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

Should you visit Cuenca or Salta?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the prices of travel for Cuenca and Salta. 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.

Salta

Located in the heart of the famous Northwest region of Argentina, at 1200m of elevation and at the foot of the Cerro San Bernardo, Salta is the largest city of the region and perhaps the most beautiful colonial city of Argentina. Founded in 1582 by the Spanish, Salta was an important stop for merchants who followed the usual trade road through Bolivia and Peru. Argentines call this city nestled in the foothills of the Andes and surrounded by mountains, of just over half a million inhabitants, Salta La Linda (Salta the Beautiful) and it's easy to see why. Young and traditional at the same time, Salta and its renowned museums, plaza side cafes and live musica folklorica of its bustling penas, is a sophisticated and lively city day and night.

Which city is cheaper, Salta 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 Salta is $68. 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 Salta 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.

Double occupancy rooms typically run around $48 in Salta For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Cuenca $9.97
    Salta $24
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Cuenca $20
    Salta $48

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 Salta 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 Salta 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 Salta is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Cuenca $12
    Salta $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 Salta

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


  • Emplanadas
    $0.05
  • Ice Cream
    $0.06
  • Lunch
    $5.92
  • Coffee
    $1.22

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.

To get around in Salta, the average visitor spends $28 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.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Cuenca $8.60
    Salta $28
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

Typical Local Transportation prices in Salta

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Salta are as follows:


  • Taxi Ride
    $0.05

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Salta

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

  • Humahuaca, 7-color Hill & round trip transfers airport - hotel in Salta: $127
  • Private Airport Transfer: Martin Miguel de Guemes Int. Airport (SLA) to Salta: $30
  • Private Airport Transfer: Salta to Martin Miguel de Guemes Int. Airport (SLA): $30
  • Salta Airport Private Transfer: $50
  • Salta Airport Shuttle Transfer: $9.97
  • Salta City Tour & Round Trip Transfers airport - hotel: $62
  • One-Way or Round Trip Airport Transfer: $5.50
  • Shared Arrival Transfer: Martín Miguel de Güemes International Airport to Salta: $19
  • Shared Departure Transfer: Salta Hotels to Martín Miguel de Güemes International Airport: $27

Is it cheaper to fly into Cuenca or Salta?

Prices for flights to both Salta 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.

In Salta, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $24 per person, per day.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Cuenca $13
    Salta $24

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

Typical Entertainment prices in Salta

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Salta's activities, tours, and tickets:


  • Gondola Ride
    $0.15
  • Pool
    $0.51
  • Wine and Cheese night
    $37

Tours and Activities in Salta

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

  • Salta City Half Day Tour: $14
  • citytour salta y alrededores: $17
  • Salta City Sightseeing Tour: $21
  • Salta City Tour: $21
  • Half-Day Tour of Salta: $22
  • 4-Hour Walking Tour: $26
  • Full-Day Tour Cafayate Calchaqui Valleys with Wine: $27
  • One Day Tour of Cachi and Calchaquí Valleys from Salta: $28
  • Half Day Salta City Tour: $33
  • Full-Day Tour to Humahuaca Gorge from Salta: $33
  • Salta City Half-Day Tour: $34
  • Full-Day Tour Salinas Grandes, Purmamarca whith trekking and More from Salta: $35

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 Salta spend on average $9.62 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Cuenca $11
    Salta $9.62

Typical Alcohol prices in Salta

Some typical examples of the costs for nightlife and alcohol in Salta are as follows:


  • Beer
    $0.10
  • Alcohol
    $3.06

Sample the Local Flavors in Salta

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Salta:

  • Full-day Cafayate, Lerma Valley, and Wine Tasting from Salta: $24
  • From Cafayate Day Trip with Wine Tasting: $25
  • From Full-Day Tour to Cafayate with Wine Tasting: $27
  • Luxury Colome wine tour: $806


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

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Cuenca vs. Salta Travel Comparison

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