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

Should you visit Punta del Este or El Calafate?

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Punta del Este or El Calafate, 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.

El Calafate

Located in Patagonia, El Calafate has become a popular tourist destination in Argentina because of its beautiful setting on the stunningly blue Lago Argentina. The town sits on the southern border of the lake in the southwestern part of the Santa Cruz Province. It's about 320 kilometers from Rio Gallegos.

The rise in popularity of Patagonia as a tourist destination has truly put this small town on the map. You'll find no shortage of trekkers in the town and it makes an excellent base to explore different parts of the Los Glaciares National Park. Popular places to visit include Perito Moreno Glacier, Cerro Chalten, and Cerro Torre.

El Calafate has a cold semi-arid climate. The summers are cool to warm and very dry while the winters are cold and damp. Lago Argentino has a significant influence over the town's climate. The shallow bay where the town is located is usually frozen during the winter months.

Check out our ultimate guide to Hiking in Patagonia.

Which city is cheaper, El Calafate 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 $71, while the average daily cost in El Calafate is $71. 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 El Calafate 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 $39, while a typical double-occupancy hotel room for two people will cost around $78.

An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $48 in El Calafate For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Punta del Este $39
    El Calafate $24
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Punta del Este $78
    El Calafate $48

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.

Food in El Calafate costs travelers about $26 per day on average. Restaurants can vary significantly in price, so choose wisely if you're trying to save money. Fast food and street stalls are typically your cheapest options, which sit down restaurants can be significantly more expensive.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Punta del Este $22
    El Calafate $26

Typical Food prices in El Calafate

For El Calafate, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Dessert
    $0.10
  • Dinner
    $16
  • Dinner
    $9.39

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in El Calafate

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

  • Visit to Estancia Alice El Galpon, Dinner and Folkloric Show: $120
  • Gaucho, Dinner and Folklore Full-Day Tour: $165

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 $16 per person, per day on transportation in Punta del Este.

El Calafate'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 $25 per person, per day on transportation in El Calafate.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Punta del Este $16
    El Calafate $25

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Punta del Este

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

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

Typical Local Transportation prices in El Calafate

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in El Calafate:


  • Taxi
    $12

Hired Cars and Shuttles in El Calafate

Also for El Calafate, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Kayak in Perito Moreno Glacier with transfers: $461
  • Kayak in Perito Moreno Glacier without transfers: $336
  • Private Transfer Airport-Hotel-Airport (Calafate): $90
  • Shared transfer to El Calafate -El Chaltén: $75
  • El Calafate Airport Private Transfer: $57
  • Bus Transfer from El Calafate to El Chalten: $50
  • Private Transfer Hotel-Bus Station or Bus Station-Hotel (Calafate): $35
  • Shared Transfer Airport-Hotel-Airport (Calafate): $32
  • From Calafate: Round-trip transfer to Perito Moreno Glacier: $27

Is it cheaper to fly into Punta del Este or El Calafate?

Prices for flights to both El Calafate 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 $7.60 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in El Calafate can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $26 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Punta del Este $7.60
    El Calafate $26

Tours and Activities in Punta del Este

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

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

Typical Entertainment prices in El Calafate

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for El Calafate's activities, tours, and tickets:


  • Glacerium Museum
    $12

Tours and Activities in El Calafate

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

  • "Glaciares Gourmet" - Maria Turquesa Cruiser Navigation: $180
  • 13-Day Best of Patagonia Tour from El Calafate to Ushuaia: Los Glaciares, Torres del Paine and Tierra del Fuego National Parks: $1,704
  • 2-Day Perito Moreno Tour with Boat Ride & 4x4 Safari: $243
  • 2-day El Chalten Hiking Adventure Tour from El Calafate: $406
  • 2-day tour: Perito Moreno Glacier + Torres del Paine National Park: $215
  • 3-Day Tour of El Calafate and the Glaciers: $255
  • 4 Days Tour in El Calafate & Chalten: $190
  • 4-Days El Calafate Easy Going Experience: $965
  • 4WD Ride tour to Cerro Frias from El Calafate: $99
  • 4x4 Adventure Day Trip to Torres del Paine National Park with lunchbox: $165
  • 5-Day Adventure Trip in El Calafate: $1,151
  • 5-Days El Calafate Experience without limits!: $1,426

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 $5.57.

Typically, people visiting El Calafate spend on average $13 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Punta del Este $5.57
    El Calafate $13

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

Typical Alcohol prices in El Calafate

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in El Calafate:


  • Beer
    $0.08
  • Alcohol
    $3.26

Sample the Local Flavors in El Calafate

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in El Calafate:

  • Calafate Wine Tour | City Tour Peatonal Maridado con Vinos: $38
  • Calafate Wine Tour: $48


When comparing the travel costs between Punta del Este and El Calafate, we can see that Punta del Este 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 del Este vs. El Calafate Travel Comparison

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