A Travel Price Comparison for Argentina San Carlos de Bariloche vs. El Calafate for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit San Carlos de Bariloche or El Calafate?

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

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for San Carlos de Bariloche and El Calafate. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Where Should I go: San Carlos de Bariloche or El Calafate?

San Carlos de Bariloche

Set in the foothills of the Andes Mountains in Argentina, San Carlos de Bariloche is the biggest city in the Lake District. Bariloche is popular for skiing and snowboarding in the winter and trekking, swimming, fishing and horseback riding in the summertime.

No matter the time of year, there is something for everyone in Bariloche. Skiing season begins from June to October while fishing season is from November to April. Summer is from December to March, but visiting during low seasons (Spring in October to December and Autumn in late-April to mid-June) also has its benefits when it comes to saving cash and avoiding crowds.

Check out our ultimate guide to Hiking in Patagonia.

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 Eco Tours in Argentina, The Best Food and Culinary Tours in Argentina, The Best Vineyard & Wine Tours in Argentina, and The Best Photography Tours in Argentina.


Which place is cheaper, El Calafate or San Carlos de Bariloche?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in San Carlos de Bariloche is $7.40, while the average daily cost in El Calafate is $10. 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 San Carlos de Bariloche and El Calafate in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    San Carlos de Bariloche $2.68
    El Calafate $3.42
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    San Carlos de Bariloche $5.36
    El Calafate $6.84
Compare Hotels in San Carlos de Bariloche and El Calafate

Looking for a hotel in San Carlos de Bariloche 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 San Carlos de Bariloche


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: San Carlos de Bariloche Hotel Prices and El Calafate Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    San Carlos de Bariloche $2.28
    El Calafate $3.53

Hired Cars and Shuttles in San Carlos de Bariloche

Some specific examples of transportation prices in San Carlos de Bariloche:

  • Visit to Piedras Blancas Bariloche with transfers: $52
  • Transfers to and from San Martín de los Andes: $295
  • Transfers in Bariloche: $22
  • Transfer from the Airport to Bariloche: $26
  • Shared Transfer One Way - Bariloche Airport to Hotel or v.v.: $26
  • Shared Departure Transfer: Hotel to Bariloche Airport: $26
  • Private transfer Bariloche Airpot- Hotels: $13
  • Private Transfer from Tom Wesley to Bariloche (BRC) Airport: $54
  • Private Transfer from Puerto Pañuelo to Bariloche (BRC) Airport: $73
  • Private Transfer from Playa Bonita to Bariloche (BRC) Airport: $46
  • Private Transfer from Pampa Linda to Bariloche (BRC) Airport: $181
  • Private Transfer from Lago Moreno to Bariloche (BRC) Airport: $46

Typical Local Transportation Prices in El Calafate

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


  • Taxi
    $1.39

Hired Cars and Shuttles in El Calafate

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

  • Transfer from the airport to your hotel in El Calafate: $12
  • Transfers Between Airport and Hotels: $12
  • Shared Transfer from El Calafate Airport to downtown Hotel: $15
  • Shared Transfer Airport-Hotel-Airport (Calafate): $32
  • Private Transfer Hotel-Bus Station or Bus Station-Hotel (Calafate): $35
  • Roundtrip transfer in Private Car from Calafate Airport (FTE)- Calafate City: $49
  • Excursion to the Perito Moreno Glacier, with guide and transfer to / from the hotel: $60
  • Private Airport Transfer: $64
  • Shared transfer to El Calafate -El Chaltén: $75
  • Laguna de Los Tres Transfer & Self-Guided Hike: $101
  • Perito Moreno Glacier Mini Trek with Transfer: $456

Is it cheaper to fly into San Carlos de Bariloche or El Calafate?

Prices for flights to both El Calafate and San Carlos de Bariloche 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
    San Carlos de Bariloche $2.78
    El Calafate $3.71
Typical Food Prices in San Carlos de Bariloche

Some typical examples of dining costs in San Carlos de Bariloche are as follows:


  • Pastries
    $0.01
  • Empanadas
    $0.03

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
    $1.81
  • Dinner
    $1.07

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
  • Estancia 25 de Mayo Tour with Dinner & Transfer: $126
  • Lakes and Caves Tour with Dinner: $143
  • Estancia 25 de Mayo Experience with Dinner from Calafate: $155
  • Estancia 25 de Mayo in El Calafate - PM visit with dinner: $186

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    San Carlos de Bariloche $3.05
    El Calafate $3.71

Tours and Activities in San Carlos de Bariloche

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for San Carlos de Bariloche are as follows:

  • 4-Hour Guided Tour of the Small Circuit: $60
  • Bariloche Horseback Riding & Traditional Argentine Barbecue Tour: $197
  • Bariloche San Martin de los Andes and Seven Lakes Road Tour: $130
  • Bariloche: 4-Hour Cerro Catedral Base Tour: $15
  • Bariloche: Blest Port and Cantaros Waterfall Tour : $170
  • Bariloche: Full-Day El Bolsón and Puelo Lake Tour: $42
  • Bariloche: Half Day Small Circuit Tour - Mt Campanario and Llao Llao Peninsula: $28
  • Bariloche: Private Enchanted Valley Tour with Lunch: $495
  • Classic Bariloche: Half-Day Sightseeing Excursion: $26
  • From Bariloche: Half-Day Circuito Chico Sightseeing Tour: $38
  • From Bariloche: Victoria Island & the Arrayanes Forest Tour: $128
  • From Rio Manso Rafting Tour: $185

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
    $1.39

Tours and Activities in El Calafate

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

  • Panoramic Tour with Punta Walichu: $57
  • Perito Moreno Glacier & Optional Boat Cruise: $62
  • Argentine Cuisine Experience in El Calafate: $65
  • Southroad Calafate Balcony Experience with Tour Mode Options: $70
  • Calafate City Tour with Walichu Caves: $78
  • Round Trip Ticket-Bus to Perito Moreno Glacier from El Calafate: $79
  • From Full-Day Tour to El Chaltén: $79
  • Full Day Guided Tour Perito Moreno National Park and Glacier: $80
  • El Chalten Complete Experience Full Day Tour from El Calafate: $80
  • El Calafate City Tour and Walichu caves: $81
  • Perito Moreno Glacier Sightseeing Tour: $87
  • Full Day Tour in El Chalten: $90

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    San Carlos de Bariloche $1.83
    El Calafate $1.86
Typical Alcohol Prices in San Carlos de Bariloche

Here are a few samples of the prices for alcohol and nightlife in San Carlos de Bariloche from other travelers:


  • Beer
    $0.01

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
    $0.37


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between San Carlos de Bariloche and El Calafate, we can see that El Calafate is more expensive. And not only is San Carlos de Bariloche much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to San Carlos de Bariloche would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in San Carlos de Bariloche 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 San Carlos de Bariloche.

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


Which is Bigger, San Carlos de Bariloche or El Calafate?

San Carlos de Bariloche has a larger population, and is about 10 times larger than the population of El Calafate. When comparing the sizes of San Carlos de Bariloche 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.