A Travel Price Comparison for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons El Chalten vs. Machu Picchu

Should you visit El Chalten or Machu Picchu?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel cost comparison between El Chalten and Machu Picchu can help. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

El Chalten

El Chalten is probably one of the most beautiful areas of Patagonia, especially at the slightest ray of sunshine and one of your cheapest destination while you are travelling in Patagonia. Indeed, you will spend your days hiking and there are no park fees. There are restaurants, souvenir shops, and outdoor stores but most of them will not accept credit cards so before heading out, get cash in El Calafate or your previous stop. For the beginners, it will be long hikes in a magical setting and for the experts perhaps a week long expedition to the greatest glaciers of the world. To discover the way people live in the pampa, you may also decide to stay at an Estancia. In the stunning Estancia Santa Thelma, about 300km away from El Chalten, you will be able to explore the surroundings by horse, live a unique experience in the middle of the nature and its vast plains occupied by thousands of merino sheep and horses and of course eat a typical meal of the region.

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is a site of ancient Inca ruins located about 50 miles (80 km) northwest of Cuzco, Peru, in the Cordillera de Vilcabamba of the Andes Mountains. It is perched above the Urubamba River valley in a narrow saddle between two sharp peaks, Machu Picchu ("Old Peak") and Huayna Picchu ("New Peak"), at an elevation of 7,710 feet (2,350 metres). One of the few major pre-Columbian ruins found nearly intact, Machu Picchu was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983. Thus, Machu Picchu is not only an impressive remnant of the Inca civilization, it is also one of the world's most important archaeological sites. A stop at Machu Picchu is an essential part of any traveler's itinerary in Peru, as it is one of the seven wonders of the world.

Which city is cheaper, Machu Picchu or El Chalten?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in El Chalten is $73, while the average daily cost in Machu Picchu is $84. 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 Chalten and Machu Picchu in more detail.



Accommodation

The average price for accommodation for two people in El Chalten is $64. This is for two people sharing a typical double occupancy hotel room.

Double occupancy rooms typically run around $64 in Machu Picchu For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    El Chalten $32
    Machu Picchu $32
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    El Chalten $64
    Machu Picchu $64

Food

While meal prices in El Chalten can vary, the average travelers spends about $27 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in El Chalten should cost around $11 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in El Chalten is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.

While meal prices in Machu Picchu can vary, the average travelers spends about $20 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in Machu Picchu should cost around $8.00 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in Machu Picchu is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.


  • Food Meals for one day
    El Chalten $27
    Machu Picchu $20

Local Transportation

The cost of a taxi ride in El Chalten is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $17 per person, per day, on local transportation in El Chalten.

To get around in Machu Picchu, the average visitor spends $23 per day, per person. This includes the costs of taxi rides and private drivers as well as public transportation, which tends to be much more affordable.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    El Chalten $17
    Machu Picchu $23

Entertainment

Entertainment and activities in El Chalten typically cost an average of $19 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.

In Machu Picchu, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $59 per person, per day.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    El Chalten $19
    Machu Picchu $59

Tours and Activities in El Chalten

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for El Chalten are as follows:

  • 2-Day Chalten Adventure tour: Laguna de los Tres, Mount Fitz Roy & Cerro Torre: $333
  • 2-Day Hiking Tour of Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre from El Chalten: $553
  • 3-Day Eco-Lodge Trekking Tour at Los Glaciares National Park from El Chalten: $789
  • El Chalten Rafting Experience: $149
  • El Chalten Rafting Experience: $225
  • Module Fitz Roy Adventure: $305

Typical Entertainment prices in Machu Picchu

For Machu Picchu, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:


  • Gardens of Mandor
    $2.62

Tours and Activities in Machu Picchu

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Machu Picchu.

  • Machu Picchu Admission Ticket: $31
  • Huaynapicchu mountain hike + Machu Picchu entrance ticket: $40
  • Machu Picchu official entrance ticket: $40
  • Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu Admission Ticket: $53
  • Admission Ticket to Machu Picchu Ruin and Mountain: $53
  • Machu Picchu Ticket: Official Entrance Ticket: $63
  • Machu Picchu Official Entrance Ticket: $68
  • Machu Picchu Official Ticket: $68
  • Machu Picchu And Huayna Picchu Morning Entrance Ticket: $88
  • Skip the Line: Entrance Ticket to Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu 2020: $89
  • Tickets to Machu Picchu with guided in Machu Picchu.: $99
  • Machu Picchu with Bus and Entrance Ticket: $123

Alcohol

The average person spends about $8.90 on alcoholic beverages in El Chalten per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Machu Picchu, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $5.33.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    El Chalten $8.90
    Machu Picchu $5.33


When comparing the travel costs between El Chalten and Machu Picchu, we can see that Machu Picchu is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in South America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

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El Chalten vs. Machu Picchu Travel Comparison

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