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

Should you visit Sao Paulo or Santa Marta?

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Sao Paulo or Santa Marta, 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.

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.

Which city is cheaper, Santa Marta 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 Santa Marta is $26. 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 Santa Marta 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.

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

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.

Santa Marta food costs typically run travelers around $8.07 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.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Sao Paulo $11
    Santa Marta $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

Typical Food prices in Santa Marta

For Santa Marta, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Breakfast
    $3.17

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

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.

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 $4.24 on transportation in Santa Marta on average per day.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Sao Paulo $4.50
    Santa Marta $4.24

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: $55
  • Transfer in Private Vehicle from Sao Paulo City to Airport: $25
  • São Paulo x Paraty x São Paulo - Package Transfer IN + OUT: $98
  • São Paulo Hotel Private Minibus Transfer to Guarulhos Airport: $87
  • Private transfer: Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) to Sao Paulo: $86
  • Private Transfer: São Paulo to Congonhas-São Paulo Airport (CGH): $65
  • Private Transfer: Congonhas-São Paulo Airport (CGH) to São Paulo: $65
  • Private Transfer from Vila Olímpia to Sao Paulo (GRU) Airport: $75
  • Private Transfer from Vila Mariana to Sao Paulo (GRU) Airport: $66
  • Private Transfer from Vila Leopoldina to Sao Paulo (GRU) Airport: $81
  • Private Transfer from Vila Andrade to Sao Paulo (GRU) Airport: $85
  • Private Transfer from São Paulo airport to Hotels + quick City tour: $76

Typical Local Transportation prices in Santa Marta

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


  • Gas
    $5.28

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

Is it cheaper to fly into Sao Paulo or Santa Marta?

Prices for flights to both Santa Marta 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.

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.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Sao Paulo $3.09
    Santa Marta $11

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: $275
  • 3 Beaches Hiking Santo Amaro Island - Paradise Route Tour from São Paulo: $85
  • 4 Hour Customized "Private Tour" Drinking, Dining and Entertainment: $400
  • 4-Day Private Guided Tour From São Paulo To Rio de Janeiro – Coastal Trip: $990
  • 4-hour Private Tour - Hidden Gems and Top Sights of São Paulo: $105
  • 4-hour Sum-up Private Tour Of São Paulo Including Its Major Attractions: $87
  • 4WD One Day Tour visiting Water Fall and the Big Stone from Sao Paulo: $270
  • 5-hour Private Street Art Tour Of São Paulo – The Coolest Urban Art Scenes: $106
  • 5-hour Private Tour Of São Paulo With Its Main Sights – Optional Airport Pickup: $97
  • 5h City Tour (pick up & delivery within SaoPaulo city): $189
  • 7-hour Private Tour Overview Of São Paulo – Optional For GRU Airport Pickup: $134
  • 8-Day São Paulo Tour: From City to Beaches, Waterfalls & Caves: $2,490

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

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.

Typically, people visiting Santa Marta spend on average $5.41 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Sao Paulo $2.69
    Santa Marta $5.41

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

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
    $0.58
  • Beer
    $2.38

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 Sao Paulo and Santa Marta, we can see that Sao Paulo 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 Sao Paulo would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Sao Paulo than you might in Santa Marta.

Budget Your Trip

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Sao Paulo vs. Santa Marta Travel Comparison

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