A Travel Price Comparison for Argentina Salta vs. El Calafate for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Salta or El Calafate?

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

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 Salta and El Calafate can help you decide which place is right for you.

Where Should I go: Salta or El Calafate?

Salta

Located in the heart of the famous Northwest region of Argentina, at 1200m of elevation and at the foot of the Cerro San Bernardo, Salta is the largest city of the region and perhaps the most beautiful colonial city of Argentina. Founded in 1582 by the Spanish, Salta was an important stop for merchants who followed the usual trade road through Bolivia and Peru. Argentines call this city nestled in the foothills of the Andes and surrounded by mountains, of just over half a million inhabitants, Salta La Linda (Salta the Beautiful) and it's easy to see why. Young and traditional at the same time, Salta and its renowned museums, plaza side cafes and live musica folklorica of its bustling penas, is a sophisticated and lively city day and night.

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.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Photography Tours in Argentina, The Best Luxury Tours to Argentina, The Best Budget Tours to Argentina, and The Best Tours for Seniors to Argentina.


Which place is cheaper, El Calafate or Salta?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Salta is $9.46, while the average daily cost in El Calafate is $9.92. 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 Salta and El Calafate in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Salta $3.41
    El Calafate $3.37
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Salta $6.82
    El Calafate $6.74
Compare Hotels in Salta and El Calafate

Looking for a hotel in Salta or El Calafate? 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 Salta


Hotels in El Calafate


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: Salta Hotel Prices and El Calafate Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Salta $3.93
    El Calafate $3.47
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Salta

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Salta are as follows:


  • Taxi Ride
    $0.01

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Salta

Also for Salta, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Yungas : full day with gauchos - transfer inc. from Salta: $240
  • One-Way or Round Trip Airport Transfer: $5.50
  • Salta Airport Private Transfer: $50
  • Salta Airport One-Way or Round-Trip Transfers: $20
  • From Salinas and Hornocal 2-Day Tour with Transfer: $99
  • From Cafayate and Hornocal 2-Day Tour with Transfer: $88

Typical Local Transportation Prices in El Calafate

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in El Calafate:


  • Taxi
    $1.37

Hired Cars and Shuttles in El Calafate

Also for El Calafate, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Transfer from Calafate Airport to your Stay in Calafate: $26
  • Shared transfer to El Calafate -El Chaltén: $75
  • Shared Transfer from El Calafate Airport to downtown Hotel: $16
  • Shared Transfer Airport-Hotel-Airport (Calafate): $32
  • One Way Transfer from Airport-Hotel downtown(Calafate) vice versa: $16
  • Excursion to the Perito Moreno Glacier, with guide and transfer to / from the hotel: $60
  • Transfers Between Airport and Hotels: $12
  • Private Airport Transfer: $64
  • Perito Moreno Glacier Mini Trek with Transfer: $384
  • Laguna de Los Tres Transfer & Self-Guided Hike: $94

Is it cheaper to fly into Salta or El Calafate?

Prices for flights to both El Calafate and Salta 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
  • Food Meals for one day
    Salta $3.21
    El Calafate $3.65
Typical Food Prices in Salta

For Salta, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Emplanadas
    $0.01
  • Ice Cream
    $0.01
  • Lunch
    $0.66
  • Coffee
    $0.14

Typical Food Prices in El Calafate

For El Calafate, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Dessert
    $0.01
  • Dinner
    $1.78
  • Dinner
    $1.05

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:

  • Argentine Dinner with Live Music Folklore -Estancia 25 de Mayo: $48
  • Country Afternoon with Dinner Show - Estancia 25 de Mayo: $100
  • Estancia 25 de Mayo Experience with Dinner from Calafate: $175
  • Lakes and Caves Tour with Dinner: $176
  • Lakes and Caves Tour with Dinner: $179
  • Estancia 25 de Mayo in El Calafate - PM visit with dinner: $186

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Salta $3.34
    El Calafate $3.65
Typical Entertainment Prices in Salta

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Salta's activities, tours, and tickets:


  • Gondola Ride
    $0.02
  • Pool
    $0.06
  • Wine and Cheese night
    $4.08

Tours and Activities in Salta

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

  • From City Tour and San Lorenzo on a half-day tour: $16
  • Full-Day Tour to Salinas Grandes and Purmamarca From Salta: $36
  • 2-Day Tour to Cachi and Los Cardones National Park: $57
  • Best of Guided City Tour: $31
  • Bungee Jumping Adrenaline Experience on Cabra Corral Dam: $128
  • Cachi Full Day Tour from Salta: $64
  • Cafayate, Vineyards and Calchaquies Valleys Tour from Salta: $64
  • Exclusive day-long private tour of Cafayate vineyards: $280
  • From Cachi and Los Cardones National Park Tour: $27
  • From City Tour of the city on a half-day ride: $18
  • From Full-Day Scenic Tour to Cachi: $33
  • From Full-Day Tour to Cafayate, Land of Wines: $27

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
    $1.37

Tours and Activities in El Calafate

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

  • Argentine Cuisine Experience in El Calafate: $65
  • "Glaciares Gourmet" - Maria Turquesa Cruiser Navigation (classic): $285
  • 4WD Adventure in El Calafate with Optional Hike or Zipline: $119
  • Blue Safari Experience: Hiking and Navigation on Glaciers: $190
  • CALAFATE: Panoramic tour: The best balconies of Calafate: $190
  • Calafate City Tour with Walichu Caves: $100
  • Calafate Panoramic tour: The best balconies of Calafate 4x4: $200
  • Chalten Full Day Trekking Experience - Laguna de los Tres: $180
  • Chalten full day Trekking - Laguna de los Tres Experience: $210
  • Darwin Experience: $254
  • Darwin Experience - kayaks & adventure: $230
  • Day Tour to the Perito Moreno Glacier from El Calafate: $70

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Salta $1.34
    El Calafate $1.83
Typical Alcohol Prices in Salta

Some typical examples of the costs for nightlife and alcohol in Salta are as follows:


  • Beer
    $0.01
  • Alcohol
    $0.34

Sample the Local Flavors in Salta

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Salta:

  • From Cafayate Day Trip with Wine Tasting: $30
  • Full-day Cafayate, Lerma Valley, and Wine Tasting from Salta: $30
  • From Full-Day Tour to Cafayate with Wine Tasting: $33

Typical Alcohol Prices in El Calafate

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in El Calafate:


  • Beer
    $0.01
  • Alcohol
    $0.36


When comparing the travel costs between Salta and El Calafate, we can see that El Calafate 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.

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


Which is Bigger, Salta or El Calafate?

Salta has a larger population, and is about 60 times larger than the population of El Calafate. When comparing the sizes of Salta and El Calafate, 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.