The Cost of Travel in Peru in 2024

The Cost of Travel in Peru in 2024

Home to some of South America’s most incredible viewpoints, deep jungle wilderness, cuisine, and Inca sites, Peru might just be the perfect destination for your next adventure.

With no end to exciting places to visit, Peru is a vibrant country that can be seen on almost any budget.

Whether you’re watching your money or looking to splash out, let’s walk through the costs of traveling in Peru and explore valuable tips on transportation, activities, accommodation, and money exchange.

Table of contents:

Overview of Travel Costs for Peru

hiker in front of snow-capped mountains

Not only is Peru a fantastic destination for adventure seekers and nature lovers, but it is also one of the most affordable ones in South America.

Perhaps your biggest expense – which you will need to account for well in advance – is airline tickets. Flight prices to Peru are very diverse and based on your departure location and the time of year you’re traveling (high vs low season). To find affordable flights to Peru, it might be wise to use platforms that allow you to compare airline tickets, such as Skyscanner.

The next step to consider is your itinerary and the places you want to explore – this will be a major factor when calculating your overall travel costs. For example: the prices for a fully customizable 8-day trip to Peru – including transportation for the tours, an English-speaking guide, meals, accommodation in an Amazon lodge, and tickets to Machu Picchu – start at little over $1,000.

When planning your trip and looking at prices, it might be good to note that Peru’s official currency is the sol (S/) and its international currency code is PEN. Naturally, the exchange rate can fluctuate depending upon a number of factors. Currently, however, 1 USD equals 3.82 Peruvian soles.

Note: Just like visiting any other destination, researching your itinerary and booking ahead of time will go a long way. Many accommodations across Peru sell out quickly and some attractions (such as the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu) have a limited number of visitors/hikers allowed per day, so be sure to book several months in advance.


The Cost of Accommodation in Peru

accommodation with bed and glass wall with view over the lake

Accommodations in Peru range from cheap hostel beds to 5-star Amazon lodges and boutique hotels near the beach in Lima.

If you want to keep the costs of your trip low, Peru offers plenty of hostels in most major cities and towns across the country. If you’re looking to save money while also making new friends, hostels are your best option.

Depending on the location, you can expect to spend around $4 to $8 a night for a dorm bed and $10 to $ 30 for a private room at a hostel. Hostels in more upscale districts, such as Pariwana Hostel in Lima’s famed Miraflores neighborhood, can set you back $13 per dorm bed per night.

Another option to consider if you’re on a budget, or traveling as a couple/family, is Airbnb. The costs will vary depending on the location. In Lima, for instance, you can find an apartment for as little as $45 a night.

For mid-range accommodation, you’ll be looking at $40 to $70 per night. Some good options to consider include Hotel Ayenda El Patio in Lima and Desert Night Ecocamp in Huacachina Oasis.

If you want a luxury travel experience in Peru, be prepared for prices starting at $120 per night. You can opt for a hotel overseeing the Pacific Ocean, such as Second Home in Lima, or go for an unforgettable stay in a sky lodge in Urubamba.


Cusco and Iquitos

cusco cathedral by night

Cusco and Iquitos in the Amazon jungle are two of the most popular destinations among travelers due to their proximity to incredible sights and attractions such as Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley, and the Amazon Jungle.

In Cusco, hostel prices tend to be on the lower side (compared to those in Lima), with accommodations such as The Chusay Rooftop offering dorm beds for as little as $6 per night. Hotel rooms will cost you about $40 on average. Some good options include the Golden Inca Hotel and Ayenda Estancia San Pedro.

Iquitos is a very convenient location for anyone looking to explore the Amazon Rainforest in Peru. You can book accommodation in the city itself or, if you’re up for an adventure in the wilderness, spend a few nights at one of the 10 Amazon lodges near Iquitos.

Amazon lodge prices range between $200 and $650 and offer a spectacular experience of sleeping in the jungle, enjoying the tranquility, and witnessing incredible flora and fauna.


The Cost of Transportation in Peru

yellow taxis behind each other

Peru has a good public transportation system and using public transport is one of the cheapest ways to explore the country.

Buses connect most major cities and tourist destinations. The cost of your bus ticket will generally depend on the bus company, the route, and the extras that they offer (e.g. air-conditioning or onboard meals). Here’s a quick overview:

  • From Lima to Cusco: $16 with Tepsa; $24 with Cruz Del Sur
  • From Lima to Arequipa: $15 with Tepsa
  • From Lima to Ica: $5 with Cruz Del Sur
  • From Cusco to Ica: $23 with Cruz Del Sur

Hopping on a train is another great option, specifically if you’re trying to reach Machu Picchu.

There are two rail companies operating trains from Cusco to Aguas Calientes (the town closest to Machu Picchu) – PeruRail and Inca Rail. A one-way budget train ticket from Cusco to the ancient site of Machu Picchu will set you back between $65 and $75. Both companies further offer several different travel classes with added extras such as air conditioning and complimentary snacks.

blue train in surrounded by nature

While it might be more expensive compared to other transportation methods, the train journey offers a comfortable ride with fantastic views that are hard to come by with other means of transportation.

For larger distances, such as from Lima to Cusco or Iquitos, you can also book a domestic flight. Prices will generally vary on the season, demand, and destination. A plane ticket from Lima to Cusco averages at about 486 soles ($125).

For small distances, you can get a taxi. The average fare between districts ranges between $3 and $4. Haggling before settling on a fare is acceptable and even expected.

If you’re confident about driving in another country, you could look into renting a car. Week-long car hire out of Lima, for example, starts at $150 for an economy option.

Review our article about the transportation options in Peru for more information.


The Cost of Eating Out in Peru

ceviche on a white plate with boiled sweet potatoes and big corn

Peru has a dizzying variety of unique flavors and dishes, and they are pretty affordable, too. If you’re on a tight budget, you can get by on $2 a meal from street vendors. If you’re willing to splurge and try more exquisite Peruvian food at a high-end restaurant, you’ll be looking at paying around $60 – $70 per meal.

One dish that you have to try in Peru is Ceviche – a citrus-infused dish made from fresh fish that is delicious and easy to find, regardless of where you’re staying. Along with that, be sure to try out some typical Peruvian drinks such as Pisco (Peru’s most famous drink), Inca Kola, Chilcano, and Emoliente.

Here are some average food and eating out costs you’ll likely come up against while traveling in Peru:

  • Chips: $3 (S/ 9)
  • Ice Cream: $3 (S/ 9)
  • Lunch: $10 – $20 (S/ 38 – S/ 80)
  • Ceviche: $12 (S/ 45)
  • Meal in a mid-range restaurant (per person): $15 – $19 (S/ 60 – S/ 80)
  • Meal at an inexpensive restaurant (per person): $2.55 – $3.10 (S/ 10 – S/ 12)

Tip: Smaller cities, towns, and villages typically offer cheaper eating-out options. Food markets are another excellent option if you’re looking to try scrumptious Peruvian food without breaking the bank.


Prices of Activities in Peru

Machu Picchu ruins

The cost of your activities in Peru is going to vary based on which part of the country you’re going to be visiting. Many of the top things to do in Peru, such as exploring Cusco and other sightseeing activities, are very affordable. Others, such as flying over the Nazca Lines and trying out adventure sports, are often more expensive.

In the Cusco region, much of your soles will likely be spent on hiking and visiting beautiful ancient Inca ruins. Some common costs when visiting Machu Picchu you can expect are:

  • Entrance fee: $45 for Machu Picchu only or $60 for Machu Picchu + an on-site mountain hike
  • Food: $6 to $22 (in the nearby city of Aguas Calientes)
  • Hiring a local guide: $40 to $85
travelers standing with hiking poles in front of humantay lake and snow-capped mountains

Trekking the Inca Trail is another bucket list activity for many travelers. While hikers cannot trek the trail on their own, there are Inca Trail trekking tours that are sure to help you make the most of your adventure based on your preferred traveling style. You can choose from a private 2-day Inca Trail starting from $565 or a 4-day Inca Trail hike starting from $795.

Another adventure-filled activity you should consider is exploring the stunning Amazon Rainforest. One of the best ways to do this is by joining a 3-day Iquitos tour (prices starting at $425). The tour includes 2 nights in a jungle lodge, meals, and exciting activities such as a boat tour and a visit to Monkey Island.


Peru Daily Budget Estimations

Most accommodations, eateries, and main attractions in Peru are all reasonably priced, and you can explore the country and have a great time whether you’re traveling on a budget or looking for a more luxurious adventure.

To put things in perspective, here’s a quick overview of budget-based daily expenses (on average):

  • Budget travel: $30 to $35 per day
  • Mid-range travel: $40 to $100 per day
  • Luxury travel: $100+ per day

It is possible to make a great Peru tour even with a limited budget. You can cut down on expenses by eating at cheaper restaurants or market food stalls and cooking for yourself during the trip. If you want to cut down on accommodation costs, it’s worth remembering that many cheaper accommodations are located outside the center and you might end up spending more on transportation.


Money Exchange in Peru

one hundred soles bill

You can exchange your currency for Peruvian soles both at home or once you arrive in Peru.

The Peruvian Sol comes in banknotes of 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200. Coins have values of 1,2, and 5 soles, as well as 10, 20, and 50 centimos (cents). When exchanging money in Peru, you have several options – at the airport, bank, or local exchange house. You can also use an ATM or opt for a street money changer (cambista).

While it is possible to pay with US dollars and even Euros at certain places (e.g. restaurants, hotels, and bigger stores), it is not recommended as the exchange rate will be less than favorable. When exploring Peru, be sure to have enough soles on you to cover your travel needs.

A word of caution: In Peru, banknotes (both USD and soles) with tears and wrinkles are often rejected. If you receive a bill in a bad condition, politely ask the cashier to exchange it for another one.

Tip: Be sure to check the exchange rate online before heading off to a reputable money exchange location. In addition, to avoid counterfeit money, make sure you can feel the raised details on the bill and hold the note up to a light source to identify a clean and crisp watermark.


The Travel Insurance Cost

An important part of your travel budget should be dedicated to getting travel insurance before leaving home. Regular insurance generally does not cover you overseas and the costs for a medical emergency abroad can quickly add up.

Good travel insurance will cover things such as flight cancellations, lost luggage, and unexpected hospitalization. In addition, if you fall seriously ill or get injured in a remote location, the insurance will cover the costs to fly you home.


Ready for Your Trip to Peru?

couple kissing in front of rainbow mountain palccoyo

Peru is not only full of breathtaking scenery, ancient Inca sites, and world-class cuisine, but it’s relatively inexpensive, too. Whether it’s your first time visiting or you’re a seasoned Peru adventurer, visiting this South American gem is bound to be an unforgettable experience, as long as you plan well and in advance.

Feeling inspired to take the next step? Here’s how to prepare for your trip to Peru and ensure an adventure worth telling.

  • 28 May, 2023 at 3:26 pm

    Great read, thanks for putting together this information. My friend and I were planning to visit this July. Is it safe to travel to Peru now?

    • 29 May, 2023 at 10:35 am

      Hey Sarah! Absolutely, it is very safe to travel to Peru now. All the sites are open and we have daily departures for all our tours. For more info feel free to review our article about the current situation in Peru.


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