A Travel Price Comparison for Colombia Santa Marta vs. Cali for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Santa Marta or Cali?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel cost comparison between Santa Marta and Cali can help. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Santa Marta

Santa Marta is a city in the Magdalena Department of Colombia's Costa Norte. Over the last decade, security has steadily been replacing the shadow of the Colombia's violent past. One destination in Colombia's northeast region is now attracting more international visitors: the coastal Caribbean area of Santa Marta. Established in 1525 by the Spanish as a base of conquest, Santa Marta sits at the foot of the world's highest coastal mountain range, the towering Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. It is South America's oldest European-founded town and the second most important colonial city on Colombia's Caribbean coast. While many travelers complain about Santa Marta's horrible traffic and unsightly urban sprawl, the city holds a numerous amounts of great hotels, bars and restaurants and holds a few fantastic destinations nearby to which you can go during the daytime.

Cali

Cali is Colombia's third largest city. Founded in 1536, can be explored on foot: walk under the shade of trees along the riverbank, admire the architecture of churches and other national monuments, and visit the city's many museums. Being the salsa capital of the world, Cali is primarily a destination for salsa and party but it also offers some great days out in the nearby natural surroundings. In Cali, travelers can enjoy music festivals, learn about sugarcane farming, and take in the mountainous landscapes.

Which city is cheaper, Cali or Santa Marta?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Santa Marta is $26, while the average daily cost in Cali is $20. 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 Santa Marta and Cali in more detail.



Accommodation

Travelers usually pay around $22 for a double occupancy room in Santa Marta If you want to be in a premiere location or have high end amenities, you can expect to pay a bit more.

Travelers usually pay around $9.80 for a double occupancy room in Cali If you want to be in a premiere location or have high end amenities, you can expect to pay a bit more.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Santa Marta $11
    Cali $4.90
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Santa Marta $22
    Cali $9.80

Food

Santa Marta food costs typically run travelers around $7.98 per day. Eating every meal in a nicer restaurant will drive the cost up, and grabbing fast food or casual meals will help you save money.

Cali food costs typically run travelers around $7.02 per day. Eating every meal in a nicer restaurant will drive the cost up, and grabbing fast food or casual meals will help you save money.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Santa Marta $7.98
    Cali $7.02
Typical Food prices in Santa Marta

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


  • Breakfast
    $3.13

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Santa Marta

For Santa Marta, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Food Tour in Santa Marta Old City Half-Day: $60
  • Santa Marta 2-hour Street Food Tour: $75

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Cali

For Cali, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Culinary Journeys: Cooking Workshop + Dinner Party: $50
  • Night City Tour in Cali + Dinner: $110
  • Dinner Show in Cali: $189

Local Transportation

Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Santa Marta than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $4.20 on transportation in Santa Marta on average per day.

Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Cali than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $4.59 on transportation in Cali on average per day.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Santa Marta $4.20
    Cali $4.59
Typical Local Transportation prices in Santa Marta

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Santa Marta:


  • Gas
    $5.22

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Santa Marta

Also for Santa Marta, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Transfer in private minivan from Santa Marta city to Santa Marta Airport (SMR): $21
  • Transfer in private minivan from Santa Marta Airport (SMR) to Santa Marta city: $21
  • Transfer in Private Car from Santa Marta city to Santa Marta Airport (SMR): $14
  • Transfer in Private Car from Santa Marta Airport (SMR) to Santa Marta city: $14
  • Transfer Round Trip Airport - Hotel (santa Marta): $10
  • Santa Marta Arrival or Departure Transfer: Airport / Cruise Ship Terminal: $12
  • Round trip transfer in private minivan from-to Santa Marta Airport (SMR) to city: $43
  • Round trip transfer in Private Car from-to Santa Marta Airport(SMR) to City: $28
  • Private transfer between Santa Marta and Cartagena (or vice versa): $194
  • Private Transfer to Cartagena or Barranquilla City from Santa Marta: $84
  • Private Transfer to / from Palomino, Tayrona Park or Minca from Santa Marta: $35
  • Private Transfer Santa Marta to Palomino (or vice versa): $96

Typical Local Transportation prices in Cali

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Cali:


  • Short Taxi Ride
    $1.02

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cali

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

  • Transfer in Private Minivan from Cali City to Cali Airport (CLO): $31
  • Transfer in Cali: $13
  • Private transfer: Cali to Cali International Airport (CLO): $54
  • Private Transfer to / from Buenaventura: $60
  • Private Transfer from Cali City to Cali Airport (CLO): $19
  • Private Arrival or Departure Transfer: Alfonso Bonilla Aragón Airport: $15
  • Private Airport Transfer: from Cali to Alfonso B. Aragon Airport (CLO): $34
  • Departure Private Transfer from Cali City to Cali Airport CLO by Minivan: $105
  • Departure Private Transfer from Cali City to Cali Airport CLO by Minibus: $179
  • Departure Private Transfer from Cali City to Cali Airport CLO by 2x4 Vehicle: $75
  • Cali to Popayan Private Transfer: $255
  • Cali to Popayan Private Transfer: $255

Is it cheaper to fly into Santa Marta or Cali?

Prices for flights to both Cali and Santa Marta 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

Sightseeing expenses in Santa Marta, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $11 per day, per person.

Sightseeing expenses in Cali, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $8.66 per day, per person.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Santa Marta $11
    Cali $8.66

Tours and Activities in Santa Marta

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

  • "Gabo Márquez" Tour - Aracataca and Cienaga: $205
  • 2 Day Coastal Motorcycle Tour: $333
  • 4-Day Lost City Small-Group Tour in Santa Marta: $380
  • 5-Day Private Guided Hiking Experience to The Lost City: $699
  • Aracataca And Ciénaga - Gabriel García Márquez Tour: $53
  • Archeological Tour in Taironaka with River Tubing and a small Lost City: $177
  • Arrecife and Cañaveral tour from Santa Marta: $74
  • BE RELAX TOUR - Bahia Concha: $22
  • BE TROPICAL TOUR - Buritaca & Playa Los Angeles: $51
  • Cartagena - City Tour: $128
  • City Tour Santa Marta: $51
  • Coffee Tour La Victoria: $125

Tours and Activities in Cali

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

  • Alameda Market Fruit Tour: $55
  • Cali ATV tour - Recorrido en Cuatrimoto por ríos y cañaduzales: $125
  • Cali City Tour: $98
  • Cali City Tour: $29
  • Cali City Tour - The Best Of Cali In Comfort: $47
  • Cali Salsa Tour: $167
  • City Tour Cali: $97
  • Coffee Tour - Taste And Live The Authentic Colombian Coffee Experience: $132
  • Cristo Rey + Tertulia Museum + Downtown Cali City Tour 7H: $80
  • Experience Salsa Dance Class in Cali: $78
  • Historical Walking Cali City Tour 3H: $41
  • Nature adventure (3 days, all-included): $293

Alcohol

Typically, people visiting Santa Marta spend on average $5.34 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.

Typically, people visiting Cali spend on average $6.92 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Santa Marta $5.34
    Cali $6.92
Typical Alcohol prices in Santa Marta

Here are a few samples of the prices for alcohol and nightlife in Santa Marta from other travelers:


  • Beer
    $0.57
  • Beer
    $2.35

Sample the Local Flavors in Santa Marta

Also in Santa Marta, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Nicks 1892 Coffee farm & Brewery: $55


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

Budget Your Trip

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Santa Marta vs. Cali Travel Comparison

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