Should you visit Cuenca or La Serena?
Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the prices of travel for Cuenca and La Serena. 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 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.
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 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 La Serena is $81. 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 La Serena in more detail.
Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $20 for a double occupancy room in Cuenca.
Double occupancy rooms typically run around $78 in La Serena For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.
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.
La Serena food costs typically run travelers around $25 per day. Eating every meal in a nicer restaurant will drive the cost up, and grabbing fast food or casual meals will help you save money.
Meals for one day
La Serena $25
Typical Food prices in Cuenca
Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Cuenca:
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:
Cuenca City Tour & Cooking Class (PRIVATE Tour):
Private Cooking Class:
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.
To get around in La Serena, the average visitor spends $19 per day, per person. This includes the costs of taxi rides and private drivers as well as public transportation, which tends to be much more affordable.
Typical Local Transportation prices in Cuenca
Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Cuenca:
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cuenca
Some specific examples of transportation prices in Cuenca:
Transfer In Cuenca Airport - Hotel:
Private Transfer from Cuenca to Guayaquil.:
Private Transfer from Cuenca City Center to Madrid City Center:
Departure Private Transfer: Cuenca City to Cuenca Airport CUE by Minivan:
Cuenca to Guayaquil Transfer in Fantasy Bus:
Cuenca to Alausi Transfer in Fantasy Bus:
Cuenca Departure Transfer:
Cuenca Arrival Transfer:
Cuenca Airport Shuttle Transfer:
Arrival Private Transfer: Cuenca Airport CUE to Cuenca City by Minivan:
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:
Private Airport Transfer: from La Serena to La Florida Airport (LSC):
Is it cheaper to fly into Cuenca or La Serena?
Prices for flights to both La Serena 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.
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.
In La Serena, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $22 per person, per day.
Tours and Activities in Cuenca
Here are a few actual costs in Cuenca for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:
4-Day Magic Tour Cuenca, Alausi town, Baños, Quilotoa, Cotopaxi and Quito:
5-Day Rock Climbing Tour in Cojitambo, Paute, Girón, Cajas and Sayausi:
5-Day Trekking Rock, Climbing, Canyoning and Paragliding Tour:
BIKE TOUR "Descent of The Andes":
Baños Private Guided 4-day tour from Cuenca:
Biking Cuenca City Tour:
Biking and Walking City Tour Cuenca:
Birdwatching Tour in Cajas National Park from Cuenca:
Birdwatching Tour in Cajas National Park from Cuenca:
Birdwatching Tour in Giron and Yunguilla Jocotoco Reserve from Cuenca:
Birdwatching Tour in Tamarindo Tropical Forest area from Cuenca:
Birdwatching Tour in Via Sigsig,Chiguinda from Cuenca:
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:
Full day Tour to Elqui Valley:
Elqui Valley Spanish Tour from La Serena:
Elqui Valley and Vicuña Private Tour Including Lunch:
La Serena and Coquimbo Private City Tour Including Lunch and Archeological Museum:
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.
Typically, people visiting La Serena spend on average $21 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Cuenca and La Serena, we can see that La Serena 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 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 Cuenca.
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