Should you visit Cartagena or Punta Arenas?
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 Punta Arenas 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.
Punta Arenas is in the far south of Chile and has a long history of maritime commerce, oil extraction, and sheep farming. It's the most populated city on the Strait of Magellan and has all the facilities you might need as a traveler, including banks, markets, drugstores and equipment shops. With a population of about 130,000, the city is a comfortable place to spend time. It serves as a base for Antarctic expeditions, although many expeditions also start in Ushuaia, Argentina, and Christchurch New Zealand.
Which city is cheaper, Punta Arenas 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 Punta Arenas is $65. 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 Punta Arenas 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.
An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $66 in Punta Arenas For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.
In Cartagena travelers spend around $8.10 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.
While meal prices in Punta Arenas can vary, the average travelers spends about $21 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in Punta Arenas should cost around $8.40 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in Punta Arenas is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.
Meals for one day
Punta Arenas $21
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:
Typical Food prices in Punta Arenas
Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Punta Arenas:
Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Punta Arenas
For Punta Arenas, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:
Punta Arenas Small Group Sightseeing and food Tour with a Local Guide:
The average price of local transportation around Cartagena is $6.18 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.
Punta Arenas'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 $1.84 per person, per day on transportation in Punta Arenas.
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cartagena
Some specific examples of transportation prices in Cartagena:
One way private water transfer between Cartagena and the Islands (6 ppl max):
Private Transfer from La Manga Club to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport:
Private Transfer from Cartagena to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport:
Private Transfer Cartagena to Palomino (or vice versa):
Private transfer to Barranquilla from Cartagena- Traslado privado a Barranquilla:
Departure Private Transfer Cartagena City to Cartagena Airport CTG by Minivan:
Transfer to Tayrona Park, Santa Marta or Barranquilla City from Cartagena:
Departure Private Transfer Cartagena City to Cartagena Airport CTG by 2x4 Car:
Private transfer Cartagena airport -Mamonal:
Transfer service in Cartagena:
Private Transfer: Cartagena to Rafael Núñez International Airport (CTG):
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Punta Arenas
Also for Punta Arenas, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Arrival Transfer: Punta Arenas Airport to Hotel:
Bus transfer from Punta Arenas to Ushuaia:
Private Airport Transfer: Punta Arenas Ibanez Airport (PUQ) to Punta Arenas:
Private Airport Transfer: from Punta Arenas to Punta Arenas Ibanez Airport (PUQ):
Transfer from Punta Arenas (city or airport) to Puerto Natales:
Transfer from Punta Arenas Hotel to Punta Arenas Airport:
Cartagena's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $18 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 Punta Arenas can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $6.57 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.
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 Punta Arenas
Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Punta Arenas.
Half day traditional City Tour:
Punta Arenas Sightseeing Tour:
Punta Arenas Highlights Shared Tour:
Small Group Punta Arenas Shore Excursion: Fort Bulnes and City Tour:
Puntarenas City tour and Mangroove Tour:
Bus ticket from Punta Arenas (Chile) to Ushuaia (Argentina):
Full-Day Punta Arenas and Magellan Strait Tour:
Rainforest Skywalk & Tarcoles River Eco Cruise Tour Puntarenas Shore excursion:
Punta Arenas Shore Excursion: City Sightseeing Tour:
Full day Punta Arenas (Regular tours):
Regular Tour of Andino Club Ski Mountain and Chairlift from Punta Arenas, Chile:
City Tour of Punta Arenas:
While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Cartagena may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $7.60 per day on alcoholic beverages.
Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Punta Arenas, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $4.96.
Typical Alcohol prices in Punta Arenas
Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in Punta Arenas:
Sample the Local Flavors in Punta Arenas
Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Punta Arenas:
Punta Arenas Small Group Beers & Brewery Tour with a Local Guide:
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Cartagena and Punta Arenas, we can see that Punta Arenas 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 Punta Arenas would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Punta Arenas than you might in Cartagena.
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