A Travel Price Comparison for Chile Santiago vs. La Serena for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Santiago or La Serena?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Santiago and La Serena. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Where Should I go: Santiago or La Serena?


Santiago is the capital city of Chile. It is centrally located in the long and narrow country, making it a good jumping off point to explore everywhere else. It's convenient location means that you can go skiing in the Andes one day, and hang out at the beach the next.

Santiago has a cool semi-arid climate that is similar to Mediterranean climates. The summers, which are between November and March, are warm and dry. The temperatures climb to around 95 degrees Fahrenheit. The winters, between June and August, are humid with cold mornings. The daily highs are around 55 degrees Fahrenheit and the lows stay a few degrees above freezing. Rain is more common in the winter months and the dry season is between December and March.

La Serena

La Serena is a charming town in Northern Chile. It is Chile's second-oldest city and the thriving capital of Region IV. With its beautiful architecture, its long golden shoreline, dignified stone churches, tree-shaded avenues and pretty plazas, La Serena has everything you could ask for!

Chileans on holidays flood in the city in January and February, though it is fairly peaceful outside the summer rush. Some of the city's architecture is from the colonial era, but most is actually neocolonial thanks to president Gabriel Gonzalez Videla, born in La Serena, and her 'Plan Serena' of the late 1940s.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best One Week (7-Day) Tours in Chile, The Best 2-Week Tours in Chile, The Best Bicycle Tours in Chile, and Tours for Outdoor and Nature Lovers in Chile.

Which place is cheaper, La Serena or Santiago?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Santiago is $141, while the average daily cost in La Serena is $87. 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 Santiago and La Serena in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Santiago $110
    La Serena $42
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Santiago $220
    La Serena $84
Compare Hotels in Santiago and La Serena

Looking for a hotel in Santiago or La Serena? 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 Santiago

Hotels in La Serena

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: Santiago Hotel Prices and La Serena Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Santiago $5.41
    La Serena $20
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Santiago

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

  • Metro Ride

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Santiago

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Santiago:

  • Visit Montes Winery (7th World Best Wine) & Transfer to Hotel: $300
  • Try find your better than us! Airport transfer service in Santiago APT-HTL (SCL): $51
  • Transfer in Private Minivan from Santiago de Chile City - Santiago Airport (SCL): $50
  • Transfer in Private Minivan from Santiago Airport (SCL) - Santiago de Chile City: $49
  • Transfer from or to the airport in Santiago, Chile: $60
  • Transfer from Valparaiso or San Antonio Port + Condor Watching Tour: $230
  • Transfer from Valle Nevado, Farellones, Colorado or La Parva ski to Santiago: $83
  • Transfer from Santiago to Portillo Ski Center: $160
  • Transfer from Santiago To Valle Nevado, Farellones, Colorado or La Parva ski: $83
  • Transfer from Santiago Airport to Santiago Centro Commune: $52
  • Transfer To Valle Nevado Private for small groups: $250
  • Transfer Santiago to Cruise Port in Valparaiso or San Antonio: $250

Is it cheaper to fly into Santiago or La Serena?

Prices for flights to both La Serena and Santiago 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
    Santiago $13
    La Serena $27
Typical Food Prices in Santiago

Some typical examples of dining costs in Santiago are as follows:

  • Empanada
  • Hamburger
  • Dinner

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Santiago

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

  • Sunset Winery Tour with Wine Tastings and Dinner: $45
  • Sunset at Alyan Family Wines Winery with Dinner: $95
  • Traditional Dinner Show in Santiago: $107
  • Sunset Alyan + 6 wines + savory board + rustic dinner + dessert: $119
  • Small-Group Night City Tour: San Cristobal Hill and Dinner Show: $120
  • San Cristobal Hill Night Tour with Dinner Show: $129
  • Private Tour: Santiago at Night with Dinner and Show: $131
  • Private Night City Tour with San Cristobal Hill And Dinner Show: $131
  • 4-Hour Private Night Tour with Dinner and Show: $150
  • Private Dinner and Show with Transfers: $158
  • Traditional Chilean Cooking Class with a Local in Her Santiago Countryside Home: $168

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Santiago $47
    La Serena $24

Tours and Activities in Santiago

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Santiago are as follows:

  • Private Adventure at 4200 meters above sea level in the Chilean Andes Cerro Pintor: $300
  • Private Half-Day Guided Tour of the City of Santiago.: $280
  • 4 Hour Santa Rita Winery All inclusive Tour for Wine Lover: $269
  • 4-hour city tour of Santiago in small groups: $80
  • Adventure and Viewpoints in Cajón del Maipo: $255
  • Andean Horse Ride Yerba Loca Sanctuary - Private tour from Santiago: $240
  • Andean Tour: $158
  • Andes Day Lagoon: Embalse El Yeso Tour from Santiago: $120
  • Andes Half-Day Private Tour with Wine and Cheese Tasting: $190
  • Andes Sunset: shared tour with Asado in the mountain: $90
  • Andes Tour to Portillo Inca Lagoon with San Esteban Vineyard Empanada & Wine: $119
  • Andes Whitewater Rafting Adventure plus Winery Tour and Tasting: $199

Tours and Activities in La Serena

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

  • Full Day History and Flavors Tour in the Elqui Valley: $50
  • La Serena and Coquimbo City Tour (SIB): $66
  • La Serena and Coquimbo Guided City Tour: $76
  • Full day Tour to Elqui Valley : $80
  • Elqui Valley Full Day Tour: magical towns, pisco and mountains: $85
  • Elqui Valley Tour from La Serena: $120
  • La Serena & Coquimbo City Tour - Short excursion for cruise ships: $128
  • Tour to the internationally renowned Pangue Observatory: $139
  • Tour to Valle del Encanto Archeology, Petroglyphs, Flora, Fauna and Springs: $140
  • Dama Island or Chañaral Navigation Tour Humboldt Penguin Reserve: $140
  • Elqui Valley: Pisco Tour, Wine, Beer: $174
  • Elqui Valley and Vicuña Private Tour Including Lunch: $183

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Santiago $8.41
    La Serena $22

Sample the Local Flavors in Santiago

Also in Santiago, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Premium Wine Tour in Viña Cousiño Macul Spanish official: $37
  • Undurraga Winery Tour with Entry and Wine Tasting: $50
  • Concha y Toro Ticket and Tour with Wine Tasting: $50
  • Undurraga Wine Tasting Tour from Santiago: $62
  • Undurraga Wine tour: $63
  • Half Day Trip to Undurraga Vineyard from Santiago - Wine Tasting Included: $70
  • Premium Wine Tasting in Santiago de Chile: $77
  • From Concha y Toro Marqués Half-Day Wine Tasting: $89
  • Private Tour: Undurraga Vineyard Experience with Premium Wine Tasting: $92
  • From Maipo Valley Wine Tour: $99
  • Concha y Toro semi-private tour with 3 wine tastings: $99
  • Maipo Valley Wine Tour with 4 vineyards from Santiago.: $99

When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Santiago and La Serena, we can see that Santiago is more expensive. And not only is La Serena much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to La Serena would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in La Serena 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 Santiago would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Santiago than you might in La Serena.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Santiago Expensive? and Is La Serena Expensive?.

Which is Bigger, Santiago or La Serena?

Santiago has a larger population, and is about 30 times larger than the population of La Serena. When comparing the sizes of Santiago and La Serena, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.

When is the best time to visit Santiago or La Serena?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the southern hemisphere, summer is in January and winter is in July.

Should I visit Santiago or La Serena in the Summer?

Both La Serena and Santiago during the summer are popular places to visit.

In January, Santiago is generally a little warmer than La Serena. Daily temperatures in Santiago average around 21°C (70°F), and La Serena fluctuates around 18°C (64°F).

Santiago usually gets more rain in January than La Serena. Santiago gets 10 mm (0.4 in) of rain, while La Serena receives 4 mm (0.2 in) of rain this time of the year.

  • Summer Average Temperatures January
    Santiago 21°C (70°F) 
    La Serena 18°C (64°F)

Should I visit Santiago or La Serena in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Santiago and La Serena.

Santiago is around the same temperature as La Serena in the autumn. The daily temperature in Santiago averages around 15°C (59°F) in April, and La Serena fluctuates around 15°C (59°F).

In April, Santiago usually receives more rain than La Serena. Santiago gets 10 mm (0.4 in) of rain, while La Serena receives 3 mm (0.1 in) of rain each month for the autumn.

  • Autumn Average Temperatures April
    Santiago 15°C (59°F) 
    La Serena 15°C (59°F)

Should I visit Santiago or La Serena in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Santiago as well as La Serena.

In the winter, Santiago is cooler than La Serena. Typically, the winter temperatures in Santiago in July average around 9°C (48°F), and La Serena averages at about 12°C (54°F).

Santiago usually gets more rain in July than La Serena. Santiago gets 80 mm (3.1 in) of rain, while La Serena receives 3 mm (0.1 in) of rain this time of the year.

  • Winter Average Temperatures July
    Santiago 9°C (48°F) 
    La Serena 12°C (54°F)

Should I visit Santiago or La Serena in the Spring?

Both La Serena and Santiago are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities.

In October, Santiago is generally around the same temperature as La Serena. Daily temperatures in Santiago average around 15°C (59°F), and La Serena fluctuates around 14°C (57°F).

In October, Santiago usually receives more rain than La Serena. Santiago gets 10 mm (0.4 in) of rain, while La Serena receives 5 mm (0.2 in) of rain each month for the spring.

  • Spring Average Temperatures October
    Santiago 15°C (59°F) 
    La Serena 14°C (57°F)

Typical Weather for La Serena and Santiago

Santiago La Serena
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 21°C (70°F) 10 mm (0.4 in) 18°C (64°F) 4 mm (0.2 in)
Feb 20°C (68°F) 10 mm (0.4 in) 18°C (64°F) 3 mm (0.1 in)
Mar 18°C (64°F) 10 mm (0.4 in) 17°C (63°F) 3 mm (0.1 in)
Apr 15°C (59°F) 10 mm (0.4 in) 15°C (59°F) 3 mm (0.1 in)
May 12°C (54°F) 50 mm (2 in) 13°C (55°F) 3 mm (0.1 in)
Jun 9°C (48°F) 40 mm (1.6 in) 12°C (54°F) 4 mm (0.2 in)
Jul 9°C (48°F) 80 mm (3.1 in) 12°C (54°F) 3 mm (0.1 in)
Aug 10°C (50°F) 40 mm (1.6 in) 12°C (54°F) 5 mm (0.2 in)
Sep 12°C (54°F) 20 mm (0.8 in) 13°C (55°F) 5 mm (0.2 in)
Oct 15°C (59°F) 10 mm (0.4 in) 14°C (57°F) 5 mm (0.2 in)
Nov 17°C (63°F) 10 mm (0.4 in) 15°C (59°F) 4 mm (0.2 in)
Dec 20°C (68°F) 10 mm (0.4 in) 17°C (63°F) 3 mm (0.1 in)