A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Puerto Iguazu vs. Cuenca for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Puerto Iguazu or Cuenca?

Should I visit Puerto Iguazu or Cuenca? 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.

Puerto Iguazu

Puerto Iguazu is located in the northeastern part of Argentina at the border with Paraguay and Brazil. It is a tourist city and travel destination because of its close proximity to Iguazu Falls, which is only 18 kilometers away. Much of the city's infrastructure has grown to maintain the tourist crowds that come to see the falls. The town itself has a population of slightly over 80,000.

Cuenca

Cuenca is a vibrant colonial city in southern Ecuador, the third largest in the country, and the capital of Azuay Province. Cuenca is considered as Ecuador's most important and beautiful colonial city after Quito. Dating from the 16th century, Cuenca's historic center, a Unesco World Heritage Site with its trademark skyline of massive rotundas and soaring steeples, is a magical sight in which you will feel like you are moving back in time. Cuenca is the center of many craft traditions, including ceramics, metalwork and the internationally famous panama hat. The nearby villages also offer many other handicrafts. Tourists enjoy wandering the ancient streets discovering picturesque alleys and hidden corners, where nuns march along cobblestone streets and kids in Catholic-school uniforms skip past historic churches. Fascinating historic monuments and fabulous views are found at every turn. Cuenca also has outstanding art museums and festivals. For a rewarding cultural experience, visit during Easter to attend the Festival of Religious Music.

Which city is cheaper, Cuenca or Puerto Iguazu?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Puerto Iguazu is $57, while the average daily cost in Cuenca is $34. 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 Puerto Iguazu and Cuenca in more detail.



Accommodation

An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $46 in Puerto Iguazu 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 $20 for a double occupancy room in Cuenca.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Puerto Iguazu $23
    Cuenca $9.97
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Puerto Iguazu $46
    Cuenca $20

Food

The average traveler spends about $21 per day in Puerto Iguazu for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.

Food in Cuenca costs travelers about $12 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.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Puerto Iguazu $21
    Cuenca $12

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Puerto Iguazu

For Puerto Iguazu, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • El Quincho Del Tio Querido - Dinner And Show: $27
  • Foz do Iguaçu Folkloric Show with Dinner from Puerto Iguazú: $30
  • Foz do Iguacu: 2-Hour Rafain Churrascaria Show with Dinner: $55
  • Skip the Line: Dinner Tango Show in Iguazu Falls Ticket: $59
  • Folkloric Show with Dinner at Rafain Churrascaria: $63
  • Rafain Steakhouse Show - Dinner and Show Included: $69
  • Tio Querido Ranch Dinner and Show: $69
  • Dinner Tango Show in Iguazú Falls: $85
  • Creative Cooking Class and Dinner with Wine in Iguazu: $87
  • Tio Querido Dinner and Folk Show in Puerto Iguazú: $90
  • Skip the Line: Dinner Samba Show Ticket in Rafain (brazilian side): $99
  • Full day Iguazu Falls Argentinian side + Tango Show (no dinner): $110

Typical Food prices in Cuenca

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


  • Lunch
    $10
  • Snacks
    $5.00
  • Empanada
    $1.50
  • Hot Dog
    $1.00

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Cuenca

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

  • Cooking Class & Market Tour in Cuenca: $55
  • Cuenca City Tour & Cooking Class (PRIVATE Tour): $95

Local Transportation

To get around in Puerto Iguazu, the average visitor spends $18 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.

The average price of local transportation around Cuenca is $8.60 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.
    Puerto Iguazu $18
    Cuenca $8.60

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Puerto Iguazu

Also for Puerto Iguazu, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Iguassu Falls Argentina Airport R/T Transfer to Hotels: $21
  • Iguazú Falls Brazil & Argentina 3-Day In-Out Transfers: $65
  • Iguazu Airport Private Transfer: $63
  • Iguazu Falls Pass: Transfers in/out + Visit to Iguazu Falls Argentininan Side: $110
  • Iguazu Falls: Day Tour including transfers and guided tour: $245
  • Iguazu: Transfer from Argentina Side: $95
  • Private 1-Way Airport Transfer: Downtown Foz do Iguaçu: $39
  • Puerto Iguazu Airport Shuttle Transfer: $30
  • Private One-Way Airport Transfer: $98

Typical Local Transportation prices in Cuenca

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


  • Taxi Ride
    $2.00

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cuenca

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Cuenca:

  • Transfer In Cuenca Airport - Hotel: $25
  • Private Transfer from Cuenca to Guayaquil.: $83
  • Private Transfer from Cuenca City Center to Madrid City Center: $147
  • Departure Private Transfer: Cuenca City to Cuenca Airport CUE by Minivan: $74
  • Cuenca to Guayaquil Transfer in Fantasy Bus: $25
  • Cuenca to Alausi Transfer in Fantasy Bus: $25
  • Cuenca Departure Transfer: $15
  • Cuenca Arrival Transfer: $15
  • Cuenca Airport Shuttle Transfer: $19
  • Arrival Private Transfer: Cuenca Airport CUE to Cuenca City by Minivan: $74

Is it cheaper to fly into Puerto Iguazu or Cuenca?

Prices for flights to both Cuenca and Puerto Iguazu 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

In Puerto Iguazu, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $19 per person, per day.

Cuenca's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $13 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.
    Puerto Iguazu $19
    Cuenca $13

Tours and Activities in Puerto Iguazu

For Puerto Iguazu, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Iguazú Biocenter Tour: $10
  • Guira Oga Wild Animals Shelter Admission Ticket: $10
  • Ciudad del Este Shopping Tour: $17
  • Brazilian Side of Iguassu Falls Half-Day Sightseeing Tour from Puerto Iguazú: $20
  • Visit to San Ignacio Ruins and Wanda Mines Full day Tour: $21
  • Shopping Tour to Ciudad del Este, Paraguay: $21
  • Sightseeing Tour of the Argentinian and Brazilian Sides of Iguassu Falls: $23
  • Iguassu Falls Half Day Tour –Brazilian side: $24
  • Iguassu Falls Full Day Tour – Argentina Side: $24
  • Iguazu Falls Brazilian Side Half Day Trip with Itaipu Dam Tour Option: $24
  • Iguazu Falls Argentinian Side Full Day Tour with optional Boat Ride: $24
  • Guarani Village Tour From Puerto Iguassu: $25

Tours and Activities in Cuenca

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

  • 4-Day Magic Tour Cuenca, Alausi town, Baños, Quilotoa, Cotopaxi and Quito: $675
  • 5-Day Rock Climbing Tour in Cojitambo, Paute, Girón, Cajas and Sayausi: $400
  • 5-Day Trekking Rock, Climbing, Canyoning and Paragliding Tour: $474
  • BIKE TOUR "Descent of The Andes": $59
  • Baños Private Guided 4-day tour from Cuenca: $691
  • Biking Cuenca City Tour: $45
  • Biking and Walking City Tour Cuenca: $30
  • Birdwatching Tour in Cajas National Park from Cuenca: $100
  • Birdwatching Tour in Cajas National Park from Cuenca: $100
  • Birdwatching Tour in Giron and Yunguilla Jocotoco Reserve from Cuenca: $129
  • Birdwatching Tour in Tamarindo Tropical Forest area from Cuenca: $130
  • Birdwatching Tour in Via Sigsig,Chiguinda from Cuenca: $130

Alcohol

Typically, people visiting Puerto Iguazu spend on average $9.03 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.

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


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Puerto Iguazu $9.03
    Cuenca $11


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

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Puerto Iguazu vs. Cuenca Travel Comparison

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