A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Sao Paulo vs. Cartagena for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Sao Paulo or Cartagena?

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Sao Paulo or Cartagena, this travel cost comparison can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Sao Paulo

With a population of around 11 million, and 20 million in the metropolitan area, Sao Paulo is the largest city in Brazil. It's also one of the wealthiest cities in the southern hemisphere, although you don't have to look far to see the income disparities and inequalities that exist. The city is diverse and culturally rich, with excellent food, music, and entertainment.

Cartagena

The capital of the Bolivar Department of Colombia, Cartagena is one of the most visited cities in the country. It sits on Colombia's northern coast by the Caribbean Sea. It's a port city with a population of almost 900,000, making it the fifth largest city in Colombia. The city has a rich history and was the first Spanish colony on the American continent. It was also one of the first sanctuaries for freed African slaves in the Americas.

Which city is cheaper, Cartagena or Sao Paulo?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Sao Paulo is $40, while the average daily cost in Cartagena is $39. 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 Sao Paulo and Cartagena in more detail.



Accommodation

The prices for places to stay in Sao Paulo can vary by date, location, and type. Generally, the average cost for accommodation per person is $23, while a typical double-occupancy hotel room for two people will cost around $46.

Cartagena's average price for two people sharing a typical double-occupancy hotel room is $44. A typical place to stay for one person, per day is $22.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Sao Paulo $23
    Cartagena $22
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Sao Paulo $46
    Cartagena $44

Food

The average traveler spends about $11 per day in Sao Paulo 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.

In Cartagena travelers spend around $8.07 a day on food. You can save money by choosing casual restaurants or food stalls, or you can spend plenty more by dining in nicer restaurants at every meal.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Sao Paulo $11
    Cartagena $8.07

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Sao Paulo

For Sao Paulo, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Sao Paulo - Pinheiros Gourmet Food Tour (4 hours tour + 3 dishes included): $45
  • Brazilian Cooking Class: $79
  • Cooking Class in São Paulo: $268
  • Private Food Tour in São Paulo: $278

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Cartagena

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

  • Cartagena Cuisine Cooking Experience: $30
  • BIKE & BITE food tour: $52
  • Street food tour with Julie: $64
  • Food Tour in Cartagena Walled City: $66
  • Street Food & Local Food Tour: $66
  • SkyKitchen 4 Course Cooking Class: $81
  • Bazurto Market Tour and Cooking Class in Cartagena: $92
  • Cartagena - Food Tour: $100
  • Caribbean Cuisine Cooking Class: $105
  • Shared Local Cooking Class and Lunch in Cartagena: $110
  • Bazurto Local Market Tour & Cooking Class: $115
  • Colombian Cooking Workshop: $201

Local Transportation

Sao Paulo's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $4.50 per person, per day on transportation in Sao Paulo.

The average price of local transportation around Cartagena is $6.16 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.
    Sao Paulo $4.50
    Cartagena $6.16

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Sao Paulo

Also for Sao Paulo, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Airport Transfer: São Paulo Hotels to GRU International Airport: $50
  • CGH Airport transfer Sao Paulo city / Hotel: $38
  • Creative & Natural Transfer São Paulo-Paraty: $375
  • Departure Private Transfer São Paulo to Guarulhos Airport GRU by Standard Car: $43
  • Departure Private Transfer São Paulo to Guarulhos Airport GRU in Business Car: $82
  • Departure Private Transfer São Paulo to Guarulhos Airport GRU in Luxury Van: $77
  • Guarulhos International Airport Transfer: $100
  • Low Cost Private Transfer From Governador André Franco Montoro International Airport to Guarulhos City - One Way: $122
  • Low Cost Private Transfer From Governador André Franco Montoro International Airport to São Paulo City - One Way: $122
  • Private Airport Transfer: Sao Paulo to Sao Paulo-Guarulhos Int. Airport (GRU): $23
  • Private Airport Transfer: Sao Paulo-Guarulhos Int. Airport (GRU) to Sao Paulo: $23
  • Private Airport Transfer: Sao Paulo/Congonhas Airport (CGH) to Sao Paulo: $22

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cartagena

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Cartagena:

  • One way private water transfer between Cartagena and the Islands (6 ppl max): $530
  • Private Transfer from La Manga Club to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $259
  • Private Transfer from Cartagena to Alicante–Elche (ALC) Airport: $249
  • Private Transfer Cartagena to Palomino (or vice versa): $195
  • Private transfer to Barranquilla from Cartagena- Traslado privado a Barranquilla: $170
  • Departure Private Transfer Cartagena City to Cartagena Airport CTG by Minivan: $96
  • Transfer to Tayrona Park, Santa Marta or Barranquilla City from Cartagena: $84
  • Departure Private Transfer Cartagena City to Cartagena Airport CTG by 2x4 Car: $72
  • Private transfer Cartagena airport -Mamonal: $65
  • Transfer Cartagena: $50
  • Transfer service in Cartagena: $50
  • Private Transfer: Cartagena to Rafael Núñez International Airport (CTG): $40

Is it cheaper to fly into Sao Paulo or Cartagena?

Prices for flights to both Cartagena and Sao Paulo 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, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Sao Paulo can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $3.09 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.

Cartagena's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $17 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.
    Sao Paulo $3.09
    Cartagena $17

Tours and Activities in Sao Paulo

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

  • Downtown São Paulo: An audio tour tracing the city's epic history: $5.00
  • Virtual Live Tour of Sao Paulo Graffiti Hosted by Artist: $25
  • Street art is not for lazy tourists :P: $25
  • São Paulo Like a Local: Customized Private Tour: $31
  • Discover Sao Paulo History Guided Tour: $31
  • Paulista Avenue Walking Tour: $31
  • Private São Paulo Historic Center Walking Tour: $45
  • Small Group Highlights Tour in São Paulo: $49
  • City Tour Meet São Paulo Half-Day: $50
  • Alternative City Tour: $50
  • Rain Forest Trail - Cantareira Natural Park day tour from São Paulo: $58
  • Embu das Artes Largest Handicraft Fair Tour from São Paulo: $58

Tours and Activities in Cartagena

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

  • 2 Hour Panoramic tour for cruise ship passengers: $40
  • 4-Hour Fishing Experience with Locals Near Cartagena: $103
  • 6 Hr Cartagena Fishing Experience: $974
  • Accessible sightseeing tour of Cartagena: $140
  • Audio Guide - Walking Tour with Interactive (Cartagena de Indias): $10
  • Aviario National Park Shared Tour: $63
  • Bar Tour for Guys and Bachelor Parties: $20
  • Bazurto Market + La Popa Convent Cartagena City Tour 4H: $81
  • Bazurto Market Half day tour in Cartagena: $125
  • Biking Tour Cartagena: $19
  • Birdwatching & Photography experience at the National Aviary in Barú: $279
  • Bolivar Pirate Island Experience with Lunch: $75

Alcohol

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Sao Paulo, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $2.69.

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Cartagena may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $7.57 per day on alcoholic beverages.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Sao Paulo $2.69
    Cartagena $7.57

Sample the Local Flavors in Sao Paulo

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Sao Paulo:

  • 4 Hours Pub Crawl in Vila Madalena: $69


When comparing the travel costs between Sao Paulo and Cartagena, we can see that Sao Paulo is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in South America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

Budget Your Trip

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Sao Paulo vs. Cartagena Travel Comparison

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