Should you visit Puerto Iguazu or El Calafate?
Should I visit Puerto Iguazu 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.
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.
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 Puerto Iguazu?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Puerto Iguazu is $49, while the average daily cost in El Calafate is $60. 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 El Calafate in more detail.
An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $40 in Puerto Iguazu 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 $42 in El Calafate For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.
To get around in Puerto Iguazu, the average visitor spends $15 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.
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 $21 per person, per day on transportation in El Calafate.
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Puerto Iguazu
Also for Puerto Iguazu, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
One-Way or Round Trip Airport Transfer:
Puerto Iguazu Airport Shuttle Transfer:
Iguazu: Transfer from Argentina Side:
Iguazu Falls: Day Tour including transfers and guided tour:
Iguazu Falls Pass: Transfers in/out + Visit to Iguazu Falls Argentininan Side:
Iguazu Airport Private Transfer:
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:
Shared transfer to El Calafate -El Chaltén:
Shared Transfer Airport-Hotel-Airport (Calafate):
Private Transfer Hotel-Bus Station or Bus Station-Hotel (Calafate):
Private Transfer Airport-Hotel-Airport (Calafate):
Kayak in Perito Moreno Glacier without transfers:
Kayak in Perito Moreno Glacier with transfers:
Transfers Between Airport and Hotels:
Private Airport Transfer:
El Calafate Airport Private Transfer:
Bus Transfer from El Calafate to El Chalten:
Is it cheaper to fly into Puerto Iguazu or El Calafate?
Prices for flights to both El Calafate 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.
The average traveler spends about $18 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 El Calafate costs travelers about $22 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
Puerto Iguazu $18
El Calafate $22
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:
Foz do Iguaçu Folkloric Show with Dinner from Puerto Iguazú:
Skip the Line: Dinner Tango Show in Iguazu Falls Ticket:
Folkloric Show with Dinner at Rafain Churrascaria:
Rafain Steakhouse Show - Dinner and Show Included:
Dinner Tango Show in Iguazú Falls:
Creative Cooking Class and Dinner with Wine in Iguazu:
Tio Querido Dinner and Folk Show in Puerto Iguazú:
Skip the Line: Dinner Samba Show Ticket in Rafain (brazilian side):
Full day Iguazu Falls Argentinian side + Tango Show (no dinner):
Full day Iguazu Falls Argentinian Side + Dinner Tango Show:
Visit to Iguazu Falls Brazilian Side + Dinner Samba Show in Rafain:
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:
In Puerto Iguazu, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $16 per person, per day.
Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in El Calafate can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $22 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.
Tours and Activities in Puerto Iguazu
For Puerto Iguazu, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:
2-Night Iguassu Falls Sightseeing Tour:
2-Night Iguazu Rainforest Experience at Yacutinga Lodge:
2-day Iguazu Falls Argentinian Side + City Tour with 3 frontiers landmark:
3-Day Iguazu Falls Adventure: Brazil and Argentina:
3-Day Iguazu Falls Exploring Tour:
3-Day Iguazu Falls Self Guided Exploring Tour:
3-Day Tour: Exploring Iguazu Falls in Private Service:
3-Days Iguazu Falls Tour of the Argentinian and Brazilian Side:
3-Days Private Experience at Iguazu:
4-Day Tour to Iguazu Falls by Air from Buenos Aires:
5-Day Adventure Trip in Iguazu:
6-Day Iguazu Falls & Ibera Marshlands Luxury Tour:
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 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!:
5-Days Pearls from Argentina and Chilean Patagonia Experience!:
Typically, people visiting Puerto Iguazu spend on average $7.73 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
Typically, people visiting El Calafate spend on average $11 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 Puerto Iguazu and El Calafate, we can see that El Calafate is more expensive. And not only is Puerto Iguazu much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Puerto Iguazu would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Puerto Iguazu 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 Puerto Iguazu.
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