How to budget for Peru
Where did my money go in Peru for a 8 night trip?
Here’s the quick rundown. Click and read below to get a deeper insight!
Total: $1593.42 for 9 days. Check each section below to see a breakdown!
Accommodations Mostly hotels. One in a desert Oasis!
Transportation Ubers, flights, and trains!
Food Yummy food and snacks!
Alcohol Had to try the local brews.
Activities Many things to do!
Souvenirs Slash Presents!
Fees The worst
Could you do it cheaper? Yes, hostels. I picked some mid level places and splurged on some others.
Keep in mind: I split these costs. So if you’d be traveling alone these would be the costs, or half if you have a travel buddy!
Lima ~ The first night in Lima, we stayed at a hotel with a hot tub! The hotel room itself wasn’t as pretty as the pictures on the site, but I think that was mostly because of the comforter. The hot tub was worth it though. Definitely recommend.
We mostly slept by the airport because of early morning flights or late night arrivals. If you want the cheapest one, go here. But we also stayed at this really nice place with a King bed, a good TV, pool table, and walking distance to a large shopping mall. Highly recommend.
However, if you wanted to stay more “in the thick” of things, there are two main districts you should check out–Barranco and Miraflores. Barranco had a lot of cool street art, a really happening square (go at night!), and a romantic bridge. Miraflores felt a little more expensive and higher class. It also had an excellent boardwalk (and crepes!).
Cuzco ~ It was a much bigger city than I anticipated. The first night, we stayed a little farther out to save some money. I didn’t enjoy that area as much. Do try and get closer to the Plaza de Armas. The buildings are prettier!
Aguas Calientes ~ Tons of choices around AC, and you really can’t go wrong with them, because everything is super close to anything you’d need. It’s basically a town that’s all markets, anyway. We stayed here, and it was probably the most comfortable bed we had except for the nice place in Lima. Many of the beds were a little more firm than I was used to.
Paracas ~ We stayed here because it was south of Lima and got us closer to Nazca for our Nazca flight. It’s a cute beach town. It’s close to Islas Ballestas which was a fun tour to see penguins, blue-footed boobies, sea lions, and more bird poop than you ever imagined!
Huacachina ~ Most people just swing by to do the dune buggy and sand boarding, but I heard that the 4 pm tour was the same price, but double the time and a sunset! So I wanted to stay here. I saw a few cheaper places, but LOVE the hotel I ended up picking!
Could you do it cheaper? Uber was really cheap, and it was awesome! But there is a surcharge if you are getting picked up and dropped off at the airport by Uber and Taxi. It’s way cheaper to get picked up or dropped off at a nearby place like the hospital. It’s a 5-10 min walk if you want to save the extra money.
Keep in mind: For the first time ever, I had an agreed upon price with a driver, and then he tried to ask for more money at the end! Be careful!
To get back from Machu Picchu, I found that it was actually cheaper to go a round about way. I was really excited about it because that means more cool stuff to see!! So we took the train (about $115 for both legs) from Cusco to Aguas Calientes, but on the way back, we went to Ollantaytambo. We checked out those ruins, and then I negotiated with a taxi driver to take us to Moray, Maras, and then on to Cusco. He agreed for 100 soles (about $30. I read that it should be about $25, and that seemed close enough, so off we went!).
When we got back to Cusco, we ended up giving him 140 soles because he was so cool, but then he insisted that the price was 180. We argued for a minute in Spanish, and then I tried using my google translate app, but he kept insisting 180. We told him 160 was all we had left, and that we were already giving him more than he asked. He kept shaking his head, so we took a pic of his ID and license plate and walked off. He ended up glaring at us and drove off. It was very nerve wracking. I’m not sure what I would have done if I was alone. I think I would have walked into a store or found someone to help. He dropped us off at the Plaza de Armas, so there were cops there. If it happens to you, go there!
The train going to and from Machu Picchu was really nice. Soothing music, snacks, comfy seats, and windows on the ceiling! There’s an even fancier option, that I don’t think would be worth it unless you’re seriously balling. The cheapest option was already super nice.
We ended up renting a car to have more flexibility. We drove Lima to Paracas to Nazca to Huacachina back to Paracas then back to Lima. The price for the extra convenience of driving was tolls and sanity! Some of the tolls, you only had to pay going one way, which was nice. The sanity one was intense. Driving was mostly very scary in Lima and Ica (near Huacachina). The Peruvian drivers seem to view the lines on the street as more guidelines than actual rules. They’ll frequently cram 3-4 cars in a 2 lane road. We also witnessed a car on the far left side cross across 4 cars to turn right. It’s pretty mental. Once you get out of the cities, it’s fine. the roads are well kept.
Even though the drivers seem to drive very wildly, I actually didn’t see any accidents. They won’t hit you, but just be cautious! And go ahead and grab that extra insurance just in case!
Also be prepared to pass a lot of trucks and buses!
I didn’t take any buses while I was there, although I would have if I didn’t have someone to split the rental costs with! But if you’re interested, here’s an article about how to get around Peru by bus.
Could you do it cheaper? We ventured to some nicer restaurants, but if you walk away from tourist places, you should be set. I also highly recommend the street food!
Keep in mind: All of our hotels included breakfast. Breakfasts were mostly eggs and toast.
Let’s start with the best! In Huacachina, at a hostel called Bananas, there was a lomo saltado con risotto that was amazing. I had them take off the onions because I’m allergic, but the meat and risotto was sooooo good. If we had stayed for lunch the next day, I would have gotten it again!
Here’s what typical breakfast looks like. We got this pretty much everywhere we were except without ham sometimes.
In Lima, I opted for some fish and chips. Well, I didn’t get fried fish, I got a fish that was fried! A little startling at first, but it was still good. This was about $8, which isn’t too bad at all!
Could you do it cheaper? I feel this one is obvious…
Keep in mind: We didn’t drink too much when we were at a high altitude. They say it makes the altitude sickness worse!
The alcohol was pretty cheap in Peru! I’ve seen it cheaper in other countries like Cambodia, but it counts as cheap if it’s cheaper than back in Atlanta!
Could you do it cheaper? Most of these activities are cheapest once you get there. But if you’re going during a busy season, you might want to book some ahead.
Keep in mind: Aren’t these the reason you want to go??
Cusco and Sacred Valley.
Cusco and the surrounding area is chalk full of things to do and see! I don’t think there’s anyone who’s reading this that isn’t aware of Machu Picchu, but of course, it has to be mentioned!
Check out the Transportation section to see pictures of Maras and Moray that you should look into on the way back to Cusco!
Back in Cusco, we went on a lovely horseback riding trip! The beginning part was kind of sad because the hill was steep and rockey, but once we got out of that, we went around to see some pretty views! You can even go to another ruin! You can buy your tickets from pretty much anywhere in the Plaza de Armas. Don’t pay more than 50 soles a person!
Our company was right next to Sacsayhuaman, so after the ride, we went there. The ticket wasn’t included in the price. I was really excited about going because I’d seen it on Ancient Aliens so many times and wanted to wander around. If you’re not super hyped about it, you can see enough from the outskirts without paying to go in. You can see how large the stones are. And they are jammed TIGHT together!
I’m not sure enough people know about the Palpa and Nazca Lines! The landscape is incredible, and it looks like an alien-scape. Which is funny, considering how many people think the lines were made by or for Aliens! I went with Great Nazca Tours; I found them to be very friendly, knowledgeable, and reliable! Click here to read my review if you’re interested in going yourself!
On the way back from Nazca and heading to the coast, we stopped in Huacachina. I was so lucky to stumble across this desert oasis on accident! We went for the 4 pm tour that lasted two hours and included a sunset! I wasn’t sure how the sandboarding was going to go, but the option that most people did was laying flat on your tum tum, and off you go! There are several ways to get there. We drove, but you can also get on a Peruhop trip that will take you there, or a bus to Ica, and a quick cab over. The city is very close to the Oasis. Here’s a fun video that shows you what it’s like!
We picked up a tour for Islas Ballestas in Paracas. We saw a candelabra glyph, penguins, blue footy boobies, and some sea lions! I think it was cheaper to buy once we got there. I found online that ticket sales were only for two times, but when you get there, there are constantly boats available.
Could you do it cheaper? Well sure if you don’t do souvenirs! Also, get your haggle on!
Keep in mind: I couldn’t find my decorative spoons D: And some people are better at haggling than others!
There are tons of souvenirs and great gift ideas! Paracas and Aguas Calientes particularly had good, large markets. It feels like everyone is all selling the same stuff anyway. The exception would be around the Barranco park square.
Could you do it cheaper? If you don’t drive,
Keep in mind: We rented a car, so that’s why we got hit up for the tolls and parking fees.
The worst category lol. If you’re not driving, you’ll avoid most of these. Aguas Calientes (the town at the base of Machu Picchu) was the only place I ran into the service charge. This category also included various tips. It’s certainly not mandatory, but we rounded up or gave extra to those we thought did a great job!