A Travel Price Comparison for Argentina El Calafate vs. El Chalten for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit El Calafate or El Chalten?

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

Should I visit El Calafate or El Chalten? 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.

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.

El Chalten

El Chalten is probably one of the most beautiful areas of Patagonia, especially at the slightest ray of sunshine and one of your cheapest destination while you are travelling in Patagonia. Indeed, you will spend your days hiking and there are no park fees. There are restaurants, souvenir shops, and outdoor stores but most of them will not accept credit cards so before heading out, get cash in El Calafate or your previous stop. For the beginners, it will be long hikes in a magical setting and for the experts perhaps a week long expedition to the greatest glaciers of the world. To discover the way people live in the pampa, you may also decide to stay at an Estancia. In the stunning Estancia Santa Thelma, about 300km away from El Chalten, you will be able to explore the surroundings by horse, live a unique experience in the middle of the nature and its vast plains occupied by thousands of merino sheep and horses and of course eat a typical meal of the region.

Which city is cheaper, El Chalten or El Calafate?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in El Calafate is $57, while the average daily cost in El Chalten is $56. 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 El Chalten in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    El Calafate $19
    El Chalten $25
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    El Calafate $38
    El Chalten $50

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    El Calafate $20
    El Chalten $13
Typical Local Transportation prices in El Calafate

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


  • Taxi
    $9.80

Hired Cars and Shuttles in El Calafate

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

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

Is it cheaper to fly into El Calafate or El Chalten?

Prices for flights to both El Chalten 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 $21
    El Chalten $21
Typical Food prices in El Calafate

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


  • Dessert
    $0.08
  • Dinner
    $13
  • Dinner
    $7.51

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 $21
    El Chalten $15
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
    $9.80

Tours and Activities in El Calafate

For El Calafate, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • El Calafate History Museum Tour: $11
  • Bamboo Bike self drive tour El Calafate surroundings: $15
  • Perito Moreno Glacier Tour with Optional Boat Ride: $38
  • Bus ticket to Puerto Natales, Chile: $44
  • City Tour in El Calafate with Walichu Caves: $48
  • Tour to Punta Walichu and Glaciarium: $48
  • Bus Ticket from El Chalten to El Calafate: $50
  • El Calafate City Sightseeing Tour Including Walichu Caves: $53
  • Bus ticket from El Calafate (Argentina) to Puerto Natales (Chile): $56
  • Perito Moreno Glacier Tour with Boat Ride: $70
  • El Calafate City Tour: $74
  • Full day tour to El Chaltèn: $86

Tours and Activities in El Chalten

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for El Chalten are as follows:

  • 2-Day Chalten Adventure tour: Laguna de los Tres, Mount Fitz Roy & Cerro Torre: $333
  • 2-Day Hiking Tour of Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre from El Chalten: $553
  • 3-Day Eco-Lodge Trekking Tour at Los Glaciares National Park from El Chalten: $789
  • El Chalten Rafting Experience: $149
  • El Chalten Rafting Experience: $225
  • Module Fitz Roy Adventure: $305

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    El Calafate $10
    El Chalten $6.87
Typical Alcohol prices in El Calafate

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


  • Beer
    $0.06
  • Alcohol
    $2.61

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 comparing the travel costs between El Calafate and El Chalten, we can see that El Calafate 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.

Budget Your Trip

Budget Your Trip has average travel costs for thousands of cities around the world, all provided by other travelers. You can also register to organize your spending by category and location with graphs, maps, charts, and tables.

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El Calafate vs. El Chalten Travel Comparison

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