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

Should you visit Santa Marta or Tilcara?

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

Tilcara

Tilcara signifies shooting star in Quechua. At 2465m of altitude, the little town of Tilcara is one of the most animated place of the area of the quebrada de humahuaca. Many South American backpackers and tourists from all around the world come to visit Tilcara and its pucara, the forteresse built by the Incas at the top of the hill, providing a stunning walk around the town. Tilcara hosts many festivals for different occasions such as the celebration of the Pachamama in August, the semana santa (Holy Week) in April, and the Enero Tilcareno, held in January as its name indicates, which is probably the busiest month of the year for the little town. If you enjoy concerts, parades and folklorique parties then definitely try to visit Tilcara during a festival month and avoid them if you prefer a calm and more relaxed holiday. There are many available activities around Tilcara including horseback riding, VTT, and you could also even try a ride in a caravan pulled by llamas.

Which city is cheaper, Tilcara 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 Tilcara is $58. 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 Tilcara 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.

Double occupancy rooms typically run around $46 in Tilcara For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Santa Marta $11
    Tilcara $23
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Santa Marta $22
    Tilcara $46

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 Tilcara cost around $24 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 $9.60.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Santa Marta $7.98
    Tilcara $24
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 Tilcara

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Tilcara:


  • Sandwich
    $0.05
  • Burger
    $0.10
  • Fruit
    $0.08
  • Sandwich
    $0.10

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.

Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Tilcara than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $15 on transportation in Tilcara on average per day.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Santa Marta $4.20
    Tilcara $15
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 transfer between Santa Marta and Cartagena (or vice versa): $194
  • Private Transfer Santa Marta to Palomino (or vice versa): $96
  • Private Transfer to Cartagena or Barranquilla City from Santa Marta: $84
  • Private Airport Transfer: From Santa Marta Airport to Hotel in Tayrona Park: $59
  • 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 Taganga: $35
  • Private Transfer to / from Palomino, Tayrona Park or Minca from Santa Marta: $35
  • Round trip transfer in Private Car from-to Santa Marta Airport(SMR) to City: $28
  • Transfer in private minivan from Santa Marta Airport (SMR) to Santa Marta city: $21
  • Transfer in private minivan from Santa Marta city to Santa Marta Airport (SMR): $21
  • Private Airport Transfer: From Santa Marta Airport to Hotel in Santa Marta: $18
  • Transfer in Private Car from Santa Marta Airport (SMR) to Santa Marta city: $14

Typical Local Transportation prices in Tilcara

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


  • Taxi Ride
    $0.05

Is it cheaper to fly into Santa Marta or Tilcara?

Prices for flights to both Tilcara 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.

Sightseeing expenses in Tilcara, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $14 per day, per person.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Santa Marta $11
    Tilcara $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:

  • "Gabo Márquez" Tour - Aracataca and Cienaga: $205
  • 2 Day Coastal Motorcycle Tour: $333
  • 4-Day Lost City Small-Group Tour in Santa Marta: $380
  • 5-Day Private Guided Hiking Experience to The Lost City: $699
  • Aracataca And Ciénaga - Gabriel García Márquez Tour: $53
  • Archeological Tour in Taironaka with River Tubing and a small Lost City: $177
  • Arrecife and Cañaveral tour from Santa Marta: $74
  • BE RELAX TOUR - Bahia Concha: $22
  • BE TROPICAL TOUR - Buritaca & Playa Los Angeles: $51
  • Cartagena - City Tour: $128
  • City Tour Santa Marta: $51
  • Coffee Tour La Victoria: $125

Tours and Activities in Tilcara

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Tilcara.

  • Full-Day Tour to Laguna de los Pozuelos from Tilcara: $135
  • Half-Day Mountain Bike Tour to Juella from Tilcara: $58

Alcohol

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

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Tilcara, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $7.52.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Santa Marta $5.34
    Tilcara $7.52
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


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

Budget Your Trip

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Santa Marta vs. Tilcara Travel Comparison

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