A Travel Price Comparison for Argentina Tilcara vs. El Calafate for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Tilcara or El Calafate?

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

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Tilcara and El Calafate can help you decide which place is right for you.

Where Should I go: Tilcara or El Calafate?

Tilcara

Tilcara signifies shooting star in Quechua. At 2465m of altitude, the little town of Tilcara is one of the most animated place of the area of the quebrada de humahuaca. Many South American backpackers and tourists from all around the world come to visit Tilcara and its pucara, the forteresse built by the Incas at the top of the hill, providing a stunning walk around the town. Tilcara hosts many festivals for different occasions such as the celebration of the Pachamama in August, the semana santa (Holy Week) in April, and the Enero Tilcareno, held in January as its name indicates, which is probably the busiest month of the year for the little town. If you enjoy concerts, parades and folklorique parties then definitely try to visit Tilcara during a festival month and avoid them if you prefer a calm and more relaxed holiday. There are many available activities around Tilcara including horseback riding, VTT, and you could also even try a ride in a caravan pulled by llamas.

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.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Family-Friendly Tours to Argentina, The Best Wildlife Tours to Argentina, The Best Eco Tours in Argentina, and The Best Food and Culinary Tours in Argentina.


Which place is cheaper, El Calafate or Tilcara?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Tilcara is $8.37, while the average daily cost in El Calafate is $10. 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 Tilcara and El Calafate in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Tilcara $3.30
    El Calafate $3.48
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Tilcara $6.60
    El Calafate $6.96
Compare Hotels in Tilcara and El Calafate

Looking for a hotel in Tilcara or El Calafate? 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 Tilcara


Hotels in El Calafate


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: Tilcara Hotel Prices and El Calafate Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Tilcara $2.23
    El Calafate $3.59
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Tilcara

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


  • Taxi Ride
    $0.01

Typical Local Transportation Prices in El Calafate

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


  • Taxi
    $1.41

Hired Cars and Shuttles in El Calafate

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

  • Perito Moreno Glacier Mini Trek with Transfer: $456
  • Shared transfer to El Calafate -El Chaltén: $75
  • Private Airport Transfer: $64
  • Excursion to the Perito Moreno Glacier, with guide and transfer to / from the hotel: $60
  • Roundtrip transfer in Private Car from Calafate Airport (FTE)- Calafate City: $49
  • Private Transfer Hotel-Bus Station or Bus Station-Hotel (Calafate): $35
  • Shared Transfer Airport-Hotel-Airport (Calafate): $32
  • Shared Transfer from El Calafate Airport to downtown Hotel: $15
  • Transfers Between Airport and Hotels: $12

Is it cheaper to fly into Tilcara or El Calafate?

Prices for flights to both El Calafate and Tilcara 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
  • Food Meals for one day
    Tilcara $3.46
    El Calafate $3.77
Typical Food Prices in Tilcara

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Tilcara:


  • Sandwich
    $0.01
  • Burger
    $0.01
  • Fruit
    $0.01
  • Sandwich
    $0.01

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Tilcara

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

  • Northern Argentine cooking experience: $70

Typical Food Prices in El Calafate

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


  • Dessert
    $0.01
  • Dinner
    $1.83
  • Dinner
    $1.08

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:

  • Estancia 25 de Mayo Tour with Dinner & Transfer: $126
  • Lakes and Caves Tour with Dinner: $144
  • Estancia 25 de Mayo in El Calafate - PM visit with dinner: $186

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Tilcara $1.98
    El Calafate $3.76

Tours and Activities in Tilcara

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

  • Bike Adventure through Juella with lunch: $35
  • Full-Day Tour to Laguna de los Pozuelos from Tilcara: $162
  • Private Full Day Tour to Salinas de Grandes and Barrancas: $130
  • Purmamarca Night Experience: $18
  • Serranías del Hornocal + Citytour Humahuaca: $30
  • 2 hours cycling tour trough the rural area: $20
  • Half day mountain bike tour with lunch: $35

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
    $1.41

Tours and Activities in El Calafate

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

  • CALAFATE: Panoramic tour: The best balconies of Calafate: $190
  • Cañadón Experience: $189
  • Calafate City Tour with Walichu Caves: $78
  • Chalten Full Day Trekking Experience - Laguna de los Tres: $180
  • Darwin Experience: $274
  • Darwin Experience - kayaks & adventure: $230
  • El Calafate Balconies Experience - Tour in FWD vehicle: $192
  • El Calafate Balconies Experience - Tour in FWD vehicle: $164
  • El Calafate Balconies Experience: 3-Hour 4WD Tour: $117
  • El Calafate Balcony in 4WD Experience with Optional Quads: $241
  • El Calafate Boat Tour to the Glaciers + Lunch(Glaciares Gourmet) : $299
  • El Calafate City Sightseeing Tour Including Walichu Caves: $80

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Tilcara $1.08
    El Calafate $1.89

Typical Alcohol Prices in El Calafate

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


  • Beer
    $0.01
  • Alcohol
    $0.38


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

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


Which is Bigger, Tilcara or El Calafate?

El Calafate has a larger population, and is about 42% larger than the population of Tilcara. When comparing the sizes of Tilcara and El Calafate, 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.