A Travel Price Comparison for Peru Arequipa vs. Machu Picchu for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Arequipa or Machu Picchu?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Should I visit Arequipa or Machu Picchu? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Where Should I go: Arequipa or Machu Picchu?

Arequipa

Sitting in the middle of the Misti, Chachani and PichuPichu volcanoes of Peru is the enchanting city of Arequipa. With 468 years of history, the city is full of Spanish colonial architecture. Known to locals as the "white city," the city center, Plaza de Armas, is quite the sight with buildings of sillar white stone made from the rocks of the surrounding volcanoes.

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is a site of ancient Inca ruins located about 50 miles (80 km) northwest of Cuzco, Peru, in the Cordillera de Vilcabamba of the Andes Mountains. It is perched above the Urubamba River valley in a narrow saddle between two sharp peaks, Machu Picchu ("Old Peak") and Huayna Picchu ("New Peak"), at an elevation of 7,710 feet (2,350 metres). One of the few major pre-Columbian ruins found nearly intact, Machu Picchu was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983. Thus, Machu Picchu is not only an impressive remnant of the Inca civilization, it is also one of the world's most important archaeological sites. A stop at Machu Picchu is an essential part of any traveler's itinerary in Peru, as it is one of the seven wonders of the world.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Sightseeing Tours in Peru, The Best Cultural Tours in Peru, The Best Photography Tours in Peru, and The Best Jungle Trekking Tours in Peru.


Which place is cheaper, Machu Picchu or Arequipa?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Arequipa is $46, while the average daily cost in Machu Picchu is $100. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Arequipa and Machu Picchu in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Arequipa $23
    Machu Picchu $41
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Arequipa $46
    Machu Picchu $82
Compare Hotels in Arequipa and Machu Picchu

Looking for a hotel in Arequipa or Machu Picchu? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Arequipa


Hotels in Machu Picchu


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Arequipa Hotel Prices and Machu Picchu Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Arequipa $5.96
    Machu Picchu $30
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Arequipa

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Arequipa are as follows:


  • Taxi Ride
    $1.34
  • Bus Ride
    $0.43
  • Taxi Ride
    $0.94

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Arequipa

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Arequipa:

  • Colca Canyon Sightseeing Tour 2D1N and Transfer to Puno: $120
  • Colca Canyon 2 days from Arequipa with final transfer to Puno: $110
  • From 2-Day Colca Canyon Tour with Transfer to Puno: $103
  • From 2-Day Colca Canyon Tour with Transfer to Puno: $98
  • Koh Lanta any hotel to Krabi airport Private transfer: $73
  • Transfer Between Arequipa's Airport and Hotels: $35
  • Sihanouk Ville Airport Pickup or Transfer Private Car: $32
  • 1-Way Airport Private Transfer: $31
  • Airport private transfer to/from the city center: $26
  • Arequipa Bus Station Departure Transfer: $25
  • Private Transfer from Arequipa Airport to hotels: $25
  • transfer Airport - Hotel: $21

Is it cheaper to fly into Arequipa or Machu Picchu?

Prices for flights to both Machu Picchu and Arequipa change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Arequipa $14
    Machu Picchu $19
Typical Food Prices in Arequipa

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Arequipa:


  • Coke
    $0.40
  • Lunch
    $2.82
  • Ice Cream
    $1.07
  • Fruit
    $0.81
  • Ice Cream
    $0.94

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Arequipa

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Arequipa.

  • Skip the Line: Dinner and Typical Dances Show Ticket: $25
  • Peruvian Cooking Experience in Arequipa: $34
  • Peruvian Cooking Class: $48
  • Peruvian Cooking Class: $48
  • Peruvian Cooking Class in arequipa: $50
  • Private Cooking Class in Arequipa: $57
  • Arequipa Ancestral Cuisine and City and Food Tour: $69
  • Arequipa Food Tour: Ancestral Cuisine & City Tour: $69
  • Guided Food Tour in Arequipa City: $69
  • 3-hour guided food tour / 5 iconic restaurants of Arequipa: $72
  • A 3-hour Guided Food Tour with 4 Iconic Restaurants of Arequipa: $79
  • Peruvian cooking experience, pisco sour and visit local market: $95

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Arequipa $18
    Machu Picchu $73
Typical Entertainment Prices in Arequipa

Here are a few typical costs in Arequipa for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:


  • Monastery Entry
    $2.69
  • Salsa Class
    $2.69
  • Movie Ticket
    $2.93
  • Hot Springs
    $2.69

Tours and Activities in Arequipa

Here are a few actual costs in Arequipa for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • 2 Day - Colca Canyon and Condor Tour from Arequipa, Peru - Group Service : $288
  • 2 Day Shared Tour to Colca Canyon: $45
  • 2-Day Group Tour to Colca Canyon from Arequipa: $230
  • 2-Day Misti Volcano Tour: $117
  • 2-Day Tour to the Magical Colca Canyon: $68
  • 2-Day || Adventure From Arequipa to Chachani Volcano ||: $143
  • 2-day tour to the Colca Valley and the Cruz del Condor: $99
  • 3 Hour Congata Rover Biking Ride Tour in Arequipa: $45
  • 3-Day Cotahuasi Canyon Tour: $350
  • 3-Hour Tour by Mountain Bike in Arequipa: $69
  • 3-day tour of the Valley of the Volcanoes: $350
  • 4-hour tour to the Sillar and Culebrillas Route in Arequipa: $10

Typical Entertainment Prices in Machu Picchu

For Machu Picchu, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:


  • Gardens of Mandor
    $2.69

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Arequipa $16
    Machu Picchu $6.82
Typical Alcohol Prices in Arequipa

Some typical examples of the costs for nightlife and alcohol in Arequipa are as follows:


  • Beer
    $2.42

Sample the Local Flavors in Arequipa

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Arequipa:

  • Pub Crawl Tour in Arequipa with VIP Access.: $25
  • From Pisco and wine tour through the Majes Valley: $50
  • Pub Crawl Tour in Arequipa with Drinks and VIP Access.: $60


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Arequipa and Machu Picchu, we can see that Machu Picchu is more expensive. And not only is Arequipa much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Arequipa would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Arequipa and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Machu Picchu would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Machu Picchu than you might in Arequipa.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Arequipa Expensive? and Is Machu Picchu Expensive?.