A Travel Price Comparison for Colombia Salento vs. Cartagena for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Salento or Cartagena?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Should I visit Salento or Cartagena? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Where Should I go: Salento or Cartagena?


Founded in 1850, Salento is one of the oldest towns in Quindio. This colonial Colombian town has retained much of its old world charm, with its colorful buildings, large square and, of course, the obligatory church. Because the main route between Cali and Bogota which used to pass through Salento was diverted, the town didn't develop as quickly as others in the Quindio region. This gave Salento the opportunity to evolve into a thriving community of craftsmen and artisans as well as remaining one of the region's most prolific coffee producers. Salento is located 24 km northeast of the departmental capital Armenia. However, unlike its colorful neighbor, Armenia itself has very little to offer tourists. Salento attracts those wishing to learn about the coffee regions and for those who simply admire breathtaking scenery, and especially the stunning Cocora Valley.


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.

For some great organized tour ideas, see Tours for Outdoor and Nature Lovers in Colombia, The Best Adventure Tours to Colombia, The Best Eco Tours in Colombia, and The Best Food and Culinary Tours in Colombia.

Which place is cheaper, Cartagena or Salento?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Salento is $32, while the average daily cost in Cartagena is $48. 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 destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Salento and Cartagena in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Salento $11
    Cartagena $27
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Salento $22
    Cartagena $54
Compare Hotels in Salento and Cartagena

Looking for a hotel in Salento or Cartagena? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Salento

Hotels in Cartagena

Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.

Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Salento Hotel Prices and Cartagena Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Salento $14
    Cartagena $7.49

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Salento

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Salento:

  • Pereira Airport Private Transfer Service: $55

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cartagena

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Cartagena:

  • Airport transfer to any hotel in Cartagena: $8.14
  • Transfer from the Airport - Hotels in Marbella: $8.14
  • Airport transfer to any hotel in Getsemani: $8.14
  • Airport transfer to any hotel in Morros: $8.14
  • Transfer aeropuerto-centro: $8.36
  • Cartagena Airport: Private Arrival or Departure Transfer: $10
  • Air Conditioning Bus transfer: $10
  • Airport transfer to any hotel in Castillogrande: $12
  • Transfer from the Airport to Hotels in Laguito: $12
  • Cartagena:Transfer from the Airport - Hotels in the Bosque: $12
  • transfer Airport to any Hotels in Bocagrande: $12
  • Airport transfer to any hotel in Manga: $12

Is it cheaper to fly into Salento or Cartagena?

Prices for flights to both Cartagena and Salento 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.

  • Food Meals for one day
    Salento $9.38
    Cartagena $9.82

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Salento

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

  • Cooking Stories - Cocinando Historias: $46

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Cartagena

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

  • Featured in NYTimes > Arepas and Dancing: Danceable Cooking Class in Cartagena: $32
  • Cooking class of typical food at the beach and sunset view: $39
  • Taste Cartagena Food tour: $40
  • Street Food Tour in Cartagena: $42
  • Guided Street Food Tour with Tastings: $45
  • Cooking Class: Street food & Mojito making: $50
  • Local Flavors Food Tour with Native Chef: $50
  • Cooking class, Caribbean lunch at our place: $55
  • Cruise by the Bay with Dinner and Wine: $55
  • Private Dinner at a Local Chef's House in Cartagena: $58
  • Dinner Cruise Along Cartagena's Bay: $60
  • Cartagena Island Dinner (Island of Tierra Bomba): $60

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Salento $12
    Cartagena $21

Tours and Activities in Salento

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

  • City tour + Nature: $25
  • Coffee tour in the heart of the coffee region: $28
  • Santa Rita Waterfall and Salento Hike Tour: $49
  • Filandia and Salento Coffee Towns Tour: $64
  • Private Colombian Coffee Farm Tour with Tastings in Armenia: $78
  • Cocora Valley and Salento Hike Tour: $79
  • Coffee Farm and Salento Walking Tour with Lunch: $87
  • Private birding tour for beginners and intermediate: $90
  • Coffe Experience: Daily departure from Salento: $93
  • Pereira: Cocora Valley and Salento Guided Hiking Tour: $93
  • Coffee Tour at Finca El Ocaso: $94
  • Coffee Tour and Salento Walking Tour with lunch: $98

Tours and Activities in Cartagena

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

  • Emeralds Tour: $0.03
  • Cartagena de Indias: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • Into the Walls of The City: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • Self-Guided Audio Tour - The Great Battle: Fort of San Felipe: $6.99
  • Old Town & Getsemani Quarter Self-guided Tour: $8.59
  • Old Town Highlights Self-guided Tour: $8.59
  • Artists' Quarter Getsemani Self-guided Tour: $8.59
  • Tour the city on a rumba in a typical bus: $9.62
  • Self-Guided Audio Tour: The Rise of the Wall City Part I: $10
  • Shared Walking Tour through the Historic Center of Cartagena: $10
  • Republican Architecture Self-Guided Audio Tour in Cartagena: $10
  • Self-Guided Audio Tour of San Diego Neighborhood Tour: $10

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Salento $11
    Cartagena $9.21

Sample the Local Flavors in Cartagena

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

  • Pub Crawl with Dancing Lessons and Free Shots: $20
  • Cartagena Pub Crawl: Let's Party & Matching in Getsemaní: $25
  • Pub Crawl-Last Call For Alcohol-Cartagena Night Tour (Bar/Club) : $27
  • Pub Crawl Only Locals Have Fun In The Walled City: $35
  • Pub Crawl Nightlife in Cartagena : $44
  • Nightlife Pub crawl in Cartagena: $74

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

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Salento Expensive? and Is Cartagena Expensive?.

Which is Bigger, Salento or Cartagena?

Cartagena has a larger population, and is about 230 times larger than the population of Salento. When comparing the sizes of Salento and Cartagena, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.