A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Ilha Grande vs. Cartagena for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Ilha Grande or Cartagena?

Should I visit Ilha Grande or Cartagena? 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.

Ilha Grande

Ilha Grande is a large, beautiful, island located off the southeast coast of Brazil. The island has few inhabitants, resulting in mostly unadulterated beaches and landscapes. There are over a dozen trails and beaches to explore, some of which have been called the best beaches in Brazil. Due to the limited number of inhabitants, ATMs are sparse on the island, so be sure to have cash with you before getting there.

Cartagena

The capital of the Bolivar Department of Colombia, Cartagena is one of the most visited cities in the country. It sits on Colombia's northern coast by the Caribbean Sea. It's a port city with a population of almost 900,000, making it the fifth largest city in Colombia. The city has a rich history and was the first Spanish colony on the American continent. It was also one of the first sanctuaries for freed African slaves in the Americas.

Which city is cheaper, Cartagena or Ilha Grande?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Ilha Grande is $53, while the average daily cost in Cartagena is $39. 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 Ilha Grande and Cartagena in more detail.



Accommodation

An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $58 in Ilha Grande For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.

Cartagena's average price for two people sharing a typical double-occupancy hotel room is $44. A typical place to stay for one person, per day is $22.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Ilha Grande $29
    Cartagena $22
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Ilha Grande $58
    Cartagena $44

Food

Ilha Grande food costs typically run travelers around $16 per day. Eating every meal in a nicer restaurant will drive the cost up, and grabbing fast food or casual meals will help you save money.

In Cartagena travelers spend around $7.98 a day on food. You can save money by choosing casual restaurants or food stalls, or you can spend plenty more by dining in nicer restaurants at every meal.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Ilha Grande $16
    Cartagena $7.98

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Cartagena

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Cartagena.

  • Cartagena Cuisine Cooking Experience: $30
  • BIKE & BITE food tour: $52
  • Street food tour with Julie: $64
  • Food Tour in Cartagena Walled City: $66
  • Street Food & Local Food Tour: $66
  • SkyKitchen 4 Course Cooking Class: $81
  • Bazurto Market Tour and Cooking Class in Cartagena: $92
  • Cartagena - Food Tour: $100
  • Caribbean Cuisine Cooking Class: $105
  • Shared Local Cooking Class and Lunch in Cartagena: $110
  • Bazurto Local Market Tour & Cooking Class: $115
  • Colombian Cooking Workshop: $201

Local Transportation

Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Ilha Grande than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $14 on transportation in Ilha Grande on average per day.

The average price of local transportation around Cartagena is $6.09 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.
    Ilha Grande $14
    Cartagena $6.09

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cartagena

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Cartagena:

  • Transfer to Tayrona Park, Santa Marta or Barranquilla City from Cartagena: $84
  • Transfer service in Cartagena: $50
  • Transfer in Private Vehicle from Cartagena City to Airport: $12
  • Transfer in Private Minivan from Cartagena City to Airport: $17
  • Transfer Cartagena: $50
  • Private transfer to Barranquilla from Cartagena- Traslado privado a Barranquilla: $170
  • Private transfer Cartagena airport -Mamonal: $65
  • Private Transfers in air conditioning buses: $7.00
  • Private Transfer: Rafael Núñez International Airport (CTG) to Cartagena: $40
  • Private Transfer: Cartagena to Rafael Núñez International Airport (CTG): $40
  • Private Transfer from Port of Cartagena to La Boquilla: $28
  • Private Transfer from Port of Cartagena to El Laguito: $28

Is it cheaper to fly into Ilha Grande or Cartagena?

Prices for flights to both Cartagena and Ilha Grande 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.





Entertainment

Sightseeing expenses in Ilha Grande, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $5.16 per day, per person.

Cartagena's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $17 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.
    Ilha Grande $5.16
    Cartagena $17

Tours and Activities in Cartagena

Here are a few actual costs in Cartagena for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • 2 Hour Panoramic tour for cruise ship passengers: $40
  • 4-Hour Fishing Experience with Locals Near Cartagena: $103
  • 6 Hr Cartagena Fishing Experience: $974
  • Accessible sightseeing tour of Cartagena: $140
  • Audio Guide - Walking Tour with Interactive (Cartagena de Indias): $10
  • Aviario National Park Shared Tour: $63
  • Bar Tour for Guys and Bachelor Parties: $20
  • Bazurto Market + La Popa Convent Cartagena City Tour 4H: $81
  • Bazurto Market Half day tour in Cartagena: $125
  • Biking Tour Cartagena: $19
  • Birdwatching & Photography experience at the National Aviary in Barú: $279
  • Bolivar Pirate Island Experience with Lunch: $75

Alcohol

Typically, people visiting Ilha Grande spend on average $8.28 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Cartagena may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $7.48 per day on alcoholic beverages.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Ilha Grande $8.28
    Cartagena $7.48


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Ilha Grande and Cartagena, we can see that Ilha Grande is more expensive. And not only is Cartagena much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Cartagena would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Cartagena 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 Ilha Grande would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Ilha Grande than you might in Cartagena.

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Ilha Grande vs. Cartagena Travel Comparison

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