Should you visit Punta Arenas or La Serena?
Should I visit Punta Arenas or La Serena? 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 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.
La Serena is a charming town in Northern Chile. It is Chile's second-oldest city and the thriving capital of Region IV. With its beautiful architecture, its long golden shoreline, dignified stone churches, tree-shaded avenues and pretty plazas, La Serena has everything you could ask for!
Chileans on holidays flood in the city in January and February, though it is fairly peaceful outside the summer rush. Some of the city's architecture is from the colonial era, but most is actually neocolonial thanks to president Gabriel Gonzalez Videla, born in La Serena, and her 'Plan Serena' of the late 1940s.
Which city is cheaper, La Serena 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 La Serena is $84. 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 La Serena in more detail.
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.
Double occupancy rooms typically run around $82 in La Serena For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.
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.
La Serena food costs typically run travelers around $26 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.
Meals for one day
Punta Arenas $20
La Serena $26
Typical Food prices in Punta Arenas
Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Punta Arenas:
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:
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.
To get around in La Serena, the average visitor spends $20 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.
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Punta Arenas
Also for Punta Arenas, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Transfer from Punta Arenas Hotel to Punta Arenas Airport:
Transfer from Punta Arenas (city or airport) to Puerto Natales:
Private Airport Transfer: from Punta Arenas to Punta Arenas Ibanez Airport (PUQ):
Private Airport Transfer: Punta Arenas Ibanez Airport (PUQ) to Punta Arenas:
Bus transfer from Punta Arenas to Ushuaia:
Arrival Transfer: Punta Arenas Airport to Hotel:
Hired Cars and Shuttles in La Serena
Also for La Serena, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Private Airport Transfer: La Florida Airport (LSC) to La Serena:
Private Airport Transfer: from La Serena to La Florida Airport (LSC):
Is it cheaper to fly into Punta Arenas or La Serena?
Prices for flights to both La Serena 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.
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.
In La Serena, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $23 per person, per day.
Tours and Activities in Punta Arenas
Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Punta Arenas.
4-Day Private Tour to Patagonia: Torres del Paine, Glaciers & Penguins:
Bus ticket from Punta Arenas (Chile) to Ushuaia (Argentina):
City Tour of Punta Arenas:
FULL DAY KING PENGUIN COLONY (private tours):
FULL DAY KING PENGUIN COLONY (regular tours):
Full Day Torres del Paine Private tour, departing from Punta Arenas:
Full Day Torres del Paine, From Punta Arenas (Private Tours):
Full day Punta Arenas (Regular tours):
Full day Torres del Paine from Punta Arenas ,Regular tours:
Full-Day Punta Arenas and Magellan Strait Tour:
Full-day experience in Chilean Antártica:
Isla Tortuga Catamarán Cruises from San Jose:
Tours and Activities in La Serena
For La Serena, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:
Elqui Valley and Vicuña Private Tour Including Lunch:
La Serena and Coquimbo Private City Tour Including Lunch and Archeological Museum:
Full day Tour to Elqui Valley:
Valle de Elqui Fullday Tour:
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.
Typically, people visiting La Serena spend on average $22 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
Typical Alcohol prices in Punta Arenas
Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in Punta Arenas:
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:
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Punta Arenas and La Serena, we can see that La Serena is more expensive. And not only is Punta Arenas much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Punta Arenas would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Punta Arenas 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 La Serena would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in La Serena than you might in Punta Arenas.
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