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

Should you visit Cuenca or Mendoza?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare 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. 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.

Mendoza

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.

Which city 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 $34, while the average daily cost in Mendoza is $52. 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 Mendoza 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.

For a normal double-occupancy room in Mendoza, $40 is the average cost for a hotel room. Also in Mendoza, the typical price for a place to stay for one person is $20, such as in a hostel.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Cuenca $9.97
    Mendoza $20
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Cuenca $20
    Mendoza $40

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.

While meal prices in Mendoza can vary, the average travelers spends about $23 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in Mendoza should cost around $9.20 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in Mendoza is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Cuenca $12
    Mendoza $23
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

Typical Food prices in Mendoza

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


  • Empanadas
    $0.10

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Mendoza

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

  • Gourmet Dinner at Espacio Trapiche: $54
  • Cooking class experience at a Mendoza winery: $145
  • Asado cooking class and dinner in Mendoza city.: $168
  • Winery dinner. Enjoy the best restaurant in a winery: $252

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.

Mendoza's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $10 per person, per day on transportation in Mendoza.


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

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

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Mendoza

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

  • Mendoza Airport Arrival Transfer: $55
  • Mendoza Airport Shuttle Transfer: $11
  • One Way Transfer - Mendoza Airport to/from Mendoza City: $25
  • Premium Spa Day & Fango Therapy at Cacheuta Hot Springs with Lunch and Transfers: $93
  • Private Airport Transfer: El Plumerillo International Airport (MDZ) to Mendoza: $22
  • Private Airport Transfer: Mendoza to El Plumerillo International Airport (MDZ): $22
  • Private Transfer in Mendoza: $29
  • Shared Transfer Mendoza Bus Station / Downtown Hotel: $13

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.





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.

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Mendoza can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $15 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Cuenca $13
    Mendoza $15

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: $675
  • 5-Day Rock Climbing Tour in Cojitambo, Paute, Girón, Cajas and Sayausi: $400
  • 5-Day Trekking Rock, Climbing, Canyoning and Paragliding Tour: $474
  • BIKE TOUR "Descent of The Andes": $59
  • Baños Private Guided 4-day tour from Cuenca: $691
  • Biking Cuenca City Tour: $45
  • Biking and Walking City Tour Cuenca: $30
  • Birdwatching Tour in Cajas National Park from Cuenca: $100
  • Birdwatching Tour in Cajas National Park from Cuenca: $100
  • Birdwatching Tour in Giron and Yunguilla Jocotoco Reserve from Cuenca: $129
  • Birdwatching Tour in Tamarindo Tropical Forest area from Cuenca: $130
  • Birdwatching Tour in Via Sigsig,Chiguinda from Cuenca: $130

Tours and Activities in Mendoza

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

  • Half Day Mendoza City Sightseeing Tour: $15
  • Mendoza City Tour: $15
  • FOLLOW MENDOZA, Walking City & Park tour: $20
  • Villavicencio Natural Reserve Half-Day Tour from Mendoza: $23
  • Mendoza City & General San Martin Park 2.5-Hour Tour: $28
  • Mendoza Half-Day Sightseeing Tour: $29
  • City Tour of Mendoza with Cerro de la Gloria: $32
  • From High Andes Aconcagua Mountain Tour: $32
  • Mendoza walking tour. Visit Mendoza city: $35
  • Wineries tour in Mendoza with La Carrodilla Church: $36
  • Full Day High Mountain Tour from Mendoza: $39
  • From San Rafael Sightseeing and Atuel Canyon Tour: $39

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.

Typically, people visiting Mendoza spend on average $8.79 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Cuenca $11
    Mendoza $8.79

Typical Alcohol prices in Mendoza

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


  • Beer
    $0.06

Sample the Local Flavors in Mendoza

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

  • Vineyards with Wine Tasting in Mendoza: $21
  • Mendoza Wine Tour with Lunch: $80
  • Sunday Wine Tasting Tour and Argentinien BBQ: $80
  • Bike wine tour. Visit 2 of the best wineries: $81
  • Private Uco Valley Tour including Lunch and Wine Tasting from Mendoza: $95
  • Private Lujan Wine Tour with Gourmet Wine-Paired Lunch from Mendoza: $100
  • Mendoza 4-Day Sightseeing and Wine Tour: $103
  • Half day wine tour. Visit 2 wineries in Lujan de Cuyo: $103
  • Private Wine Tasting and Vineyards Tour from Mendoza: $136
  • Deluxe Mendoza Half-Day Wine Tasting Tour: $145
  • Bike wine tours. Visit 3 wineries and enjoy gourmet lunch: $153
  • Luján de Cuyo best Wines- Ultimate Wine Tour: $154


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Cuenca and Mendoza, we can see that Mendoza 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 Mendoza would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Mendoza than you might in Cuenca.

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Cuenca vs. Mendoza Travel Comparison

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