Should you visit El Calafate or La Paz?
Should I visit El Calafate or La Paz? 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.
La Paz, the administrative capital of Bolivia, has a breathtaking setting. The city is the highest national capital in the world, with an altitude ranging from about 4,058 m (13,313 ft) above sea level in El Alto, where the airport is located, to 3,100 m (10,170 ft) in the lower residential area. The dynamic and chaotic city was built in a canyon created by the Choqueyapu River. La Paz is now a fusion of architectural styles, cultures and beliefs, welcoming everyday new boutique hotels, modern shops, delicious restaurants and reinventing standing establishments. However, generally speaking, Bolivia remains more a backpacker hit than a mainstream tourist destination.
Which city is cheaper, La Paz or El Calafate?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in El Calafate is $74, while the average daily cost in La Paz is $36. 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 La Paz in more detail.
An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $50 in El Calafate For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.
Travelers usually pay around $26 for a double occupancy room in La Paz If you want to be in a premiere location or have high end amenities, you can expect to pay a bit more.
Food in El Calafate costs travelers about $27 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.
La Paz food costs typically run travelers around $13 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
El Calafate $27
La Paz $13
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:
Typical Food prices in La Paz
For La Paz, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:
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 $26 per person, per day on transportation in El Calafate.
To get around in La Paz, the average visitor spends $7.58 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 La Paz
Some typical examples of transportation costs in La Paz are as follows:
Hired Cars and Shuttles in La Paz
Also for La Paz, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Transfer in Private Vehicle from La Paz City to La Paz El Alto Airport:
Transfer in Private Minivan from La Paz City to La Paz El Alto Airport:
Private Transfer: La Paz to El Alto International Airport (LPB):
Private Transfer from your Hotel to Airport in La Paz City:
Private Transfer from Airport to your Hotel in La Paz City:
Private Transfer from Airport to your Hotel in La Paz City:
Private Transfer From your Hotel to Bus Station in La Paz City:
Private Transfer From Hotel to Bus Station in La Paz City:
Private Transfer From Hotel to Airport in La Paz City:
Private Transfer From Bus Station to your Hotel in La Paz City:
Private Transfer From Bus Station to Hotel in La Paz City:
Private Departure Transfer: La Paz Hotels to El Alto International Airport:
Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in El Calafate can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $27 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.
In La Paz, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $13 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 La Paz
For La Paz, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:
1 Day Espiritu Santo Island Wonders, Sea Lions and Paddleboard Adventure:
1-4 Private Group Rate Tour: Espiritu Santo Island, Sea Lions and Paddleboarding:
2 Days: Private Tour to Parque Nacional Sajama from La Paz:
2-Day Private Lake Titicaca and Sun Island Tour from La Paz:
4 Days Bolivia Private Luxury Tour with English Guide from La Paz Bolivia:
4 Days Bolivia: Group tour with English Guide from La Paz Bolivia:
4-Day Bolivian Amazon Pampas Adventure from La Paz:
5 Day Death Road + Uyuni Salt Flats Tour:
5-Day Bolivian Amazon Pampas Adventure from La Paz:
5-Day Uyuni Salt Flats and Desert Adventure from La Paz:
6 Days Private Best of Bolivia Tour from La Paz with Flights VIP:
6-Day Bolivia Private Tour: La Paz-Uyuni Salt Flats-Lake Titicaca-Tihuanacu:
Typically, people visiting El Calafate spend on average $14 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
Typically, people visiting La Paz spend on average $8.58 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 we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between El Calafate and La Paz, we can see that El Calafate is more expensive. And not only is La Paz much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to La Paz would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in La Paz 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 El Calafate would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in El Calafate than you might in La Paz.
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