Should you visit Humahuaca or El Calafate?
Should I visit Humahuaca or El Calafate? 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 the northwest region of Argentina, Humahuaca is a town nearly 3000m high in elevation, found on the border of the rio Grande. It is the largest settlement with the biggest population along the famous quebrada de Humahuaca gorge, but it has managed to keep its authenticity with its cobblestoned streets, adobe houses, quaint plazas filled with inhabitants of Andean traits and handicraft shops. If you have the chance to visit Humahuaca in February, during the carnival, you will appreciate how traditions are kept alive in this part of Argentina. Humahuaca has become a popular tourist destination in Argentina because of its beautiful setting next to the spectacular Serranía de Hornocal (colored mountains). While most visitors rapidly make their way through Humahuaca before continuing to the other two main Quebrada towns, Pumamarca and Tilcara, some enjoy spending a night or two there. Indeed, the town offers a perfect starting point to visit the region and has a few interesting landmarks not to miss, such as the historic church and Soto Avendano's Independence Monument. If you decide to stay in Humahuaca, remember that nights get chilly and ask the tourist office for any information (in the Cabildo, on the main square, opened Monday to Friday from 7h to 21h and Saturday from 9h to 12h and 13h to 16h and only Sunday mornings).
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.
Which city is cheaper, El Calafate or Humahuaca?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Humahuaca is $49, while the average daily cost in El Calafate is $74. 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 Humahuaca and El Calafate in more detail.
An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $36 in Humahuaca For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.
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.
The price of a meal in Humahuaca can vary widely. However, the average price for food per day is $19 per person, and a typical meal will cost around $7.60 based on the spending of previous visitors. Less expensive dining options can be found by eating street food or at fast food restaurants.
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.
Meals for one day
El Calafate $27
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:
Humahuaca'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 $15 per person, per day on transportation in Humahuaca.
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.
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:
Kayak in Perito Moreno Glacier with transfers:
Kayak in Perito Moreno Glacier without transfers:
Private Transfer Airport-Hotel-Airport (Calafate):
Shared transfer to El Calafate -El ChaltÃ©n:
El Calafate Airport Private Transfer:
Bus Transfer from El Calafate to El Chalten:
Private Transfer Hotel-Bus Station or Bus Station-Hotel (Calafate):
Shared Transfer Airport-Hotel-Airport (Calafate):
From Calafate: Round-trip transfer to Perito Moreno Glacier:
Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Humahuaca can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $19 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.
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.
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:
"Glaciares Gourmet" - Maria Turquesa Cruiser Navigation:
13-Day Best of Patagonia Tour from El Calafate to Ushuaia: Los Glaciares, Torres del Paine and Tierra del Fuego National Parks:
2-Day Perito Moreno Tour with Boat Ride & 4x4 Safari:
2-day El Chalten Hiking Adventure Tour from El Calafate:
2-day tour: Perito Moreno Glacier + Torres del Paine National Park:
3-Day Tour of El Calafate and the Glaciers:
4 Days Tour in El Calafate & Chalten:
4-Days El Calafate Easy Going Experience:
4WD Ride tour to Cerro Frias from El Calafate:
4x4 Adventure Day Trip to Torres del Paine National Park with lunchbox:
5-Day Adventure Trip in El Calafate:
5-Days El Calafate Experience without limits!:
Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Humahuaca, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $8.50.
Typically, people visiting El Calafate spend on average $14 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
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 Humahuaca and El Calafate, we can see that El Calafate is more expensive. And not only is Humahuaca much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Humahuaca would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Humahuaca 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 Humahuaca.
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