A Travel Price Comparison for Ecuador Cuenca vs. Banos for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Cuenca or Banos?

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

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Cuenca and Banos. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Where Should I go: Cuenca or Banos?

Cuenca

Cuenca is a vibrant colonial city in southern Ecuador, the third largest in the country, and the capital of Azuay Province. Cuenca is considered as Ecuador's most important and beautiful colonial city after Quito. Dating from the 16th century, Cuenca's historic center, a Unesco World Heritage Site with its trademark skyline of massive rotundas and soaring steeples, is a magical sight in which you will feel like you are moving back in time. Cuenca is the center of many craft traditions, including ceramics, metalwork and the internationally famous panama hat. The nearby villages also offer many other handicrafts. Tourists enjoy wandering the ancient streets discovering picturesque alleys and hidden corners, where nuns march along cobblestone streets and kids in Catholic-school uniforms skip past historic churches. Fascinating historic monuments and fabulous views are found at every turn. Cuenca also has outstanding art museums and festivals. For a rewarding cultural experience, visit during Easter to attend the Festival of Religious Music.

Banos

Banos (de Agua Santa) is a small city in the Andean highlands of Ecuador under volcano Tungurahua. Its name, which is Spanish for "Baths (of sacred water)," comes from the famous hydrothermal springs in the area. It's equally popular with foreigners as with Ecuadorians, and is known as the adventure capital of Ecuador. The streets are lined with hotels, restaurants, souvenir shops, and tour agencies. Although it is very touristy, lots of people love it, more for the activities and surroundings than for the city itself. It is an important hub for outdoor sports and jungle tours.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Wildlife Tours to Ecuador, The Best Hiking & Trekking Tours in Ecuador, The Best 10-Day Tours in Ecuador, and The Best One Week (7-Day) Tours in Ecuador.


Which place is cheaper, Banos or Cuenca?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Cuenca is $42, while the average daily cost in Banos is $46. 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 Cuenca and Banos in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Cuenca $13
    Banos $16
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Cuenca $26
    Banos $32
Compare Hotels in Cuenca and Banos

Looking for a hotel in Cuenca or Banos? 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 Cuenca


Hotels in Banos


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: Cuenca Hotel Prices and Banos Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Cuenca $11
    Banos $10
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Cuenca

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


  • Taxi Ride
    $2.00

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cuenca

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Cuenca:

  • Private Transfer from Cuenca to Guayaquil.: $104

Is it cheaper to fly into Cuenca or Banos?

Prices for flights to both Banos and Cuenca 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
    Cuenca $15
    Banos $15
Typical Food Prices in Cuenca

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Cuenca:


  • Lunch
    $10
  • Snacks
    $5.00
  • Empanada
    $1.50
  • Hot Dog
    $1.00

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Cuenca

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

  • Street food Tour in Cuenca,Ecuador: $33
  • Cooking Class & Market Tour in Cuenca: $55
  • Private Cooking Class: $125

Typical Food Prices in Banos

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Banos:


  • Dinner
    $13
  • Ice cream
    $1.50
  • Coffee
    $2.50

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Cuenca $16
    Banos $19

Tours and Activities in Cuenca

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

  • Cuenca, Ecuador Half-Day City Shared Tour: $25
  • Cuenca Half-Day City Tour Including Panama Hat Factory: $30
  • Cuenca-Ec- City Tour with Panama Hat factory Half Day: $30
  • Half-Day Biking and Walking Tour in Cuenca: $30
  • Cajas National Park Half Day Tour from Cuenca: $40
  • Private Cuenca City Tour including Turi Viewpoint: $40
  • El Chorro waterfalls and Busa lake tour from Cuenca: $44
  • Experience Historical City Tour: $44
  • Cuenca Heritage Complex: Chocolate Tasting, Tour and Museums: $45
  • City Sightseeing Tour: $45
  • Cuenca, Ecuador Half-Day City Tour: $46
  • Amazing Cajas National Park Tour from Cuenca: $48

Typical Entertainment Prices in Banos

Here are a few typical costs in Banos for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:


  • Two Rented Bikes for the Day
    $10
  • Cost to see Waterfall
    $2.00
  • Day at the Spa
    $45
  • 2 Bike Rentals (1 Day)
    $10
  • Entrance to Waterfall
    $2.00

Tours and Activities in Banos

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

  • Adventure Circuit 4 activities in 1. All within an impressive cascade: $25
  • Canopy Ziplining in Puntzan Adventure Park: $26
  • Private Canyoning Experience in Baños de Agua Santa Ecuador: $26
  • 2 Hours Small-Group Horseback Riding Experience in Banos: $30
  • Canyoning Adventure Tour in the Ravine: $30
  • Private 3-Hour Canyoning Experience in Chamana: $30
  • Full Day Jungle Tour: $32
  • Full Day Guided Tour in the Ecuadorian Amazon: $35
  • Pailón del Diablo | Waterfall Route | Tour for 3 hours: $35
  • Puyo Jungle Tour in 1 Day: $35
  • Adventure and Fun River Rafting in Baños Ecuador: $35
  • One day tour in the jungle. all inclusive.: $39

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Cuenca $14
    Banos $9.74

Typical Alcohol Prices in Banos

Here are a few samples of the prices for alcohol and nightlife in Banos from other travelers:


  • Beer
    $4.00


When comparing the travel costs between Cuenca and Banos, we can see that Banos is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in South America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

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


Which is Bigger, Cuenca or Banos?

Cuenca has a larger population, and is about 30 times larger than the population of Banos. When comparing the sizes of Cuenca and Banos, 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.