A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Puerto Varas vs. El Chalten for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Puerto Varas or El Chalten?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel cost comparison between Puerto Varas and El Chalten can help. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Puerto Varas

Puerto Varas is a city in Southern Chile, in the Los Lagos (Lakes) Region, Llanquihue Province. It is a charming town, only 23 km away from Puerto Montt and surrounded by the Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes as well as the impressive Llanquihue lake. In terms of landscape, accommodation and activities, Puerto Varas is well served! Kayak, paddle, canyoning, rock climbing, trekking, ski, fishing, you name it! If you decide to stop in that area, we recommend that you stay in Puerto Varas, as it provides the perfect starting point for many memorable excursions in the area.

El Chalten

El Chalten is probably one of the most beautiful areas of Patagonia, especially at the slightest ray of sunshine and one of your cheapest destination while you are travelling in Patagonia. Indeed, you will spend your days hiking and there are no park fees. There are restaurants, souvenir shops, and outdoor stores but most of them will not accept credit cards so before heading out, get cash in El Calafate or your previous stop. For the beginners, it will be long hikes in a magical setting and for the experts perhaps a week long expedition to the greatest glaciers of the world. To discover the way people live in the pampa, you may also decide to stay at an Estancia. In the stunning Estancia Santa Thelma, about 300km away from El Chalten, you will be able to explore the surroundings by horse, live a unique experience in the middle of the nature and its vast plains occupied by thousands of merino sheep and horses and of course eat a typical meal of the region.

Which city is cheaper, El Chalten or Puerto Varas?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Puerto Varas is $105, while the average daily cost in El Chalten is $70. 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 Varas and El Chalten in more detail.



Accommodation

The average price for accommodation for two people in Puerto Varas is $130. This is for two people sharing a typical double occupancy hotel room.

The average price for accommodation for two people in El Chalten is $62. This is for two people sharing a typical double occupancy hotel room.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Puerto Varas $65
    El Chalten $31
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Puerto Varas $130
    El Chalten $62

Food

Puerto Varas food costs typically run travelers around $24 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.

While meal prices in El Chalten can vary, the average travelers spends about $26 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in El Chalten should cost around $10 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in El Chalten is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Puerto Varas $24
    El Chalten $26

Local Transportation

The average price of local transportation around Puerto Varas is $20 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 cost of a taxi ride in El Chalten is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $17 per person, per day, on local transportation in El Chalten.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Puerto Varas $20
    El Chalten $17

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Puerto Varas

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Puerto Varas:

  • Cruce Andino Office Shuttle Transfer from Puerto Varas: $9.69
  • Transfer from Puerto Varas to Puerto Montt Airport: $14
  • Puerto Varas Airport Shuttle Transfer: $29
  • Puerto Montt Departure Transfer from Hotel in Puerto Varas: $32
  • Puerto Varas Bus Terminal Private Transfer: $39
  • Cruce Andino Office Private Transfer from Puerto Varas: $43
  • Puerto Varas Airport Private Transfer: $49

Is it cheaper to fly into Puerto Varas or El Chalten?

Prices for flights to both El Chalten and Puerto Varas 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

Puerto Varas's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $18 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 and activities in El Chalten typically cost an average of $19 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Puerto Varas $18
    El Chalten $19

Tours and Activities in Puerto Varas

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

  • Osorno Volcano Tour: $26
  • Frutillar Tour: Southern Traditions: $34
  • Sightseeing Tour Puerto Varas & Puerto Montt: $37
  • Half day, traditional city tour: $40
  • Speed Boat City Tour in Puerto Varas: $45
  • Petrohue Waterfalls & Osorno Volcano Half-Day Tour: $49
  • Half-Day Small-Group Rafting Experience in Petrohu√© River: $60
  • Greater Island Chiloe Tour from Puerto Varas: $62
  • Full-Day Guided Tour to Villa Peulla from Puerto Varas: $67
  • Speed Boat and Walking City Tour in Puerto Varas: $69
  • Frutillar Bike Tour from Puerto Varas: $69
  • Private Sightseeing Tour in Puerto Varas & Puerto Montt: $70

Tours and Activities in El Chalten

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for El Chalten are as follows:

  • El Chalten Rafting Experience: $149
  • El Chalten Rafting Experience: $225
  • Module Fitz Roy Adventure: $305
  • 2-Day Chalten Adventure tour: Laguna de los Tres, Mount Fitz Roy & Cerro Torre: $333
  • 2-Day Hiking Tour of Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre from El Chalten: $553
  • 3-Day Eco-Lodge Trekking Tour at Los Glaciares National Park from El Chalten: $789

Alcohol

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Puerto Varas may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $6.30 per day on alcoholic beverages.

The average person spends about $8.59 on alcoholic beverages in El Chalten per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Puerto Varas $6.30
    El Chalten $8.59

Sample the Local Flavors in Puerto Varas

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

  • Osorno Volcano & Brewery Tour in Puerto Varas: $64
  • Heritage City Tour and Brewery in Puerto Varas: $150


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

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Puerto Varas vs. El Chalten Travel Comparison

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