A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Quito vs. La Serena for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Quito or La Serena?

Should I visit Quito 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.

Quito

Nestled between two mountain ranges lies the world's highest capital city, Quito, Ecuador. For history lovers, Quito is a very desirable destination as it's home to the Quito Historic Center – one of the largest and best-preserved historic centers in the Americas.

Even though Quito is full of people – in fact, it's the second most populous city in the country – very few of its inhabitants speak English. Luckily, however, the citizens of Quito tend to speak a slower and more clear Spanish than surrounding areas. This is the perfect place to practice what you read in your Intro to Spanish book.

Before visiting Quito, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, give yourself a few days to grow accustomed to the elevation. Staying 9,350 feet above sea level takes some getting used to. Second, don't be fooled into thinking that just because you're visiting a town on the equator that you'll need all your summer clothes. Because of the city's elevation, the area keeps a relatively cool climate year round.

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.

Which city is cheaper, La Serena or Quito?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Quito is $41, 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 Quito and La Serena in more detail.



Accommodation

If you're traveling alone, you may be able to find a budget hotel or hostel for around $18. But for two people in a standard two-person hotel room in Quito the cost is $36 on average.

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.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Quito $18
    La Serena $41
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Quito $36
    La Serena $82

Food

In Quito travelers spend around $16 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.

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.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Quito $16
    La Serena $26

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Quito

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

  • Quito Like a Local Cooking Class: $75
  • Ecuadorian Cooking Classes Rooftop (English): $78
  • Quito Best Markets and Local Food Tour: $81
  • Quito Top Ecuadorian Food Tour and Canelazo at “La Ronda”: $87
  • Quito Cooking Class: $89
  • Jacchigua Show Including Dinner + Transfer: $90
  • Ecuadorian Cooking Class in Quito + Local Market Tour & Exotic Fruit Tasting: $102
  • Quito Culinary Tour and Cooking Class: $105
  • Gourmet Cooking Class in Historic Quito + Market Tour with Chef Pancho: $120
  • Cooking Class at the Andes & Roses (PRIVATE DAY TOUR): $149

Local Transportation

The average price of local transportation around Quito is $5.59 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.

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.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Quito $5.59
    La Serena $20
Typical Local Transportation prices in Quito

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Quito:


  • Taxi from Bus Terminal to Hotel
    $10

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Quito

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Quito:

  • transfer airport to hotel in Quito or from Quito to airport: $117
  • Transfers Friends Airport Quito: $38
  • Transfers Airport - Hotel / Hotel - Airport: $40
  • Transfer to Quito Airport with Hotel Pick-up: $19
  • Transfer in private vehicle from Quito City to Mariscal Sucre Airport (UIO): $25
  • Transfer in out transportation between cities: $35
  • Transfer in or transfer out to Quito airport: $54
  • Transfer in Quito - Airport Arrival and Departure pick-up: $37
  • Transfer in Private Vehicle from Mariscal Sucre Airport (UIO) to Quito City: $25
  • Transfer in Private Minivan from Quito City to Mariscal Sucre Airport (UIO): $37
  • Transfer in Private Minivan from Mariscal Sucre Airport (UIO) to Quito City: $37
  • Transfer Mariscal Sucre International Airport & Hotel: $8.00

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: $26
  • Private Airport Transfer: from La Serena to La Florida Airport (LSC): $26

Is it cheaper to fly into Quito or La Serena?

Prices for flights to both La Serena and Quito 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

Quito's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $13 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.

In La Serena, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $23 per person, per day.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Quito $13
    La Serena $23
Typical Entertainment prices in Quito

Here are a few typical costs in Quito for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:


  • Entrance to Guyasimine Museum for Two
    $8.00

Tours and Activities in Quito

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

  • 10 days True Ecuador Experience: $2,300
  • 12 Day Galapagos Snorkeling Tour: $3,211
  • 15-Day Ecuador and Galapagos Highlights Tour from Quito: $7,780
  • 15-day Adventure: Experiencing the Andes and Amazon of Ecuador: $2,103
  • 16-Day Ecuador Adventure: Andes, Amazon & Galapagos: $4,513
  • 1914 Original Trolley City Tour of Quito: $15
  • 2 Day Private Tour to Mindo Cloud Forest from Quito: $295
  • 2 Day Private Tour to Otavalo Market & surroundings from Quito: $258
  • 2 Full Days Exploring The Ecuadorian Amazon | Tour Start In Quito: $267
  • 2-Day Avenue of the Volcanoes and BaƱos Tour from Quito -"Small Group": $417
  • 2-Day BaƱos Full Adrenaline Tour from Quito: $581
  • 2-Day Private Sightseeing Tour Cotopaxi and Quilotoa: $328

Tours and Activities in La Serena

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

  • Valle de Elqui Fullday Tour: $58
  • Full day Tour to Elqui Valley: $90
  • Elqui Valley and VicuƱa Private Tour Including Lunch: $263
  • La Serena and Coquimbo Private City Tour Including Lunch and Archeological Museum: $269

Alcohol

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Quito may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $14 per day on alcoholic beverages.

Typically, people visiting La Serena spend on average $22 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Quito $14
    La Serena $22
Typical Alcohol prices in Quito

Here are a few samples of the prices for alcohol and nightlife in Quito from other travelers:


  • Beers for Two
    $9.00


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Quito and La Serena, we can see that La Serena is more expensive. And not only is Quito much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Quito would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Quito 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 Quito.

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Quito vs. La Serena Travel Comparison

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