We were super curious how much backpacking Peru was going to cost. Outside of maybe Patagonia, Peru is the most frequently visited country by American travelers so we knew it was going to be more expensive than Colombia. Plus, we figured Machu Picchu itself would cost thousands (spoiler: it didn’t, we spent ~$300/per person for 5 day trek with all costs included). This post covers how much it costs to travel Peru by breaking down our all of our expenses for the almost 2 months we spent there!
Let’s cut right to the chase. Here’s how long we stayed, where we visited and what we spent. Keep in mind, costs below are the total costs for a couple in their 20s traveling together.
Days Spent Traveling in Peru: 47
Places Visited: Lima, Iquitos, Huaraz, Paracas, Huacachina, Arequipa, Colca Canyon, Cusco, Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley
Total Amount Spent: $4,500
Cost per day (couple traveling together): $96
Peru Travel Cost Details
Looking for a little more info? Curious if/where you can cut some costs? For every country we visited, we broke up our expenses into the following buckets: Food & Drink (including groceries), Transportation, Accommodation, Entertainment, Shopping, Laundry, and Other. For Peru, here’s how much we spent in each category:
- Food & Drink: $1,400
- Transportation: $610
- Accommodation: $770
- Entertainment: $1,530
- Shopping: $120
- Laundry: $40
- Other: $70 (Gifts, Sim Cards, Pharmacy, etc.)
How To Travel For Less In Peru
Looking to really keep expenses down? The biggest bucket you can cut down on is food and drink. Doing your own cooking and limiting your ceviche intake will help lower this categories a lot. Quick side note: we thought Peruvians ate ceviche for like every meal, they don’t. Expect to eat a lot of rice, beans, and chicken. Save eating ceviche for when you can hear the ocean, such as in Lima or Paracas!
Also, be sure to utilize Peru’s overnight bus system instead of flying. There is a very established bus route from Lima down south through Arequipa and up to Cusco and then even Bolivia. The only time it makes sense to fly is if you want to get from Cusco to Lima quickly, as it is an hour long flight versus a 24 hour bus. Curious about South America backpacking trip route planning? Check out our 6 Month Full South America Itinerary to learn more!
You could potentially have a lower Shopping category as well! We underestimated how cold it can get when doing Peru’s high altitude hikes in October/November (think just above freezing!). So we bought Michelle a new jacket along with beanies and gloves in Huaraz.
Highlights from the Entertainment bucket include:
- 3 Day Amazon Experience (Iquitos)
- Laguna 69 Hike (Huaraz)
- National Reserve and Islas Ballestas (Paracas)
- Sandboarding (Huacachina)
- Colca Canyon Park Entrance (Colca Canyon)
- Chocolate Making Class (Arequipa)
- Salkantay Trek (Machu Picchu)
- Boleto Turistico (Cusco)
Here are some cost estimates for the big ones:
- 3 Day Amazon Experience ~ $600USD not including transportation to Iquitos
- 3 Day / 2 Night Colca Canyon Hike ~ $200USD
- 5 Day / 4 Night Salkantay Trek ~ $600USD
You must do Machu Picchu and the Colca Canyon while in Peru. No debate. However, the 3 day Amazon experience is not for everyone, so be sure to check out our Iquitos post to help determine if it’s right for you!
More Helpful Stuff
Looking to learn more about how much it costs to travel South America? Check out how much we spent in each of the following countries.
- Colombia Backpacking Cost
- Chile Backpacking Cost
- Brazil Backpacking Cost
- Argentina Backpacking Cost (Coming Soon)
Nick and Michelle Travel Guides
Whenever there’s a city with a hyperlink in these posts, you’ll open up a link to one of our travel guides!
All costs are current as of December 2019. The exchange rate while we were in Peru was roughly 3.4 Peruvian Soles to $1 USD.
Although we tried our best to catch every expense, it’s likely some slipped through the cracks. We’d estimate our numbers are within 5% of our actual total.