Should you visit Cartagena or Arica?
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 Cartagena and Arica can help you decide which place is right for you.
The capital of the Bolivar Department of Colombia, Cartagena is one of the most visited cities in the country. It sits on Colombia's northern coast by the Caribbean Sea. It's a port city with a population of almost 900,000, making it the fifth largest city in Colombia. The city has a rich history and was the first Spanish colony on the American continent. It was also one of the first sanctuaries for freed African slaves in the Americas.
A mixture of coastline, desert and high Andean plateau, Arica is a seaside resort town, known for its surfing beaches located at the tip of Northern Chile. Arica boasts that it is "the land of the eternal spring," but its temperate climate and beaches are not the only reason to visit this small city. Arica's tourism is still principally geared toward domestic visitors and those from southern Peru and La Paz, who flock to its beaches mid-December through February. It is very easy to spend a few days in Arica in the sand, or seeing the sights in town, at a slow pace but the city also offers plenty of fun activities and exciting day trips.
Which city is cheaper, Arica or Cartagena?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Cartagena is $39, while the average daily cost in Arica is $77. 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 Cartagena and Arica in more detail.
Cartagena's average price for two people sharing a typical double-occupancy hotel room is $44. A typical place to stay for one person, per day is $22.
For a normal double-occupancy room in Arica, $68 is the average cost for a hotel room. Also in Arica, the typical price for a place to stay for one person is $34, such as in a hostel.
In Cartagena travelers spend around $7.98 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.
Food in Arica 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
Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Cartagena
Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Cartagena.
Cartagena Cuisine Cooking Experience:
BIKE & BITE food tour:
Street food tour with Julie:
Food Tour in Cartagena Walled City:
Street Food & Local Food Tour:
SkyKitchen 4 Course Cooking Class:
Bazurto Market Tour and Cooking Class in Cartagena:
Cartagena - Food Tour:
Caribbean Cuisine Cooking Class:
Shared Local Cooking Class and Lunch in Cartagena:
Bazurto Local Market Tour & Cooking Class:
Colombian Cooking Workshop:
The average price of local transportation around Cartagena is $6.09 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.
To get around in Arica, the average visitor spends $17 per day, per person. This includes the costs of taxi rides and private drivers as well as public transportation, which tends to be much more affordable.
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cartagena
Some specific examples of transportation prices in Cartagena:
Transfer to Tayrona Park, Santa Marta or Barranquilla City from Cartagena:
Transfer service in Cartagena:
Transfer in Private Vehicle from Cartagena City to Airport:
Transfer in Private Minivan from Cartagena City to Airport:
Private transfer to Barranquilla from Cartagena- Traslado privado a Barranquilla:
Private transfer Cartagena airport -Mamonal:
Private Transfers in air conditioning buses:
Private Transfer: Rafael Núñez International Airport (CTG) to Cartagena:
Private Transfer: Cartagena to Rafael Núñez International Airport (CTG):
Private Transfer from Port of Cartagena to La Boquilla:
Private Transfer from Port of Cartagena to El Laguito:
Typical Local Transportation prices in Arica
Some typical examples of transportation costs in Arica are as follows:
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Arica
Also for Arica, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Arica Airport Private Transfer:
Is it cheaper to fly into Cartagena or Arica?
Prices for flights to both Arica and Cartagena 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.
Cartagena's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $17 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.
In Arica, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $19 per person, per day.
Tours and Activities in Cartagena
Here are a few actual costs in Cartagena for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:
2 Hour Panoramic tour for cruise ship passengers:
4-Hour Fishing Experience with Locals Near Cartagena:
6 Hr Cartagena Fishing Experience:
Accessible sightseeing tour of Cartagena:
Audio Guide - Walking Tour with Interactive (Cartagena de Indias):
Aviario National Park Shared Tour:
Bar Tour for Guys and Bachelor Parties:
Bazurto Market + La Popa Convent Cartagena City Tour 4H:
Bazurto Market Half day tour in Cartagena:
Biking Tour Cartagena:
Birdwatching & Photography experience at the National Aviary in Barú:
Bolivar Pirate Island Experience with Lunch:
Tours and Activities in Arica
For Arica, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:
Half day Panoramic City Tour:
Arica Sightseeing Tour:
Full Day Tour to Tacna from Arica:
Arica Private Sightseeing Tour:
Archeological Sightseeing tour in Arica:
Private Tour to Tacna from Arica:
Arica Private City Tour:
Private Arica and Ancient Cultures Tour:
4-Days Unique Experience at the Chilean High Plateau:
While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Cartagena may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $7.48 per day on alcoholic beverages.
Typically, people visiting Arica spend on average $19 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Cartagena and Arica, we can see that Arica is more expensive. And not only is Cartagena much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Cartagena would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Cartagena 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 Arica would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Arica than you might in Cartagena.
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