marta city:
Is it cheaper to fly into Banos or Santa Marta?
Prices for flights to both Santa Marta 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.
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.
Sightseeing expenses in Santa Marta, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $11 per day, per person.
Typical Entertainment prices in Banos
Here are a few typical costs in Banos for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:
Tours and Activities in Banos
Here are a few actual costs in Banos for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:
Adventure in Baños 3 Days 2 Nights:
Baños's Top Attractions Pass (Save 10% on tickets):
Chimborazo Volcano from Baños private day Tour:
Fishing Tour & Local Life in Baños:
Tours and Activities in Santa Marta
For Santa Marta, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:
Skip the Line: Santa Marta Marine World Aquarium Admission Ticket and Guide:
Musical Experience "Vive Musicaribe":
BE RELAX TOUR - Bahia Concha:
Taganga snorkeling experience:
Santa Marta city tour:
Graffiti Tour in Santa Marta Old City:
Old City + Museum Santa Marta City Tour 3H:
Aquarium and White Beach Tour:
Tour E-Bike Playa Grande:
City Tour Santa Marta:
BE TROPICAL TOUR - Buritaca & Playa Los Angeles:
Aracataca And Ciénaga - Gabriel García Márquez Tour:
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.
Typically, people visiting Santa Marta spend on average $5.12 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
Typical Alcohol prices in Banos
Here are a few samples of the prices for alcohol and nightlife in Banos from other travelers:
Typical Alcohol prices in Santa Marta
Here are a few samples of the prices for alcohol and nightlife in Santa Marta from other travelers:
Sample the Local Flavors in Santa Marta
Also in Santa Marta, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:
Nicks 1892 Coffee farm & Brewery:
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Banos and Santa Marta, we can see that Banos is more expensive. And not only is Santa Marta much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Santa Marta would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Santa Marta 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 Santa Marta.
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