Should you visit Cajamarca or El Calafate?
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 Cajamarca and El Calafate can help you decide which place is right for you.
Located in the northern highlands of Peru, Cajamarca is a town of about 100,000 people. The city's mild weather and fertile soil is ideal for agriculture, which is a major industry in the area. The city is also well known for its cheeses and dairy products. Cajamarca is the site of the Battle of Cajamarca which led to the execution of the Inca emperor Atahualpa and the end of the infamous Inca empire. Today, the area is appealing to visitors in part because of its lovely churches, nice hot springs, and interesting Inca Baths.
Located in Patagonia, El Calafate has become a popular tourist destination in Argentina because of its beautiful setting on the stunningly blue Lago Argentina. The town sits on the southern border of the lake in the southwestern part of the Santa Cruz Province. It's about 320 kilometers from Rio Gallegos.
The rise in popularity of Patagonia as a tourist destination has truly put this small town on the map. You'll find no shortage of trekkers in the town and it makes an excellent base to explore different parts of the Los Glaciares National Park. Popular places to visit include Perito Moreno Glacier, Cerro Chalten, and Cerro Torre.
El Calafate has a cold semi-arid climate. The summers are cool to warm and very dry while the winters are cold and damp. Lago Argentino has a significant influence over the town's climate. The shallow bay where the town is located is usually frozen during the winter months.
Check out our ultimate guide to Hiking in Patagonia.
Which city is cheaper, El Calafate or Cajamarca?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Cajamarca is $54, while the average daily cost in El Calafate is $74. 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 Cajamarca and El Calafate in more detail.
Cajamarca's average price for two people sharing a typical double-occupancy hotel room is $38. A typical place to stay for one person, per day is $19.
An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $50 in El Calafate For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.
The average traveler spends about $22 per day in Cajamarca for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.
Food in El Calafate costs travelers about $27 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.
Meals for one day
El Calafate $27
Typical Food prices in El Calafate
For El Calafate, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:
Food Tours and Cooking Classes in El Calafate
For El Calafate, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:
Visit to Estancia Alice El Galpon, Dinner and Folkloric Show:
Gaucho, Dinner and Folklore Full-Day Tour:
The average price of local transportation around Cajamarca is $13 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.
El Calafate'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 $26 per person, per day on transportation in El Calafate.
Typical Local Transportation prices in El Calafate
Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in El Calafate:
Hired Cars and Shuttles in El Calafate
Also for El Calafate, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
From Calafate: Round-trip transfer to Perito Moreno Glacier:
Shared Transfer Airport-Hotel-Airport (Calafate):
Private Transfer Hotel-Bus Station or Bus Station-Hotel (Calafate):
Bus Transfer from El Calafate to El Chalten:
El Calafate Airport Private Transfer:
Shared transfer to El Calafate -El Chaltén:
Private Transfer Airport-Hotel-Airport (Calafate):
Kayak in Perito Moreno Glacier without transfers:
Kayak in Perito Moreno Glacier with transfers:
Cajamarca's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $20 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 El Calafate can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $27 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.
Tours and Activities in Cajamarca
Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Cajamarca are as follows:
3-Day Guided Cultural Tour of Cajamarca with Transportation:
Cajamarca city tour - Private tour:
Cumbemayo, the stone forest - Private tour:
Inca's Bath - Private tour:
Porcón farm - Private tour:
Ventanillas de Otuzco - private tour:
Tour of the Port of Callao and fort Real Felipe:
Typical Entertainment prices in El Calafate
Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for El Calafate's activities, tours, and tickets:
Tours and Activities in El Calafate
For El Calafate, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:
El Calafate History Museum Tour:
Bamboo Bike self drive tour El Calafate surroundings:
Perito Moreno Glacier Tour with Optional Boat Ride:
Bus ticket to Puerto Natales, Chile:
Perito Moreno Glacier & Optional Boat Cruise:
City Tour in El Calafate with Walichu Caves:
Tour to Punta Walichu and Glaciarium:
Bus Ticket from El Chalten to El Calafate:
El Calafate City Sightseeing Tour Including Walichu Caves:
Bus ticket from El Calafate (Argentina) to Puerto Natales (Chile):
Los Glaciares National Park and Perito Moreno Glacier Tour:
El Calafate Sightseeing Tour with Walichu Caves:
The average person spends about $13 on alcoholic beverages in Cajamarca per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.
Typically, people visiting El Calafate spend on average $14 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
Typical Alcohol prices in El Calafate
Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in El Calafate:
Sample the Local Flavors in El Calafate
Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in El Calafate:
Calafate Wine Tour | City Tour Peatonal Maridado con Vinos:
Calafate Wine Tour:
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Cajamarca and El Calafate, we can see that El Calafate is more expensive. And not only is Cajamarca much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Cajamarca would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Cajamarca 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 Calafate would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in El Calafate than you might in Cajamarca.
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