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

Should you visit Cartagena or Tilcara?

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

Where Should I go: Cartagena or Tilcara?


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.


Tilcara signifies shooting star in Quechua. At 2465m of altitude, the little town of Tilcara is one of the most animated place of the area of the quebrada de humahuaca. Many South American backpackers and tourists from all around the world come to visit Tilcara and its pucara, the forteresse built by the Incas at the top of the hill, providing a stunning walk around the town. Tilcara hosts many festivals for different occasions such as the celebration of the Pachamama in August, the semana santa (Holy Week) in April, and the Enero Tilcareno, held in January as its name indicates, which is probably the busiest month of the year for the little town. If you enjoy concerts, parades and folklorique parties then definitely try to visit Tilcara during a festival month and avoid them if you prefer a calm and more relaxed holiday. There are many available activities around Tilcara including horseback riding, VTT, and you could also even try a ride in a caravan pulled by llamas.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Adventure Tours to Colombia, The Best Eco Tours in Colombia, The Best Family-Friendly Tours to Argentina, and The Best Wildlife Tours to Argentina.

Which place is cheaper, Tilcara 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 Tilcara is $8.25. 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 Tilcara in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Cartagena $27
    Tilcara $3.25
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Cartagena $54
    Tilcara $6.50
Compare Hotels in Cartagena and Tilcara

Looking for a hotel in Cartagena or Tilcara? 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 Tilcara

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 Tilcara Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Cartagena $7.64
    Tilcara $2.19

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cartagena

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Cartagena:

  • 15. Transfer to SANTA MARTA from Cartagena Private or vice versa.: $290
  • Cartagena to Santa Marta Private Transfer Service: $268
  • Cartagena to Santa Marta (or vice versa) Private Transfer : $265
  • San Diego to Long Beach Airport (LGB) - Departure Private Transfer: $155
  • Cartagena to or from Tayrona Park Private Transfer: $155
  • Departure Private Transfer Cartagena City to Cartagena Airport CTG by Minibus: $129
  • Full-Day in Isla del Encanto with Lunch and Transfer to the Pier: $114
  • Walking Tour with Transfers - Gabriel García Márquez & Cartagena Walled City: $110
  • Cartagena Rafael Nunez Airport (CTG): Transfer to Cartagena: $108
  • Arrival Private Transfer Cartagena Airport CTG to Cartagena City by Minivan: $93
  • Cartagena International Airport - Private Transfer From or To Cartagena City: $91
  • Transfer High-end - Kia Quoris: $90

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Tilcara

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

  • Taxi Ride

Is it cheaper to fly into Cartagena or Tilcara?

Prices for flights to both Tilcara 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
    Tilcara $3.41

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
  • Dinner on a boat at Cartagena Bay: $68
  • Dinner cruise on Cartagena's bay with Sibarita Master: $70
  • Street Food Tour of Cartagena: $70

Typical Food Prices in Tilcara

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Tilcara:

  • Sandwich
  • Burger
  • Fruit
  • Sandwich

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Tilcara

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

  • Northern Argentine cooking experience: $70

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Cartagena $22
    Tilcara $1.95

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
  • 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 and a half hour Chiva Disco and Rumba Tour: $14
  • 2-Hour Color and Art Tour in Getsemani: $90
  • 2-Hour Private Tour of Bazurto Market: $52

Tours and Activities in Tilcara

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Tilcara.

  • 2 hours cycling tour trough the rural area: $20
  • Purmamarca Night Experience: $30
  • Serranías del Hornocal + Citytour Humahuaca: $30
  • Bike Adventure through Juella with lunch: $35
  • Half day mountain bike tour with lunch: $35
  • Private Full Day Tour to Salinas de Grandes and Barrancas: $130
  • Full-Day Tour to Laguna de los Pozuelos from Tilcara: $162

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Cartagena $9.39
    Tilcara $1.07

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 Tilcara, we can see that Cartagena is more expensive. And not only is Tilcara much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Tilcara would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Tilcara 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 Tilcara.

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

Which is Bigger, Cartagena or Tilcara?

Cartagena has a larger population, and is about 170 times larger than the population of Tilcara. When comparing the sizes of Cartagena and Tilcara, 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.