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

Should you visit Santa Marta or Paracas?

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

Paracas

Paracas, also known as El Chaco, is a resort town on the Southern coast of the country, about 150 miles south of Lima. The town in located in one of the oldest regions of Peru, with a history dating back to 900 BC and offers many pre-Inca cultural sites throughout the area. Paracas is possibly best known for being home to the Paracas National Reserve, a nature reserve boasting one of the most abundant and diverse ecosystems in the world.

Which city is cheaper, Paracas 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 Paracas is $45. 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 Paracas 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.

Paracas's average price for two people sharing a typical double-occupancy hotel room is $32. A typical place to stay for one person, per day is $16.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Santa Marta $11
    Paracas $16
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Santa Marta $22
    Paracas $32

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.

Paracas food costs typically run travelers around $17 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
    Paracas $17
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 Paracas

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

  • Dinner on Paracas Desert: $393

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 average price of local transportation around Paracas is $13 per person, per day. As this average includes both taxis and public transport, keep in mind that the prices of private drivers and taxis are significantly more expensive than public transportation.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Santa Marta $4.20
    Paracas $13
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:

  • Private Airport Transfer: From Santa Marta Airport to Hotel in Santa Marta: $18
  • Private Airport Transfer: From Santa Marta Airport to Hotel in Taganga: $35
  • Private Airport Transfer: From Santa Marta Airport to Hotel in Tayrona Park: $59
  • Private Transfer Santa Marta to Palomino (or vice versa): $96
  • Private Transfer to / from Palomino, Tayrona Park or Minca from Santa Marta: $35
  • Private Transfer to Cartagena or Barranquilla City from Santa Marta: $84
  • Private transfer between Santa Marta and Cartagena (or vice versa): $194
  • Round trip transfer in Private Car from-to Santa Marta Airport(SMR) to City: $28
  • Round trip transfer in private minivan from-to Santa Marta Airport (SMR) to city: $43
  • Santa Marta Arrival or Departure Transfer: Airport / Cruise Ship Terminal: $12
  • Transfer Round Trip Airport - Hotel (santa Marta): $10
  • Transfer in Private Car from Santa Marta Airport (SMR) to Santa Marta city: $14

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Paracas

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Paracas:

  • Transfer Paracas -Lima: $250
  • Private transfer from Paracas to Lima Airport (price per vehicle): $490
  • Private transfer from Paracas to Lima (price per vehicle): $480
  • Private Transfer from Paracas to Ica: $110
  • Private Bus Station transfer in Paracas: $9.10

Is it cheaper to fly into Santa Marta or Paracas?

Prices for flights to both Paracas 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.

Paracas's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $18 per person, per day. This cost can vary widely by the type of activity, however, as this includes admission tickets, day tours, museums, and other things to do.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Santa Marta $11
    Paracas $18

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

Tours and Activities in Paracas

Here are a few actual costs in Paracas for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • ATV Tour in Paracas: $45
  • Ballestas Islands Group Tour from Paracas: $26
  • Ballestas Islands Private Group Tour: $440
  • Ballestas Islands Sightseeing Boat Ride from Paracas: $24
  • Ballestas Islands Sigthseeing Tour: $36
  • Ballestas Islands and Chandelier tour from Paracas: $36
  • Ballestas Islands and Paracas National Park from the Cruise pier San Martin: $124
  • Ballestas Islands for cruise ship passenger - Paracas Harbour: $32
  • Buggy & Sandboard Adventure in Paracas: $98
  • Desert Adventure: Luxury Picnic, Off-Road & Sandboarding: $629
  • From 2-Hour Private Ballestas Islands Tour: $405
  • From Ica Vineyard Private Tour Including Lunch and Tasting: $99

Alcohol

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

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Paracas may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $8.02 per day on alcoholic beverages.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Santa Marta $5.34
    Paracas $8.02
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 Paracas, we can see that Paracas 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 Paracas would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Paracas than you might in Santa Marta.

Budget Your Trip

Budget Your Trip has average travel costs for thousands of cities around the world, all provided by other travelers. You can also register to organize your spending by category and location with graphs, maps, charts, and tables.

Share This Page
Pin This Page
Santa Marta vs. Paracas Travel Comparison

Some of the links on this website are sponsored or affiliate links which help to financially support this site. By clicking the link and making a purchase, we may receive a small commission, but this does not affect the price of your purchase.