Should you visit El Calafate or Lake Titicaca (Puno)?
Should I visit El Calafate or Lake Titicaca (Puno)? 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.
Lake Titicaca (Puno)
Lake Titicaca, which directly translates to "puma stone" in Quechua, is located high in the Andes Mountains straddling Peru and Bolivia, with about 60% of the lake in Peru and 40% in Bolivia. Among the lake are three main islands, the most popular of which are the Uros Islands, also known as the floating islands, where the Uros people live on totora reeds that grow in the lake.
Which city is cheaper, Lake Titicaca (Puno) 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 Lake Titicaca (Puno) is $48. 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 Lake Titicaca (Puno) 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.
Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $40 for a double occupancy room in Lake Titicaca (Puno).
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.
On average, meal and food prices in Lake Titicaca (Puno) cost around $17 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 $6.80.
Meals for one day
El Calafate $27
Lake Titicaca (Puno) $17
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 Lake Titicaca (Puno)
Some typical examples of dining costs in Lake Titicaca (Puno) are as follows:
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.
The average price of local transportation around Lake Titicaca (Puno) is $8.83 per person, per day. As this average includes both taxis and public transport, keep in mind that the prices of private drivers and taxis are significantly more expensive than public transportation.
Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
El Calafate $26
Lake Titicaca (Puno) $8.83
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:
From Calafate: Round-trip transfer to Perito Moreno Glacier:
Shared Transfer Airport-Hotel-Airport (Calafate):
Private Transfer Hotel-Bus Station or Bus Station-Hotel (Calafate):
Bus Transfer from El Calafate to El Chalten:
El Calafate Airport Private Transfer:
Shared transfer to El Calafate -El Chaltén:
Private Transfer Airport-Hotel-Airport (Calafate):
Kayak in Perito Moreno Glacier without transfers:
Kayak in Perito Moreno Glacier with transfers:
Typical Local Transportation prices in Lake Titicaca (Puno)
Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Lake Titicaca (Puno):
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.
Lake Titicaca (Puno)'s costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $23 per person, per day. This cost can vary widely by the type of activity, however, as this includes admission tickets, day tours, museums, and other things to do.
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:
El Calafate History Museum Tour:
Bamboo Bike self drive tour El Calafate surroundings:
Perito Moreno Glacier Tour with Optional Boat Ride:
Bus ticket to Puerto Natales, Chile:
Perito Moreno Glacier & Optional Boat Cruise:
City Tour in El Calafate with Walichu Caves:
Tour to Punta Walichu and Glaciarium:
Bus Ticket from El Chalten to El Calafate:
El Calafate City Sightseeing Tour Including Walichu Caves:
Bus ticket from El Calafate (Argentina) to Puerto Natales (Chile):
Los Glaciares National Park and Perito Moreno Glacier Tour:
El Calafate Sightseeing Tour with Walichu Caves:
Typically, people visiting El Calafate spend on average $14 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
The average person spends about $9.93 on alcoholic beverages in Lake Titicaca (Puno) per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.
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 Lake Titicaca (Puno), we can see that El Calafate is more expensive. And not only is Lake Titicaca (Puno) much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Lake Titicaca (Puno) would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Lake Titicaca (Puno) 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 Lake Titicaca (Puno).
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