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

Should you visit Cuenca or Tilcara?

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

Tilcara

Tilcara signifies shooting star in Quechua. At 2465m of altitude, the little town of Tilcara is one of the most animated place of the area of the quebrada de humahuaca. Many South American backpackers and tourists from all around the world come to visit Tilcara and its pucara, the forteresse built by the Incas at the top of the hill, providing a stunning walk around the town. Tilcara hosts many festivals for different occasions such as the celebration of the Pachamama in August, the semana santa (Holy Week) in April, and the Enero Tilcareno, held in January as its name indicates, which is probably the busiest month of the year for the little town. If you enjoy concerts, parades and folklorique parties then definitely try to visit Tilcara during a festival month and avoid them if you prefer a calm and more relaxed holiday. There are many available activities around Tilcara including horseback riding, VTT, and you could also even try a ride in a caravan pulled by llamas.

Which city is cheaper, Tilcara 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 Tilcara is $58. 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 Tilcara 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 $46 in Tilcara 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
    Tilcara $23
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Cuenca $20
    Tilcara $46

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.

On average, meal and food prices in Tilcara cost around $24 per person, per day. While this price can vary widely by location, the type of restaurant, and the amount of food ordered, a typical meal often costs around $9.60.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Cuenca $12
    Tilcara $24
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 Tilcara

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Tilcara:


  • Sandwich
    $0.05
  • Burger
    $0.10
  • Fruit
    $0.08
  • Sandwich
    $0.10

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.

Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Tilcara than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $15 on transportation in Tilcara on average per day.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Cuenca $8.60
    Tilcara $15
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 City Center to Madrid City Center: $147
  • Private Transfer from Cuenca to Guayaquil.: $83
  • Arrival Private Transfer: Cuenca Airport CUE to Cuenca City by Minivan: $74
  • 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
  • Transfer In Cuenca Airport - Hotel: $25
  • Cuenca Airport Shuttle Transfer: $19
  • Cuenca Arrival Transfer: $15
  • Cuenca Departure Transfer: $15

Typical Local Transportation prices in Tilcara

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Tilcara:


  • Taxi Ride
    $0.05

Is it cheaper to fly into Cuenca or Tilcara?

Prices for flights to both Tilcara 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 expenses in Tilcara, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $14 per day, per person.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Cuenca $13
    Tilcara $14

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 Tilcara

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Tilcara.

  • Half-Day Mountain Bike Tour to Juella from Tilcara: $58
  • Full-Day Tour to Laguna de los Pozuelos from Tilcara: $135

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.

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Tilcara, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $7.52.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Cuenca $11
    Tilcara $7.52


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

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Cuenca vs. Tilcara Travel Comparison

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