A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers El Calafate vs. Arica for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit El Calafate or Arica?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Should I visit El Calafate or Arica? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Where Should I go: El Calafate or Arica?

El Calafate

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.

Arica

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 $48, while the average daily cost in Arica is $64. 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. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for El Calafate and Arica in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    El Calafate $16
    Arica $28
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    El Calafate $32
    Arica $56

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    El Calafate $17
    Arica $14
Typical Local Transportation prices in El Calafate

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in El Calafate:


  • Taxi
    $8.21

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: $75
  • Shared Transfer Airport-Hotel-Airport (Calafate): $32
  • Private Transfer Hotel-Bus Station or Bus Station-Hotel (Calafate): $35
  • Private Transfer Airport-Hotel-Airport (Calafate): $90
  • Kayak in Perito Moreno Glacier without transfers: $336
  • Kayak in Perito Moreno Glacier with transfers: $461
  • Transfers Between Airport and Hotels: $26
  • Private Airport Transfer: $49
  • El Calafate Airport Private Transfer: $57
  • Bus Transfer from El Calafate to El Chalten: $50

Typical Local Transportation prices in Arica

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


  • Short Taxi Ride
    $2.10

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Arica

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

  • Arica Airport Private Transfer: $76

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.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    El Calafate $18
    Arica $23
Typical Food prices in El Calafate

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


  • Dessert
    $0.07
  • Dinner
    $11
  • Dinner
    $6.30

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: $120

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    El Calafate $18
    Arica $16
Typical Entertainment prices in El Calafate

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


  • Glacerium Museum
    $8.21

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: $180
  • 13-Day Best of Patagonia Tour from El Calafate to Ushuaia: Los Glaciares, Torres del Paine and Tierra del Fuego National Parks: $1,704
  • 2-day El Chalten Hiking Adventure Tour from El Calafate: $406
  • 2-day tour: Perito Moreno Glacier + Torres del Paine National Park: $215
  • 3-Day Tour of El Calafate and the Glaciers: $255
  • 4 Days Tour in El Calafate & Chalten: $190
  • 4-Days El Calafate Easy Going Experience: $965
  • 4WD Ride tour to Cerro Frias from El Calafate: $99
  • 4x4 Adventure Day Trip to Torres del Paine National Park with lunchbox: $165
  • 5-Day Adventure Trip in El Calafate: $1,151
  • 5-Days El Calafate Experience without limits!: $1,426
  • 5-Days Pearls from Argentina and Chilean Patagonia Experience!: $1,345

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: $1,038
  • Archeological Sightseeing tour in Arica: $82
  • Arica Private City Tour: $262
  • Arica Private Sightseeing Tour: $76
  • Arica Sightseeing Tour: $41
  • Half day Panoramic City Tour: $23
  • Full Day Tour to Tacna from Arica: $72
  • Private Arica and Ancient Cultures Tour: $346
  • Private Tour to Tacna from Arica: $165

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    El Calafate $8.79
    Arica $16
Typical Alcohol prices in El Calafate

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in El Calafate:


  • Beer
    $0.05
  • Alcohol
    $2.19

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: $38
  • Calafate Wine Tour: $48


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between El Calafate and Arica, we can see that Arica is more expensive. And not only is El Calafate much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to El Calafate would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in El Calafate 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 Arica would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Arica than you might in El Calafate.

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El Calafate vs. Arica Travel Comparison

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