A Travel Price Comparison for Colombia Cartagena vs. Cali for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Cartagena or Cali?

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

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 Cali can help you decide which place is right for you.

Where Should I go: Cartagena or Cali?


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.


Cali is Colombia's third largest city. Founded in 1536, can be explored on foot: walk under the shade of trees along the riverbank, admire the architecture of churches and other national monuments, and visit the city's many museums. Being the salsa capital of the world, Cali is primarily a destination for salsa and party but it also offers some great days out in the nearby natural surroundings. In Cali, travelers can enjoy music festivals, learn about sugarcane farming, and take in the mountainous landscapes.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Adventure Tours to Colombia, The Best Eco Tours in Colombia, The Best Food and Culinary Tours in Colombia, and The Best Luxury Tours to Colombia.

Which place is cheaper, Cali or Cartagena?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Cartagena is $48, while the average daily cost in Cali 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 destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Cartagena and Cali in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Cartagena $27
    Cali $6.16
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Cartagena $54
    Cali $12
Compare Hotels in Cartagena and Cali

Looking for a hotel in Cartagena or Cali? 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 Cartagena

Hotels in Cali

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: Cartagena Hotel Prices and Cali Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Cartagena $7.64
    Cali $5.76

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cartagena

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Cartagena:

  • Walking Tour with Transfers - Gabriel García Márquez & Cartagena Walled City: $110
  • Try find your better than us! Airport transfer service in Cartagena HTL-APT(CTG): $17
  • Try find your better than us! Airport transfer service in Cartagena APT-HTL(CTG): $17
  • Transportation / Transfers: $27
  • Transfer service in Cartagena: $53
  • Transfer in Private Vehicle from Manzanillo del Mar - Cartagena Airport (CTG): $23
  • Transfer in Private Vehicle from Cartagena Airport (CTG) - Manzanillo del Mar: $23
  • Transfer in Private Minivan from Manzanillo del Mar - Cartagena Airport (CTG): $29
  • Transfer in Private Minivan from City Center - Cartagena Airport (CTG): $20
  • Transfer in Private Minivan from Cartagena Airport (CTG) - City Center: $20
  • Transfer in Private Minivan Cartagena Airport (CTG) - Manzanillo del Mar: $18
  • Transfer from the airport to hotels in Boquilla: $12

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Cali

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Cali:

  • Short Taxi Ride

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cali

Also for Cali, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Airport Transfers Cali (per way): $34
  • Alfonso Airport CLO to Cali or Palmira Hotels Arrival Transfer: $24
  • Alfonso Aragon Airport CLO to Cali Palmira Arrival Transfer: $24
  • Alfonso B.Aragon Airport (CLO) to Cali/Palmira-RoundTrip Transfer: $48
  • Cali to Popayan Private Transfer: $272
  • Alfonso Bonilla Aragón Airpot One Way Transfer: $19
  • City Highlights Private Bus Tour with Transfer: $149
  • National Park Waterfalls Tour with Lunch & Transfer: $114
  • Departure Private Transfer from Cali City to Cali Airport CLO by Minibus: $171
  • From Cali Airport: One-way Privater Transfer to Cali: $58
  • Private Arrival or Departure Transfer: Alfonso Bonilla Aragón Airport : $17
  • RoundTrip Transfer in Private Minivan Cali Airport (CLO) - Cali City: $51

Is it cheaper to fly into Cartagena or Cali?

Prices for flights to both Cali 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.

  • Food Meals for one day
    Cartagena $10
    Cali $8.77

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Cartagena

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Cartagena.

  • Featured in NYTimes > Arepas and Dancing: Danceable Cooking Class in Cartagena: $32
  • Cooking class of typical food at the beach and sunset view: $39
  • Street Food Tour in Cartagena: $42
  • Guided Street Food Tour with Tastings: $44
  • Local Flavors Food Tour with Native Chef: $50
  • Cruise by the Bay with Dinner and Wine: $55
  • Private Dinner at a Local Chef's House in Cartagena: $58
  • Cartagena Gourmet: Cooking Class with a View, Elegance & Flavor: $59
  • Street food tour: $61
  • Street Food & Local Food Tour: $67
  • Dinner on a boat at Cartagena Bay: $68
  • Dinner cruise on Cartagena's bay with Sibarita Master: $70

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Cali

For Cali, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Alameda Market Cali Food Tour: $14
  • Street Food Tour: $21
  • Alameda Market Food Tour: $55
  • Flavors of Food tour at the local market: $59
  • Patio Santo Style Rumba Dinner: $168

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Cartagena $22
    Cali $11

Tours and Activities in Cartagena

Here are a few actual costs in Cartagena for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Beach Buggy ATV Adventure Tour CARTAGENA: $135
  • Eco cultural Historical Tour beyond Old City! + Pool: $98
  • Exciting Beach Buggy ATV Tour in Cartagena : $165
  • Palenque Native Guide, free entrance tickets, dance show & lunch: $110
  • Playa Morena Beach Club Whith Lunch And Walking tour of fort San Fernando: $39
  • Private Beach Tour in Barú and Optional Bird Aviary: $120
  • Rosario Islands Full Day Tour: $156
  • Walking Tour of Cartagena Including a Colombian Cup of Coffee: $95
  • "Essential Cartagena" Private Tour. : $70
  • 16. Punta Arena Tour (Tierra Bomba Island): $25
  • 2 Hour Panoramic tour for cruise ship passengers: $61
  • 2 and a half hour Chiva Disco and Rumba Tour: $14

Tours and Activities in Cali

For Cali, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Cali's Cultural and Historical Walking Tour: $14
  • Cali Salsa Tour: Learn the history, dance and play instruments: $15
  • Cali Salsa & Resistance Street Art Tour: $16
  • Walking Tour in the Historic Center of Cali City: $25
  • The Cali Street Food Walking Tour: $30
  • Cali Bike Tour: $32
  • Medicinal Plant Private Tour in La Galeria Alameda of Cali: $35
  • Coffee Tasting Experience in Cali Colombia : $35
  • Walking Tour: $35
  • Private half day tour in Siloé Cali: $35
  • Walking tour of the historic center: $37
  • Private Relaxing Massage Experience in Cali: $43

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Cartagena $9.39
    Cali $8.68

Sample the Local Flavors in Cartagena

Also in Cartagena, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Pub Crawl with Dancing and Complimentary Drinks: $18
  • Cartagena Pub Crawl: Let's Party & Matching in Getsemaní: $24
  • Pub Crawl Nightlife in Cartagena : $45
  • Pub Crawl: $70
  • Nightlife Pub crawl in Cartagena: $72

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

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Cartagena Expensive? and Is Cali Expensive?.

Which is Bigger, Cartagena or Cali?

Cali has a larger population, and is about 3 times larger than the population of Cartagena. When comparing the sizes of Cartagena and Cali, 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.