A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Tena vs. El Calafate for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Tena or El Calafate?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel cost comparison between Tena and El Calafate can help. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Tena

Tena is the capital of the Napo Province, an attractive and quiet city in the Amazon rainforest, and is known as the "cinnamon capital" of Ecuador. Tena has a friendly population, lots of backpacker infrastructure, a gorgeous setting surrounded by jungle-covered hills and a high concentration of surrounding rivers where white-water lovers from around the world come to paddle and kayak. The town provides a gateway to exploration into Ecuador's most accessible part of the great Amazon rainforest, which does not leave visitors disappointed. Beyond being a base for discovering the jungle and its wildlife, Tena is also a hub for adventure sports which are abundant in the area. Tena is a charming place where many travelers find themselves hanging around quite happily before or after a trip into the rainforest.

El Calafate

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 Tena?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Tena is $41, while the average daily cost in El Calafate is $71. 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 Tena and El Calafate in more detail.



Accommodation

The average price for accommodation for two people in Tena is $38. This is for two people sharing a typical double occupancy hotel room.

An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $48 in El Calafate For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Tena $19
    El Calafate $24
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Tena $38
    El Calafate $48

Food

Tena food costs typically run travelers around $12 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 in El Calafate costs travelers about $26 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.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Tena $12
    El Calafate $26

Typical Food prices in El Calafate

For El Calafate, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Dessert
    $0.10
  • Dinner
    $16
  • Dinner
    $9.39

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: $120
  • Gaucho, Dinner and Folklore Full-Day Tour: $165

Local Transportation

While taxis and private drivers typically cost much more than public transportation, people usually spend around $13 per day to get around in Tena.

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 $25 per person, per day on transportation in El Calafate.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Tena $13
    El Calafate $25

Typical Local Transportation prices in El Calafate

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in El Calafate:


  • Taxi
    $12

Hired Cars and Shuttles in El Calafate

Also for El Calafate, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Bus Transfer from El Calafate to El Chalten: $50
  • El Calafate Airport Private Transfer: $57
  • From Calafate: Round-trip transfer to Perito Moreno Glacier: $27
  • Kayak in Perito Moreno Glacier with transfers: $461
  • Kayak in Perito Moreno Glacier without transfers: $336
  • Private Transfer Airport-Hotel-Airport (Calafate): $90
  • Private Transfer Hotel-Bus Station or Bus Station-Hotel (Calafate): $35
  • Shared Transfer Airport-Hotel-Airport (Calafate): $32
  • Shared transfer to El Calafate -El Chaltén: $75

Is it cheaper to fly into Tena or El Calafate?

Prices for flights to both El Calafate and Tena 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

Activities, things to do, and other forms of entertainment usually cost around $12 per person, per day in Tena. This cost includes the price of admission tickets to attractions and museums as well as daily tours.

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in El Calafate can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $26 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Tena $12
    El Calafate $26

Tours and Activities in Tena

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

  • 3 or 4 Day Amazon Napo Adventure: $392

Typical Entertainment prices in El Calafate

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for El Calafate's activities, tours, and tickets:


  • Glacerium Museum
    $12

Tours and Activities in El Calafate

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

  • El Calafate History Museum Tour: $11
  • Bamboo Bike self drive tour El Calafate surroundings: $15
  • Perito Moreno Glacier Tour with Optional Boat Ride: $38
  • Bus ticket to Puerto Natales, Chile: $44
  • Perito Moreno Glacier & Optional Boat Cruise: $44
  • City Tour in El Calafate with Walichu Caves: $48
  • Tour to Punta Walichu and Glaciarium: $48
  • Bus Ticket from El Chalten to El Calafate: $50
  • El Calafate City Sightseeing Tour Including Walichu Caves: $53
  • Bus ticket from El Calafate (Argentina) to Puerto Natales (Chile): $56
  • Los Glaciares National Park and Perito Moreno Glacier Tour: $61
  • El Calafate Sightseeing Tour with Walichu Caves: $68

Alcohol

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Tena may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $8.26 per day on alcoholic beverages.

Typically, people visiting El Calafate spend on average $13 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Tena $8.26
    El Calafate $13

Typical Alcohol prices in El Calafate

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in El Calafate:


  • Beer
    $0.08
  • Alcohol
    $3.26

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: $38
  • Calafate Wine Tour: $48


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Tena and El Calafate, we can see that El Calafate is more expensive. And not only is Tena much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Tena would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Tena 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 Tena.

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Tena vs. El Calafate Travel Comparison

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