Should you visit Santa Marta or Rosario Islands?
Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel cost comparison between Santa Marta and Rosario Islands can help. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.
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.
The Rosario Islands, also referred to as Coral Islands of Rosario, is an archipelago located off the coast of Colombia, approximately 100 kilometres (62 miles) from Cartagena. The Rosario Islands are integrated by 28 islands and all of them form one of the 46 Natural National Parks of Colombia, created to protect one of the most important coral reefs in the Colombian Caribbean Coast. Only three of these islands are property of the Colombian state. Before establishing the national park in 1977, wealthy families used this natural paradise to build their summer houses, but then the government allowed them to keep their properties, only if they paid annual rent and taxes to be there, and complied with certain rules to preserve the ecosystem of the islands. People can visit the national park area of the islands, and tours are available. Isla Rosario has an aquarium and open-sea oceanarium that people can visit. Activities on the Rosario Islands include swimming, snorkeling and fishing, among others. The best time to visit Colombia in general, and especially the Rosario Islands is the dry-season months from December to March. These uninterrupted sunny days are just perfect for a Caribbean coastal experience and to enjoy all the activities it has to offer.
Which city is cheaper, Rosario Islands 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 Rosario Islands is $71. 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 Rosario Islands in more detail.
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.
Rosario Islands's average price for two people sharing a typical double-occupancy hotel room is $54. A typical place to stay for one person, per day is $27.
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.
The average traveler spends about $23 per day in Rosario Islands for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.
Meals for one day
Santa Marta $7.98
Rosario Islands $23
Typical Food prices in Santa Marta
For Santa Marta, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:
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:
Santa Marta 2-hour Street Food Tour:
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.
While taxis and private drivers typically cost much more than public transportation, people usually spend around $37 per day to get around in Rosario Islands.
Typical Local Transportation prices in Santa Marta
Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Santa Marta:
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:
Private Airport Transfer: From Santa Marta Airport to Hotel in Taganga:
Private Airport Transfer: From Santa Marta Airport to Hotel in Tayrona Park:
Private Transfer Santa Marta to Palomino (or vice versa):
Private Transfer to / from Palomino, Tayrona Park or Minca from Santa Marta:
Private Transfer to Cartagena or Barranquilla City from Santa Marta:
Private transfer between Santa Marta and Cartagena (or vice versa):
Round trip transfer in Private Car from-to Santa Marta Airport(SMR) to City:
Round trip transfer in private minivan from-to Santa Marta Airport (SMR) to city:
Santa Marta Arrival or Departure Transfer: Airport / Cruise Ship Terminal:
Transfer Round Trip Airport - Hotel (santa Marta):
Transfer in Private Car from Santa Marta Airport (SMR) to Santa Marta city:
Is it cheaper to fly into Santa Marta or Rosario Islands?
Prices for flights to both Rosario Islands 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.
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.
Activities, things to do, and other forms of entertainment usually cost around $11 per person, per day in Rosario Islands. This cost includes the price of admission tickets to attractions and museums as well as daily tours.
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:
Musical Experience "Vive Musicaribe":
BE RELAX TOUR - Bahia Concha:
Taganga snorkeling experience:
Santa Marta city tour:
Graffiti Tour in Santa Marta Old City:
Old City + Museum Santa Marta City Tour 3H:
Aquarium and White Beach Tour:
Tour E-Bike Playa Grande:
City Tour Santa Marta:
BE TROPICAL TOUR - Buritaca & Playa Los Angeles:
Aracataca And Ciénaga - Gabriel García Márquez Tour:
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 Rosario Islands may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $4.88 per day on alcoholic beverages.
Typical Alcohol prices in Santa Marta
Here are a few samples of the prices for alcohol and nightlife in Santa Marta from other travelers:
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:
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Santa Marta and Rosario Islands, we can see that Rosario Islands 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 Rosario Islands would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Rosario Islands than you might in Santa Marta.
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