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

Should you visit Cuenca or Tilcara?

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

Where Should I go: Cuenca or Tilcara?

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.

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


Which place 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 $42, while the average daily cost in Tilcara is $8.01. 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 Tilcara in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Cuenca $13
    Tilcara $3.16
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Cuenca $26
    Tilcara $6.32
Compare Hotels in Cuenca and Tilcara

Looking for a hotel in Cuenca or Tilcara? 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 Tilcara


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 Tilcara Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Cuenca $11
    Tilcara $2.13
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

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Tilcara

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


  • Taxi Ride
    $0.01

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.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Cuenca $15
    Tilcara $3.31
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 Tilcara

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


  • Sandwich
    $0.01
  • Burger
    $0.01
  • Fruit
    $0.01
  • Sandwich
    $0.01

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Tilcara

For Tilcara, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Northern Argentine cooking experience: $70

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Cuenca $16
    Tilcara $1.89

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: $49
  • Cajas National Park Tour from Cuenca: $49
  • Cuenca City Half Day Tour: $52
  • Cuenca City Tour: $52

Tours and Activities in Tilcara

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

  • 2 hours cycling tour trough the rural area: $20
  • Purmamarca Night Experience: $30
  • Bike Adventure through Juella with lunch: $35
  • Half day mountain bike tour with lunch: $35
  • Private Full Day Tour to Salinas de Grandes and Barrancas: $130
  • Full-Day Tour to Laguna de los Pozuelos from Tilcara: $176

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Cuenca $14
    Tilcara $1.04


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

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


Which is Bigger, Cuenca or Tilcara?

Cuenca has a larger population, and is about 50 times larger than the population of Tilcara. When comparing the sizes of Cuenca and Tilcara, 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.