Should you visit El Calafate or Puerto Montt?
Should I visit El Calafate or Puerto Montt? 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.
The Lake District is a region of snow capped volcanoes, pale green lakes and endless miles of virgin and ancient forests. Found 1,016 km away from Santiago de Chile, Puerto Montt is famous for its beautiful lakes and its germanic architecture, old wooden houses and its legendary Iglesia Catedral, found on the town's main square, la Plaza de Armas. The monument, entirely built with alerce (cypress) wood, is the oldest building of the city. The capital of the Lake Region is a good starting point for many memorable excursions in the area.
Which city is cheaper, Puerto Montt 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 Puerto Montt is $86. 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 Puerto Montt in more detail.
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.
The average price for accommodation for two people in Puerto Montt is $118. This is for two people sharing a typical double occupancy hotel room.
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.
The price of a meal in Puerto Montt can vary widely. However, the average price for food per day is $21 per person, and a typical meal will cost around $8.40 based on the spending of previous visitors. Less expensive dining options can be found by eating street food or at fast food restaurants.
Meals for one day
El Calafate $26
Puerto Montt $21
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:
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.
The average price of local transportation around Puerto Montt is $6.22 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.
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:
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Puerto Montt
Some specific examples of transportation prices in Puerto Montt:
Transfer from Puerto Montt Airport to Puerto Varas:
Transfer from Puerto Montt Airport to Frutillar:
Transfer from Puerto Montt Airport to Castro:
Transfer Puerto Montt Airport to Castro:
Puerto Montt Shuttle Transfer:
Puerto Montt Airport Private Transfer:
Private Airport Transfer: Puerto Montt to Puerto Montt - El Tepual Airport (PMC):
Cruce Andino Office Private Transfer from Puerto Montt:
Is it cheaper to fly into El Calafate or Puerto Montt?
Prices for flights to both Puerto Montt 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.
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.
Puerto Montt's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $13 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:
Tours and Activities in Puerto Montt
Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Puerto Montt are as follows:
5-Day Tour Chile & North Patagonia:
Chiloe Island - Puñihuil Tour:
Chiloe Island Tour from Puerto Montt:
Chiloe Island Tour from Puerto Montt in Private:
Day Tour Frutillar, Puerto Varas and Puerto Montt:
Day tour Petrohue Falls, Osorno Volcano & Puerto Varas:
Frutillar Half Day Tour From Puerto Montt:
Frutillar Tour from Puerto Montt in Private:
Full-Day Osorno Vulcano and Petrohue Falls Small-Group Tour:
Private Cruise Shore Excursion from Land of Volcanos:
Private Shore Excursion Tour to Puerto Montt, Puerto Varas and Frutillar:
Private Tour: Puerto Montt Sightseeing:
Typically, people visiting El Calafate spend on average $13 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
The average person spends about $4.35 on alcoholic beverages in Puerto Montt 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 Puerto Montt, we can see that Puerto Montt 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 Puerto Montt would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Puerto Montt than you might in El Calafate.
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