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

Should you visit El Calafate or Puerto Montt?

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

Should I visit El Calafate or Puerto Montt? 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 Puerto Montt?

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.

Puerto Montt

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 place 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 $10, while the average daily cost in Puerto Montt is $88. 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 Puerto Montt in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    El Calafate $3.56
    Puerto Montt $60
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    El Calafate $7.12
    Puerto Montt $120
Compare Hotels in El Calafate and Puerto Montt

Looking for a hotel in El Calafate or Puerto Montt? 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 Puerto Montt

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 Puerto Montt Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    El Calafate $3.67
    Puerto Montt $6.32
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:

  • Transfer from your hotel to El Calafate airport: $7.00
  • Transfer from the airport to your hotel in El Calafate: $7.00
  • One Way Shared transfer from Hotel downtown Calafate to the Calafate Airport : $15
  • One Way Transfer from Airport-Hotel downtown(Calafate) vice versa: $15
  • Transfers Between Airport and Hotels: $19
  • Transfer from Calafate Airport to your Stay in Calafate: $20
  • Airport Transfer - Downtown: $22
  • Transfer iPrivate Vehicle from Calafate Airport (FTE) - Calafate City: $25
  • Shared Transfer Airport - Hotel in El Calafate: $32
  • Shared Transfer Airport-Hotel-Airport (Calafate): $32
  • Transfer to and form Airport El Calafate: $33
  • Private Transfer Hotel-Bus Station or Bus Station-Hotel (Calafate): $35

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Puerto Montt

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Puerto Montt:

  • Transfer from Puerto Montt Airport to Puerto Varas: $50
  • Transfer from Puerto Montt Airport to Frutillar: $80
  • Transfer from Puerto Montt Airport to Castro: $300
  • Transfer Puerto Montt Airport to Castro: $277
  • Puerto Tepual Airport (PMC) to Puerto Varas - Arrival Transfer: $21
  • Puerto Montt Shuttle Transfer: $34
  • Puerto Montt El Tepual Airport (PMC) to Pucon - Arrival Transfer: $116
  • Puerto Montt Airport(PMC) to Frutillar - Arrival Private Transfer: $23
  • Puerto Montt Airport(PMC) to Frutillar - Arrival Private Transfer: $21
  • Puerto Montt Airport to Puerto Varas - RoundTrip Private Transfer: $42
  • Puerto Montt Airport Arrival Transfer to Hotel in Puerto Varas: $24
  • Puerto Montt Airport (PMC) to Puerto Varas City- Arrival Transfer: $33

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.

  • Food Meals for one day
    El Calafate $3.86
    Puerto Montt $21
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
  • Lakes and Caves Tour with Dinner: $117
  • Estancia 25 de Mayo in El Calafate - PM visit with dinner: $186

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    El Calafate $3.86
    Puerto Montt $14
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 History Museum Tour: $9.00
  • city tour: $20
  • Full Day Guided Tour Perito Moreno National Park and Glacier: $60
  • Argentine Cuisine Experience in El Calafate: $65
  • Perito Moreno Glacier Private Tour – El Calafate: $69
  • Alternative tour to the Perito Moreno Glacier: $71
  • El Calafate City Tour and Walichu caves: $72
  • Perito Moreno Glacier & Optional Boat Cruise: $73
  • Half-Day Tour at Estancia 25 de Mayo Field Afternoon: $74
  • Full Day Tour in El Chalten: $75
  • Perito Moreno Glacier, Boat Cruise & Glaciarium: $75
  • El Calafate City Sightseeing Tour Including Walichu Caves: $76

Tours and Activities in Puerto Montt

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Puerto Montt are as follows:

  • 6 Hours Shared Tour in Calbuco and Millennial Forest : $130
  • Alerce Andino National Park/Alerce Millenario/Cruises: $77
  • Austral / Hornopiren Road Tour: $102
  • Excursion City tour Puerto Varas / Llanquihue and Frutillar: $77
  • From Puerto Montt or Puerto Varas: Frutillar Tour: $31
  • Frutillar & Llanquihue Private Tour from Puerto Montt: $118
  • Frutillar & Llanquihue Tour from Puerto Montt: $50
  • Osorno Volcano Tour+Petrohue Falls / Cruises / Spanish: $68
  • Private Day tour Petrohue Falls, Osorno Volcano & Puerto Varas: $250
  • Private Shore Excursion Tour to Puerto Montt, Puerto Varas and Frutillar: $143
  • Private Tour: Puerto Montt Sightseeing: $47
  • Private Tour: Puerto Montt, Puerto Varas and Vicente Peres Rosales National Park: $164

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    El Calafate $1.93
    Puerto Montt $4.42
Typical Alcohol Prices in El Calafate

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

  • Beer
  • Alcohol

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 Tours | Pedestrian City Tour Paired with Wines: $42

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.

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 Puerto Montt Expensive?.

Which is Bigger, El Calafate or Puerto Montt?

Puerto Montt has a larger population, and is about 20 times larger than the population of El Calafate. When comparing the sizes of El Calafate and Puerto Montt, 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.