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

Should you visit Puerto Iguazu or Santa Marta?

Should I visit Puerto Iguazu or Santa Marta? 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.

Santa Marta

Santa Marta is a city in the Magdalena Department of Colombia's Costa Norte. Over the last decade, security has steadily been replacing the shadow of the Colombia's violent past. One destination in Colombia's northeast region is now attracting more international visitors: the coastal Caribbean area of Santa Marta. Established in 1525 by the Spanish as a base of conquest, Santa Marta sits at the foot of the world's highest coastal mountain range, the towering Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. It is South America's oldest European-founded town and the second most important colonial city on Colombia's Caribbean coast. While many travelers complain about Santa Marta's horrible traffic and unsightly urban sprawl, the city holds a numerous amounts of great hotels, bars and restaurants and holds a few fantastic destinations nearby to which you can go during the daytime.

Which city is cheaper, Santa Marta or Puerto Iguazu?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Puerto Iguazu is $58, while the average daily cost in Santa Marta is $26. 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 Santa Marta 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.

Travelers usually pay around $22 for a double occupancy room in Santa Marta If you want to be in a premiere location or have high end amenities, you can expect to pay a bit more.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Puerto Iguazu $23
    Santa Marta $11
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Puerto Iguazu $46
    Santa Marta $22

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.

Santa Marta food costs typically run travelers around $7.98 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.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Puerto Iguazu $21
    Santa Marta $7.98

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 Santa Marta

For Santa Marta, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Breakfast
    $3.13

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Santa Marta

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

  • Food Tour in Santa Marta Old City Half-Day: $60
  • Santa Marta 2-hour Street Food Tour: $75

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.

Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Santa Marta than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $4.20 on transportation in Santa Marta on average per day.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Puerto Iguazu $18
    Santa Marta $4.20

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Puerto Iguazu

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

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

Typical Local Transportation prices in Santa Marta

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


  • Gas
    $5.22

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Santa Marta

Also for Santa Marta, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Transfer in private minivan from Santa Marta city to Santa Marta Airport (SMR): $21
  • Transfer in private minivan from Santa Marta Airport (SMR) to Santa Marta city: $21
  • Transfer in Private Car from Santa Marta city to Santa Marta Airport (SMR): $14
  • Transfer in Private Car from Santa Marta Airport (SMR) to Santa Marta city: $14
  • Transfer Round Trip Airport - Hotel (santa Marta): $10
  • Santa Marta Arrival or Departure Transfer: Airport / Cruise Ship Terminal: $12
  • Round trip transfer in private minivan from-to Santa Marta Airport (SMR) to city: $43
  • Round trip transfer in Private Car from-to Santa Marta Airport(SMR) to City: $28
  • Private transfer between Santa Marta and Cartagena (or vice versa): $194
  • Private Transfer to Cartagena or Barranquilla City from Santa Marta: $84
  • Private Transfer to / from Palomino, Tayrona Park or Minca from Santa Marta: $35
  • Private Transfer Santa Marta to Palomino (or vice versa): $96

Is it cheaper to fly into Puerto Iguazu or Santa Marta?

Prices for flights to both Santa Marta 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.

Sightseeing expenses in Santa Marta, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $11 per day, per person.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Puerto Iguazu $19
    Santa Marta $11

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: $150
  • 2-Night Iguazu Rainforest Experience at Yacutinga Lodge: $608
  • 2-day Iguazu Falls Argentinian Side + City Tour with 3 frontiers landmark: $115
  • 3-Day Iguazu Falls Adventure: Brazil and Argentina: $363
  • 3-Day Iguazu Falls Exploring Tour: $172
  • 3-Day Iguazu Falls Self Guided Exploring Tour: $213
  • 3-Day Tour: Exploring Iguazu Falls in Private Service: $544
  • 3-Days Iguazu Falls Tour of the Argentinian and Brazilian Side: $491
  • 3-Days Private Experience at Iguazu: $790
  • 4-Day Tour to Iguazu Falls by Air from Buenos Aires: $1,058
  • 5-Day Adventure Trip in Iguazu: $538
  • 6-Day Iguazu Falls & Ibera Marshlands Luxury Tour: $1,800

Tours and Activities in Santa Marta

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

  • "Gabo Márquez" Tour - Aracataca and Cienaga: $205
  • 2 Day Coastal Motorcycle Tour: $333
  • 4-Day Lost City Small-Group Tour in Santa Marta: $380
  • 5-Day Private Guided Hiking Experience to The Lost City: $699
  • Aracataca And Ciénaga - Gabriel García Márquez Tour: $53
  • Archeological Tour in Taironaka with River Tubing and a small Lost City: $177
  • Arrecife and Cañaveral tour from Santa Marta: $74
  • BE RELAX TOUR - Bahia Concha: $22
  • BE TROPICAL TOUR - Buritaca & Playa Los Angeles: $51
  • Cartagena - City Tour: $128
  • City Tour Santa Marta: $51
  • Coffee Tour La Victoria: $125

Alcohol

Typically, people visiting Puerto Iguazu spend on average $9.09 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.

Typically, people visiting Santa Marta spend on average $5.34 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Puerto Iguazu $9.09
    Santa Marta $5.34

Typical Alcohol prices in Santa Marta

Here are a few samples of the prices for alcohol and nightlife in Santa Marta from other travelers:


  • Beer
    $0.57
  • Beer
    $2.35

Sample the Local Flavors in Santa Marta

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

  • Nicks 1892 Coffee farm & Brewery: $55


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Puerto Iguazu and Santa Marta, we can see that Puerto Iguazu is more expensive. And not only is Santa Marta much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Santa Marta would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Santa Marta 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 Santa Marta.

Budget Your Trip

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Puerto Iguazu vs. Santa Marta Travel Comparison

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