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

Should you visit Cuenca or Puerto Madryn?

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 Puerto Madryn. 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 Puerto Madryn?


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.

Puerto Madryn

Puerto Madryn is mostly known as the gateway to Peninsula Valdes, welcoming tourists who come for whale watching. The Peninsula Valdes is a nature reserve designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site; 97 km long and 63 km wide, it is connected to the continent by an isthmus of 35 km from which we can see both gulfs, San Jose at north and the Nuevo at south.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Wildlife Tours to Ecuador, The Best Hiking & Trekking Tours in Ecuador, The Best 2-Week Tours in Argentina, and The Best 3-Week Tours in Argentina.

Which place is cheaper, Puerto Madryn 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 Puerto Madryn is $13. 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 Puerto Madryn in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Cuenca $13
    Puerto Madryn $5.04
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Cuenca $26
    Puerto Madryn $10
Compare Hotels in Cuenca and Puerto Madryn

Looking for a hotel in Cuenca or Puerto Madryn? 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 Puerto Madryn

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 Puerto Madryn Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Cuenca $11
    Puerto Madryn $3.14
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:

  • Ecuador: Airport Transfers on Quito, Guayaquil and others.: $30
  • Cuenca Departure Transfer: $34
  • Private Transfer from Cuenca to Guayaquil.: $104

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Puerto Madryn

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Puerto Madryn:

  • From Punta Tombo Day Trip with Hotel Transfer: $105
  • Trelew Airport Shuttle Transfer To Puerto Madryn : $47

Is it cheaper to fly into Cuenca or Puerto Madryn?

Prices for flights to both Puerto Madryn 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
    Puerto Madryn $5.46
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

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Cuenca $16
    Puerto Madryn $5.54

Tours and Activities in Cuenca

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

  • Express Tour Cajas National Park Hostería Dos Chorreras: $20
  • Cuenca, Ecuador Half-Day City Shared Tour: $25
  • Cuenca-Ec- City Tour with Panama Hat factory Half Day: $30
  • Cuenca Half-Day City Tour Including Panama Hat Factory: $30
  • Walking Tour Through The Historic Center Of 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
  • City Sightseeing Tour: $45
  • Cuenca, Ecuador Half-Day City Tour: $46
  • Amazing Cajas National Park Tour from Cuenca: $48
  • Cajas National Park Small-Group tour from Cuenca: $48

Typical Entertainment Prices in Puerto Madryn

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Puerto Madryn are as follows:

  • Whale Watching for Two

Tours and Activities in Puerto Madryn

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Puerto Madryn are as follows:

  • Kayaking adventure in Puerto Madryn: $60
  • Shore Excursion: Punta Loma+City Tour, for cruise passengers: $70
  • Punta Loma Shore Excursion with City tour: $75
  • Full Day Peninsula Valdes Experience - optional Whale Watching : $87
  • Punta Tombo Full Day Tour, Walking among Penguins - Regular service SIB: $88
  • Full Day Peninsula Valdes Experience: $90
  • Punta Tombo Full Day Tour with Penguins: $90
  • Peninsula Valdes Full Day Tour: $90
  • From City and Punta Loma Tour: $97
  • Wonderful Punta Tombo Penguin Rookery Tour : $100
  • 4 x 4 experience around Puerto Madryn: $100
  • Full Day Punta Tombo - Walking Among Penguins Experience - Madryn: $105

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Cuenca $14
    Puerto Madryn $3.00

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

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

Which is Bigger, Cuenca or Puerto Madryn?

Cuenca has a larger population, and is about 4 times larger than the population of Puerto Madryn. When comparing the sizes of Cuenca and Puerto Madryn, 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.

When is the best time to visit Cuenca or Puerto Madryn?

Puerto Madryn has a temperate climate with four distinct seasons, but Cuenca experiences a warm climate with fairly sunny weather most of the year.

Should I visit Cuenca or Puerto Madryn in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Cuenca and Puerto Madryn. Warm weather and sunshine bring visitors to Cuenca year-round.

In the summer, Cuenca is around the same temperature as Puerto Madryn. Typically, the summer temperatures in Cuenca in July average around 22°C (72°F), and Puerto Madryn averages at about 22°C (71°F)in January.

In July, Cuenca usually receives more rain than Puerto Madrynin January. Cuenca gets 17 mm (0.7 in) of rain, while Puerto Madryn receives 11 mm (0.4 in) of rain each month for the summer.

  • Summer Average Temperatures July and January
    Cuenca 22°C (72°F) 
    Puerto Madryn 22°C (71°F)

Should I visit Cuenca or Puerto Madryn in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Cuenca as well as Puerto Madryn. Cuenca attracts visitors year-round for its warm weather and sunny climate.

In October, Cuenca is generally cooler than Puerto Madrynin April. Daily temperatures in Cuenca average around 12°C (54°F), and Puerto Madryn fluctuates around 14°C (58°F).

Cuenca usually gets more rain in October than Puerto Madrynin April. Cuenca gets 42 mm (1.7 in) of rain, while Puerto Madryn receives 14 mm (0.6 in) of rain this time of the year.

  • Autumn Average Temperatures October and April
    Cuenca 12°C (54°F) 
    Puerto Madryn 14°C (58°F)

Should I visit Cuenca or Puerto Madryn in the Winter?

Both Puerto Madryn and Cuenca are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. The warm climate attracts visitors to Cuenca throughout the year.

Cuenca can get quite cold in the winter. Cuenca is much colder than Puerto Madryn in the winter. The daily temperature in Cuenca averages around 4°C (39°F) in January, and Puerto Madryn fluctuates around 7°C (45°F)in July.

In January, Cuenca usually receives less rain than Puerto Madrynin July. Cuenca gets 14 mm (0.6 in) of rain, while Puerto Madryn receives 18 mm (0.7 in) of rain each month for the winter.

  • Winter Average Temperatures January and July
    Cuenca 4°C (39°F) 
    Puerto Madryn 7°C (45°F)

Should I visit Cuenca or Puerto Madryn in the Spring?

Both Puerto Madryn and Cuenca during the spring are popular places to visit. Plenty of visitors come to Cuenca because of the warm climate and sunshine that lasts throughout the year.

In the spring, Cuenca is cooler than Puerto Madryn. Typically, the spring temperatures in Cuenca in April average around 10°C (50°F), and Puerto Madryn averages at about 14°C (58°F)in October.

Cuenca usually gets more rain in April than Puerto Madrynin October. Cuenca gets 35 mm (1.4 in) of rain, while Puerto Madryn receives 20 mm (0.8 in) of rain this time of the year.

  • Spring Average Temperatures April and October
    Cuenca 10°C (50°F) 
    Puerto Madryn 14°C (58°F)

Typical Weather for Puerto Madryn and Cuenca

Cuenca Puerto Madryn
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 4°C (39°F) 14 mm (0.6 in) 22°C (71°F) 11 mm (0.4 in)
Feb 6°C (43°F) 22 mm (0.9 in) 21°C (69°F) 18 mm (0.7 in)
Mar 8°C (46°F) 15 mm (0.6 in) 18°C (64°F) 20 mm (0.8 in)
Apr 10°C (50°F) 35 mm (1.4 in) 14°C (58°F) 14 mm (0.6 in)
May 14°C (57°F) 41 mm (1.6 in) 10°C (51°F) 17 mm (0.7 in)
Jun 19°C (66°F) 35 mm (1.4 in) 7°C (45°F) 14 mm (0.6 in)
Jul 22°C (72°F) 17 mm (0.7 in) 7°C (45°F) 18 mm (0.7 in)
Aug 22°C (72°F) 23 mm (0.9 in) 9°C (48°F) 16 mm (0.6 in)
Sep 17°C (63°F) 20 mm (0.8 in) 11°C (53°F) 10 mm (0.4 in)
Oct 12°C (54°F) 42 mm (1.7 in) 14°C (58°F) 20 mm (0.8 in)
Nov 7°C (45°F) 33 mm (1.3 in) 18°C (64°F) 14 mm (0.6 in)
Dec 5°C (41°F) 15 mm (0.6 in) 20°C (68°F) 12 mm (0.5 in)