Prices in Peru for Travelers

Miraflores, Lima

I spent two weeks traveling through Peru in December and got a fresh update on what things cost. This was the low season, so in some cases prices were lower than they would have been May to September, but that is mostly true with hotels. Other things you spend money on are more constant. The currency stays pretty constant too, at around 3 soles to the dollar. Easy math.

Peru is a study in contrasts: people often spend a fortune one day and squeak by on $20 the next. That’s because it is such a popular tourist destination, attracting backpackers yes, but also plenty of deep-pocketed vacationers who are spending $500 a day each without blinking. There are hotels here where a couple can spend a grand a night on their room alone and as noted earlier, the treks have gotten quite a bit more expensive. Plus the government and the airline near-monopoly (LAN Peru) soak you every chance they get., with little in return.

Most locals are far from rich though, especially outside the swankiest parts of Lima, so in local terms things are quite reasonable. I noted a while back that prices in Peru have gone up for a lot of standard tourist attractions and activities, but here’s the good news:

Simple restaurant meal for two in a Colca Canyon town, with drinks – $4.65

Bus from Arequipa to Chivay (Colca Canyon) three hours – $5

Beer and a personal meat pizza in Cusco – $4

1/4 roasted chicken, fried, and chicha morada drink in Arequipa – $3.35

Liter of beer in a store – $1

Glass of local wine in restaurant – free with meal to $2

Five-minute tuk-tuk ride – 65 cents

Taxi from Cusco airport to the center – $3.35

Taxi from Lima airport to Miraflores – $10

Luxury bus from Arequipa to Cusco – $28 to $45

Kilo of fruit in season, including strawberries – 65 cents to $1

Hour of Internet access in a cafe – 50 to 65 cents

Dorm bed or single with shared bath in basic cheap hotel – $3 to $10

Double with bath, basic cheap hotel – $8 to $25

Local cell phone with SIM card, 120 minutes of local calls, and 30 minutes of U.S. calls – $40

  1. Quique

    Hi Tim! I was in Peru at the same time as you! it’s a pity we didn’t meet!
    I also posted some prices. Even tough they are in Spanish I hope it will give some help to your readers:

    Presupuesto de viaje

    And the itinerary I followed:

    Perú: recorrido completo

    Best regards!

  2. tim

    Thanks for the link Quique—great rundown! I guess Peru is a good place to be a smoker:

    “Paquete de tabaco Lucky Strikes – 5 soles
    Paquete de tabaco más barato: Caribe – 2 soles”

    65 cents for a pack of cheap smokes!

  3. Mike

    Hey Tim – I also kept track of prices in Colombia this winter.

    I don’t know if you compile this stuff, but I always like running into real prices online.

    We’re back from Colombia (which was a great country and a steal in terms of prices) and on our way to France… sticker shock time.


    Thanks for this oportunity
    Our Volunteer Work program offers exceptional opportunities to live and work in Cusco – Peru. Through the Volunteer Work Program you are able to make a valuable contribution to the society and to bridge the gap between foreign visitors and the local population.

    Volunteering-Peru will find you unpaid work in various social institutions. The only requirement is that you have an adequate level of Spanish for community service. To ensure this, and to help you adapt to this new situation, it is essential that you have followed a Spanish course with us for at least 40 hours (2 weeks).

    Throughout your period of voluntary work, Volunteering-Peru will be on hand to ensure you have support and guidance. And, you can tell us how things are working out.

  5. airfare alerts

    It is really interesting to compare the prices in other countries, thanks for posting. And as for the volunteering in Peru, it could be really a great experience. I would love to try something like that, unfortunately for a student in Europe it is quite unthinkable especially because of the money you need for activity like that…

  6. Quique

    Peru was incredible! I had a great time! and yes indeed it is a great place for a smoker. Nevertheless the cheapeast place I’ve found for that was Combodia, 1 dollar for 10 pack of cigarretes (200 in total!) I think they were call Liberation! Nice name especially in Cambodia…

    Airfare alerts, if you want to volunteer you can always go directly to the place and ask. Usually they will offer you a place if you can provide a helpful hand. I did that in Mumbai and got a couch for free and worked with those amazing kids for a couple of weeks!

  7. tim

    Leaving the Volunteer Peru link up because they do good work and their rates are far more reasonable than many of these “voluntourism poseurs.

    Mike–I do compile prices for a book that is now going into its third edition (top right of this page), but Colombia is not in there. It has obviously gotten far safer, but it’s not quite as cheap as many other countries in the region. Not bad though. Hope to make it there someday soon.

  8. juan

    has been providing guests with unforgettable adventure, cultural, Ecological and special interest tours in Peru. We have spearheaded tourism into many rural areas, exploring ancient trails and uncharted rivers among some of the most fantastic and varied natural landscapes in this part of the world.

    Our achievements have been made possible thanks to the extraordinary support of our personnel, a well assembled team of permanently trained professionals, identified with our company goals and clients’ preferences.

  9. almendra

    The famous Inka trail to machu picchu is a particular trek in the worl, the trail sets out from at Kilometer 82 of the Cusco-Quillabamba railway, and takes three to four days of tough hiking.
    The route runs through an impressive range of altitudes, where climates and eco-systems range from the high Andean plain down to the cloud forests. The trail climbs up through two highland passes (the higher of the two, Warmiwañuska, lies at 4,200 masl) before reaching Machu Picchu through the Inti Punku or Gateway of the Sun. One of the attractions of the trail is that it winds past carved granite Inca settlements (Wiñay Wayna, Phuyupatamarca), and is surrounded by breath-taking natural scenery. The forests abound in hundreds of species of orchids, brightly-colored birds and dream-like landscapes, the ideal complement to this
    indispensable hikers’ route.

  10. Kyle

    Compared to some of it’s neighbors (Ecuador and Bolivia), Peru seems down right expensive, though…at least the southern half. I remember going from Puno, Peru to Copacabana, Bolivia and even though they are both on Lake Titicaca, the Bolivian side was much cheaper (and interesing).

  11. SKJ

    Do you think December is an ok time to visit Peru and Machu Picchu in particular?

    • tim

      I went in December last year and only got rained on a little on the Salkantay trail. Macchu Pichu was only sunny for about an hour of the time I was there, but it’s also kind of interesting there when the fog and clouds are moving around. My advice would be to go, but stay a couple nights in Aguas Calientes. That way you have a back-up day if it’s pouring down rain at the citadel. December is iffy, but far better than January and February, which are very wet.

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