Should you visit El Calafate or Arica?
Should I visit El Calafate or Arica? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the data, which all comes from actual travelers.
Located in Patagonia, El Calafate has become a popular tourist destination in Argentina because of its beautiful setting on the stunningly blue Lago Argentina. The town sits on the southern border of the lake in the southwestern part of the Santa Cruz Province. It's about 320 kilometers from Rio Gallegos.
The rise in popularity of Patagonia as a tourist destination has truly put this small town on the map. You'll find no shortage of trekkers in the town and it makes an excellent base to explore different parts of the Los Glaciares National Park. Popular places to visit include Perito Moreno Glacier, Cerro Chalten, and Cerro Torre.
El Calafate has a cold semi-arid climate. The summers are cool to warm and very dry while the winters are cold and damp. Lago Argentino has a significant influence over the town's climate. The shallow bay where the town is located is usually frozen during the winter months.
Check out our ultimate guide to Hiking in Patagonia.
A mixture of coastline, desert and high Andean plateau, Arica is a seaside resort town, known for its surfing beaches located at the tip of Northern Chile. Arica boasts that it is "the land of the eternal spring," but its temperate climate and beaches are not the only reason to visit this small city. Arica's tourism is still principally geared toward domestic visitors and those from southern Peru and La Paz, who flock to its beaches mid-December through February. It is very easy to spend a few days in Arica in the sand, or seeing the sights in town, at a slow pace but the city also offers plenty of fun activities and exciting day trips.
Which city is cheaper, Arica or El Calafate?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in El Calafate is $67, while the average daily cost in Arica is $74. 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 El Calafate and Arica in more detail.
An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $46 in El Calafate For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.
For a normal double-occupancy room in Arica, $66 is the average cost for a hotel room. Also in Arica, the typical price for a place to stay for one person is $33, such as in a hostel.
Food in El Calafate costs travelers about $25 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.
Food in Arica costs travelers about $26 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.
Meals for one day
El Calafate $25
Typical Food prices in El Calafate
For El Calafate, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:
Food Tours and Cooking Classes in El Calafate
For El Calafate, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:
Visit to Estancia Alice El Galpon, Dinner and Folkloric Show:
Gaucho, Dinner and Folklore Full-Day Tour:
El Calafate's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $23 per person, per day on transportation in El Calafate.
To get around in Arica, the average visitor spends $17 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.
Typical Local Transportation prices in El Calafate
Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in El Calafate:
Hired Cars and Shuttles in El Calafate
Also for El Calafate, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Shared transfer to El Calafate -El Chaltén:
Shared Transfer Airport-Hotel-Airport (Calafate):
Private Transfer Hotel-Bus Station or Bus Station-Hotel (Calafate):
Private Transfer Airport-Hotel-Airport (Calafate):
Kayak in Perito Moreno Glacier without transfers:
Kayak in Perito Moreno Glacier with transfers:
From Calafate: Round-trip transfer to Perito Moreno Glacier:
El Calafate Airport Private Transfer:
Bus Transfer from El Calafate to El Chalten:
Typical Local Transportation prices in Arica
Some typical examples of transportation costs in Arica are as follows:
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Arica
Also for Arica, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Arica Airport Private Transfer:
Is it cheaper to fly into El Calafate or Arica?
Prices for flights to both Arica and El Calafate 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.
Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in El Calafate can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $25 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.
In Arica, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $19 per person, per day.
Typical Entertainment prices in El Calafate
Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for El Calafate's activities, tours, and tickets:
Tours and Activities in El Calafate
For El Calafate, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:
"Glaciares Gourmet" - Maria Turquesa Cruiser Navigation:
13-Day Best of Patagonia Tour from El Calafate to Ushuaia: Los Glaciares, Torres del Paine and Tierra del Fuego National Parks:
2-Day Perito Moreno Tour with Boat Ride & 4x4 Safari:
2-day El Chalten Hiking Adventure Tour from El Calafate:
2-day tour: Perito Moreno Glacier + Torres del Paine National Park:
3-Day Tour of El Calafate and the Glaciers:
4 Days Tour in El Calafate & Chalten:
4-Days El Calafate Easy Going Experience:
4WD Ride tour to Cerro Frias from El Calafate:
4x4 Adventure Day Trip to Torres del Paine National Park with lunchbox:
5-Day Adventure Trip in El Calafate:
5-Days El Calafate Experience without limits!:
Tours and Activities in Arica
For Arica, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:
4-Days Unique Experience at the Chilean High Plateau:
Archeological Sightseeing tour in Arica:
Arica Private City Tour:
Arica Private Sightseeing Tour:
Arica Sightseeing Tour:
Half day Panoramic City Tour:
Full Day Tour to Tacna from Arica:
Private Arica and Ancient Cultures Tour:
Private Tour to Tacna from Arica:
Typically, people visiting El Calafate spend on average $12 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
Typically, people visiting Arica spend on average $18 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
Typical Alcohol prices in El Calafate
Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in El Calafate:
Sample the Local Flavors in El Calafate
Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in El Calafate:
Calafate Wine Tour | City Tour Peatonal Maridado con Vinos:
Calafate Wine Tour:
When comparing the travel costs between El Calafate and Arica, we can see that Arica is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in South America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.
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