A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Santa Marta vs. Lima for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Santa Marta or Lima?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel cost comparison between Santa Marta and Lima 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.

Lima

Lima, the capital city of Peru, is likely to be your point of entry for the country. Lima was founded in 1535 and was the seat of the Spanish rule for 300 years. It's a surprisingly modern city despite its rich history, but many beautiful churches and colonial architecture remain today. There are also large slum areas that highlight the poverty that exists in the city. The city and its surrounding metropolitan area have a population of about 8.5 million people, many of whom came from the Andes Mountains in search of work. Unfortunately the work opportunities are limited and the poverty is obvious as you arrive in Lima.

Which city is cheaper, Lima 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 Lima is $56. 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 Lima 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.

Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $72 for a double occupancy room in Lima.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Santa Marta $11
    Lima $36
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Santa Marta $22
    Lima $72

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.

On average, meal and food prices in Lima cost around $13 per person, per day. While this price can vary widely by location, the type of restaurant, and the amount of food ordered, a typical meal often costs around $5.20.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Santa Marta $7.98
    Lima $13
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

Typical Food prices in Lima

Some typical examples of dining costs in Lima are as follows:


  • Lunch for Two
    $3.90
  • Ice cream
    $3.17
  • Coffee
    $2.68
  • Donut
    $0.85

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Lima

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Lima.

  • Virtual Peruvian Cooking Class "Lomo Saltado": $18
  • Dancing Horse Show & Dinner Buffet & Barranco Night Tour: $46
  • #1 Lima Food Tour and Local Markets (Small Group): $46
  • #1 Dancing Horse Show & Dinner Buffet & Barranco Night Tour: $46
  • Delicious Food Tour through Local Markets: $46
  • #1 Peruvian Food Tour through Local Markets (Small Group): $46
  • Dinner at the Huaca Pucllana Restaurant: $49
  • Private Cooking Class With a Local Family in Lima: $52
  • 3–Hour Restaurant Dinner and Show Experience: $55
  • Dinner Show and Exhibition of Peruvian Horse including Pick up & drop off: $55
  • Peruvian Food Tour Through Local Markets: $55
  • Magic Water Circuit, Dinner & Show in Lima: $56

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.

The cost of a taxi ride in Lima is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $4.33 per person, per day, on local transportation in Lima.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Santa Marta $4.20
    Lima $4.33
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 Round Trip Airport - Hotel (santa Marta): $10
  • Santa Marta Arrival or Departure Transfer: Airport / Cruise Ship Terminal: $12
  • Transfer in Private Car from Santa Marta Airport (SMR) to Santa Marta city: $14
  • Transfer in Private Car from Santa Marta city to Santa Marta Airport (SMR): $14
  • Private Airport Transfer: From Santa Marta Airport to Hotel in Santa Marta: $18
  • 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
  • Round trip transfer in Private Car from-to Santa Marta Airport(SMR) to City: $28
  • Private Airport Transfer: From Santa Marta Airport to Hotel in Taganga: $35
  • Private Transfer to / from Palomino, Tayrona Park or Minca from Santa Marta: $35
  • Round trip transfer in private minivan from-to Santa Marta Airport (SMR) to city: $43
  • Private Airport Transfer: From Santa Marta Airport to Hotel in Tayrona Park: $59

Typical Local Transportation prices in Lima

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Lima are as follows:


  • Taxi Ride
    $4.87
  • Taxi Ride
    $4.87
  • Short Taxi Ride
    $3.65

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Lima

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Lima:

  • Transfer from the Airport to Hotel/Airbnb Miraflores/San Isidro/Barranco: $13
  • Transfer from lima airport: $20
  • Transfer from Lima city to the airport: $20
  • Transfer from Hotel/Airbnb Miraflores/San Isidro/Barranco to Airport: $13
  • Round trip private transfer to Lima Airport: $80
  • Round Trip Transfer from and to the Airport in Miraflores/Barranco/Sani: $25
  • QuickLlama: Door-to-door transfer from Miraflores to Lima Airport: $6.00
  • Private transfer in medium van to Lima Airport (QuickLlama Airport Shuttle): $40
  • Private transfer in medium van from Lima Airport (QuickLlama Airport Shuttle): $40
  • Private transfer in large van from Lima Airport (QuickLlama Airport Shuttle): $60
  • Private transfer from Lima city to Paracas (price per vehicle): $480
  • Private transfer from Lima Airport to Paracas (price per vehicle): $490

Is it cheaper to fly into Santa Marta or Lima?

Prices for flights to both Lima 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.

Entertainment and activities in Lima typically cost an average of $6.22 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Santa Marta $11
    Lima $6.22

Tours and Activities in Santa Marta

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

  • Skip the Line: Santa Marta Marine World Aquarium Admission Ticket and Guide: $6.50
  • Musical Experience "Vive Musicaribe": $11
  • BE RELAX TOUR - Bahia Concha: $22
  • Taganga snorkeling experience: $23
  • Santa Marta city tour: $31
  • Graffiti Tour in Santa Marta Old City: $40
  • Old City + Museum Santa Marta City Tour 3H: $48
  • Aquarium and White Beach Tour: $49
  • Tour E-Bike Playa Grande: $49
  • City Tour Santa Marta: $51
  • BE TROPICAL TOUR - Buritaca & Playa Los Angeles: $51
  • Aracataca And Ciénaga - Gabriel García Márquez Tour: $53

Typical Entertainment prices in Lima

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Lima are as follows:


  • Entrance to Museo Larco (for 2)
    $15
  • Movie Tickets
    $2.07

Tours and Activities in Lima

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Lima are as follows:

  • #1 Artsy & Cultural Barranco Walking tour (Small Group): $30
  • #1 Artsy Barranco & Lima City Tour (Small Group): $60
  • #1 Beautiful Fountains Park & Light Show - Night Tour (Small Group): $30
  • #1 City Tour by Night & Magic Fountains Park - Light Show (Small Group): $34
  • #1 City Tour in Lima from the Airport (private service): $46
  • #1 Lima City Tour - Lunch & Pachacamac Archaeological site (Small Group): $80
  • #1 Lima Walking City Tour (Small Group): $30
  • #1 Lunahuana Valley & Rafting Experience - from Lima (Small Group): $140
  • #1 Miraflores, Barranco & San Isidro Tour (Small Group): $34
  • #1 Sandboarding - Buggy Tour & Huacachina Oasis - from Lima (Small Group): $146
  • #1 The Gold Museum of Peru & Lima City tour (Small Group): $80
  • #1 The Gold Museum of Peru Tour (Small Group): $40

Alcohol

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

The average person spends about $3.52 on alcoholic beverages in Lima per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Santa Marta $5.34
    Lima $3.52
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

Typical Alcohol prices in Lima

Some typical examples of the costs for nightlife and alcohol in Lima are as follows:


  • Bottle of Wine
    $6.55
  • Beer
    $3.65
  • Cocktail
    $2.92

Sample the Local Flavors in Lima

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Lima:

  • Lima 3.5-Hour Pisco Pub Crawl: $25
  • Ballestas Islands + Huacachina Oasis + Wine Tour (Unique Experience): $226
  • Mysterious Nazca Lines, Overflight from Ica, Huacachina Oasis & Wine Tour!: $490


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

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Santa Marta vs. Lima Travel Comparison

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