A Travel Price Comparison for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons El Calafate vs. Santa Cruz de la Sierra

Should you visit El Calafate or Santa Cruz de la Sierra?

Should I visit El Calafate or Santa Cruz de la Sierra? 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.

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.

Santa Cruz de la Sierra

Santa Cruz de la Sierra, or simply Santa Cruz, is a larger city in the middle of Bolivia. It is also one of the most wealthy cities in the country. The city is also one of the fastest growing in the world. It is famous for its nightlife and it makes an excellent base for exploring many of the tourist attractions in the nearby areas.

Which city is cheaper, Santa Cruz de la Sierra or El Calafate?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in El Calafate is $73, while the average daily cost in Santa Cruz de la Sierra is $43. 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 Santa Cruz de la Sierra in more detail.



Accommodation

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 $36 for a double occupancy room in Santa Cruz de la Sierra.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    El Calafate $25
    Santa Cruz de la Sierra $18
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    El Calafate $50
    Santa Cruz de la Sierra $36

Food

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.

The price of a meal in Santa Cruz de la Sierra can vary widely. However, the average price for food per day is $16 per person, and a typical meal will cost around $6.40 based on the spending of previous visitors. Less expensive dining options can be found by eating street food or at fast food restaurants.


  • Food Meals for one day
    El Calafate $27
    Santa Cruz de la Sierra $16
Typical Food prices in El Calafate

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


  • Dessert
    $0.10
  • Dinner
    $16
  • Dinner
    $9.65

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: $120
  • Gaucho, Dinner and Folklore Full-Day Tour: $165

Typical Food prices in Santa Cruz de la Sierra

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Santa Cruz de la Sierra:


  • Snacks
    $3.19
  • Chips
    $0.29
  • Banana
    $0.14
  • Cookies
    $1.30

Local Transportation

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 Santa Cruz de la Sierra is $7.94 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.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    El Calafate $26
    Santa Cruz de la Sierra $7.94
Typical Local Transportation prices in El Calafate

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


  • Taxi
    $13

Hired Cars and Shuttles in El Calafate

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

  • Bus Transfer from El Calafate to El Chalten: $50
  • El Calafate Airport Private Transfer: $57
  • From Calafate: Round-trip transfer to Perito Moreno Glacier: $27
  • Kayak in Perito Moreno Glacier with transfers: $461
  • Kayak in Perito Moreno Glacier without transfers: $336
  • Private Transfer Airport-Hotel-Airport (Calafate): $90
  • Private Transfer Hotel-Bus Station or Bus Station-Hotel (Calafate): $35
  • Shared Transfer Airport-Hotel-Airport (Calafate): $32
  • Shared transfer to El Calafate -El Chaltén: $75

Typical Local Transportation prices in Santa Cruz de la Sierra

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Santa Cruz de la Sierra:


  • Taxi Ride
    $4.34
  • Mini Bus
    $0.58

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Santa Cruz de la Sierra

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Santa Cruz de la Sierra:

  • Departure Private Transfer Santa Cruz to Santa Cruz Airport VVI by S-Cross Sx4: $55
  • Departure Private Transfer Santa Cruz City to Santa Cruz Airport VVI by Minibus: $55
  • Arrival Private Transfer Santa Cruz Airport VVI to Santa Cruz City by SCross Sx4: $55
  • Arrival Private Transfer Santa Cruz Airport VVI to Santa Cruz City by Minibus: $55

Entertainment

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.

Santa Cruz de la Sierra's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $15 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.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    El Calafate $27
    Santa Cruz de la Sierra $15
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
    $13

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: $11
  • Bamboo Bike self drive tour El Calafate surroundings: $15
  • Perito Moreno Glacier Tour with Optional Boat Ride: $38
  • Bus ticket to Puerto Natales, Chile: $44
  • Perito Moreno Glacier & Optional Boat Cruise: $44
  • City Tour in El Calafate with Walichu Caves: $48
  • Tour to Punta Walichu and Glaciarium: $48
  • Bus Ticket from El Chalten to El Calafate: $50
  • El Calafate City Sightseeing Tour Including Walichu Caves: $53
  • Bus ticket from El Calafate (Argentina) to Puerto Natales (Chile): $56
  • Los Glaciares National Park and Perito Moreno Glacier Tour: $61
  • El Calafate Sightseeing Tour with Walichu Caves: $68

Alcohol

Typically, people visiting El Calafate spend on average $13 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Santa Cruz de la Sierra may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $11 per day on alcoholic beverages.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    El Calafate $13
    Santa Cruz de la Sierra $11
Typical Alcohol prices in El Calafate

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


  • Beer
    $0.08
  • Alcohol
    $3.36

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: $38
  • Calafate Wine Tour: $48

Typical Alcohol prices in Santa Cruz de la Sierra

Here are a few samples of the prices for alcohol and nightlife in Santa Cruz de la Sierra from other travelers:


  • Beer
    $1.59


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between El Calafate and Santa Cruz de la Sierra, we can see that El Calafate is more expensive. And not only is Santa Cruz de la Sierra much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Santa Cruz de la Sierra would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Santa Cruz de la Sierra 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 Santa Cruz de la Sierra.

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El Calafate vs. Santa Cruz de la Sierra Travel Comparison

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