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

Should you visit Santa Marta or Rosario Islands?

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 Rosario Islands 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 Rosario Islands?

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.

Rosario Islands

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.

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, 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 $32, while the average daily cost in Rosario Islands is $88. 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 Rosario Islands in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Santa Marta $14
    Rosario Islands $34
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Santa Marta $28
    Rosario Islands $68
Compare Hotels in Santa Marta and Rosario Islands

Looking for a hotel in Santa Marta or Rosario Islands? 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 Rosario Islands

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 Rosario Islands Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Santa Marta $5.21
    Rosario Islands $46
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Santa Marta

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

  • Gas

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Santa Marta

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

  • Arrival or Departure Transfer: Simón Bolívar Airport: $14
  • Barranquilla / Santa Marta Transfer: $241
  • Cartagena / Santa Marta Transfer: $335
  • Cartagena to or from Santa Marta Private Transfer: $144
  • Exclusive transfer Santa Marta - Cartagena: $229
  • Private Airport Transfer: From Santa Marta Airport to Hotel in Santa Marta: $25
  • Private Arrival or Departure Transfer: Simon Bolivar Airport (One Way): $12
  • Private Transfer from Santa Marta Airport SMR to Santa Marta Port: $32
  • Private Transfer from Santa Marta Airport to Santa Marta Port: $29
  • Private Transfer from Santa Marta Cruise Port to Cartagena hotels: $77
  • Private Transfer from Santa Marta Cruise Port to Cartagena hotels: $70
  • Private Transfer from Santa Marta Cruise Port to Santa Marta city: $29

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.

  • Food Meals for one day
    Santa Marta $9.89
    Rosario Islands $28
Typical Food Prices in Santa Marta

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

  • Breakfast

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:

  • Santa Marta Walking Food Tour: $40
  • Food Tour in Santa Marta Old City Half-Day : $66
  • Food Tour in Santa Marta Old City: $76
  • Santa Marta Street Food Tour: $93

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Santa Marta $14
    Rosario Islands $14

Tours and Activities in Santa Marta

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

  • Self-Guided Audio Tour: the Pearl of America: $6.99
  • Old Town, Harbour & Highlights Self-guided Tour: $8.57
  • Self-Guided Audio Tour - Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino : $10
  • Self-Guided Audio Tour - Botanical Garden: $10
  • Musical Experience "Live Musicaribe": $11
  • Cultural Heritage Tour Santa Marta: $16
  • Santa Marta Bike Tour: $16
  • BE RELAX TOUR - Bahia Concha: $22
  • Horse Riding at La Mello Adventure Lodge: $35
  • Full Day Tour to Bahía Concha and Tayrona Park with Pickup: $35
  • City tour con todo incluido!: $38
  • Santa Marta Food Experience: $39

Tours and Activities in Rosario Islands

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

  • 1 Hour Cartagena Efoil Flitescooter Experience in Baru : $120
  • 30 Minutes Cartagena Efoil FliteScooter Experience in Baru: $70
  • Cartagena Efoil FliteBoard Experience in Baru 1H: $150
  • One-day tour to Playa Blanca by land Popular sector: $45

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Santa Marta $6.63
    Rosario Islands $6.05
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
  • Beer

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.

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 Rosario Islands Expensive?.