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

Should you visit Cuenca or Salta?

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 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, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Where Should I go: Cuenca or Salta?

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.

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, Salta 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 Salta is $9.23. 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 Salta in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Cuenca $13
    Salta $3.32
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Cuenca $26
    Salta $6.64
Compare Hotels in Cuenca and Salta

Looking for a hotel in Cuenca or Salta? 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 Salta


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 Salta Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Cuenca $11
    Salta $3.84
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:

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

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Salta

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


  • Taxi Ride
    $0.01

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Salta

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

  • From Cafayate and Hornocal 2-Day Tour with Transfer: $88
  • From Salinas and Hornocal 2-Day Tour with Transfer: $99
  • Round Trip Shared Transfer Salta Airport/Downtown Hotel: $9.00
  • Salta Airport One-Way or Round-Trip Transfers: $45
  • One-Way or Round Trip Airport Transfer: $5.50
  • Yungas : full day with gauchos - transfer inc. from Salta: $240

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.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Cuenca $15
    Salta $3.13
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.

  • Street food Tour in Cuenca,Ecuador: $33
  • Cooking Class & Market Tour in Cuenca: $55
  • Private Cooking Class: $125

Typical Food Prices in Salta

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


  • Emplanadas
    $0.01
  • Ice Cream
    $0.01
  • Lunch
    $0.64
  • Coffee
    $0.13

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Cuenca $16
    Salta $3.26

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
  • Cajas National Park Half Day Tour from Cuenca: $40
  • Cajas National Park Small-Group tour from Cuenca: $48
  • Cajas National Park Tour from Cuenca: $49
  • Cuenca City Half Day Tour: $52
  • Cuenca City Tour: $48

Typical Entertainment Prices in Salta

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


  • Gondola Ride
    $0.02
  • Pool
    $0.06
  • Wine and Cheese night
    $3.98

Tours and Activities in Salta

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

  • 4-Hour Guided Highlights City Tour: $15
  • From City Tour and San Lorenzo on a half-day tour: $18
  • From City Tour of the city on a half-day ride: $18
  • Salta City Half Day Tour: $20
  • Half-Day City Tour of Salta: $23
  • City Tour and sorroundings: $28
  • From Full-Day Tour to Cafayate, Land of Wines: $30
  • From Full-day tour to Cachi and Los Cardones National Park: $30
  • Best of Guided City Tour: $30
  • Guided Half-Day City Tour with Cathedral and Museum: $30
  • From Cachi and Los Cardones National Park Tour: $31
  • Full-Day Tour Cafayate Calchaqui Valleys with Wine: $32

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Cuenca $14
    Salta $1.31

Typical Alcohol Prices in Salta

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


  • Beer
    $0.01
  • Alcohol
    $0.33

Sample the Local Flavors in Salta

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Salta:

  • From Cafayate Day Trip with Wine Tasting: $30
  • Full-day Cafayate, Lerma Valley, and Wine Tasting from Salta: $30
  • From Full-Day Tour to Cafayate with Wine Tasting: $33


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

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


Which is Bigger, Cuenca or Salta?

Salta has a larger population, and is about 85% larger than the population of Cuenca. When comparing the sizes of Cuenca and Salta, 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.