Should you visit Salento or El Calafate?
Should I visit Salento or El Calafate? 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.
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.
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 Salento?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Salento is $26, 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 Salento and El Calafate in more detail.
If you're traveling alone, you may be able to find a budget hotel or hostel for around $9.09. But for two people in a standard two-person hotel room in Salento the cost is $18 on average.
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.
While meal prices in Salento can vary, the average travelers spends about $7.62 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in Salento should cost around $3.05 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in Salento is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.
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.
Meals for one day
El Calafate $26
Typical Food prices in El Calafate
For El Calafate, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:
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:
Gaucho, Dinner and Folklore Full-Day Tour:
While taxis and private drivers typically cost much more than public transportation, people usually spend around $12 per day to get around in Salento.
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.
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Salento
Some specific examples of transportation prices in Salento:
Arrival or Departure Transfer: Armenia Airport, Bus Station / Salento, Filandia:
Typical Local Transportation prices in El Calafate
Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in El Calafate:
Hired Cars and Shuttles in El Calafate
Also for El Calafate, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
From Calafate: Round-trip transfer to Perito Moreno Glacier:
Shared Transfer Airport-Hotel-Airport (Calafate):
Private Transfer Hotel-Bus Station or Bus Station-Hotel (Calafate):
Bus Transfer from El Calafate to El Chalten:
El Calafate Airport Private Transfer:
Shared transfer to El Calafate -El Chaltén:
Private Transfer Airport-Hotel-Airport (Calafate):
Kayak in Perito Moreno Glacier without transfers:
Kayak in Perito Moreno Glacier with transfers:
Is it cheaper to fly into Salento or El Calafate?
Prices for flights to both El Calafate 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.
Activities, things to do, and other forms of entertainment usually cost around $9.49 per person, per day in Salento. 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.
Tours and Activities in Salento
Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Salento are as follows:
3-Day Coffee Tour by Bike in Salento:
5 Day Coffee Culture Experience:
Cocora Valley & Hummingbirds House Adventure:
Cocora Valley + Horseback Riding Day Tour:
Cocora Valley on a Jeep & Hike Day Tour:
Coffee Amusement & Museum Park Day Tour:
Coffee Farm Hacienda El Ocaso Half-Day Tour:
Coffee Tour at Hacienda Venecia near Salento:
Full Day Tour of Cocora Valley, Salento, and Coffee Farm Tour (from Salento):
Full Day Tour of Cocora Valley, Salento, and Filandia Coffee Town (from Salento):
Full day coffee farm experience at Hacienda San Alberto from Salento:
Full-Day Coffee Farm Experience at Finca El Ocaso from Salento:
Typical Entertainment prices in El Calafate
Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for El Calafate's activities, tours, and tickets:
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:
Bamboo Bike self drive tour El Calafate surroundings:
Perito Moreno Glacier Tour with Optional Boat Ride:
Bus ticket to Puerto Natales, Chile:
Perito Moreno Glacier & Optional Boat Cruise:
City Tour in El Calafate with Walichu Caves:
Tour to Punta Walichu and Glaciarium:
Bus Ticket from El Chalten to El Calafate:
El Calafate City Sightseeing Tour Including Walichu Caves:
Bus ticket from El Calafate (Argentina) to Puerto Natales (Chile):
Los Glaciares National Park and Perito Moreno Glacier Tour:
El Calafate Sightseeing Tour with Walichu Caves:
The average person spends about $9.31 on alcoholic beverages in Salento per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.
Typically, people visiting El Calafate spend on average $13 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
Typical Alcohol prices in El Calafate
Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in El Calafate:
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:
Calafate Wine Tour:
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Salento and El Calafate, we can see that El Calafate 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 El Calafate would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in El Calafate than you might in Salento.
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