A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Santa Marta vs. San Carlos de Bariloche for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Santa Marta or San Carlos de Bariloche?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel cost comparison between Santa Marta and San Carlos de Bariloche 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.

San Carlos de Bariloche

Set in the foothills of the Andes Mountains in Argentina, San Carlos de Bariloche is the biggest city in the Lake District. Bariloche is popular for skiing and snowboarding in the winter and trekking, swimming, fishing and horseback riding in the summertime.

No matter the time of year, there is something for everyone in Bariloche. Skiing season begins from June to October while fishing season is from November to April. Summer is from December to March, but visiting during low seasons (Spring in October to December and Autumn in late-April to mid-June) also has its benefits when it comes to saving cash and avoiding crowds.

Check out our ultimate guide to Hiking in Patagonia.

Which city is cheaper, San Carlos de Bariloche 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 San Carlos de Bariloche is $52. 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 San Carlos de Bariloche 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 $38 for a double occupancy room in San Carlos de Bariloche.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Santa Marta $11
    San Carlos de Bariloche $19
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Santa Marta $22
    San Carlos de Bariloche $38

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.

The average traveler spends about $20 per day in San Carlos de Bariloche 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.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Santa Marta $7.98
    San Carlos de Bariloche $20
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 San Carlos de Bariloche

Some typical examples of dining costs in San Carlos de Bariloche are as follows:


  • Pastries
    $0.12
  • Empanadas
    $0.28

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in San Carlos de Bariloche

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in San Carlos de Bariloche.

  • Night hiking in the woods with headlamps & Candlelit dinner: $70
  • Half-Day Bariloche Highlights with Cooking Class & Beer Tasting -Private Service: $274

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 San Carlos de Bariloche is $16 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
    San Carlos de Bariloche $16
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

Hired Cars and Shuttles in San Carlos de Bariloche

Some specific examples of transportation prices in San Carlos de Bariloche:

  • Shared Round-Trip Transfer: Bariloche Hotels to Cerro Catedral Ski Resort: $38
  • Shared Departure Transfer: Hotel to Bariloche Airport: $26
  • Shared Arrival Transfer: Bariloche Airport to Hotel: $15
  • San Carlos de Bariloche Airport Roundtrip Transfer: $48
  • Private transfer: Bariloche Airport (BRC) to San Carlos de Bariloche: $149
  • Private Transfer: San Carlos de Bariloche to Bariloche Airport (BRC): $133
  • Private Transfer from Tom Wesley to Bariloche (BRC) Airport: $62
  • Private Transfer from Puerto Pañuelo to Bariloche (BRC) Airport: $83
  • Private Transfer from Playa Bonita to Bariloche (BRC) Airport: $52
  • Private Transfer from Lago Moreno to Bariloche (BRC) Airport: $52
  • Private Transfer from Hotel Llao Llao to Bariloche (BRC) Airport: $83
  • Private Transfer from Hotel Catedral to Bariloche (BRC) Airport: $52

Is it cheaper to fly into Santa Marta or San Carlos de Bariloche?

Prices for flights to both San Carlos de Bariloche 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.

San Carlos de Bariloche's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $22 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
    San Carlos de Bariloche $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

Tours and Activities in San Carlos de Bariloche

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for San Carlos de Bariloche are as follows:

  • "Brazo Tristeza" Lake Experience - Shared Service: $158
  • 1.5-Hour Lago Gutierrez Paddle Boarding Tour from Bariloche: $80
  • 4-Day Bariloche & Lake district Classic Tour: $659
  • 4-day Bariloche Adventure - Trekking Cerro Llao Llao & Kayaking Lago Mascardi: $903
  • 5-Day Adventure Trip in Bariloche: $995
  • 6-Days Unique Experience Lake Crossing & Mountains Region!: $1,150
  • 7-Day Bariloche & Mendoza Adventure: Trekking, Kayaking, Horseback riding & Wine: $1,326
  • Bariloche 3 tours Classic package: $250
  • Bariloche 3 tours with adrenaline: $280
  • Bariloche 3 tours with adventure: $290
  • Bariloche Circuito Grande Sightseeing Tour: $96
  • Bariloche Civic Center Walking Tour: $5.00

Alcohol

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

The average person spends about $13 on alcoholic beverages in San Carlos de Bariloche 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
    San Carlos de Bariloche $13
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 San Carlos de Bariloche

Here are a few samples of the prices for alcohol and nightlife in San Carlos de Bariloche from other travelers:


  • Beer
    $0.11

Sample the Local Flavors in San Carlos de Bariloche

Also in San Carlos de Bariloche, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • City Tour, Nature Hiking & visit to a Local Microbrewery in Bariloche: $281


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Santa Marta and San Carlos de Bariloche, we can see that San Carlos de Bariloche 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 San Carlos de Bariloche would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in San Carlos de Bariloche than you might in Santa Marta.

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Santa Marta vs. San Carlos de Bariloche Travel Comparison

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