Should you visit San Pedro de Atacama or El Chalten?
Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the prices of travel for San Pedro de Atacama and El Chalten. 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. So, let's dig into it.
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.
El Chalten is probably one of the most beautiful areas of Patagonia, especially at the slightest ray of sunshine and one of your cheapest destination while you are travelling in Patagonia. Indeed, you will spend your days hiking and there are no park fees. There are restaurants, souvenir shops, and outdoor stores but most of them will not accept credit cards so before heading out, get cash in El Calafate or your previous stop. For the beginners, it will be long hikes in a magical setting and for the experts perhaps a week long expedition to the greatest glaciers of the world. To discover the way people live in the pampa, you may also decide to stay at an Estancia. In the stunning Estancia Santa Thelma, about 300km away from El Chalten, you will be able to explore the surroundings by horse, live a unique experience in the middle of the nature and its vast plains occupied by thousands of merino sheep and horses and of course eat a typical meal of the region.
Which city is cheaper, El Chalten or San Pedro de Atacama?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in San Pedro de Atacama is $56, while the average daily cost in El Chalten is $70. 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 San Pedro de Atacama and El Chalten in more detail.
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.
The average price for accommodation for two people in El Chalten is $62. This is for two people sharing a typical double occupancy hotel room.
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.
While meal prices in El Chalten can vary, the average travelers spends about $26 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in El Chalten should cost around $10 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in El Chalten is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.
Meals for one day
San Pedro de Atacama $14
El Chalten $26
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:
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.
The cost of a taxi ride in El Chalten is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $17 per person, per day, on local transportation in El Chalten.
Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
San Pedro de Atacama $8.86
El Chalten $17
Hired Cars and Shuttles in San Pedro de Atacama
Also for San Pedro de Atacama, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Shared Transfer from San Pedro de Atacama to Calama Airport:
Transfer San Pedro de Atacama Hotels to El Loa Airport Shared Service:
Atacama Airport Shuttle Transfer:
Atacama Airport Private Transfer:
Private transfer from San Pedro de Atacama to Calama City:
Is it cheaper to fly into San Pedro de Atacama or El Chalten?
Prices for flights to both El Chalten and San Pedro de Atacama 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.
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 and activities in El Chalten typically cost an average of $19 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.
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:
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:
Half day Valle de la Luna, Afternoon Tour:
Sandboarding Adventure in Death Valley:
Moon Valley & Death Valley Tour from San Pedro de Atacama:
Geysers del Tatio Tour:
Valle del Arcoiris Tour:
Floating experience in the Hidden Lagoons (Lagunas Escondidas):
Small-Group Tour to Moon Valley from San Pedro de Atacama:
Puritama Springs - Half Day Tour - San Pedro de Atacama - Typical Tour:
Atacama Desert Stargazing Tour:
Moon Valley Tour - Half Day Tour:
Small-Group tour to Laguna Cejar, Ojos del Salar and Laguna Tebinquinche:
Tours and Activities in El Chalten
Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for El Chalten are as follows:
2-Day Chalten Adventure tour: Laguna de los Tres, Mount Fitz Roy & Cerro Torre:
2-Day Hiking Tour of Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre from El Chalten:
3-Day Eco-Lodge Trekking Tour at Los Glaciares National Park from El Chalten:
El Chalten Rafting Experience:
El Chalten Rafting Experience:
Module Fitz Roy Adventure:
Typically, people visiting San Pedro de Atacama spend on average $4.78 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
The average person spends about $8.59 on alcoholic beverages in El Chalten per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.
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:
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between San Pedro de Atacama and El Chalten, we can see that El Chalten 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 El Chalten would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in El Chalten than you might in San Pedro de Atacama.
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