Money! People love to know about money. I had originally said we would update as we go, but that’s too damn hard and a little deceiving because we have to book things in advance. For example, we booked Machu Picchu a couple of months ago so if I put that down on a “real-time'“ sheet that would throw everything out of wack. Instead, I put the expenses down as they happen, regardless of whether or not I paid for it previously (i.e. we paid for Picchu a couple of months ago, but I didn’t put it on the cost sheet until we actually went). Here is the breakdown for Peru (18 days).
Where we COULD have saved money:
Lodging will be an answer for every city, because you can always stay somewhere cheaper. With that said, we prefer to always have a private room whether that’s in a hostel, hotel, or AirBnb. Could we stay in a 16 person bunk room for a couple of bucks? Yes, but that’s not something we’re interested in.
Provisions are probably the one area that we could improve when going to other countries. A couple of things drove this price a little higher than we would have liked. The first problem is that we were never in one spot for more than 3 days, so that makes it hard to buy groceries. South America is going to be go, go, go that means more meals on the run. The other thing that drove this price point a little higher is water. That sounds dumb but the water is not safe here in Peru, so you have to purchase bottles of water and when you go into a store to buy water then it’s easy to maybe buy a couple of other things. It’s healthy and very important to stay hydrated, so this is by no means a regret just an observation.
Where we DID save money:
I know it doesn’t look like this at first glance since it’s the highest line item, but transportation is probably where we saved the most money. Machu Picchu and Peru Hop drove this price up, but take those out and we only spent probably $40 on busses, Ubers, trains, and taxis. We walked EVERYWHERE.
Drinking. Alcohol seemed to be about the only item we found that was priced comparatively with American prices. Beers were $5, mixed drinks were $8+, and in-store 6 packs were around $10 for their domestic stuff. At one super nice place in Lima (thanks Brent), we probably paid about $25 for two drinks. Considering this, I would say around $150 for 18 days is pretty darn good for us and definitely a line item that can swell if you aren’t careful. Also, this number doesn’t take our beer donations into consideration, which helped and are still very much appreciated!
As we have said numerous times, Peru/South America revolves around landmarks (i.g. Machu Picchu, Salt Flats, Sand Dunes, Atacama Desert, etc.) and those landmarks come at a price. We spent $2,134 in Peru and $849.24 of that was just Peru Hop, train to and from Machu Picchu and the Machu Picchu entrance fee. Peru Hop was essential in getting around the country and Machu Picchu is a once in a lifetime experience, so there are no regrets. But it’s important to know that those items are going to drastically change your costs.