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

Should you visit Cuenca or Cartagena?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the prices of travel for Cuenca and Cartagena. 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. So, let's dig into it.

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.

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.

Which city is cheaper, Cartagena or Cuenca?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Cuenca is $34, while the average daily cost in Cartagena is $39. 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 Cuenca and Cartagena in more detail.



Accommodation

Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $20 for a double occupancy room in Cuenca.

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.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Cuenca $9.97
    Cartagena $22
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Cuenca $20
    Cartagena $44

Food

Food in Cuenca costs travelers about $12 per day on average. Restaurants can vary significantly in price, so choose wisely if you're trying to save money. Fast food and street stalls are typically your cheapest options, which sit down restaurants can be significantly more expensive.

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.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Cuenca $12
    Cartagena $8.10
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.

  • Cooking Class & Market Tour in Cuenca: $55
  • Cuenca City Tour & Cooking Class (PRIVATE Tour): $95

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
  • 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
  • Colombian Cooking Workshop: $201

Local Transportation

The average price of local transportation around Cuenca is $8.60 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.

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.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Cuenca $8.60
    Cartagena $6.18
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:

  • Arrival Private Transfer: Cuenca Airport CUE to Cuenca City by Minivan: $74
  • Cuenca Airport Shuttle Transfer: $19
  • Cuenca Arrival Transfer: $15
  • Cuenca Departure Transfer: $15
  • Cuenca to Alausi Transfer in Fantasy Bus: $25
  • Cuenca to Guayaquil Transfer in Fantasy Bus: $25
  • Departure Private Transfer: Cuenca City to Cuenca Airport CUE by Minivan: $74
  • Private Transfer from Cuenca City Center to Madrid City Center: $147
  • Private Transfer from Cuenca to Guayaquil.: $83
  • Transfer In Cuenca Airport - Hotel: $25

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cartagena

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Cartagena:

  • Air Conditioning Bus transfer: $8.00
  • Cartagena Airport Transfer (in and out) - Touristic Area Hotels - Sedan: $34
  • Cartagena Arrival or Departure Transfer: Airport / Cruise Ship Terminal: $13
  • Cartagena Private Transfer from Bocagrande to Rafael Núñez (CTG) Airport: $17
  • Cartagena Private Transfer from El Laguito to Rafael Núñez (CTG) Airport: $17
  • Departure Private Transfer Cartagena City to Cartagena Airport CTG by 2x4 Car: $72
  • Departure Private Transfer Cartagena City to Cartagena Airport CTG by Minivan: $96
  • Hotel to Airport Transportation in Cartagena (transfer service): $14
  • One way private water transfer between Cartagena and the Islands (6 ppl max): $530
  • PRIVATE Transfer from the AIRPORT to the hotel.: $19
  • PRIVATE Transfer from the cruise terminal.: $13
  • PRIVATE Transfer from the hotel to the Rafael Nuñez AIRPORT: $16

Entertainment

Cuenca's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $13 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.

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.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Cuenca $13
    Cartagena $18

Tours and Activities in Cuenca

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

  • Guided tour to Cuenca City: $9.95
  • Cuenca City Tour: $20
  • Cuenca City tour: $25
  • Half-Day Tour of Cuenca Including Panama Hat Factory: $30
  • Walking Cuenca City Tour with Pumapungo Complex Half Day: $30
  • Cuenca City Tour: $30
  • Biking and Walking City Tour Cuenca: $30
  • Half-Day Biking and Walking Tour of Cuenca, Ecuador: $30
  • Private Half-Day Cuenca City Tour: $38
  • Cajas National Park Half Day Tour: $40
  • Private Half-Day City Tour Including Turi Viewpoint: $41
  • Biking Cuenca City Tour: $45

Tours and Activities in Cartagena

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

  • Cartagena de Indias: Into the Walls of The City Walking Audio Tour by VoiceMap: $5.34
  • Cartagena de Indias: India Catalina to Plaza Santo Domingo Audio Tour - VoiceMap: $5.34
  • Ghost of Downtown: Fear in the streets. Cartagena Sensorial Tour: $6.99
  • Monasterio de la Popa, tickets de entrada: $7.00
  • Cartagena City Tour By Bicycle: $8.00
  • City Tour Cartagena With Bazurto Market: $8.00
  • Free walking tour Gethsemane old town & Forever colonial: $10
  • Audio Guide - Walking Tour with Interactive (Cartagena de Indias): $10
  • Cartagena Ryhtm & Sunset - Musical experience: $12
  • Virtual Cartagena LiteraTour through Nobel Garcia Marquez work: $15
  • Chiva Party Bus Tour in Cartagena: $18
  • City Sightseeing Cartagena Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour Shore Excursion: $18

Alcohol

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Cuenca may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $11 per day on alcoholic beverages.

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.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Cuenca $11
    Cartagena $7.60


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Cuenca and Cartagena, we can see that Cartagena is more expensive. And not only is Cuenca much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Cuenca would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Cuenca 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 Cuenca.

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Cuenca vs. Cartagena Travel Comparison

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