Should you visit Tilcara or El Chalten?
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 Chalten can help you decide which place is right for you.
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 Chalten is probably one of the most beautiful areas of Patagonia, especially at the slightest ray of sunshine and one of your cheapest destination while you are travelling in Patagonia. Indeed, you will spend your days hiking and there are no park fees. There are restaurants, souvenir shops, and outdoor stores but most of them will not accept credit cards so before heading out, get cash in El Calafate or your previous stop. For the beginners, it will be long hikes in a magical setting and for the experts perhaps a week long expedition to the greatest glaciers of the world. To discover the way people live in the pampa, you may also decide to stay at an Estancia. In the stunning Estancia Santa Thelma, about 300km away from El Chalten, you will be able to explore the surroundings by horse, live a unique experience in the middle of the nature and its vast plains occupied by thousands of merino sheep and horses and of course eat a typical meal of the region.
Which city is cheaper, El Chalten or Tilcara?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Tilcara is $58, while the average daily cost in El Chalten is $70. 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 Tilcara and El Chalten in more detail.
Double occupancy rooms typically run around $46 in Tilcara For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.
The average price for accommodation for two people in El Chalten is $62. This is for two people sharing a typical double occupancy hotel room.
On average, meal and food prices in Tilcara cost around $24 per person, per day. While this price can vary widely by location, the type of restaurant, and the amount of food ordered, a typical meal often costs around $9.60.
While meal prices in El Chalten can vary, the average travelers spends about $26 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in El Chalten should cost around $10 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in El Chalten is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.
Meals for one day
El Chalten $26
Typical Food prices in Tilcara
Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Tilcara:
Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Tilcara than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $15 on transportation in Tilcara on average per day.
The cost of a taxi ride in El Chalten is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $17 per person, per day, on local transportation in El Chalten.
Typical Local Transportation prices in Tilcara
Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Tilcara:
Is it cheaper to fly into Tilcara or El Chalten?
Prices for flights to both El Chalten 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.
Sightseeing expenses in Tilcara, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $14 per day, per person.
Entertainment and activities in El Chalten typically cost an average of $19 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.
Tours and Activities in Tilcara
Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Tilcara.
Half-Day Mountain Bike Tour to Juella from Tilcara:
Full-Day Tour to Laguna de los Pozuelos from Tilcara:
Tours and Activities in El Chalten
Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for El Chalten are as follows:
2-Day Chalten Adventure tour: Laguna de los Tres, Mount Fitz Roy & Cerro Torre:
2-Day Hiking Tour of Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre from El Chalten:
3-Day Eco-Lodge Trekking Tour at Los Glaciares National Park from El Chalten:
El Chalten Rafting Experience:
El Chalten Rafting Experience:
Module Fitz Roy Adventure:
Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Tilcara, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $7.52.
The average person spends about $8.59 on alcoholic beverages in El Chalten per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Tilcara and El Chalten, we can see that El Chalten 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 Chalten would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in El Chalten than you might in Tilcara.
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