Ok, so before leaving on my initial round the world (RTW) trip I read about a bazillion budget reports by awesome travel bloggers like Globetrotter Girls, A Little Adrift and Adventurous Kate to find out how much money I’d have to save before leaving (and so I could write up my own Peru travel budget).
I did all my research, wrote an incredibly elaborate spreadsheet, saved (nowhere near enough) money and then promptly ignored everything.
Oh well, not a big surprise after all, considering this is coming from the same person who saved for a whole summer after high school to go to Jamaica and then ended up spending all my money at Oktoberfest. But no regrets!…..ok SOME regrets.
The one thing I did do for (nearly) the whole trip was write down every dollar I spent every single day. I kept track of my spending with a nifty little app called TrailWallet (which was created by travel bloggers NeverEndingVoyage) designed by travellers for travellers, and it’s become sort of an obsession to keep the most detailed account of where our money went.
And because sharing is caring, and because reading other people’s budgets is incredibly helpful when planning a trip, I will start a series of “spill-the-beans” budget reports on every country we’ve visited so far, where I’ll tell you exactly what I spent my beans on.
First stop, Peru!
The infographic gives you a rough overview of how much we spent per day, and in total and where that money went.
My Peru Travel Budget
Despite travelling as a couple I decided I’d give you the per person spendings here as it makes it easier to calculate if you’re travelling solo or in a family of 7. All prices are $US.
In total I spent $1316 in Peru, over 26 days in total (the last few days were actually spent in La Paz, Bolivia but I wanted to keep it simple so combined both budgets). Holy crap, that’s a lot of money, right?
Yeah it totally is but this amount includes the Inca Trail, which has been the single most expensive activity I’ve done since leaving nearly two years ago and was a little over $600 in total. So if you want to go to Peru but don’t want to hike the Inca Trail (which would be crazy as it’s awesome and you should totally do it!) then you could cut your costs down by nearly 50%.
Anyways, let’s break this all down:
The most important of all categories! Simon and I LOVE to eat, it’s probably the number 1 reason to travel and we often overspend on food, so you could easily eat for much cheaper.
Let me just say that Peruvian food changed my life, as I discovered my favourite dish in the world on our first night in Lima: Ceviche! For the ceviche virgins among you, it’s raw fish marinated in citrus which kind of cooks it but not really, but makes it so delicious I could cry that I can’t have some right now! Sounds weird? Try it! No, seriously, TRY IT!
Anyway, where were we? Oh yes, I spent a total of $231 on food, which is $8.87 per day. We only cooked 5 hostel meals in nearly 4 weeks and usually ate out 2–3 times a day. Most hostels in Peru provide breakfast which is a great way to save money and also start the day without stressing about where to find food.
The most expensive meal was my first ceviche dinner in Lima for $12.76, which included a pisco sour cocktail.
The cheapest meal was ceviche (yay) at Lima’s central market, costing $0.61, bargain!
Tip: Most restaurants offer menus which typically cost around $4–5 and consist of a soup, a main and either desert or a sweet drink. If you’re not as greedy as us you can easily share one of these between two people and save money that way.
This category includes all transport within Peru and to La Paz, Bolivia but excludes airfare as we’d already paid for our RTW tickets.
Transport in Peru for me means long windy bus rides through the Andes on comfy Cruz Del Sur buses with catchy pan flute music playing in the background! You can find much cheaper buses but Cruz del Sur is super comfy and the safest way to travel, and they feed you.
We spent a total of $153 on transportation, this includes 4 long distance busses, Lima to Ica (5 hours, $13), Ica to Cusco (17 hours overnight, $64), Cusco to Arequipa (10 hours overnight, $21) and Arequipa to Puno (6h, $7). We also took heaps of taxis, the metro in Lima and boats on lake Titicaca. Oh yeah and a choo-choo train too 🙂
We stayed in hostels every night apart from our time at Lake Titicaca where we stayed in guesthouses. Hostels are a great way to meet people and are a really affordable option, especially in large cities where hotels are pricey.
We spent a total of $188 on sleeping, $7.23 per night. This includes 4 nights camping on the Inca trail and two overnight buses, that’s why the daily average is pretty low.
We stayed in dorms around half of the time and splurged on private rooms the rest. Our favourite hostel was Banana hostel in Huacachina ($12.50 for a private room), a tiny desert oasis surrounded by steep sand dunes. It had a pool and great food and offered awesome activities which were super affordable, bringing us to the next category.
Ok, this is the big one, $528! Like I said this is the price with the Inca Trail without the $150 deposit we paid months in advance. It includes everything we spent on snacks for the trek, tips for our guide and porters, toys we bought for the kids of the porters and the meal in Aguas Calientes after Machu Picchu. We went with Wayki Trek, a locally owned and run company which takes amazing care of their porters, guides and guests – I couldn’t recommend them more.
Generally activities were affordable in Peru, we did dune buggying and sand boarding in Huacachina for $12 total, went wine and Pisco tasting for $15, and did a half day Ballestas Island (the Galapagos islands of Peru, apparently, but not really) for $20. The only activity we denied ourselves was a Colca Canyon Trek from Arequipa which would’ve been a few hundred dollars – just too much. Next time!
This category turned out to be huge in Peru with a whopping $180. A big chunk of this went on hospital fees in Cusco where we both had to be treated for severe food poisoning, but that’s a story for another day. We paid $60 in total for the treatment, shots and medication which is pretty reasonable and we were refunded by our travel insurance. I also had to buy an ankle brace for a sprain, aloe vera for a nasty sun burn and we stocked up on cipro after using up all of our reserves. $25 was spent on the visa, $27 on our pathetic go at learning Spanish and $42 on souvenirs including an alpaca hat and gloves for the Inca Trail. The rest went on laundry, etc.
Drinks and going out
We only spent around $36 on drinks and going out, but apart from the night we finished the Inca Trail, we didn’t party much in Peru. If you’re a big party animal this will obviously be much more.
That’s it, my Peru Travel Budget, every dollar I spent in Peru! A pretty expensive start to our trip but worth every penny!