Should you visit Durango or Vail?
Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the prices of travel for Durango and Vail. 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.
Located in the State of Colorado, in the Rocky Mountains, Durango is on the tourist maps because of its historic narrow gauge railroad that connects the city to the town of Silverton. Durango has a population of just over 16,000 and it is only a short distance from the "four corners" area where New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado all meet. The landscape surrounding Durango is quite impressive and includes the Animas River Valley, the San Juan Mountains, and some beautiful red sandstone bluffs.
Vail is one of the premier ski resort areas in the United States. Located in central Colorado, Vail is not far from Denver and situated in the heart of the Rockies. Here you'll find a quaint mountain town designed around tourism, especially for the winter, although plenty of visitors come in the warmer months, too.
High-end hotels, condos, and other accommodation options are surrounded by shops and restaurants that are all somewhat expensive compared to other costs in the United States. Because of this, Vail is definitely not considered an "affordable" travel option for many. However, good deals can be found if you look around and do some research.
Which city is cheaper, Vail or Durango?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Durango is $123, while the average daily cost in Vail is $233. 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 Durango and Vail in more detail.
For a normal double-occupancy room in Durango, $126 is the average cost for a hotel room. Also in Durango, the typical price for a place to stay for one person is $63, such as in a hostel.
An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $278 in Vail For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.
The average traveler spends about $40 per day in Durango for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.
Vail food costs typically run travelers around $60 per day. Eating every meal in a nicer restaurant will drive the cost up, and grabbing fast food or casual meals will help you save money.
Meals for one day
To get around in Durango, the average visitor spends $22 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.
Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Vail than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $16 on transportation in Vail on average per day.
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Vail
Also for Vail, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Transfer in private minivan from Vail city to Denver International Airport (DEN):
Shared Transfer from Vail or Beaver Creek to Denver Downtown:
Private Transfer: Vail to Denver International Airport (DEN):
Private Eagle County Regional Airport Transfer to Beaver Creek:
Private Eagle County Airport Transfer to Vail:
Private Departure Transfer to Vail Airport EGE:
Private Airport Transfer Service - Vail Hotels to Denver Int'l Airport:
Is it cheaper to fly into Durango or Vail?
Prices for flights to both Vail and Durango 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.
In Durango, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $37 per person, per day.
Sightseeing expenses in Vail, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $106 per day, per person.
Typical Entertainment prices in Durango
Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Durango's activities, tours, and tickets:
Hot Springs (for 2)
Tubing (for 2)
Tours and Activities in Durango
For Durango, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:
12-Zipline Adventure in the San Juan Mountains near Durango:
Fun Tour by Tuk Tuk around Durango Old Town, Garai and Goiuria:
Private Full-Day Fishing Experience in San Juan River:
Private Guided Tour by Tuk Tuk of Durango and Elorrio:
Private Guided Tour by tuk tuk of Durango and Atxondo:
Private Tour in Durango and Mendiola by Tuk Tuk:
Province of Vizcaya Half-Day Private Guided Tuk Tuk Tour:
Tours and Activities in Vail
Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Vail.
Aspen Independence Pass Day Tour:
Blackhawk-Central City Casino Tour from Vail:
Dillon Marina & Shopping Tour:
Fall Leaves Tour from Vail:
Glenwood Adventure Park Tour:
Glenwood Hot Springs Tour:
Historic Mining Town Tour:
Listen to a Tour Guide While you Drive between Vail & Denver:
Vail Segway Tour from Vail Village:
2-Hour Small-Group Guided Segway Tour:
Typically, people visiting Durango spend on average $24 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Vail, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $7.83.
Sample the Local Flavors in Vail
Also in Vail, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:
Vail Valley Brewery & Wine Tour:
Palisade Wine Tour from Vail:
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Durango and Vail, we can see that Vail is more expensive. And not only is Durango much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Durango would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Durango 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 Vail would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Vail than you might in Durango.
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