A Travel Price Comparison for Chile Punta Arenas vs. La Serena for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Punta Arenas or La Serena?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Should I visit Punta Arenas or La Serena? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Where Should I go: Punta Arenas or La Serena?

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.

La Serena

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.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Santiago, The Best Family-Friendly Tours to Chile, The Best Wildlife Tours to Chile, and The Best Hiking & Trekking Tours in Chile.


Which place 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 $64, while the average daily cost in La Serena is $88. 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 destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Punta Arenas and La Serena in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Punta Arenas $32
    La Serena $42
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Punta Arenas $64
    La Serena $84
Compare Hotels in Punta Arenas and La Serena

Looking for a hotel in Punta Arenas or La Serena? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Punta Arenas


Hotels in La Serena


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Punta Arenas Hotel Prices and La Serena Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Punta Arenas $1.82
    La Serena $21

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Punta Arenas

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

  • Transfer from Punta Arenas (city or airport) to Puerto Natales: $267
  • Punta Arenas to Punta Arenas Airport (PUQ) - Departure Transfer: $50
  • Punta Arenas Airport (PUQ) to Punta Arenas - Arrival Transfer: $50
  • Private Transfer from Punta Arenas Port to Punta Arenas hotels: $65
  • Private Transfer Punta Arenas Airport to/from Punta Arenas: $34

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.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Punta Arenas $21
    La Serena $27
Typical Food Prices in Punta Arenas

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


  • Donut
    $1.06
  • Dinner
    $26

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Punta Arenas $6.52
    La Serena $24

Tours and Activities in Punta Arenas

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

  • Bike Tour in Punta Arenas, 100% local tour.: $70
  • Fort Bulnes cruises: $70
  • Full day Torres del Paine from Punta Arenas ,Regular tours: $180
  • King Penguin & Tierra del Fuego Tour: $145
  • King Penguin & Tierra del Fuego Tour: $145
  • Magallanes Forest and Club Andino Tour from Punta Arenas: $290
  • Magallanes Reserva and City Tour. Private Shore Excursion.: $158
  • Magdalena Island Penguin Tour by Boat from Punta Arenas: $153
  • Mountain Bike Adventure in Punta Arenas: $192
  • Pali Aike Full-Day Adventure from Punta Arenas: $300
  • Private City Cruise Tour: $230
  • Private Half Day Punta Arenas City Tour From the Hotel only: $250

Tours and Activities in La Serena

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

  • Tour to the internationally renowned Pangue Observatory: $139
  • Dama Island or Chañaral Navigation Tour Humboldt Penguin Reserve: $135
  • Elqui Valley Full Day Tour: magical towns, pisco and mountains: $80
  • Elqui Valley Grand-Tour: $150
  • Elqui Valley Tour from La Serena: $120
  • Elqui Valley and Vicuña Private Tour Including Lunch: $183
  • Elqui Valley: Pisco Tour, Wine, Beer: $174
  • Full Day History and Flavors Tour in the Elqui Valley: $48
  • La Serena & Coquimbo City Tour - Short excursion for cruise ships: $128
  • La Serena and Coquimbo City Tour (SIB): $66
  • La Serena and Coquimbo Guided City Tour: $76
  • La Serena and Coquimbo Private City Tour Including Lunch, Shore Excursion: $194

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Punta Arenas $4.92
    La Serena $23
Typical Alcohol Prices in Punta Arenas

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


  • Alcohol
    $7.43


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.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Punta Arenas Expensive? and Is La Serena Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Punta Arenas or La Serena?

La Serena has a larger population, and is about 32% larger than the population of Punta Arenas. When comparing the sizes of Punta Arenas and La Serena, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Punta Arenas or La Serena?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the southern hemisphere, summer is in January and winter is in July.

Should I visit Punta Arenas or La Serena in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Punta Arenas and La Serena.

In the summer, Punta Arenas is much colder than La Serena. Typically, the summer temperatures in Punta Arenas in January average around 11°C (52°F), and La Serena averages at about 18°C (64°F).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in La Serena this time of the year. In Punta Arenas, it's very sunny this time of the year. Punta Arenas usually receives less sunshine than La Serena during summer. Punta Arenas gets 208 hours of sunny skies, while La Serena receives 247 hours of full sun in the summer.

In January, Punta Arenas usually receives more rain than La Serena. Punta Arenas gets 39 mm (1.5 in) of rain, while La Serena receives 4 mm (0.2 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures January
    Punta Arenas 11°C (52°F) 
    La Serena 18°C (64°F)

Should I visit Punta Arenas or La Serena in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Punta Arenas as well as La Serena.

In April, Punta Arenas is generally much colder than La Serena. Daily temperatures in Punta Arenas average around 7°C (44°F), and La Serena fluctuates around 15°C (59°F).

In the autumn, Punta Arenas often gets less sunshine than La Serena. Punta Arenas gets 119 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while La Serena receives 159 hours of full sun.

Punta Arenas usually gets more rain in April than La Serena. Punta Arenas gets 36 mm (1.4 in) of rain, while La Serena receives 3 mm (0.1 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures April
    Punta Arenas 7°C (44°F) 
    La Serena 15°C (59°F)

Should I visit Punta Arenas or La Serena in the Winter?

Both La Serena and Punta Arenas are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities.

Punta Arenas can get quite cold in the winter. Punta Arenas is much colder than La Serena in the winter. The daily temperature in Punta Arenas averages around 1°C (35°F) in July, and La Serena fluctuates around 12°C (54°F).

Punta Arenas usually receives less sunshine than La Serena during winter. Punta Arenas gets 70 hours of sunny skies, while La Serena receives 160 hours of full sun in the winter.

In July, Punta Arenas usually receives more rain than La Serena. Punta Arenas gets 30 mm (1.2 in) of rain, while La Serena receives 3 mm (0.1 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures July
    Punta Arenas 1°C (35°F) 
    La Serena 12°C (54°F)

Should I visit Punta Arenas or La Serena in the Spring?

Both La Serena and Punta Arenas during the spring are popular places to visit.

In the spring, Punta Arenas is much colder than La Serena. Typically, the spring temperatures in Punta Arenas in October average around 7°C (44°F), and La Serena averages at about 14°C (57°F).

In the spring, Punta Arenas often gets around the same amount of sunshine as La Serena. Punta Arenas gets 183 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while La Serena receives 190 hours of full sun.

Punta Arenas usually gets more rain in October than La Serena. Punta Arenas gets 29 mm (1.1 in) of rain, while La Serena receives 5 mm (0.2 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures October
    Punta Arenas 7°C (44°F) 
    La Serena 14°C (57°F)

Typical Weather for La Serena and Punta Arenas

Punta Arenas La Serena
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 11°C (52°F) 39 mm (1.5 in) 18°C (64°F) 4 mm (0.2 in)
Feb 11°C (52°F) 28 mm (1.1 in) 18°C (64°F) 3 mm (0.1 in)
Mar 9°C (48°F) 30 mm (1.2 in) 17°C (63°F) 3 mm (0.1 in)
Apr 7°C (44°F) 36 mm (1.4 in) 15°C (59°F) 3 mm (0.1 in)
May 4°C (39°F) 42 mm (1.7 in) 13°C (55°F) 3 mm (0.1 in)
Jun 2°C (35°F) 28 mm (1.1 in) 12°C (54°F) 4 mm (0.2 in)
Jul 1°C (35°F) 30 mm (1.2 in) 12°C (54°F) 3 mm (0.1 in)
Aug 3°C (37°F) 30 mm (1.2 in) 12°C (54°F) 5 mm (0.2 in)
Sep 5°C (40°F) 24 mm (0.9 in) 13°C (55°F) 5 mm (0.2 in)
Oct 7°C (44°F) 29 mm (1.1 in) 14°C (57°F) 5 mm (0.2 in)
Nov 9°C (48°F) 32 mm (1.3 in) 15°C (59°F) 4 mm (0.2 in)
Dec 11°C (51°F) 29 mm (1.1 in) 17°C (63°F) 3 mm (0.1 in)