Should you visit Sao Paulo or El Calafate?
If you're trying to decide where to visit between Sao Paulo or El Calafate, 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.
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.
Located in Patagonia, El Calafate has become a popular tourist destination in Argentina because of its beautiful setting on the stunningly blue Lago Argentina. The town sits on the southern border of the lake in the southwestern part of the Santa Cruz Province. It's about 320 kilometers from Rio Gallegos.
The rise in popularity of Patagonia as a tourist destination has truly put this small town on the map. You'll find no shortage of trekkers in the town and it makes an excellent base to explore different parts of the Los Glaciares National Park. Popular places to visit include Perito Moreno Glacier, Cerro Chalten, and Cerro Torre.
El Calafate has a cold semi-arid climate. The summers are cool to warm and very dry while the winters are cold and damp. Lago Argentino has a significant influence over the town's climate. The shallow bay where the town is located is usually frozen during the winter months.
Check out our ultimate guide to Hiking in Patagonia.
Which city is cheaper, El Calafate or Sao Paulo?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Sao Paulo is $43, while the average daily cost in El Calafate is $60. 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 El Calafate in more detail.
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 $25, while a typical double-occupancy hotel room for two people will cost around $50.
An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $42 in El Calafate For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.
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 $4.86 per person, per day on transportation in Sao Paulo.
El Calafate'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 $21 per person, per day on transportation in El Calafate.
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Sao Paulo
Also for Sao Paulo, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Transfer: Guarulhos International Airport to Sâo Paulo Hotels:
Transfer in Private Vehicle from Sao Paulo City to Airport:
São Paulo x Paraty x São Paulo - Package Transfer IN + OUT:
São Paulo Hotel Private Minibus Transfer to Guarulhos Airport:
Private transfer: Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) to Sao Paulo:
Private Transfer: São Paulo to Congonhas-São Paulo Airport (CGH):
Private Transfer: Congonhas-São Paulo Airport (CGH) to São Paulo:
Private Transfer from Vila Olímpia to Sao Paulo (GRU) Airport:
Private Transfer from Vila Mariana to Sao Paulo (GRU) Airport:
Private Transfer from Vila Leopoldina to Sao Paulo (GRU) Airport:
Private Transfer from Vila Andrade to Sao Paulo (GRU) Airport:
Private Transfer from São Paulo airport to Hotels + quick City tour:
Typical Local Transportation prices in El Calafate
Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in El Calafate:
Hired Cars and Shuttles in El Calafate
Also for El Calafate, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Kayak in Perito Moreno Glacier with transfers:
Kayak in Perito Moreno Glacier without transfers:
Private Transfer Airport-Hotel-Airport (Calafate):
Shared transfer to El Calafate -El Chaltén:
El Calafate Airport Private Transfer:
Bus Transfer from El Calafate to El Chalten:
Private Airport Transfer:
Private Transfer Hotel-Bus Station or Bus Station-Hotel (Calafate):
Shared Transfer Airport-Hotel-Airport (Calafate):
Transfers Between Airport and Hotels:
Is it cheaper to fly into Sao Paulo or El Calafate?
Prices for flights to both El Calafate 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.
The average traveler spends about $12 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.
Food in El Calafate costs travelers about $22 per day on average. Restaurants can vary significantly in price, so choose wisely if you're trying to save money. Fast food and street stalls are typically your cheapest options, which sit down restaurants can be significantly more expensive.
Meals for one day
Sao Paulo $12
El Calafate $22
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):
Brazilian Cooking Class:
Cooking Class in São Paulo:
Private Food Tour in São Paulo:
Typical Food prices in El Calafate
For El Calafate, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:
Food Tours and Cooking Classes in El Calafate
For El Calafate, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:
Visit to Estancia Alice El Galpon, Dinner and Folkloric Show:
Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Sao Paulo can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $3.33 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.
Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in El Calafate can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $22 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.
Tours and Activities in Sao Paulo
Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Sao Paulo.
2-Hour Boat and Stand Up Paddle Board Adventure in São Paulo, Brazil:
3 Beaches Hiking Santo Amaro Island - Paradise Route Tour from São Paulo:
4 Hour Customized "Private Tour" Drinking, Dining and Entertainment:
4-Day Private Guided Tour From São Paulo To Rio de Janeiro – Coastal Trip:
4-hour Private Tour - Hidden Gems and Top Sights of São Paulo:
4-hour Sum-up Private Tour Of São Paulo Including Its Major Attractions:
4WD One Day Tour visiting Water Fall and the Big Stone from Sao Paulo:
5-hour Private Street Art Tour Of São Paulo – The Coolest Urban Art Scenes:
5-hour Private Tour Of São Paulo With Its Main Sights – Optional Airport Pickup:
5h City Tour (pick up & delivery within SaoPaulo city):
7-hour Private Tour Overview Of São Paulo – Optional For GRU Airport Pickup:
8-Day São Paulo Tour: From City to Beaches, Waterfalls & Caves:
Typical Entertainment prices in El Calafate
Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for El Calafate's activities, tours, and tickets:
Tours and Activities in El Calafate
For El Calafate, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:
"Glaciares Gourmet" - Maria Turquesa Cruiser Navigation:
13-Day Best of Patagonia Tour from El Calafate to Ushuaia: Los Glaciares, Torres del Paine and Tierra del Fuego National Parks:
2-day El Chalten Hiking Adventure Tour from El Calafate:
2-day tour: Perito Moreno Glacier + Torres del Paine National Park:
3-Day Tour of El Calafate and the Glaciers:
4 Days Tour in El Calafate & Chalten:
4-Days El Calafate Easy Going Experience:
4WD Ride tour to Cerro Frias from El Calafate:
4x4 Adventure Day Trip to Torres del Paine National Park with lunchbox:
5-Day Adventure Trip in El Calafate:
5-Days El Calafate Experience without limits!:
5-Days Pearls from Argentina and Chilean Patagonia Experience!:
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 $2.90.
Typically, people visiting El Calafate spend on average $11 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
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:
Typical Alcohol prices in El Calafate
Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in El Calafate:
Sample the Local Flavors in El Calafate
Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in El Calafate:
Calafate Wine Tour | City Tour Peatonal Maridado con Vinos:
Calafate Wine Tour:
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Sao Paulo and El Calafate, we can see that El Calafate is more expensive. And not only is Sao Paulo much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Sao Paulo would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Sao Paulo 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 El Calafate would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in El Calafate than you might in Sao Paulo.
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