A Travel Price Comparison for Chile San Pedro de Atacama vs. La Serena for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit San Pedro de Atacama or La Serena?

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 Pedro de Atacama and La Serena. 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 Pedro de Atacama or La Serena?

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.

La Serena

La Serena is a charming town in Northern Chile. It is Chile's second-oldest city and the thriving capital of Region IV. With its beautiful architecture, its long golden shoreline, dignified stone churches, tree-shaded avenues and pretty plazas, La Serena has everything you could ask for!

Chileans on holidays flood in the city in January and February, though it is fairly peaceful outside the summer rush. Some of the city's architecture is from the colonial era, but most is actually neocolonial thanks to president Gabriel Gonzalez Videla, born in La Serena, and her 'Plan Serena' of the late 1940s.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Santiago, The Best Family-Friendly Tours to Chile, The Best Wildlife Tours to Chile, and The Best Hiking & Trekking Tours in Chile.


Which place is cheaper, La Serena 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 $60, while the average daily cost in La Serena is $88. 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 Pedro de Atacama and La Serena in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    San Pedro de Atacama $32
    La Serena $42
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    San Pedro de Atacama $64
    La Serena $84
Compare Hotels in San Pedro de Atacama and La Serena

Looking for a hotel in San Pedro de Atacama or La Serena? 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 Pedro de Atacama


Hotels in La Serena


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 Pedro de Atacama Hotel Prices and La Serena Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    San Pedro de Atacama $9.26
    La Serena $21

Hired Cars and Shuttles in San Pedro de Atacama

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

  • Transfers to San Pedro de Acatama (shared service): $30
  • Transfer to the Puritama Hot Springs: $60
  • Shared Transfer from San Pedro de Atacama to Calama Airport: $29
  • Shared Departure Transfer: San Pedro de Atacama Hotels to El Loa Airport: $31
  • Stargazing Experience with Transfer: $36
  • Puritama Thermal Transfer: $46
  • Private transfer from San Pedro de Atacama to Calama City: $190
  • Private transfer calama airport san Pedro de atcama: $200
  • Private transfer San Pedro de Atacama - calama airport: $200
  • Direct Transfer Atacama to Uyuni: $128
  • Calama Airport: Shared Transfer to/from San Pedro de Atacama: $30
  • Calama Airport Transfer to Atacama / Airport Lodging: $60

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

Prices for flights to both La Serena 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.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    San Pedro de Atacama $14
    La Serena $27
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
    $1.27
  • Lunch
    $11
  • Dinner
    $11
  • Drink
    $0.95
  • Empanada
    $5.31

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in San Pedro de Atacama

For San Pedro de Atacama, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Private Dinner Under the Stars: $300

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    San Pedro de Atacama $21
    La Serena $24
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
    $56

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:

  • 1-Day Tour Altiplanic Lagoons and Piedras Rojas and Laguna Chaxa: $90
  • 2 Tours Valley of the Moon and Hidden Lagoons: $120
  • 23km downhill bike tour + trekking among giant cacti: $70
  • 3 Days and 4 Tours in San Pedro de Atacama: $199
  • 3 Main Tours in San Pedo de Atacama: $190
  • 3-Day Tour in San Pedro de Atacama: $210
  • 4 Tours to Discover Atacama (3 days): $219
  • 4-Day Tour in San Pedro de Atacama: $275
  • 6-hour tour to Valle del Arcoíris: $44
  • Astronomic Tour Experience from San Pedro de Atacama: $59
  • Astronomical Experience with Astrophotography in Atacama: $42
  • Astronomical Tour "Under the Atacama Night": $45

Tours and Activities in La Serena

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

  • Tour to the internationally renowned Pangue Observatory: $139
  • Dama Island or Chañaral Navigation Tour Humboldt Penguin Reserve: $135
  • Elqui Valley Full Day Tour: magical towns, pisco and mountains: $80
  • Elqui Valley Grand-Tour: $150
  • Elqui Valley Tour from La Serena: $120
  • Elqui Valley and Vicuña Private Tour Including Lunch: $183
  • Elqui Valley: Pisco Tour, Wine, Beer: $174
  • Full Day History and Flavors Tour in the Elqui Valley: $48
  • La Serena & Coquimbo City Tour - Short excursion for cruise ships: $128
  • La Serena and Coquimbo City Tour (SIB): $66
  • La Serena and Coquimbo Guided City Tour: $76
  • La Serena and Coquimbo Private City Tour Including Lunch, Shore Excursion: $194

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    San Pedro de Atacama $5.00
    La Serena $23
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
    $25


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between San Pedro de Atacama and La Serena, we can see that La Serena 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 La Serena would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in La Serena than you might in San Pedro de Atacama.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is San Pedro de Atacama Expensive? and Is La Serena Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, San Pedro de Atacama or La Serena?

La Serena has a larger population, and is about 80 times larger than the population of San Pedro de Atacama. When comparing the sizes of San Pedro de Atacama and La Serena, 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.