Daily Travel Costs in Peru on a Shoestring Budget
US$25 | 85 Peruvian Sol
Peru is overall a cheap country to visit even by South America standards. Staying in one place, you can probably get by on as little as $15/day with plenty of real budget accommodation while eating out in local restaurants is also great value. However there are a few reasons why Peru is a bit more expensive than Bolivia for example or the cheapest countries in Asia or Africa.
Firstly the size of the country means you will spend a lot of time travelling around particularly if you are looking to go all the way from the Northern border with Ecuador all the way down into Bolivia or Chile. The lack of budget airlines means travelling by bus is the only realistic option for shoestring travellers and although they aren’t expensive on a per km or per hour basis, you will need to spend several days on a bus to travel through the entire country and costs do add up.
Average costs are perhaps a bit cheaper than Ecuador but it is 5 times as big so unless you just focus on one part of the country you are likely to be working on a similar budget. The second budget breaker in Peru is the world famous Machu Picchu, which is very expensive to visit. Although it is entirely possible to go to Peru and not go there (there are many other great Incan sites to visit), the majority of travellers do go there and if you opt for one of the more expensive trips to it then you may struggle to stick to our overall Peru backpacking budget of $25/day.
See where Peru ranks on our World Budget Travel Table.
More Comfortable Peru Backpacker Budget
US$40 | 135 Peruvian Sol
If you are doing a big trip in South America and have a certain timeframe for it, you might want to budget a bit more for Peru and maybe skip some of the less interesting parts of the country by taking a flight. Most of the main points of interest are in the South of the country with the likes of Cuzco and Arequipa among the more interesting cities to visit compared to Lima or the ones in the North.
By budgeting for $40/day you can probably afford to skip a large portion of the country and well over 24 hours of travelling on buses by taking a domestic flight or if you are just visiting the South, you could probably take a flight from Lima to Cuzco rather than the never-ending bus route. You could probably also do one of the longer hikes up to Machu Picchu.
Sample Prices in Peru
Flight from Lima to Cuzco (1 hour 20 minutes) – 260 Soles ($80)
Bus from Cuzco to Arequipa (11 hours) – from 30 Soles ($9)
Meal at an inexpensive restaurant – 10 Soles ($3)
Large local beer in a cheap bar or restaurant – 5 Soles ($1.50)
Dorm bed in Cuzco – from 15 Soles/night ($4.50)
Budget private double or twin – 30 Soles/night ($9)
Entrance Fee to Machu Picchu – 128 Soles* ($40)
*this is purely to enter & doesn’t include the considerable cost of getting there.
Currency – Peruvian Sol
£1 = 4.80 Sol
€1 = 3.78 Sol
US$1 = 3.33 Sol
(All exchange rates are correct as of June 2016)
Stay at Vallecito Backpackers in Arequipa for great value dorm beds and excellent staff.
Share your Travel Costs!
If you’ve been to Peru recently, please let everyone know your typical daily costs by commenting below 😉
This article was published in June 2016.
Get our Backpackers Guide to South America 2017-2018 for a full overview of budget travel in the region.