A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Salta vs. San Pedro de Atacama for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Salta or San Pedro de Atacama?

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 San Pedro de Atacama can help you decide which place is right for you.

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.

San Pedro de Atacama

San Pedro de Atacama is a gateway to northern Chile. It is a good jumping off point for exploring the area's impressive landscape, most of which is included in the Los Flamencos National Reserve. It is popular with both Chilean and international tourists, and because of its popularity, it is a relatively expensive destination, with many prices comparable to what you might pay in Santiago.

Which city is cheaper, San Pedro de Atacama 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 San Pedro de Atacama is $56. 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 San Pedro de Atacama in more detail.



Accommodation

Double occupancy rooms typically run around $48 in Salta For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.

For a normal double-occupancy room in San Pedro de Atacama, $60 is the average cost for a hotel room. Also in San Pedro de Atacama, the typical price for a place to stay for one person is $30, such as in a hostel.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Salta $24
    San Pedro de Atacama $30
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Salta $48
    San Pedro de Atacama $60

Food

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 San Pedro de Atacama costs travelers about $14 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
    Salta $23
    San Pedro de Atacama $14
Typical Food prices in Salta

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


  • Emplanadas
    $0.05
  • Ice Cream
    $0.06
  • Lunch
    $5.92
  • Coffee
    $1.22

Typical Food prices in San Pedro de Atacama

For San Pedro de Atacama, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Empanadas
    $1.52
  • Lunch
    $13
  • Dinner
    $13
  • Drink
    $1.14
  • Empanada
    $6.34

Local Transportation

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.

San Pedro de Atacama'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 $8.86 per person, per day on transportation in San Pedro de Atacama.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Salta $28
    San Pedro de Atacama $8.86
Typical Local Transportation prices in Salta

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


  • Taxi Ride
    $0.05

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: $27
  • Shared Arrival Transfer: Martín Miguel de Güemes International Airport to Salta: $19
  • One-Way or Round Trip Airport Transfer: $5.50
  • Salta City Tour & Round Trip Transfers airport - hotel: $62
  • Salta Airport Shuttle Transfer: $9.97
  • Salta Airport Private Transfer: $50
  • Private Airport Transfer: Salta to Martin Miguel de Guemes Int. Airport (SLA): $30
  • Private Airport Transfer: Martin Miguel de Guemes Int. Airport (SLA) to Salta: $30
  • Humahuaca, 7-color Hill & round trip transfers airport - hotel in Salta: $127

Hired Cars and Shuttles in San Pedro de Atacama

Also for San Pedro de Atacama, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Transfer San Pedro de Atacama Hotels to El Loa Airport Shared Service: $26
  • Shared Transfer from San Pedro de Atacama to Calama Airport: $25
  • Private transfer from San Pedro de Atacama to Calama City: $115
  • Atacama Airport Shuttle Transfer: $30
  • Atacama Airport Private Transfer: $93

Is it cheaper to fly into Salta or San Pedro de Atacama?

Prices for flights to both San Pedro de Atacama 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.





Entertainment

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 San Pedro de Atacama can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $20 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Salta $24
    San Pedro de Atacama $20
Typical Entertainment prices in Salta

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


  • Gondola Ride
    $0.15
  • Pool
    $0.51
  • Wine and Cheese night
    $37

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: $318
  • 2-day tour: Humahuaca Canyon + Cachi and Calchaquies Valleys: $165
  • 2-day tour: Humahuaca Canyon + Cafayate Wine Country: $165
  • 3-Days Salta, Purmamarca & Salinas Grandes Private Experience: $625
  • 3-day Overland Adventure in Tolar Grande, Salta: $1,240
  • 4 x 4 Safari Tour to Puna, Salt Falts and Purmamarca from Salta: $120
  • 4-Days Discovering Amazing Salta - Nature & Adventure: $645
  • 4-Days Tour of Salta Cafayate and Humahuaca: $808
  • 5-Day Adventure Trip in Salta: $527
  • 6-Day Tour in Salta, Purmamarca, Humahuaca, Tolar Grande & Salt flats!: $1,813
  • 6-day Tour in Salta y Jujuy - Best of The Northwest: $1,095
  • 7-Day Tour in Salta, the Calchaqui Valley and Cafayate and San Pedro de Atacama: $1,292

Typical Entertainment prices in San Pedro de Atacama

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for San Pedro de Atacama's activities, tours, and tickets:


  • Sand Boarding
    $67

Tours and Activities in San Pedro de Atacama

For San Pedro de Atacama, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • 2- day tour Quitor & Tulor + Moon & Death Valley in Atacama: $129
  • 4-Day Uyuni Salt Flats & Desert Adventure from San Pedro de Atacama: $357
  • 4-Days Experience at Uyuni Salt Flat From San Pedro de Atacama: $1,953
  • 8-Days Unique Experience in San Pedro de Atacama & Easter Island: $1,680
  • Altiplanic Lagoons and Piedras Rojas Tour - Full Day Tour - Private Option: $157
  • Ancestral Caravan with Sandra Flores - Half Day Special Tour - Local Community: $86
  • Archaeological Tour in Atacama: $49
  • Archaeological Tour, Quitor, Tulor, Coyo and San Pedro: $62
  • Archeological Tour: $59
  • Astronomic Tour Experience from San Pedro de Atacama: $65
  • Astronomic tour: $47
  • Astronomical Tour: $42

Alcohol

Typically, people visiting Salta spend on average $9.62 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.

Typically, people visiting San Pedro de Atacama spend on average $4.78 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Salta $9.62
    San Pedro de Atacama $4.78
Typical Alcohol prices in Salta

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


  • Beer
    $0.10
  • Alcohol
    $3.06

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: $24
  • From Cafayate Day Trip with Wine Tasting: $25
  • From Full-Day Tour to Cafayate with Wine Tasting: $27
  • Luxury Colome wine tour: $806

Typical Alcohol prices in San Pedro de Atacama

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in San Pedro de Atacama:


  • Alcohol
    $30


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

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Salta vs. San Pedro de Atacama Travel Comparison

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