A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Rosario Islands vs. El Calafate for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Rosario Islands or El Calafate?

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Rosario Islands and El Calafate can help you decide which place is right for you.

Rosario Islands

The Rosario Islands, also referred to as Coral Islands of Rosario, is an archipelago located off the coast of Colombia, approximately 100 kilometres (62 miles) from Cartagena. The Rosario Islands are integrated by 28 islands and all of them form one of the 46 Natural National Parks of Colombia, created to protect one of the most important coral reefs in the Colombian Caribbean Coast. Only three of these islands are property of the Colombian state. Before establishing the national park in 1977, wealthy families used this natural paradise to build their summer houses, but then the government allowed them to keep their properties, only if they paid annual rent and taxes to be there, and complied with certain rules to preserve the ecosystem of the islands. People can visit the national park area of the islands, and tours are available. Isla Rosario has an aquarium and open-sea oceanarium that people can visit. Activities on the Rosario Islands include swimming, snorkeling and fishing, among others. The best time to visit Colombia in general, and especially the Rosario Islands is the dry-season months from December to March. These uninterrupted sunny days are just perfect for a Caribbean coastal experience and to enjoy all the activities it has to offer.

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 Rosario Islands?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Rosario Islands 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 Rosario Islands and El Calafate in more detail.



Accommodation

Rosario Islands's average price for two people sharing a typical double-occupancy hotel room is $54. A typical place to stay for one person, per day is $27.

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
    Rosario Islands $27
    El Calafate $24
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Rosario Islands $54
    El Calafate $48

Food

The average traveler spends about $23 per day in Rosario Islands for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.

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
    Rosario Islands $23
    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

While taxis and private drivers typically cost much more than public transportation, people usually spend around $37 per day to get around in Rosario Islands.

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.
    Rosario Islands $37
    El Calafate $25

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:

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

Is it cheaper to fly into Rosario Islands or El Calafate?

Prices for flights to both El Calafate and Rosario Islands 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

Activities, things to do, and other forms of entertainment usually cost around $11 per person, per day in Rosario Islands. This cost includes the price of admission tickets to attractions and museums as well as daily tours.

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.
    Rosario Islands $11
    El Calafate $26

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:

  • El Calafate History Museum Tour: $11
  • Bamboo Bike self drive tour El Calafate surroundings: $15
  • Perito Moreno Glacier Tour with Optional Boat Ride: $38
  • Bus ticket to Puerto Natales, Chile: $44
  • Perito Moreno Glacier & Optional Boat Cruise: $44
  • City Tour in El Calafate with Walichu Caves: $48
  • Tour to Punta Walichu and Glaciarium: $48
  • Bus Ticket from El Chalten to El Calafate: $50
  • El Calafate City Sightseeing Tour Including Walichu Caves: $53
  • Bus ticket from El Calafate (Argentina) to Puerto Natales (Chile): $56
  • Los Glaciares National Park and Perito Moreno Glacier Tour: $61
  • El Calafate Sightseeing Tour with Walichu Caves: $68

Alcohol

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Rosario Islands may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $4.88 per day on alcoholic beverages.

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


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Rosario Islands $4.88
    El Calafate $13

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 Rosario Islands and El Calafate, we can see that Rosario Islands 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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Rosario Islands vs. El Calafate Travel Comparison

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