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

Should you visit Cuenca or Puerto Varas?

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 Varas. 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 Varas?

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.

Puerto Varas

Puerto Varas is a city in Southern Chile, in the Los Lagos (Lakes) Region, Llanquihue Province. It is a charming town, only 23 km away from Puerto Montt and surrounded by the Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes as well as the impressive Llanquihue lake. In terms of landscape, accommodation and activities, Puerto Varas is well served! Kayak, paddle, canyoning, rock climbing, trekking, ski, fishing, you name it! If you decide to stop in that area, we recommend that you stay in Puerto Varas, as it provides the perfect starting point for many memorable excursions in the area.

Which city is cheaper, Puerto Varas 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 Puerto Varas is $103. 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. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Cuenca and Puerto Varas in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Cuenca $9.97
    Puerto Varas $64
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Cuenca $20
    Puerto Varas $128
Compare Hotels in Cuenca and Puerto Varas

Looking for a hotel in Cuenca or Puerto Varas? 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 Varas


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 Varas Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Cuenca $8.60
    Puerto Varas $20
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 Puerto Varas

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Puerto Varas:

  • Cruce Andino Office Private Transfer from Puerto Varas: $43
  • Cruce Andino Office Shuttle Transfer from Puerto Varas: $9.69
  • Puerto Montt Departure Transfer from Hotel in Puerto Varas: $32
  • Puerto Varas Airport Private Transfer: $49
  • Puerto Varas Airport Shuttle Transfer: $29
  • Puerto Varas Bus Terminal Private Transfer: $39
  • Transfer from Puerto Varas to Puerto Montt Airport: $14

Is it cheaper to fly into Cuenca or Puerto Varas?

Prices for flights to both Puerto Varas 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
  • Food Meals for one day
    Cuenca $12
    Puerto Varas $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
  • Private Cooking Class: $125

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Cuenca $13
    Puerto Varas $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: $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
  • Biking and Walking City Tour Cuenca: $30
  • Half-Day Biking and Walking Tour of Cuenca, Ecuador: $30
  • Cajas National Park Half Day Tour: $40
  • Private Half-Day City Tour Including Turi Viewpoint: $41
  • Biking Cuenca City Tour: $45
  • Full Day Tour to National Park of Cajas: $45

Tours and Activities in Puerto Varas

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

  • Osorno Volcano Tour: $26
  • Frutillar Tour: Southern Traditions: $34
  • Sightseeing Tour Puerto Varas & Puerto Montt: $37
  • Half day, traditional city tour: $40
  • Speed Boat City Tour in Puerto Varas: $45
  • Petrohue Waterfalls & Osorno Volcano Half-Day Tour: $49
  • Half-Day Small-Group Rafting Experience in Petrohu√© River: $60
  • Greater Island Chiloe Tour from Puerto Varas: $62
  • Full-Day Guided Tour to Villa Peulla from Puerto Varas: $67
  • Speed Boat and Walking City Tour in Puerto Varas: $69
  • Frutillar Bike Tour from Puerto Varas: $69
  • Private Sightseeing Tour in Puerto Varas & Puerto Montt: $70

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Cuenca $11
    Puerto Varas $6.19

Sample the Local Flavors in Puerto Varas

Also in Puerto Varas, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Osorno Volcano & Brewery Tour in Puerto Varas: $64
  • Heritage City Tour and Brewery in Puerto Varas: $150


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


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

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

Should I visit Cuenca or Puerto Varas in the Summer?

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

Cuenca is a little warmer than Puerto Varas in the summer. The temperature in Cuenca is usually 22°C (72°F) in July, and Puerto Varas stays around 16°C (60°F)in January.

In July, Cuenca usually receives less rain than Puerto Varasin January. Cuenca gets 17 mm (0.7 in) of rain, while Puerto Varas receives 90 mm (3.5 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July and January
    Cuenca 22°C (72°F) 
    Puerto Varas 16°C (60°F)

Should I visit Cuenca or Puerto Varas in the Autumn?

Both Puerto Varas and Cuenca during the autumn are popular places to visit. Plenty of visitors come to Cuenca because of the warm tropical climate that lasts throughout the year.

In the autumn, Cuenca is a little warmer than Puerto Varas. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Cuenca in October are around 12°C (54°F), and Puerto Varas is about 11°C (51°F)in April.

Puerto Varas gets a good bit of rain this time of year. Cuenca usually gets less rain in October than Puerto Varasin April. Cuenca gets 42 mm (1.7 in) of rain, while Puerto Varas receives 143 mm (5.6 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October and April
    Cuenca 12°C (54°F) 
    Puerto Varas 11°C (51°F)

Should I visit Cuenca or Puerto Varas in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Cuenca and Puerto Varas. Cuenca attracts visitors year-round for its warm weather and tropical climate.

It's quite cold in Cuenca in the winter. In January, Cuenca is generally much colder than Puerto Varasin July. Temperatures in Cuenca average around 4°C (39°F), and Puerto Varas stays around 7°C (45°F).

Puerto Varas receives a lot of rain in the winter. In January, Cuenca usually receives less rain than Puerto Varasin July. Cuenca gets 14 mm (0.6 in) of rain, while Puerto Varas receives 229 mm (9 in) of rain each month for the winter.


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

Should I visit Cuenca or Puerto Varas in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Cuenca as well as Puerto Varas. The warm tropical climate attracts visitors to Cuenca throughout the year.

Cuenca is around the same temperature as Puerto Varas in the spring. The temperature in Cuenca is usually 10°C (50°F) in April, and Puerto Varas stays around 11°C (51°F)in October.

It's quite rainy in Puerto Varas. Cuenca usually gets less rain in April than Puerto Varasin October. Cuenca gets 35 mm (1.4 in) of rain, while Puerto Varas receives 121 mm (4.8 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April and October
    Cuenca 10°C (50°F) 
    Puerto Varas 11°C (51°F)

Typical Weather for Puerto Varas and Cuenca

Cuenca Puerto Varas
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 4°C (39°F) 14 mm (0.6 in) 16°C (60°F) 90 mm (3.5 in)
Feb 6°C (43°F) 22 mm (0.9 in) 15°C (59°F) 93 mm (3.7 in)
Mar 8°C (46°F) 15 mm (0.6 in) 13°C (55°F) 99 mm (3.9 in)
Apr 10°C (50°F) 35 mm (1.4 in) 11°C (51°F) 143 mm (5.6 in)
May 14°C (57°F) 41 mm (1.6 in) 9°C (49°F) 234 mm (9.2 in)
Jun 19°C (66°F) 35 mm (1.4 in) 8°C (46°F) 224 mm (8.8 in)
Jul 22°C (72°F) 17 mm (0.7 in) 7°C (45°F) 229 mm (9 in)
Aug 22°C (72°F) 23 mm (0.9 in) 8°C (46°F) 209 mm (8.2 in)
Sep 17°C (63°F) 20 mm (0.8 in) 9°C (47°F) 146 mm (5.7 in)
Oct 12°C (54°F) 42 mm (1.7 in) 11°C (51°F) 121 mm (4.8 in)
Nov 7°C (45°F) 33 mm (1.3 in) 12°C (54°F) 110 mm (4.3 in)
Dec 5°C (41°F) 15 mm (0.6 in) 14°C (58°F) 103 mm (4.1 in)


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Cuenca vs. Puerto Varas Travel Comparison

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