The Peru Rail train in the Sacred Valley

How much does a trip to Peru cost?

Peru is a treasure trove of iconic Incan sites, stunning nature and historical cities. We spent 51 nights there in spring 2018, travelling from Lima to Cusco, the Sacred Valley, Arequipa and Ica. So, how much does a trip to Peru cost? Here’s a look at how we managed to travel Peru on a budget, including break downs of our accommodation, food, transport and activity costs.
Us overlooking Machu Picchu in Peru

Accommodation and Peru hotel prices

Since we need to work on the road, we rented apartments in Lima and Cusco for two weeks at a time. As usual, we booked through Airbnb, which we find the best platform for short-term rentals when we need an entire apartment with good wifi and a kitchen. If you haven’t already used Airbnb, you can get £25 off your first stay by using our sign-up link.
A traditional floating island on Lake Titicaca During trips to Puno, Ica, the Sacred Valley and Paracas, we booked hotels through Most were pretty basic, the cheapest cost £12 per night in Puno but was cold and rundown. By contrast, our best and most expensive stay was at the Hotel Tierra Inka Sacred Valley in Ollantaytambo. At £32 per night, it was set in peaceful gardens with views of the town’s ruins, check out prices and book here.

In general, the cost of hotels in Peru varies from very basic at £10 per night, to over £100 for a swanky stay at a boutique hotel. Although we stayed in Peru for 51 nights, two of those were spent on buses so the accommodation below is based on 49 nights.

ExpenseTotalPer personPer night

Food prices in Peru

Finding vegan food in meat-heavy South America was a constant challenge, but Peru was the best of the bunch. Most of the time bought food from the supermarkets to cook at home, which saved money and took the stress out of finding vegan food options. We found the cost of food in Peru pretty cheap, especially if you buy local produce or eat at local restaurants.
Vegan tacos at Green Point, Cusco, PeruIn addition, we managed to find a few great restaurants in the larger hubs such as Raw Café in Lima, where it cost about £13 for two mains, drinks and cakes. While we were in Cusco, we practically lived in Green Point. The restaurant was all vegan and had an amazing lunch deal which included three courses, side salad and drink for just £3.50 per person!

ExpenseTotalPer personPer day

Transport costs in Peru

To get into Peru, took the Bolivia Hop from Puno to Cusco as part of a multi stop ticket from La Paz, Bolivia which cost just £74. Once in Peru, we spent most of our time in Lima and Cusco, so our transport costs were mainly taxis and Uber. In an effort to save money, we took two torturous overnight journeys with Cruz del Sur across the country and a shorter return trip from Lima to Paracas.

The Peru Rail train in the Sacred Valley

The most expensive transport in Peru was taking the train up to Aguas Calientes to visit Machu Picchu on a budget without a guided trek. The scenic journey cost £100 and a return to Ollantaytambo was £81. Bear in mind that you also have to take a 30-minute taxi ride to Poroy Station to start the journey, so it turned out being a pretty expensive option. We booked these trips online through the Inca Rail and Peru Rail websites. The cost to visit Machu Picchu include entrance tickets, listed in the ‘entertainment’ section below.

ExpenseTotalPer personPer day
Taxis (27)£79.50£39.75£1.56
Ubers (16)£52.50£26.25£1.03
Return bus from Lima to Paracas£46£23£0.90
Bus Puno to Cusco£50£25£0.98
Bus Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu£37£18.50£0.73
Minibus Ollantaytambo to Cusco£4.50£2.25£0.09
Overnight bus Cusco to Arequipa£50£25£0.98
Overnight bus Arequipa to Ica£29£14.50£0.57
Bus Ica to Lima£14£7£0.27
Train Poroy to Aguas Calientes£100£50£1.96
Train Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo£81£40.50£1.59

If you’re wondering ‘how much does it cost to go to Peru in the first place?’ We travelled in from Bolivia by bus, so we didn’t have the usual flight costs. If you avoid peak season and book well in advance, it is possible to find fairly cheap flights to Peru. Looking at Skyscanner, there are flights from London to Lima for £300 in February, for instance.

How much does a trip to Peru cost? Pinterest pin

Peru travel cost: entertainment and activities

Our major activity expense in Peru was visiting Machu Picchu, which has a pretty hefty entrance fee. After much research, we found that Machu Picchu tours cost at least £300 per person for a basic trek, so we decided to tackle it independently. Find out how we visited Machu Picchu on our own in this post while still climbing Macchu Picchu Mountain and visiting lesser-known ruins in the Sacred Valley.
Our hiking companion in Ollantaytambo, PeruAside from that, we found attractions in Peru were reasonably priced. Boat trips and tours in Paracas and the Uros Islands cost less than £35 each. We took a few free walking tours in the cities, paying a tip at the end and otherwise explored independently.

ExpenseTotalPer person
Lima Downtown walking tour£4.50£2.25
Paracas National Reserve and Ballestas Islands tour£33£16.50
Uros Islands and Taquile Islands Boat Tour£22.40£11.20
Additional Uros reed boat trip£4.50£2.25
Cusco free walking tour£4.50£2.25
Machu Picchu entrance fee£94.30£47.15
Pumamarca entrance fee (Ollantaytambo)£4.50£2.25
Arequipa free walking tour£2£1
Juanita Museum£11.10£5.55

Peru cost breakdown: miscellaneous items

Although we had our own washing machine in our Cusco and Arequipa apartments, we had to use a launderette elsewhere. Be aware that most ATM’s in Peru charge a fee to use a foreign card, so look out for MultiRed, the only bank we found that didn’t have fees. Other miscellaneous costs included picking up a painting and some shoes, as well as getting our hair cut in Lima.

An alpaca from Alpaca World, Arequipa, Peru

ExpenseTotalPer Person
Llama painting£8.90£4.45
Shoes and rain ponchos£23.50£11.75
ATM fee£4£2

So, how much does a trip to Peru cost in total?

So, here’s a breakdown of our final Peru cost of travel in 2018, which came to £54.75 per day. Although cheaper than our month in Bolivia, Peru still proved to be more expensive than almost all of the countries we visited in Asia (check out all of our travel cost posts here). It’s worth noting that we could have spent a lot more on activities in Peru had we taken a guided trek to Machu Picchu or day trips to places like the Colca Canyon. By contrast, you could cut costs in Peru if you’re able to eat local food and stay in hotels or hostels, rather than renting apartments.

ExpenseTotalPer personPer day

What do you think of our Peru travel cost breakdown? Have visited and what were your costs like? Any questions, let us know in the comments.

  • Gilda Baxter
    Posted at 14:39h, 25 October Reply

    I think you did a great job of keeping your costs down, particularly with your visit to Machu Picchu. It can be very expensive to do the Classic Inca Trail. We stayed mostly in Hostels and paid on average of £25. We did the shorter version on the Inca Trail and we paid £450 for the trek, all transfers, one night stay in Águas Calientes and all permits/ entrance tickets to the Machu Picchu ruins. You have managed to do a lot for your budget. Well done indeed 🙂

    • Amy
      Posted at 12:05h, 29 October Reply

      Hi Gilda, thanks for sharing your costs, it’s really interesting to hear how much you paid for the shorter version of the Inca Trail. If we were to go back, we’d potentially try that.

  • Louisa Klimentos
    Posted at 10:16h, 29 October Reply

    I love to visit Peru

    • Amy
      Posted at 12:03h, 29 October Reply

      I’d definitely recommend it Louisa, I think you’d love it.

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