Peru: Budget & Other Numbers

I spent nearly six weeks in Peru, and right up to the day I arrived in Cusco, nearly five weeks in, it was on course to be my cheapest country yet. So what went wrong? Well, firstly, Cusco is quite expensive compared to other Peruvian cities, thanks to its popularity. Secondly, I was travelli ng with a friend on holiday from home, which always pushes costs up, as we had quite a different idea of what constitutes ‘cheap’. Finally, was the fact that I’d completely forgotten I hadn’t paid yet for a big chunk of the cost of the Inca Trail (turns out before I left I’d just paid a deposit. Whoops).

So in the end, I finished up over budget yet again. Not by loads, but still enough to be slightly annoying. Oh well, it was such good fun I can hardly complain.

So where did the overspend come from? Well, on the plus side, my spend on miscellaneous stuff (internet, laundry, stamps, purchases and so on) was the lowest yet. Transport and Food & drink were the second lowest (after Guatemala), and accommodation costs were significantly lower than in Mexico & Colombia. However those figures are slightly misleading, as 17 of my 40 days in Peru were spent on multiday hikes, where there we no food or accommodation costs. Take that into account, and my real daily accomodation cost would nearly double (although would still be cheaper than Mexico), and my food and drink costs would shoot up to being easily the most expensive I’ve had in Latin America. Need to watch those nice restaurants going forward.

Biggest single item by far was the cost of activities – because in Peru I did way more organised trips than before – 4 big hikes, a boat trip to the Islas Ballestas, sandboarding, flying over the Nazca lines, and visiting the floating islands. At over $24 a day, that’s nearly half my daily budget on its own. But I’m not going to compain – it was all worth it, and I suspect that I’ll be unlikley to do anywhere near as much of that sort of thing in any other country.

So on to the numbers themselves:
Transport: $4.49
Accommodation: $4.98
Activities: $24.12
Miscellaneous: $0.82
Food & Drink: $19.92
Total: $54.32

And of course, here’s how the rest of Peru shaped up in numbers terms:
Days: 40
Days hiking: 20
Days over 4000m: 12
Days over 5000m: 2
Nights in tents: 14
Nights on buses: 4
Nights in beds: 22
Buses: 16
Taxis: 18
Flights: 1
Boats: 3
Dune buggies: 1
Sandboards: 1
Sand dunes boarded down: 7
Churches: 6
Canyons: 1
Condors seen: Dozens
Hot Springs: 2
Laundry: 5
Postcards: 2
Phone calls: 5
Cash withdrawals: 16
Islands: 5
Museums: 2
Alpacas eaten: several
Guinea pigs eaten: none

and finally, the usual round up of people I hiked and had Pisco Sours with. Only new entry this time is for the Ukraine. Other than that, it’s the usual suspects at the top.
UK: 20
USA: 16
Germany: 13
Israel: 11
Peru: 8
Australia: 7
Ireland: 5
Switzerland: 4
Canada: 3
France: 3
Spain: 2
Ukraine: 1
Netherlands: 1
Brazil: 1
New Zealand: 1
Italy: 1
In terms of how that affects the overall ranking, the Brits are getting ever closer to overhauling the Americans at the top of the list, and since I’ve been in South America, the Germans, Israelis & Australians have gone up a fair bit, at the expense of Swiss & Canadians.


4 responses to “Peru: Budget & Other Numbers

  1. Just want to say that I’ve been enjoying your posts enormously – despite your use of “going forward” in the last one :-) Was in Peru 30 years ago and Colombia and Guate very recently so there is a lot of resonance for me. As I’ll be in Peru again in March, your posts are a gold mine. Keep ’em coming … and thanks.

  2. You met 8 people from Peru… in Peru?!

  3. Geoff —

    Absolutely great site you’ve got going here. Great descriptions and wonderful photos. Your “Countries I’ve Visited” section has inspired me to go back and think about how I would summarize my experiences in every country I’ve visited.

    I’m in the process of planning a trip to Peru this summer (June/July) with my girlfriend. I can only take off 10-12 days from work, but I’m trying to hit both the Santa Cruz Trek and MP (though not via Inca Trail, just bus/walk up road, probably). You think it’s possible get to experience both the Cordillera Blanca and Machu Picchu in 10-12 days or so? I know you didn’t have the same itinerary at all, but I imagine you have a good grasp of travel distances/times/etc. Any thoughts?

    Thanks again for all the writing!


    • Hey Nick, thanks for the comment – have emailed you a detailed reply but yes, I think you can just about manage that itinerary in 12 days (making sure you plan in enough time to acclimatise in Huaraz before trekking in the Cordillera Blanca is the biggest thing to factor in), as long as you’re happy taking night buses to and from Huaraz, and flying from Lima to Cusco & back

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