A Travel Price Comparison for Colombia Medellin vs. Cartagena for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Medellin or Cartagena?

Should I visit Medellin 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.

Medellin

In addition to big improvements in public safety, Medellin has witnessed a huge surge in urban development projects, including Colombia's first metro system and cable cars to service poorer neighborhoods located high on the mountain sides. There is an abundance of parks, libraries, museums and public spaces with many cultural events taking place. Many travelers also enjoy visiting the surrounding villages, where life is simple and landscapes and nature reserves are wonderful. Medellin has now become one of the "it" cities in the world, with tons of tourists visiting and foreigners settling and retiring here. Beautiful mountains, warm weather, friendly locals, and a vibrant culture are just a few of the reasons why you should visit Medellin.

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 Medellin?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Medellin is $16, 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 Medellin and Cartagena in more detail.



Accommodation

If you're traveling alone, you may be able to find a budget hotel or hostel for around $3.62. But for two people in a standard two-person hotel room in Medellin the cost is $7.24 on average.

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
    Medellin $3.62
    Cartagena $22
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Medellin $7.24
    Cartagena $44

Food

Food in Medellin costs travelers about $6.40 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.

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
    Medellin $6.40
    Cartagena $7.98
Typical Food prices in Medellin

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Medellin:


  • Lunch
    $2.09

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Medellin

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

  • Medellin Local Flavours: Night Street Private Food Tour: $50
  • Half-day Medellín Street Food tour with a local guide: $65
  • Homemade Paisa Dinner at a Local's Home in Medellín: $69
  • Homemade Paisa Dinner at a Local's Home in Medellín: $69
  • Community project cooking class and Medellin social transformation tour: $70
  • Private Market Tour and Colombian Cooking Lesson With a Local Family in Medellin: $80
  • Withlocals LIVE Meditation and Online Cooking for a Healthy Mind and Body: $93
  • Medellín Food Tour: $94
  • food tour: $97
  • Sabaneta and Envigado Best Local Food Tour from Medellin: $99
  • Full Day Private Medellin City, Street Art and Food Tour: $104
  • Private Market Tour & Colombian Cooking Lesson with a Local in her Medellín Home: $111

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

The average price of local transportation around Medellin is $2.39 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.

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.
    Medellin $2.39
    Cartagena $6.09
Typical Local Transportation prices in Medellin

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Medellin:


  • Taxi
    $1.64

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Medellin

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Medellin:

  • Airport Transfer: $43
  • Departure Private Transfer from Medellin City to Medellin Airport MDE by 2x4 Car: $82
  • Departure Private Transfer from Medellin City to Medellin Airport MDE by Minibus: $188
  • Departure Private Transfer from Medellin City to Medellin Airport MDE by Minivan: $188
  • History and Street Art Tour in Comuna 13 with Private Transfer: $18
  • Hotel to Airport Transportation in Medellin (transfer service): $25
  • Medellin Airport Pick-up (transfer service): $25
  • Medellin Coffee Tour with transfer: $123
  • Medellín Private Transfer from Medellín City to Olaya Herrera (EOH) Airport: $50
  • Medellín Private Transfer from Olaya Herrera (EOH) Airport to Medellín City: $50
  • Medellín Private Transfer to / from Guatapé: $55
  • Private Airport Round-Trip Transfer: MDE Medellin Airport to Medellin City: $55

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cartagena

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Cartagena:

  • Air Conditioning Bus transfer: $8.00
  • Cartagena Airport Transfer (in and out) - Touristic Area Hotels - Sedan: $34
  • Cartagena Arrival or Departure Transfer: Airport / Cruise Ship Terminal: $13
  • Cartagena Private Transfer from Bocagrande to Rafael Núñez (CTG) Airport: $17
  • Cartagena Private Transfer from El Laguito to Rafael Núñez (CTG) Airport: $17
  • Departure Private Transfer Cartagena City to Cartagena Airport CTG by 2x4 Car: $72
  • Departure Private Transfer Cartagena City to Cartagena Airport CTG by Minivan: $96
  • Hotel to Airport Transportation in Cartagena (transfer service): $14
  • One way private water transfer between Cartagena and the Islands (6 ppl max): $530
  • PRIVATE Transfer from the AIRPORT to the hotel.: $19
  • PRIVATE Transfer from the cruise terminal.: $13
  • PRIVATE Transfer from the hotel to the Rafael Nuñez AIRPORT: $16

Is it cheaper to fly into Medellin or Cartagena?

Prices for flights to both Cartagena and Medellin 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

Medellin's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $10 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.

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.
    Medellin $10
    Cartagena $17

Tours and Activities in Medellin

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

  • Medellin Walking Tour with Snacks and Skip The Line Access: $5.00
  • Skip the Line: Museum of Antioquia Admission Ticket: $6.50
  • Virtual Tour: Colonial Santa Fe de Antioquia: $14
  • Comuna 13 Graffiti Tour: $15
  • Comuna 13 Tour Graffiti by Locals Sag Tour Medellin: $17
  • Graffiti tour electrical stairs!: $19
  • Tropical Exotic Fruits Tour in Laureles: $19
  • Storytellers Tours: $21
  • The "not polite to use his name" City Tour: $24
  • Medellín Experience (full inmersion into the Aburrá Valley and its surroundings): $24
  • The North Side - Medellín Downtown Experience: $25
  • Atours - the side b of medellín, a tour for the real city: $25

Tours and Activities in Cartagena

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

  • Cartagena de Indias: Into the Walls of The City Walking Audio Tour by VoiceMap: $5.34
  • Cartagena de Indias: India Catalina to Plaza Santo Domingo Audio Tour - VoiceMap: $5.34
  • Ghost of Downtown: Fear in the streets. Cartagena Sensorial Tour: $6.99
  • Monasterio de la Popa, tickets de entrada: $7.00
  • Cartagena City Tour By Bicycle: $8.00
  • City Tour Cartagena With Bazurto Market: $8.00
  • Free walking tour Gethsemane old town & Forever colonial: $10
  • Audio Guide - Walking Tour with Interactive (Cartagena de Indias): $10
  • Cartagena Ryhtm & Sunset - Musical experience: $12
  • Virtual Cartagena LiteraTour through Nobel Garcia Marquez work: $15
  • Chiva Party Bus Tour in Cartagena: $18
  • City Sightseeing Cartagena Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour Shore Excursion: $18

Alcohol

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Medellin may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $5.75 per day on alcoholic beverages.

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
    Medellin $5.75
    Cartagena $7.48

Sample the Local Flavors in Medellin

Also in Medellin, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Live the Nightlife Rooftop Pub Crawl: $20
  • Medellin private bar crawl: $94
  • Medellin Pub Crawl Including Food and City Tour: $145


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

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Medellin vs. Cartagena Travel Comparison

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