It’s not easy to put a figure on the cost of traveling in Peru. Even among shoestring backpackers, daily budgets can range from almost impossibly low to comparatively decadent. But if you want a rough idea of how much you might spend on a day-to-day basis in 2017, read on…
The Daily Cost of Peru Travel
First, let’s look at daily expenses listed in two popular Peru travel guides (latest editions). Both budgets are for shoe-stringers and include all the basics (cheap accommodation, food and bus travel):
- Lonely Planet Peru: “a minimum of US$35 a day” (US$60-100 at the higher end)
- Footprint Peru: “US$25-30 for low-budget travel” (US$35-50 at the higher end)
Footprint’s lower-end of US$25 is low. To get by on that, you’d really need to be holding back: only very basic hostels, cheap set-lunch menús, very few tours or expensive excursions, and a highly disciplined approach to alcohol-related activities.
Realistically, Lonely Planet’s US$35 a day is more in tune with an average backpacker’s daily expenditure in Peru. If you’re in the planning stages for your trip to Peru, $35 a day is a good figure to keep in mind — as a minimum. It’s better to overestimate the cost of travel than to find yourself strapped for cash on the road.
Your Peru Budget and Additional Expenses
Even if your basic day-to-day expenses are low, your daily average can rise well beyond $35 if you start splashing out on costly extras. Things to consider include:
- Flights: Peru’s domestic airlines aren’t hideously expensive, but bus travel is standard for most backpackers. A few internal flights can quickly eat into a backpacking budget, and you may end up missing some incredible spots such as Huacachina along the way.
- Buses: Buses are relatively cheap but costs can add up, especially when you factor in all the taxi costs of going to and from terminals. Another option is Peru Hop, where you can buy 1 bus pass that covers all your stops for 1 year and picks you up and drops you off wherever you are staying. Hostel and hotel discounts with a Peru Hop pass are something to be considered.
- Tours: If you’re heading to Peru for the first time, you’ll almost certainly go to Machu Picchu (and maybe hike the Inca Trail). Then there’s a flight over the Nazca Lines, a guided trek into Colca Canyon, a stint on Lake Titicaca… the list goes on. Think of tours to major attractions as additional expenses and calculate your overall budget accordingly. Check FindLocalTrips.com for comparing operators and prices.
- Location: Popular tourist destinations along the classic Gringo Trail tend to be more expensive than other parts of Peru (at least in terms of hostels and other tourist-related establishments and activities). The same is true for Lima.
- Travel time: If you have only 10 to 12 days in Peru, you’ll be packing a lot into a short space of time and your average daily expenditure will rise. But it is worth it…do not let yourself miss out on anything while here in Peru…you might never be back!
My Average Peru Travel Budget
Overall, if you’re trying to budget for your upcoming backpacking trip to Peru, US$30-40 per day seems reasonable. Do your research and compare prices, using Hostelworld or Booking.com for hostels and hotels, FindLocalTrips.com for tours, and Kayak.com for flights.