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

Should you visit Punta Arenas or El Chalten?

Should I visit Punta Arenas or El Chalten? 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.

Punta Arenas

Punta Arenas is in the far south of Chile and has a long history of maritime commerce, oil extraction, and sheep farming. It's the most populated city on the Strait of Magellan and has all the facilities you might need as a traveler, including banks, markets, drugstores and equipment shops. With a population of about 130,000, the city is a comfortable place to spend time. It serves as a base for Antarctic expeditions, although many expeditions also start in Ushuaia, Argentina, and Christchurch New Zealand.

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 Punta Arenas?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Punta Arenas is $61, 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 Punta Arenas and El Chalten in more detail.



Accommodation

An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $62 in Punta Arenas For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.

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
    Punta Arenas $31
    El Chalten $31
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Punta Arenas $62
    El Chalten $62

Food

While meal prices in Punta Arenas can vary, the average travelers spends about $20 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in Punta Arenas should cost around $8.00 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in Punta Arenas is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.

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
    Punta Arenas $20
    El Chalten $26
Typical Food prices in Punta Arenas

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Punta Arenas:


  • Donut
    $1.27
  • Dinner
    $31

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Punta Arenas

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

  • Punta Arenas Small Group Sightseeing and food Tour with a Local Guide: $76

Local Transportation

Punta Arenas'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 $1.74 per person, per day on transportation in Punta Arenas.

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.
    Punta Arenas $1.74
    El Chalten $17

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Punta Arenas

Also for Punta Arenas, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Private Airport Transfer: Punta Arenas Ibanez Airport (PUQ) to Punta Arenas: $29
  • Private Airport Transfer: from Punta Arenas to Punta Arenas Ibanez Airport (PUQ): $29
  • Transfer from Punta Arenas Hotel to Punta Arenas Airport: $32
  • Arrival Transfer: Punta Arenas Airport to Hotel: $33
  • Bus transfer from Punta Arenas to Ushuaia: $169
  • Transfer from Punta Arenas (city or airport) to Puerto Natales: $250

Is it cheaper to fly into Punta Arenas or El Chalten?

Prices for flights to both El Chalten and Punta Arenas 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

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Punta Arenas can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $6.24 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.

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.
    Punta Arenas $6.24
    El Chalten $19

Tours and Activities in Punta Arenas

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Punta Arenas.

  • Half day traditional City Tour: $35
  • Punta Arenas Sightseeing Tour: $47
  • Punta Arenas Highlights Shared Tour: $67
  • Small Group Punta Arenas Shore Excursion: Fort Bulnes and City Tour: $71
  • Puntarenas City tour and Mangroove Tour: $87
  • Bus ticket from Punta Arenas (Chile) to Ushuaia (Argentina): $88
  • Full-Day Punta Arenas and Magellan Strait Tour: $95
  • Rainforest Skywalk & Tarcoles River Eco Cruise Tour Puntarenas Shore excursion: $99
  • Punta Arenas Shore Excursion: City Sightseeing Tour: $101
  • Full day Punta Arenas (Regular tours): $103
  • Regular Tour of Andino Club Ski Mountain and Chairlift from Punta Arenas, Chile: $103
  • City Tour of Punta Arenas: $110

Tours and Activities in El Chalten

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

  • 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
  • El Chalten Rafting Experience: $149
  • El Chalten Rafting Experience: $225
  • Module Fitz Roy Adventure: $305

Alcohol

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Punta Arenas, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $4.70.

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
    Punta Arenas $4.70
    El Chalten $8.59
Typical Alcohol prices in Punta Arenas

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in Punta Arenas:


  • Alcohol
    $8.88

Sample the Local Flavors in Punta Arenas

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Punta Arenas:

  • Punta Arenas Small Group Beers & Brewery Tour with a Local Guide: $68


When comparing the travel costs between Punta Arenas and El Chalten, we can see that El Chalten is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in South America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

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Punta Arenas vs. El Chalten Travel Comparison

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