Should you visit Salta 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 Salta and El Calafate can help you decide which place is right for you.
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.
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 Salta?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Salta is $68, 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 Salta and El Calafate in more detail.
Double occupancy rooms typically run around $48 in Salta For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.
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 Salta can vary, the average travelers spends about $23 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in Salta should cost around $9.20 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in Salta 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 Salta
For Salta, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:
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:
To get around in Salta, the average visitor spends $28 per day, per person. This includes the costs of taxi rides and private drivers as well as public transportation, which tends to be much more affordable.
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.
Typical Local Transportation prices in Salta
Some typical examples of transportation costs in Salta are as follows:
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Salta
Also for Salta, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Shared Departure Transfer: Salta Hotels to Martín Miguel de Güemes International Airport:
Shared Arrival Transfer: Martín Miguel de Güemes International Airport to Salta:
One-Way or Round Trip Airport Transfer:
Salta City Tour & Round Trip Transfers airport - hotel:
Salta Airport Shuttle Transfer:
Salta Airport Private Transfer:
Private Airport Transfer: Salta to Martin Miguel de Guemes Int. Airport (SLA):
Private Airport Transfer: Martin Miguel de Guemes Int. Airport (SLA) to Salta:
Humahuaca, 7-color Hill & round trip transfers airport - hotel in Salta:
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:
Shared transfer to El Calafate -El Chaltén:
Shared Transfer Airport-Hotel-Airport (Calafate):
Private Transfer Hotel-Bus Station or Bus Station-Hotel (Calafate):
Private Transfer Airport-Hotel-Airport (Calafate):
Kayak in Perito Moreno Glacier without transfers:
Kayak in Perito Moreno Glacier with transfers:
From Calafate: Round-trip transfer to Perito Moreno Glacier:
El Calafate Airport Private Transfer:
Bus Transfer from El Calafate to El Chalten:
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.
In Salta, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $24 per person, per day.
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.
Typical Entertainment prices in Salta
Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Salta's activities, tours, and tickets:
Wine and Cheese night
Tours and Activities in Salta
For Salta, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:
2-Day Calchaquí Valley Tour to Cachi and Cafayate:
2-day tour: Humahuaca Canyon + Cachi and Calchaquies Valleys:
2-day tour: Humahuaca Canyon + Cafayate Wine Country:
3-Days Salta, Purmamarca & Salinas Grandes Private Experience:
3-day Overland Adventure in Tolar Grande, Salta:
4 x 4 Safari Tour to Puna, Salt Falts and Purmamarca from Salta:
4-Days Discovering Amazing Salta - Nature & Adventure:
4-Days Tour of Salta Cafayate and Humahuaca:
5-Day Adventure Trip in Salta:
6-Day Tour in Salta, Purmamarca, Humahuaca, Tolar Grande & Salt flats!:
6-day Tour in Salta y Jujuy - Best of The Northwest:
7-Day Tour in Salta, the Calchaqui Valley and Cafayate and San Pedro de Atacama:
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:
"Glaciares Gourmet" - Maria Turquesa Cruiser Navigation:
13-Day Best of Patagonia Tour from El Calafate to Ushuaia: Los Glaciares, Torres del Paine and Tierra del Fuego National Parks:
2-Day Perito Moreno Tour with Boat Ride & 4x4 Safari:
2-day El Chalten Hiking Adventure Tour from El Calafate:
2-day tour: Perito Moreno Glacier + Torres del Paine National Park:
3-Day Tour of El Calafate and the Glaciers:
4 Days Tour in El Calafate & Chalten:
4-Days El Calafate Easy Going Experience:
4WD Ride tour to Cerro Frias from El Calafate:
4x4 Adventure Day Trip to Torres del Paine National Park with lunchbox:
5-Day Adventure Trip in El Calafate:
5-Days El Calafate Experience without limits!:
Typically, people visiting Salta spend on average $9.62 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
Typically, people visiting El Calafate spend on average $13 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
Typical Alcohol prices in Salta
Some typical examples of the costs for nightlife and alcohol in Salta are as follows:
Sample the Local Flavors in Salta
Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Salta:
Full-day Cafayate, Lerma Valley, and Wine Tasting from Salta:
From Cafayate Day Trip with Wine Tasting:
From Full-Day Tour to Cafayate with Wine Tasting:
Luxury Colome wine tour:
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 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.
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