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

Should you visit Quito or Santiago?

Should I visit Quito or Santiago? 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.

Santiago

Santiago is the capital city of Chile. It is centrally located in the long and narrow country, making it a good jumping off point to explore everywhere else. It's convenient location means that you can go skiing in the Andes one day, and hang out at the beach the next.

Santiago has a cool semi-arid climate that is similar to Mediterranean climates. The summers, which are between November and March, are warm and dry. The temperatures climb to around 95 degrees Fahrenheit. The winters, between June and August, are humid with cold mornings. The daily highs are around 55 degrees Fahrenheit and the lows stay a few degrees above freezing. Rain is more common in the winter months and the dry season is between December and March.

Which city is cheaper, Santiago 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 Santiago is $137. 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 Santiago 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.

Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $214 for a double occupancy room in Santiago.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Quito $18
    Santiago $107
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Quito $36
    Santiago $214

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.

While meal prices in Santiago can vary, the average travelers spends about $13 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in Santiago should cost around $5.20 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in Santiago is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Quito $16
    Santiago $13

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

Typical Food prices in Santiago

Some typical examples of dining costs in Santiago are as follows:


  • Empanada
    $2.28
  • Hamburger
    $3.03
  • Dinner
    $31

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Santiago

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

  • Dinner at a Typical Chilean Restaurant with a Traditional Dance Show in Santiago: $73
  • A Bite of Santiago Food Tour: $77
  • Chilean Dinner and Show Experience in Santiago: $77
  • ChileCooks - Food Tours: $91
  • Traditional Dinner Show in Santiago: $96
  • Bali Hai Dinner & Show Including Transport: $97
  • San Cristobal Hill Night City Tour with Dinner Show: $106
  • Traditional Chilean Show with Dinner and Private Transportation in Santiago: $107
  • Chilean Folklore Show and Dinner with Private Transport: $110
  • Small-Group Tour: Night City Tour with Santa Lucia Hill and Dinner Show: $116
  • Small-Group Night City Tour: San Cristobal Hill and Dinner Show: $116
  • Private Market Tour and Traditional Chilean Cooking Class in a Local Home: $117

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.

The average price of local transportation around Santiago is $5.24 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.
    Quito $5.59
    Santiago $5.24
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 Mariscal Sucre International Airport & Hotel: $8.00
  • Quito Airport Arrival Transfer to Hotel: $19
  • Transfer to Quito Airport with Hotel Pick-up: $19
  • Transfer Express - Quito Hotel - Airport: $25
  • Transfer Express - Quito Airport - Hotel: $25
  • Quito to BaƱos Transfer in Fantasy Bus: $25
  • Quito to Otavalo Transfer in Fantasy Bus: $25
  • Quito to Quilotoa Transfer in Fantasy Bus: $25
  • Quito to Cotopaxi in Transfer in Fantasy Bus: $25
  • Arrival Private Transfer: Quito Airport (UIO) to Quito City in a Minibus: $25
  • Departure Private Transfer: Quito City to Quito Airport (UIO) in a Minibus: $25
  • Transfer in Private Vehicle from Mariscal Sucre Airport (UIO) to Quito City: $25

Typical Local Transportation prices in Santiago

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


  • Metro Ride
    $1.37

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Santiago

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Santiago:

  • Airport Transfer: $200
  • Arrival Private Transfer Santiago Airport SCL to Santiago in an Executive SUV: $46
  • Arrival Private Transfer Santiago Airport SCL to Santiago in an Luxury Van: $71
  • Departure Private Transfers : Santiago to Santiago Airport SCL in Business Car: $73
  • Departure Private Transfers : Santiago to Santiago Airport SCL in Luxury Van: $96
  • Maipo Valley Wine Tour, Concha y Toro, Private Transfer from Santiago: $161
  • Premium Ski resort transfer: $250
  • Private Airport Transfer: from Santiago de Chile to Santiago Int. Airport (SCL): $28
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Airport to Hotel in Santiago: $27
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Santiago de Chile Airport to Santiago City: $28
  • Private Departure Transfer from Santiago City to Santiago de Chile Airport: $28
  • Private Round Trip Transfer Santiago City to Santiago de Chile Airport: $55

Is it cheaper to fly into Quito or Santiago?

Prices for flights to both Santiago 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.

Santiago's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $46 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.
    Quito $13
    Santiago $46
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:

  • Skip the Line: La CompaƱia Church Admission Ticket: $5.50
  • Skip the Line: Capilla del Hombre and Guayasamin's Museum Ticket: $10
  • Tour Guide and Driver: $10
  • Quito City Tour Hop-On Hop-Off: $12
  • Quito 3-Hour City Tour at Night: $15
  • Quito at Night & Urban Legends Tour - "Small Group": $15
  • The Original Quito City Tour in Trolley with Hotel Pick-up - "Small Group": $15
  • Quito Hop-on Hop-off City Bus Tour: $15
  • 1914 Original Trolley City Tour of Quito: $15
  • Equatorial Monument: 3-Hour Tour from Quito: $19
  • Middle of the World Tour With Tickets - "Small Group": $19
  • Original Quito City Tour in Trolley: $20

Tours and Activities in Santiago

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Santiago are as follows:

  • Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino Admission Ticket: $14
  • "Tour Tradicional" ViƱa CousiƱo Macul Oficial espaƱol: $18
  • "Tour Tradicional" ViƱa CousiƱo Macul Oficial portuguĆ©s: $18
  • Santiago City Tour SCL & Santa LucĆ­a Hill: $25
  • Santiago City Tour: $27
  • Half-Day Small-Group Panoramic Santiago Tour: $27
  • Small-Group Tour to Valle Nevado and Farellones from Santiago: $30
  • Half Day Guided City Tour in Santiago - Small Groups - Multi Language: $30
  • Welcome to Private Tour with a Local: $30
  • Santiago Like a Local: Customized Private Tour: $32
  • Walking tour "Popular flavors of Chile": $33
  • Santiago Half-Day Small-Group Panoramic Tour: $35

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.

The average person spends about $8.14 on alcoholic beverages in Santiago per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Quito $14
    Santiago $8.14
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

Sample the Local Flavors in Santiago

Also in Santiago, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Traditional Wine Tour in ViƱa CousiƱo Macul Official English: $18
  • "Premium Wine Tour" ViƱa CousiƱo Macul Official english: $30
  • "Premium Wine Tour" ViƱa CousiƱo Macul Oficial portuguĆ©s: $30
  • Premium Wine Tour in ViƱa CousiƱo Macul Spanish official: $30
  • Half Day Trip to Undurraga Vineyard from Santiago - Wine Tasting Included: $40
  • Concha y Toro Traditional Wine Tour from Santiago: $45
  • Half Day Trip to Concha y Toro Vineyard from Santiago - Wine Tasting Included: $45
  • Half Day Trip to Santa Rita Vineyard from Santiago - Wine Tasting Included: $50
  • Half Day Trip to CousiƱo Macul Vineyard from Santiago - Wine Tasting Included: $55
  • half day wine tour to concha y toro from Santiago seasonal offer: $57
  • Concha y Toro Marques Wine Tour from Santiago: $64
  • Premium Wine Tasting in Santiago de Chile: $71


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Quito and Santiago, we can see that Santiago 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 Santiago would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Santiago than you might in Quito.

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Quito vs. Santiago Travel Comparison

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