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

Should you visit Ushuaia or El Calafate?

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

Should I visit Ushuaia or El Calafate? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Where Should I go: Ushuaia or El Calafate?

Ushuaia

Ushuaia is a city on the Tierra del Fuego island of Argentina on the Beagle Strait. The city is considered to be one of the southernmost cities in the world and is often used as a base for cruises to Antarctica. Ushuaia's close proximity to Antarctica and their amazing hiking trails have made it a popular tourist destination over the past few decades.

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 Wildlife Tours to Argentina, The Best Eco Tours in Argentina, The Best Food and Culinary Tours in Argentina, and The Best Vineyard & Wine Tours in Argentina.


Which place is cheaper, El Calafate or Ushuaia?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Ushuaia is $11, 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 Ushuaia and El Calafate in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Ushuaia $5.64
    El Calafate $3.42
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Ushuaia $11
    El Calafate $6.84
Compare Hotels in Ushuaia and El Calafate

Looking for a hotel in Ushuaia 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 Ushuaia


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: Ushuaia Hotel Prices and El Calafate Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Ushuaia -
    El Calafate $3.53
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Ushuaia

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Ushuaia are as follows:


  • Taxi Ride
    $0.03

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Ushuaia

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

  • Shared One-way Airport Transfer: $10
  • Escondido and Fagnano Lakes with transfer: $97
  • Ushuaia to Ushuaia Airport (USH) - Departure Private Transfer: $32
  • Ushuaia city to Ushuaia Airport(USH) - Departure Private Transfer: $23
  • Ushuaia Airport(USH) to Ushuaia hotels - Arrival Private Transfer: $23
  • Ushuaia Airport(USH) to Ushuaia city - RoundTrip Private Transfer: $46
  • Ushuaia Airport Shared Transfer: $7.48
  • Ushuaia Airport (USH) to Ushuaia - Roundtrip Private Transfer: $63
  • Transfer from/to the airport: $89
  • Transfer from the airport to the hotel in shared service: $19
  • Transfer Ushuaia Airport - Hotel in Ushuaia - Ushuaia Airport : $35
  • Transfer Cerro Castor (Round Trip): $25

Typical Local Transportation Prices in El Calafate

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


  • Taxi
    $1.39

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
  • Laguna de Los Tres Transfer & Self-Guided Hike: $101
  • 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
  • Transfer from the airport to your hotel in El Calafate: $12
  • Transfers Between Airport and Hotels: $12

Is it cheaper to fly into Ushuaia or El Calafate?

Prices for flights to both El Calafate and Ushuaia 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
    Ushuaia $2.18
    El Calafate $3.71
Typical Food Prices in Ushuaia

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


  • Lunch for Two
    $0.06

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
    $1.81
  • Dinner
    $1.07

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:

  • Argentine Dinner with Live Music Folklore -Estancia 25 de Mayo: $48
  • Estancia 25 de Mayo Tour with Dinner & Transfer: $126
  • Lakes and Caves Tour with Dinner: $143
  • Estancia 25 de Mayo Experience with Dinner from Calafate: $155
  • Estancia 25 de Mayo in El Calafate - PM visit with dinner: $186

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Ushuaia $13
    El Calafate $3.71

Tours and Activities in Ushuaia

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

  • 2-day tour: Tierra del Fuego National Park + Fagnano and Escondido Lakes: $115
  • 2-day tour:Tierra del Fuego NP + Beagle Channel Navigation + Fagnano & Escondido: $190
  • 3-Hour Navigation Tour in the Beagle Channel with Isla de Lobos: $145
  • 3-Hour Tour Sailing through the Beagle Channel: $105
  • 4×4 Off Road Tour to Escondido and Khami Lakes: $230
  • 4-Hour National Park - USHUAIA (Shared tour): $75
  • 4WD Off-Road Lakes Adventure in Tierra del Fuego: $156
  • 5.5-Hour Nat Park w/ Hiking *Shore Excursion* USHUAIA (Shared tour for cruises): $115
  • 5.5-Hour National park w/ hiking Shore excursion - USHUAIA (Private Tour): $280
  • 5hrs of Trekking Experience in Martial Glacier: $95
  • 7-Hour Lakes Escondido & Fagnano - USHUAIA (Shared tour): $105
  • Adventure 360º in Quads with Lunch: $160

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
    $1.39

Tours and Activities in El Calafate

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

  • Argentine Cuisine Experience in El Calafate: $65
  • 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: $164
  • El Calafate Balconies Experience - Tour in FWD vehicle: $192
  • El Calafate Balconies Experience: 3-Hour 4WD Tour: $117
  • El Calafate Balcony in 4WD Experience: $169
  • El Calafate Balcony in 4WD Experience with Optional Quads: $169

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Ushuaia -
    El Calafate $1.86
Typical Alcohol Prices in Ushuaia

Some typical examples of the costs for nightlife and alcohol in Ushuaia are as follows:


  • Wine
    $0.05
  • Beer
    $0.01

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
    $0.37


When comparing the travel costs between Ushuaia and El Calafate, we can see that Ushuaia is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in South America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

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


Which is Bigger, Ushuaia or El Calafate?

Ushuaia has a larger population, and is about 7 times larger than the population of El Calafate. When comparing the sizes of Ushuaia 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.