A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Cuenca vs. Mendoza for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Cuenca or Mendoza?

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 Mendoza. 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 Mendoza?


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.


Mendoza is a city in western Argentina and more precisely in the desertic Cuyo region. Mendoza is the center of the Argentinian wine industry and is famed around the world for its vineyards and wine production. Spread across the valley of the Rio Mendoza and in the foothills of the Andean mountain range, Mendoza is also near the Aconcagua, the highest mountain outside of the Himalayas. The bustling and scenic city of wide, leafy avenues, atmospheric plazas and cosmopolitan cafes spoils visitors with unique natural attractions and historical landmarks. If you can, visit Mendoza during the harvest festival at the end of February. There are many events and festivals in Mendoza and they are usually free. Each has a different theme, and they usually have a stage with singing and dancing and booths that sell food around a plaza. Seventy percent of Argentina's wines are produced here, and Mendoza is especially known for its world-famous malbecs.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Wildlife Tours to Ecuador, The Best Hiking & Trekking Tours in Ecuador, The Best Photography Tours in Argentina, and The Best Luxury Tours to Argentina.

Which place is cheaper, Mendoza 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 Mendoza is $7.36. 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 Mendoza in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Cuenca $13
    Mendoza $2.79
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Cuenca $26
    Mendoza $5.58
Compare Hotels in Cuenca and Mendoza

Looking for a hotel in Cuenca or Mendoza? 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 Mendoza

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 Mendoza Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Cuenca $11
    Mendoza $1.46
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Cuenca

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

  • Taxi Ride

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cuenca

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Cuenca:

  • Private Transfer from Cuenca to Guayaquil.: $104

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Mendoza

Also for Mendoza, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • 3 Wineries+Lunch with Unlimited Wine+Transfer included: $180
  • Arrival Private Transfer from Mendoza Airport MDZ to Valle de Uco: $80
  • Chandon Winery + Enemigo Lunch (Michelin Guide). Transfer included: $250
  • Departure Private Transfer Valle de Uco to Mendoza Airport MDZ : $80
  • Desgustación Pulenta Estate + Almuerzo en Ruda. Transfer privado: $220
  • Las Leñas to Mendoza Int Airport (MDZ)-Departure Private Transfer: $44
  • Mendoza Airport (MDZ) to Las Leñas - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $87
  • Mendoza Airport (MDZ) to Mendoza - Roundtrip Private Transfer: $55
  • Mendoza Airport Arrival Transfer: $39
  • Mendoza Bodega Tempus Alba + Trapiche + Transfer incluido: $550
  • Mendoza Private Airport Transfers: $35
  • Mendoza to Mendoza Intl Airport (MDZ)- Departure Private Transfer: $27

Is it cheaper to fly into Cuenca or Mendoza?

Prices for flights to both Mendoza 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 Meals for one day
    Cuenca $15
    Mendoza $3.29
Typical Food Prices in Cuenca

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

  • Lunch
  • Snacks
  • Empanada
  • Hot Dog

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 Mendoza

For Mendoza, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:

  • Empanadas

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Mendoza

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

  • Traditional lunch with pairing, private cooking class and show: $110
  • Visit Los Toneles + Saffron Dinner (Michelin Star). With Transfer: $240
  • Night Visit to Bodega Toneles + Dinner at El Enemigo. Transport: $270
  • Cooking class at Bodega Lamadrid Winery in Luján de Cuyo: $270

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Cuenca $16
    Mendoza $2.08

Tours and Activities in Cuenca

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

  • Cuenca-Ec- City Tour with Panama Hat factory Half Day: $30
  • Amazing Cajas National Park Tour from Cuenca: $48
  • Azuay: San Bartolomé, Gualaceo, and Chordeleg Artisanal Tour: $63
  • Biking Cuenca City Tour: $50
  • Birdwatching Tour in Cajas National Park from Cuenca: $100
  • Birdwatching Tour in Giron and Yunguilla Jocotoco Reserve from Cuenca: $150
  • Birdwatching Tour, Via Gualaceo to the Eastern slope from Cuenca: $130
  • Cañari Bike Tour: $96
  • Cajas National Park Half Day Tour from Cuenca: $40
  • Cajas National Park Small-Group tour from Cuenca: $49
  • Cajas National Park Tour from Cuenca: $49
  • Cajas National Park and Cuenca City private Tour: $115

Tours and Activities in Mendoza

For Mendoza, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Mendoza Walking Tour: The history of the City and main Park!: $11
  • Tour autoguiado en bicicleta por Luján de Cuyo (Mendoza): $19
  • Malbec Experience in Bodega Tierras Altas: $20
  • Half-Day Sightseeing City Tour: $21
  • Renacer Winery Experience: $25
  • City tour with visit to General San Martin Park: $27
  • Mendoza City Tour: $31
  • Half-Day Sightseeing Tour: $33
  • 12-KM River Rafting Tour in the Andes: $39
  • Historical City Walking Tour: $40
  • 4X4 tour Villavicencio Puente del Inca: $44
  • Half Day Winery Tour: $45

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Cuenca $14
    Mendoza $1.25

Typical Alcohol Prices in Mendoza

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in Mendoza:

  • Beer

Sample the Local Flavors in Mendoza

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Mendoza:

  • Classic Wine Tasting: $22
  • Half-Day Wine Tour with Tastings: $28
  • Premium Wine Tasting: $45
  • Vineyards with Wine Tasting in Mendoza: $49
  • Argentinean Asado with Local Host and Wine Tasting: $99
  • Ultimate Uco Valley Wine Tour: $140
  • Full-Day Private Luján De Cuyo Wine Tour from Mendoza: $143
  • Private Wine Tour, Tastings and Lunch with Pairings: $150
  • Wine Tour with Lunch from Mendoza: $163
  • Full Day Wine Tour with 3 Course Lunch: $165
  • Wine Tour with Lunch and Transport in Mendoza: $170
  • All Day, Small Group, Luxury Wine Tour with Gourmet Lunch: $180

When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Cuenca and Mendoza, we can see that Cuenca is more expensive. And not only is Mendoza much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Mendoza would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Mendoza 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 Cuenca would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Cuenca than you might in Mendoza.

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

Which is Bigger, Cuenca or Mendoza?

Mendoza has a larger population, and is about 3 times larger than the population of Cuenca. When comparing the sizes of Cuenca and Mendoza, 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.