A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Cartagena vs. La Serena for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Cartagena or La Serena?

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 La Serena can help you decide which place is right for you.

Where Should I go: Cartagena or La Serena?

Cartagena

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.

La Serena

La Serena is a charming town in Northern Chile. It is Chile's second-oldest city and the thriving capital of Region IV. With its beautiful architecture, its long golden shoreline, dignified stone churches, tree-shaded avenues and pretty plazas, La Serena has everything you could ask for!

Chileans on holidays flood in the city in January and February, though it is fairly peaceful outside the summer rush. Some of the city's architecture is from the colonial era, but most is actually neocolonial thanks to president Gabriel Gonzalez Videla, born in La Serena, and her 'Plan Serena' of the late 1940s.

Which city is cheaper, La Serena or Cartagena?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Cartagena is $34, while the average daily cost in La Serena is $70. 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. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Cartagena and La Serena in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Cartagena $19
    La Serena $34
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Cartagena $38
    La Serena $68
Compare Hotels in Cartagena and La Serena

Looking for a hotel in Cartagena or La Serena? 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 La Serena


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Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Cartagena $5.32
    La Serena $16

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: $84
  • Transfer service in Cartagena: $50
  • Transfer in Private Vehicle from Cartagena City to Airport: $12
  • Transfer in Private Minivan from Cartagena City to Airport: $17
  • Transfer Cartagena: $50
  • Private transfer to Barranquilla from Cartagena- Traslado privado a Barranquilla: $170
  • Private transfer Cartagena airport -Mamonal: $65
  • Private Transfers in air conditioning buses: $7.00
  • Private Transfer: Rafael Núñez International Airport (CTG) to Cartagena: $40
  • Private Transfer: Cartagena to Rafael Núñez International Airport (CTG): $40
  • Private Transfer from Port of Cartagena to La Boquilla: $28
  • Private Transfer from Port of Cartagena to El Laguito: $28

Hired Cars and Shuttles in La Serena

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

  • Private Airport Transfer: La Florida Airport (LSC) to La Serena: $26
  • Private Airport Transfer: from La Serena to La Florida Airport (LSC): $26

Is it cheaper to fly into Cartagena or La Serena?

Prices for flights to both La Serena 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
  • Food Meals for one day
    Cartagena $6.97
    La Serena $22

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: $30
  • BIKE & BITE food tour: $52
  • Cruise by the Bay with Dinner and Wine: $55
  • Street food tour with Julie: $64
  • Food Tour in Cartagena Walled City: $66
  • Street Food & Local Food Tour: $66
  • SkyKitchen 4 Course Cooking Class: $81
  • Bazurto Market Tour and Cooking Class in Cartagena: $92
  • Cartagena - Food Tour: $100
  • Caribbean Cuisine Cooking Class: $105
  • Shared Local Cooking Class and Lunch in Cartagena: $110
  • Bazurto Local Market Tour & Cooking Class: $115

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Cartagena $15
    La Serena $19

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: $40
  • 4-Hour Fishing Experience with Locals Near Cartagena: $103
  • 6 Hr Cartagena Fishing Experience: $974
  • Accessible sightseeing tour of Cartagena: $140
  • Audio Guide - Walking Tour with Interactive (Cartagena de Indias): $10
  • Aviario National Park Shared Tour: $63
  • Bar Tour for Guys and Bachelor Parties: $20
  • Bazurto Market + La Popa Convent Cartagena City Tour 4H: $81
  • Bazurto Market Half day tour in Cartagena: $125
  • Biking Tour Cartagena: $19
  • Birdwatching & Photography experience at the National Aviary in Barú: $279
  • Bolivar Pirate Island Experience with Lunch: $75

Tours and Activities in La Serena

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

  • Valle de Elqui Fullday Tour: $58
  • Full day Tour to Elqui Valley: $90
  • Elqui Valley Spanish Tour from La Serena: $160
  • Elqui Valley and Vicuña Private Tour Including Lunch: $263
  • La Serena and Coquimbo Private City Tour Including Lunch and Archeological Museum: $269

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Cartagena $6.54
    La Serena $18


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Cartagena and La Serena, we can see that La Serena 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 La Serena would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in La Serena than you might in Cartagena.


When is the best time to visit Cartagena or La Serena?

La Serena has a temperate climate with four distinct seasons, but Cartagena experiences a tropical climate with fairly warm weather most of the year.

Should I visit Cartagena or La Serena in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Cartagena as well as La Serena. Cartagena attracts visitors year-round for its warm weather and tropical climate.

In July, Cartagena is generally much warmer than La Serenain January. Temperatures in Cartagena average around 29°C (84°F), and La Serena stays around 18°C (64°F).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in La Serena. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Cartagena this time of the year. In the summer, Cartagena often gets less sunshine than La Serenain January. Cartagena gets 207 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while La Serena receives 247 hours of full sun.

Cartagena usually gets more rain in July than La Serenain January. Cartagena gets 60 mm (2.4 in) of rain, while La Serena receives 4 mm (0.2 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July and January
    Cartagena 29°C (84°F) 
    La Serena 18°C (64°F)

Should I visit Cartagena or La Serena in the Autumn?

Both La Serena and Cartagena are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. The warm tropical climate attracts visitors to Cartagena throughout the year.

Cartagena is much warmer than La Serena in the autumn. The temperature in Cartagena is usually 27°C (81°F) in October, and La Serena stays around 15°C (59°F)in April.

Cartagena usually receives more sunshine than La Serena during autumn. At this time of the year, Cartagena gets 175 hours of sunny skies, while La Serena receives 159 hours of full sun.

It's quite rainy in Cartagena. In October, Cartagena usually receives more rain than La Serenain April. At this time of the year, Cartagena gets 150 mm (5.9 in) of rain, while La Serena receives 3 mm (0.1 in) of rain.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October and April
    Cartagena 27°C (81°F) 
    La Serena 15°C (59°F)

Should I visit Cartagena or La Serena in the Winter?

Both La Serena and Cartagena during the winter are popular places to visit. Plenty of visitors come to Cartagena because of the warm tropical climate that lasts throughout the year.

In the winter, Cartagena is much warmer than La Serena. Typically, the winter temperatures in Cartagena in January are around 27°C (81°F), and La Serena is about 12°C (54°F)in July.

It's quite sunny in Cartagena. In the winter, Cartagena often gets more sunshine than La Serenain July. Cartagena gets 278 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while La Serena receives 160 hours of full sun.

Cartagena usually gets more rain in January than La Serenain July. Cartagena gets 10 mm (0.4 in) of rain, while La Serena receives 3 mm (0.1 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January and July
    Cartagena 27°C (81°F) 
    La Serena 12°C (54°F)

Should I visit Cartagena or La Serena in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Cartagena and La Serena. Cartagena attracts visitors year-round for its warm weather and tropical climate.

In April, Cartagena is generally much warmer than La Serenain October. Temperatures in Cartagena average around 28°C (82°F), and La Serena stays around 14°C (57°F).

In Cartagena, it's very sunny this time of the year. Cartagena usually receives more sunshine than La Serena during spring. At this time of the year, Cartagena gets 209 hours of sunny skies, while La Serena receives 190 hours of full sun.

In April, Cartagena usually receives more rain than La Serenain October. At this time of the year, Cartagena gets 10 mm (0.4 in) of rain, while La Serena receives 5 mm (0.2 in) of rain.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April and October
    Cartagena 28°C (82°F) 
    La Serena 14°C (57°F)

Typical Weather for La Serena and Cartagena

Cartagena La Serena
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 27°C (81°F) 10 mm (0.4 in) 18°C (64°F) 4 mm (0.2 in)
Feb 27°C (81°F) 10 mm (0.4 in) 18°C (64°F) 3 mm (0.1 in)
Mar 27°C (81°F) 10 mm (0.4 in) 17°C (63°F) 3 mm (0.1 in)
Apr 28°C (82°F) 10 mm (0.4 in) 15°C (59°F) 3 mm (0.1 in)
May 29°C (84°F) 50 mm (2 in) 13°C (55°F) 3 mm (0.1 in)
Jun 29°C (84°F) 70 mm (2.8 in) 12°C (54°F) 4 mm (0.2 in)
Jul 29°C (84°F) 60 mm (2.4 in) 12°C (54°F) 3 mm (0.1 in)
Aug 28°C (82°F) 80 mm (3.1 in) 12°C (54°F) 5 mm (0.2 in)
Sep 29°C (84°F) 80 mm (3.1 in) 13°C (55°F) 5 mm (0.2 in)
Oct 27°C (81°F) 150 mm (5.9 in) 14°C (57°F) 5 mm (0.2 in)
Nov 28°C (82°F) 60 mm (2.4 in) 15°C (59°F) 4 mm (0.2 in)
Dec 27°C (81°F) 30 mm (1.2 in) 17°C (63°F) 3 mm (0.1 in)


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Cartagena vs. La Serena Travel Comparison

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