A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Punta del Este vs. Cartagena for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Punta del Este or Cartagena?

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Punta del Este or Cartagena, this travel cost comparison can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Punta del Este

Punta del Este with its many beaches, elegant seaside homes, yacht harbor, high-rise apartment buildings, pricey hotels, ardent night scene and glitzy restaurants is a chic beach resort town in Uruguay. Many tourists come from Brazil and Argentina, on the other side of the Rio de la Plata, to get some nice sun and lay on the beach for a weekend getaway. Punta del Este is more expensive than other areas in Uruguay and has been called the Monaco of South America. Tourist season varies wildly from totally deserted in the winter to very crowded in the summer.

Cartagena

The capital of the Bolivar Department of Colombia, Cartagena is one of the most visited cities in the country. It sits on Colombia's northern coast by the Caribbean Sea. It's a port city with a population of almost 900,000, making it the fifth largest city in Colombia. The city has a rich history and was the first Spanish colony on the American continent. It was also one of the first sanctuaries for freed African slaves in the Americas.

Which city is cheaper, Cartagena or Punta del Este?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Punta del Este is $69, while the average daily cost in Cartagena is $38. 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 del Este and Cartagena in more detail.



Accommodation

The prices for places to stay in Punta del Este can vary by date, location, and type. Generally, the average cost for accommodation per person is $38, while a typical double-occupancy hotel room for two people will cost around $76.

Cartagena's average price for two people sharing a typical double-occupancy hotel room is $44. A typical place to stay for one person, per day is $22.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Punta del Este $38
    Cartagena $22
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Punta del Este $76
    Cartagena $44

Food

The price of a meal in Punta del Este can vary widely. However, the average price for food per day is $22 per person, and a typical meal will cost around $8.80 based on the spending of previous visitors. Less expensive dining options can be found by eating street food or at fast food restaurants.

In Cartagena travelers spend around $7.89 a day on food. You can save money by choosing casual restaurants or food stalls, or you can spend plenty more by dining in nicer restaurants at every meal.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Punta del Este $22
    Cartagena $7.89

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Cartagena

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Cartagena.

  • Cartagena Cuisine Cooking Experience: $30
  • BIKE & BITE food tour: $52
  • Street food tour with Julie: $64
  • Food Tour in Cartagena Walled City: $66
  • Street Food & Local Food Tour: $66
  • SkyKitchen 4 Course Cooking Class: $81
  • Bazurto Market Tour and Cooking Class in Cartagena: $92
  • Cartagena - Food Tour: $100
  • Caribbean Cuisine Cooking Class: $105
  • Shared Local Cooking Class and Lunch in Cartagena: $110
  • Bazurto Local Market Tour & Cooking Class: $115
  • Colombian Cooking Workshop: $201

Local Transportation

Punta del Este'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 $15 per person, per day on transportation in Punta del Este.

The average price of local transportation around Cartagena is $6.02 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.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Punta del Este $15
    Cartagena $6.02

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Punta del Este

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

  • Private Arrival Transfer: Punta del Este Airport to Hotel: $40
  • Private Departure Transfer: Hotel to Punta del Este Airport: $40
  • Private Transfer to Garzon Restaurant by Francis Mallmann: $269
  • Punta del Este Airport Private Transfer: $45
  • Punta del Este Wine Tour, Bodega Garzon, Private Transfer: $338

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cartagena

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Cartagena:

  • One way private water transfer between Cartagena and the Islands (6 ppl max): $530
  • Private Transfer from La Manga Club to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $259
  • Private Transfer from Cartagena to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $249
  • Private Transfer Cartagena to Palomino (or vice versa): $195
  • Private transfer to Barranquilla from Cartagena- Traslado privado a Barranquilla: $170
  • Departure Private Transfer Cartagena City to Cartagena Airport CTG by Minivan: $96
  • Transfer to Tayrona Park, Santa Marta or Barranquilla City from Cartagena: $84
  • Departure Private Transfer Cartagena City to Cartagena Airport CTG by 2x4 Car: $72
  • Private transfer Cartagena airport -Mamonal: $65
  • Transfer Cartagena: $50
  • Transfer service in Cartagena: $50
  • Private Transfer: Cartagena to Rafael Núñez International Airport (CTG): $40

Is it cheaper to fly into Punta del Este or Cartagena?

Prices for flights to both Cartagena and Punta del Este 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 del Este can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $7.41 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.

Cartagena's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $17 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 Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Punta del Este $7.41
    Cartagena $17

Tours and Activities in Punta del Este

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

  • La Vista 360 Admission Ticket: $10
  • Punta del Este City Tour Clasico con Puesta del Sol en Casapueblo: $25
  • Punta del Este City Sightseeing Tour: $33
  • Art Studio Tour in Punta del Este: $75
  • Punta del Este City Tour: $93
  • Wine Lovers - Punta Wine Experience: $150
  • Punta del Este Special Art Tour: $185
  • Punta del Este Shore Excursion: Private Sightseeing Tour of Punta del Este: $188

Tours and Activities in Cartagena

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

  • 2 Hour Panoramic tour for cruise ship passengers: $40
  • 4-Hour Fishing Experience with Locals Near Cartagena: $103
  • 6 Hr Cartagena Fishing Experience: $974
  • Accessible sightseeing tour of Cartagena: $140
  • Audio Guide - Walking Tour with Interactive (Cartagena de Indias): $10
  • Aviario National Park Shared Tour: $63
  • Bar Tour for Guys and Bachelor Parties: $20
  • Bazurto Market + La Popa Convent Cartagena City Tour 4H: $81
  • Bazurto Market Half day tour in Cartagena: $125
  • Biking Tour Cartagena: $19
  • Birdwatching & Photography experience at the National Aviary in Barú: $279
  • Bolivar Pirate Island Experience with Lunch: $75

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 del Este, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $5.43.

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Cartagena may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $7.40 per day on alcoholic beverages.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Punta del Este $5.43
    Cartagena $7.40

Sample the Local Flavors in Punta del Este

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

  • Wine Tasting from Punta del Este: $128


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

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Punta del Este vs. Cartagena Travel Comparison

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