A country with breathtaking nature and world-famous archeological sites like Machu Picchu, South America’s Peru is budget-friendly and can be visited for as cheap as $35 per day. But it also has enough tourist attractions that you can easily spend $150 per day as a visitor.
My 10-day trip to Peru cost a total of $2,298. Here, I share my Peru travel expenses, cost per day and budgeting tips. I also outline where and how much cash is needed in Peru.
- Is Peru Expensive To Travel To?
- About My Peru Trip
- Total Cost for a Peru Trip: $2,298
- Cost Breakdown for Peru
- Do You Need Cash in Peru?
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Is Peru Expensive To Travel To?
💰 Peru is one of the most affordable countries to visit in South America. A popular destination in the region, Peru ranks among the top five cheapest countries to travel to in South America.
Peru is budget-friendly like Ecuador and Bolivia, where traveling for less than $30 a day is feasible. But it’s not as expensive as Argentina and Brazil, where you’ll likely spend at least $40 a day even when you’re budget traveling.
🎒 A budget traveler can expect to spend approximately $35 per day or $245 for one week of travel in Peru, not including flights. To travel on a budget in Peru, you can:
- Stay at a hostel for $8 a night
- Eat at local restaurants for less than $11 a day
- Take Peru’s buses, which are the most common form of local transportation for both short and long distances
- Avoid doing popular tourist attractions like visiting Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley and Huacachina
💳 A mid-range budget traveler can expect to spend approximately $120 per day or $840 for a one-week trip in Peru, not including flights. If you plan to do tourist attractions in Peru, your costs will likely be closer to a mid-range traveler’s budget.
About My Peru Trip
To give context to the expenses below, here’s what you need to know about my trip to Peru:
🗓️ 10 days. Most people recommend spending 10 to 14 days in Peru. I spent 10 days in Peru; four of those days were spent hiking the Inca Trail and one of those days was a day trip to Huacachina.
☀️ High season. The most popular and crowded time to visit Peru is during the dry season from May to October. I visited in April, so I went during the start of the peak season.
This Peru travel guide has more quick travel facts to help you plan your trip.
✌️ 2-4 travelers. I traveled with one to three other people in Peru at all times, so I was able to split accommodations, food and transportation costs.
💰 Mid-range budget. I don’t aim to travel on a budget, but I’m thoughtful about how and where I spend. I consider myself a mid-range budget traveler and these expenses reflect that.
Total Cost for a Peru Trip: $2,298
I spent $2,298 in Peru during my 10-day trip with an itinerary very similar to this one.
All costs lists in this post are per person and in USD, converted from the Peruvian Sol ($1 USD equaled S/ 3.77 at the time of writing).
Cost Breakdown for Peru
Here are my Peru travel expenses by category:
|Cost||% of Total Cost||Cost Per Day|
|⭐ Tours & Shopping||$1,103||48%||$110|
*The accommodation and food costs here do not include the four days that I spent camping and eating on the Inca Trail, as those are included in the tour cost.
If I were to ignore the four days I spent on the Inca Trail, my cost per day for those two categories would be:
- Accommodation: $25 per day
- Food: $28 per day
Cost per Day in Peru: $156
If I include my flight costs, my Peru trip came out to $230 per day. This puts me in between a mid-range budget and luxury traveler in Peru.
A mid-range budget traveler can expect to spend approximately $120 per day in Peru. This is someone who is generally not staying in hostels or luxury hotels, is eating at $ to $$ restaurants and paying for experiences even if they’re pricey (but not booking private tours).
Flight Costs to Peru: $746
My round-trip flight between Lima, Peru and the east coast of the US was $746.
The cheapest month to fly to Peru from the US is March, where flight prices can drop to as low as $250 from the southern parts of the US.
Accommodation Cost in Peru: $149
My average cost of accommodation in Peru was $15 per night.
This doesn’t include the nights I spent camping on the Inca Trail. If I remove the days I spent on the trail, my average accommodation cost would have been $25 per night.
- Lima, Peru hotel: $46 per night
- Lima, Peru Airbnb: $14 per night
- Cusco, Peru Airbnb: $25 per night
The cost of accommodation in Peru can really vary across accommodation type and location. A mid-range accommodation in tourist places like Cusco and Lima will be approximately $40 per night, but can be much cheaper in other areas.
Food Cost in Peru: $170
My average cost of food in Peru was $17 per day.
This doesn’t include the days I spent eating on the Inca Trail. If I remove the days I spent on the trail, my average food cost would have been $28 per day.
- Least expensive meal: $8 for an omelette and empanada in Lima
- Most expensive meal: $56 for a dinner at Osaka in Lima
- Meal with a delicacy: $15 for a lunch that included a guinea pig (a Peruvian delicacy) at Pachapapa in Cusco
You can expect to spend $25 per day on meals if you’re not eating on a tight budget or at high-end restaurants in Peru.
A popular cuisine you’ll see in Peru is chifa, a traditional Chinese Peruvian cuisine that mixes Cantonese elements with Peruvian ingredients. The most well-known chifa dish is lomo saltado, a steak stir fry, that you’ll find in many menus. This Peru travel guide outlines more food tips.
Transportation Cost in Peru: $87
My average cost of transportation in Peru was $9 per day.
- Average Uber cost to and from the Lima airport: $7 per person per ride
- Average Uber cost to and from the Cusco airport: $4 per person per ride
For short distances, Uber is available in tourist places like Lima, Cusco and Arequipa and often offers a more competitive price than taxis. For long distances, buses are a common transportation method in Peru. Here are more tips on getting around Peru.
Tours and Shopping Costs in Peru: $1,103
My average cost of activities in Peru was $110 per day.
Even though food, accommodation and transportation can be cheap in Peru, tourist attractions and activities significantly increase the average cost in Peru for a typical visitor.
|4-Day Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu||$870|
|Huacachina day trip||$135|
|Llama sweater souvenirs||$12|
Miscellaneous Cost in Peru: $45
At the time I traveled, the US required a negative test to return, so I spent $20 on a covid test.
My Inca Trail trek was scheduled during two Peru protests, so I also spent $25 on international calls to get my flights and trek sorted out.
Do You Need Cash in Peru?
Peru’s economy is still largely based on cash transactions, so make sure to bring cash. Peru’s credit card infrastructure is good in larger cities like Lima, but you should expect to pay in cash otherwise and in small businesses in Lima.
Here are some tips on using cash and credit cards in Peru:
- Tip #1: USD and Peruvian soles are widely accepted in Peru, but you likely want to use soles. If you use USD, you may not get a favorable exchange rate and you will likely receive soles in change.
- Tip #2: Tipping is expected and customary in Peru. Tipping is best done through cash and small bills, especially when you’re tipping tour guides who may need to split tips with other workers.
- Tip #3: Carry at least $50 worth of cash per day in Peru. You can expect to spend at least $30-$100 per day in Peru, so carrying around $50 (or roughly S/ 190) should be sufficient if you plan to make several trips to the ATM (note that not all ATMs, especially ones in Cusco, are well stocked with cash). Places I needed cash in Peru include:
- Souvenir shops
- Tour guide tips
- Local restaurants and cafes
If you have any questions or thoughts, feel free to leave them in the comments below!