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

Should you visit El Calafate or Paracas?

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

Should I visit El Calafate or Paracas? 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 Paracas?

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.


Paracas, also known as El Chaco, is a resort town on the Southern coast of the country, about 150 miles south of Lima. The town in located in one of the oldest regions of Peru, with a history dating back to 900 BC and offers many pre-Inca cultural sites throughout the area. Paracas is possibly best known for being home to the Paracas National Reserve, a nature reserve boasting one of the most abundant and diverse ecosystems in the world.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Hiking & Trekking Tours in Argentina, The Best Adventure Tours to Argentina, The Best Eco Tours in Peru, and The Best Sightseeing Tours in Peru.

Which place is cheaper, Paracas or El Calafate?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in El Calafate is $9.92, while the average daily cost in Paracas is $62. 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 destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for El Calafate and Paracas in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    El Calafate $3.37
    Paracas $22
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    El Calafate $6.74
    Paracas $44
Compare Hotels in El Calafate and Paracas

Looking for a hotel in El Calafate or Paracas? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in El Calafate

Hotels in Paracas

Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.

Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: El Calafate Hotel Prices and Paracas Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    El Calafate $3.47
    Paracas $18
Typical Local Transportation Prices in El Calafate

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

  • Taxi

Hired Cars and Shuttles in El Calafate

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

  • Airport Transfer - Downtown: $26
  • Laguna de Los Tres Transfer & Self-Guided Hike: $94
  • Perito Moreno Glacier Mini Trek with Transfer: $384
  • Private Airport Transfer: $64
  • Transfers Between Airport and Hotels: $12
  • Excursion to the Perito Moreno Glacier, with guide and transfer to / from the hotel: $60
  • One Way Transfer from Airport-Hotel downtown(Calafate) vice versa: $16
  • Private Transfer Airport-Hotel-Airport (Calafate): $90
  • Round trip transfer to Moreno Glacier: $50
  • Roundtrip transfer in Private Car from Calafate Airport (FTE)- Calafate City: $49
  • Shared Transfer Airport-Hotel-Airport (Calafate): $32
  • Shared Transfer from El Calafate Airport to downtown Hotel: $16

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Paracas

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Paracas:

  • Private Transfer from Pisko Cruise Port to Lima City Hotels: $89
  • Private Transfer from Pisco Port to Jorge Chavez Airport (LIM): $80
  • Private Transfer from Pisco Port to Jorge Chavez Airport (LIM): $89
  • Private Transfer from Pisco Cruise Port to Lima hotels: $89
  • Private Transfer from Pisco Cruise Port to Lima City Hotels: $80
  • Private Transfer From San Juan Airport (SJU) to /from San Juan: $44
  • Private Transfer From Paracas To Lima With 2 Stops: $178
  • Bus Station Private Transfer: $16
  • Paracas Bus Station Private Transfer: $16
  • Oneway Transfer from San Juan Airport, Hotel, Airbnb to Bayamon: $60
  • Lima: Private taxi transfer from Lima airport to Paracas: $129
  • Direct Private Transfer From Paracas to Lima, English Speaking Driver: $166

Is it cheaper to fly into El Calafate or Paracas?

Prices for flights to both Paracas 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 Meals for one day
    El Calafate $3.65
    Paracas $23
Typical Food Prices in El Calafate

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

  • Dessert
  • Dinner
  • Dinner

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:

  • Argentine Dinner with Live Music Folklore -Estancia 25 de Mayo: $48
  • Country Afternoon with Dinner Show - Estancia 25 de Mayo: $100
  • Estancia 25 de Mayo Experience with Dinner from Calafate: $175
  • Lakes and Caves Tour with Dinner: $176
  • Lakes and Caves Tour with Dinner: $179

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    El Calafate $3.65
    Paracas $25
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

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, Perito Moreno Glacier classic tour with guide: $62
  • Perito Moreno Glacier & Optional Boat Cruise: $63
  • Southroad Calafate Balcony Experience with Tour Mode Options: $70
  • Day Tour to the Perito Moreno Glacier from El Calafate: $70
  • From Perito Moreno footbridges + optional Boat Tour : $72
  • Perito Moreno Glacier Sightseeing Tour: $75
  • Panoramic Tour with Punta Walichu: $76
  • El Chalten Complete Experience Full Day Tour from El Calafate: $80
  • Full Day Guided Tour Perito Moreno National Park and Glacier: $80
  • Perito Moreno Glacier Private Tour – El Calafate: $84
  • Perito Moreno Glacier Private Tour: $86
  • Full Day Tour in El Chalten: $90

Tours and Activities in Paracas

Here are a few actual costs in Paracas for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • 2-Hour Tour to the Ballestas Islands from Puerto San Martín: $49
  • 2-day, 1-night tour to Paracas, Ica, and Nasca: $400
  • 2D Tour Nasca Lines Ballestas Islands Tour Paracas Reserve: $403
  • 2D: Tour Ica, Huacachina, Sandboarding, Ballestas Islands: $215
  • 4-Hour Guided Tour Paracas National Reserve: $20
  • 7-Hours Tour in Paracas National Reserve with Pickup: $38
  • ATV Tour Adventure in Reserva Nacional de Paracas: $45
  • Ballestas Islands Group Tour from Paracas : $26
  • Ballestas Islands Group Tour from San Martin Port: $50
  • Ballestas Islands Sightseeing Boat Ride from Paracas: $24
  • Ballestas Islands Tour: $24
  • Ballestas Islands Tour - Paracas: $25

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    El Calafate $1.83
    Paracas $11
Typical Alcohol Prices in El Calafate

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

  • Beer
  • Alcohol

When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between El Calafate and Paracas, we can see that Paracas 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 Paracas would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Paracas than you might in El Calafate.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is El Calafate Expensive? and Is Paracas Expensive?.

Which is Bigger, El Calafate or Paracas?

El Calafate has a larger population, and is about 7 times larger than the population of Paracas. When comparing the sizes of El Calafate and Paracas, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.