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

Should you visit Santa Marta or Cali?

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

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

Where Should I go: Santa Marta or Cali?

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.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Eco Tours in Colombia, The Best Food and Culinary Tours in Colombia, The Best Luxury Tours to Colombia, and The Best G Adventures Tours to Colombia.


Which place 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 $32, while the average daily cost in Cali is $25. 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 Santa Marta and Cali in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Santa Marta $14
    Cali $6.16
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Santa Marta $28
    Cali $12
Compare Hotels in Santa Marta and Cali

Looking for a hotel in Santa Marta or Cali? 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 Santa Marta


Hotels in Cali


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: Santa Marta Hotel Prices and Cali Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Santa Marta $5.27
    Cali $5.76
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Santa Marta

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


  • Gas
    $5.24

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Santa Marta

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

  • Transfers to Palomino, Tayrona Park, Buritaca Guachaca from Santa Marta: $23
  • Transfers SANTA MARTA AIRPORT TO HOTEL IN SANTA MARTA: $31
  • 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
  • Tayrona / Santa Marta Transfer: $87
  • Santa Marta to or from Tayrona Park Private Transfer: $35
  • Santa Marta to or from Tayrona Park Private Transfer: $41
  • Santa Marta to Santa Marta Airport - Departure Private Transfer: $31
  • Santa Marta Airport to Santa Marta - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $63
  • Santa Marta Airport to Santa Marta - Arrival Private Transfer: $31

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- Cali Airport (CLO): $25
  • Transfer in Private Car from Cali Airport (CLO) -Cali City: $22
  • RoundTrip Transfer in Private Minivan Cali Airport (CLO) - Cali City: $51
  • Private Arrival or Departure Transfer: Alfonso Bonilla Aragón Airport : $17
  • From Cali Airport: One-way Privater Transfer to Cali: $58
  • National Park Waterfalls Tour with Lunch & Transfer: $117
  • City Highlights Private Bus Tour with Transfer: $152
  • Alfonso Bonilla Aragón Airpot One Way Transfer: $19
  • Cali to Popayan Private Transfer: $272
  • Arrival Transfer from Cali Airport CLO to Cali City by MiniSuv: $98
  • Arrival Private Transfer from Cali Airport CLO to Cali City by Minivan: $102
  • Alfonso B.Aragon Airport (CLO) to Cali/Palmira-RoundTrip Transfer: $48

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.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Santa Marta $10
    Cali $8.77
Typical Food Prices in Santa Marta

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


  • Breakfast
    $3.14

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 : $66
  • Santa Marta Street Food Tour: $75
  • Food Tour in Santa Marta Old City: $77

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Cali

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

  • Alameda Market Cali Food Tour: $14
  • Street Food Tour: $21
  • Alameda Market Food Tour: $55
  • Flavors of Food tour at the local market: $59

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Santa Marta $14
    Cali $11

Tours and Activities in Santa Marta

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

  • "Chocoserrano" Chocolate Tour 1 day -- Santa Marta: $115
  • "Gabo Márquez" Tour - Aracataca and Cienaga: $205
  • 2 days 1 night tour - in Trompito, I meet indigenous community Kogui Uldezhaxa.: $189
  • 2-Day Cultural Tour to Gotsezhy from Santa Marta: $198
  • 2-Day Tour to Ancestral Heritage from Santa Marta: $190
  • 3-Day Private Tour of Taorayiná Ecolodge and Nature Reserve: $200
  • 4 Days Adventure; Medellin to Santa Marta- Beach of the Dead: $374
  • 4 Days Adventure; Medellin to Santa Marta- Beach of the Dead: $342
  • Amazing full day tour to Minca with a private guide: $178
  • Ancestral Thought Tour two days and one night: $200
  • Aracataca And Ciénaga - Gabriel García Márquez Tour: $54
  • BE RELAX TOUR - Bahia Concha: $22

Tours and Activities in Cali

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

  • 4 Hours Private River Tour to Pance Cali Colombia : $60
  • A day to enjoy nature and have an adventure in the Jordan river: $65
  • Cali ATV tours - Take your adrenaline to the maximum on the road: $159
  • Cali Bike Park Tour: $95
  • Cali Bike Tour: $32
  • Cali City Tour - The Best Of Cali In Comfort: $53
  • Cali City Tour by 3 Hours (transportation + guide): $185
  • Cali City Tour by 5 Hours (transportation + guide): $255
  • Cali City Tour by 8 Hours (transportation + guide): $380
  • Cali Downtown Walking Tour: $57
  • Cali Mountain Bike Tour: $95
  • Cali Salsa & Resistance Street Art Tour: $14

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Santa Marta $6.71
    Cali $8.68
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
    $0.58
  • Beer
    $2.36


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.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Santa Marta Expensive? and Is Cali Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Santa Marta or Cali?

Cali has a larger population, and is about 6 times larger than the population of Santa Marta. When comparing the sizes of Santa Marta and Cali, 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.