Should you visit Big Sur or Santa Fe?
Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Big Sur and Santa Fe can help you decide which place is right for you.
Big Sur is the 90-mile stretch of the California Central Coast which runs from the Carmel River in Monterey County south to San Carpoforo Creek in San Luis Obispo County and 20 miles east into the Santa Lucius Foothills.
However you look at it, California's Central Coast is beautiful and undoubtedly a huge tourist trap. If you're not willing to fork over big bucks for overnight stays on coastal hotels, be prepared ahead of time with your camping gear and get ready to go off the beaten track to avoid crowds as best you can and save your wallet.
While the weather in Central Coast is overall, mild and temperate, between 50 and 70 degrees year-round. The highs and lows during the year are in August and January, respectively, with dry summers and wet winters, making April through October the best times to visit but be warned: there will be crowds.
Santa Fe is the state capital of New Mexico as well as the oldest state capital in the United States, founded in 1607. It has become a popular travel destination due to the surrounding scenic beauty, its long history, cultural diversity especially with its proximity to American Indian pueblos and culture, and a rich concentration of arts, music, and food.
Which city is cheaper, Santa Fe or Big Sur?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Big Sur is $0.00, while the average daily cost in Santa Fe is $127. 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 Big Sur and Santa Fe in more detail.
Double occupancy rooms typically run around $264 in Big Sur For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.
Double occupancy rooms typically run around $128 in Santa Fe For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.
In Santa Fe travelers spend around $35 a day on food. You can save money by choosing casual restaurants or food stalls, or you can spend plenty more by dining in nicer restaurants at every meal.
Meals for one day
Santa Fe $35
Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Santa Fe
For Santa Fe, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:
Dinner at the Coffee Farm:
Santa Fe Railyard Arts District Food Tour:
New Mexican Flavors Food Tour of the Santa Fe Plaza:
Santa Fe'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 $49 per person, per day on transportation in Santa Fe.
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Santa Fe
Also for Santa Fe, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Private Departure Transfer to Santa Fe Airport SAF:
Private Arrival Transfer from Santa Fe Airport (SAF):
Is it cheaper to fly into Big Sur or Santa Fe?
Prices for flights to both Santa Fe and Big Sur 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.
Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Santa Fe can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $13 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.
Tours and Activities in Santa Fe
Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Santa Fe.
Bantayan Island Day Tour From Cebu:
Beer and Art Tour:
Guided Tour: 'Love Stories of Santa Fe":
Land Tour | Bantayan Island - Sightseeing - Guided Tour:
Lonely Planet Experiences: Private Walking Tour of Santa Fe:
Santa Fe Architectural Walking Tour:
Santa Fe Scavenger Hunt Adventure:
Search for The Story-Documentary Film School Scavenger Hunt Adventure:
Small-Group Canyon Road Art Tour:
Small-Group E-Bike Adventure Tour through Hidden Santa Fe:
The Best of Santa Fe Walking Tour:
Walk Granada's Skyline Tour:
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 Fe, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $7.74.
Sample the Local Flavors in Santa Fe
Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Santa Fe:
Join-In Wine Tours:
White Water Rafting and Wine Tour:
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Big Sur and Santa Fe, we can see that Santa Fe is more expensive. And not only is Big Sur much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Big Sur would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Big Sur 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 Santa Fe would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Santa Fe than you might in Big Sur.
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