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

Should you visit El Calafate or Iquique?

Should I visit El Calafate or Iquique? 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.

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.

Iquique

Located in a golden crescent of coastline, the beautiful beach city with an ocean that's several shades of blue and a historic centre that offers the perfect balance of culture and relaxation is counted among Chile's premier beach resorts. The city is home to the duty free zone called "Zofri" and a growing number of high rise resort hotels along its beaches. Slightly more expensive and polluted than neighboring population centers, such as Arica, Iquique and its chaotic duty-free shopping zone (zona franca) have become the perfect summer holiday destination for Chilean families.

Which city is cheaper, Iquique or El Calafate?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in El Calafate is $71, while the average daily cost in Iquique is $93. 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 Iquique in more detail.



Accommodation

An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $48 in El Calafate For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.

An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $82 in Iquique For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    El Calafate $24
    Iquique $41
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    El Calafate $48
    Iquique $82

Food

Food in El Calafate 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.

On average, meal and food prices in Iquique cost around $33 per person, per day. While this price can vary widely by location, the type of restaurant, and the amount of food ordered, a typical meal often costs around $13.


  • Food Meals for one day
    El Calafate $26
    Iquique $33
Typical Food prices in El Calafate

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


  • Dessert
    $0.10
  • Dinner
    $16
  • Dinner
    $9.39

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
  • Gaucho, Dinner and Folklore Full-Day Tour: $165

Local Transportation

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 $25 per person, per day on transportation in El Calafate.

To get around in Iquique, 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.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    El Calafate $25
    Iquique $22
Typical Local Transportation prices in El Calafate

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


  • Taxi
    $12

Hired Cars and Shuttles in El Calafate

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

  • Kayak in Perito Moreno Glacier with transfers: $461
  • Kayak in Perito Moreno Glacier without transfers: $336
  • Private Transfer Airport-Hotel-Airport (Calafate): $90
  • Shared transfer to El Calafate -El Chaltén: $75
  • El Calafate Airport Private Transfer: $57
  • Bus Transfer from El Calafate to El Chalten: $50
  • Private Transfer Hotel-Bus Station or Bus Station-Hotel (Calafate): $35
  • Shared Transfer Airport-Hotel-Airport (Calafate): $32
  • From Calafate: Round-trip transfer to Perito Moreno Glacier: $27

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Iquique

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

  • Private Airport Transfer: Iquique to Diego Aracena International Airport (IQQ): $34
  • Private Airport Transfer: Diego Aracena International Airport (IQQ) to Iquique: $34

Is it cheaper to fly into El Calafate or Iquique?

Prices for flights to both Iquique 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.





Entertainment

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in El Calafate can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $26 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.

In Iquique, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $26 per person, per day.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    El Calafate $26
    Iquique $26
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
    $12

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 Perito Moreno Tour with Boat Ride & 4x4 Safari: $243
  • 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

Tours and Activities in Iquique

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

  • Pintados Geoglyphs Humberstone and Salar Grande tour: $100

Alcohol

Typically, people visiting El Calafate spend on average $13 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 Iquique, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $20.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    El Calafate $13
    Iquique $20
Typical Alcohol prices in El Calafate

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


  • Beer
    $0.08
  • Alcohol
    $3.26

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 Iquique, we can see that Iquique 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 Iquique would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Iquique than you might in El Calafate.

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El Calafate vs. Iquique Travel Comparison

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