A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Arica vs. Cusco for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Arica or Cusco?

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

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Arica and Cusco. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Where Should I go: Arica or Cusco?

Arica

A mixture of coastline, desert and high Andean plateau, Arica is a seaside resort town, known for its surfing beaches located at the tip of Northern Chile. Arica boasts that it is "the land of the eternal spring," but its temperate climate and beaches are not the only reason to visit this small city. Arica's tourism is still principally geared toward domestic visitors and those from southern Peru and La Paz, who flock to its beaches mid-December through February. It is very easy to spend a few days in Arica in the sand, or seeing the sights in town, at a slow pace but the city also offers plenty of fun activities and exciting day trips.

Cusco

Cusco is most famous as the historic capital of the Inca Empire. It is in the southern Sierras and is one of the most popular travel destinations within Peru. The city is located at 3,400 meters above sea level so it is best to acclimate yourself slowly to avoid altitude sickness.

Cusco is the starting point for many travelers making their way to the famed Machu Picchu or other Inca sites in the surrounding area.

The city is very beautiful and has impressive architecture throughout. The history is obvious as you walk around town and there are impressive ruins nearby, with the most impressive being Sacsayhuaman. The city also has a significant indigenous population that is obvious from their traditional clothing and style.

Cusco has a subtropical highland climate with a pleasant daytime temperature year around. There are two distinct seasons with the dry season being between May and August and the wet season between December and March. During the dry season there is plenty of sun with occasional nighttime freezes. Frost is less common in the wet season.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best 10-Day Tours in Chile, The Best One Week (7-Day) Tours in Chile, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Cusco, and The Best 3-Day Tours from Cusco.


Which place is cheaper, Cusco or Arica?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Arica is $79, while the average daily cost in Cusco is $51. 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 Arica and Cusco in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Arica $35
    Cusco $23
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Arica $70
    Cusco $46
Compare Hotels in Arica and Cusco

Looking for a hotel in Arica or Cusco? 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 Arica


Hotels in Cusco


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: Arica Hotel Prices and Cusco Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Arica $18
    Cusco $10
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Arica

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


  • Short Taxi Ride
    $2.10

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Arica

Also for Arica, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Private Transfer from Arica Cruise Port to Arica city hotels: $22
  • Private Transfer from Arica City hotels to Arica Cruise Port: $22
  • Private Transfer from Arica Cruise Port to Arica Hotels: $24
  • Private Transfer from Arica Hotels to Arica Cruise Port: $24
  • Private Transfer from Arica Cruise Port to Arica Airport (ARI): $27
  • Private Transfer from Arica Airport (ARI) to Arica Cruise Port : $27
  • Private Transfer from Arica Airport (ARI) to Arica Cruise Port: $30
  • Private Transfer from Arica Cruise Port to Arica Airport (ARI): $30
  • Arica Airport Private Transfer: $85

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Cusco

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Cusco:


  • Taxi Ride
    $1.09

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cusco

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Cusco:

  • Transfers in Cusco: $6.00
  • Transfer to Ollantaytambo from Urubamba: $36
  • Transfer from Cusco to Ollantaytambo: $40
  • Transfer from Cusco city to the airport: $10
  • Transfer from Cusco Airport to the Hotel (Cusco): $17
  • Transfer Hotel to Airport in Cusco | Private Service |: $10
  • Transfer From Airport to Cusco Center Hotels: $25
  • Transfer Cusco to Sacred Valley of the Incas: $36
  • Transfer Cusco to Poroy: $20
  • Transfer Cusco Airport to your Hotel in Cusco: $10
  • Transfer Cusco Airport to Hotel in Cusco (Round trip): $20
  • Transfer Between Cusco's Airport and City Hotels: $25

Is it cheaper to fly into Arica or Cusco?

Prices for flights to both Cusco and Arica 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
    Arica $28
    Cusco $13

Typical Food Prices in Cusco

Some typical examples of dining costs in Cusco are as follows:


  • Sandwich
    $2.17
  • Mango
    $0.54

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Cusco

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

  • Small-Group Virtual Peruvian Cooking Experience: $25
  • 3-Hour Peruvian Cooking Class: $49
  • Cusco Tunupa Restaurant Folk Show with Dinner : $49
  • Cusco Cooking Class by ChocoMuseo in Cusco: $50
  • Market Tour & Traditional Peruvian Cooking Class in Cusco: $53
  • Fully hands-on High End Peruvian Cooking Class & San Pedro Market Guided Visit: $55
  • Cooking Class and market tour with a local chef: $56
  • Vegetarian Cooking Class, Local Market Tour in Cusco: $59
  • Peruvian Cooking Class and Local Market in Cusco: $59
  • Cusco Cooking Classes and San Pedro Market Tour: $59
  • Peruvian Cooking Class and Local Market Tour: $63
  • Peruvian Cooking Class & Market Tour: $65

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Arica $20
    Cusco $29

Tours and Activities in Arica

For Arica, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Archaeological Tour: $32
  • Half day Panoramic City Tour: $49
  • Archeological Sightseeing tour in Arica: $103
  • Arica Private Sightseeing Tour : $134
  • Private Tour to Tacna from Arica: $256

Typical Entertainment Prices in Cusco

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Cusco are as follows:


  • Salsa Class
    $2.71

Tours and Activities in Cusco

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Cusco are as follows:

  • ATV Tour to Moray, Maras and Salar in the Sacred Valley of the Incas: $42
  • City tour of Cusco by E-BIKE: $131
  • Cusco City Tour I Half-Day: $28
  • Half- Day City Tour Cusco : $150
  • Moray salt mines ATV Tours (Cuatrimotos) : $60
  • Night Tour in Cusco Private Service: $90
  • Official Machupicchu Ticket: $96
  • Official Ticket Football Day tour In Cusco with Tourism Guide: $100
  • Official Ticket- Machu Picchu Lost Citadel: $72
  • Private Tour to Sacred Valley Full Day from Cusco: $130
  • Rainbow Mountain Full-Day | Group Tour |: $26
  • Ticket To Machu Picchu + Machu Picchu Mountain : $89

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Arica $19
    Cusco $9.56

Sample the Local Flavors in Cusco

Also in Cusco, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Cusco Pub Crawl - Bar Tour Cusco : $18
  • Cusco Pub Crawl: Cusco Bar Hopping Experience : $18
  • Exclusive Pub Crawl with 10+ benefits: $18
  • Pub Crawl with Skip-the-Line Access and Drinks: $18
  • Exclusive Pub Crawl with more than 10 Benefits: $25


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Arica and Cusco, we can see that Arica is more expensive. And not only is Cusco much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Cusco would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Cusco 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 Arica would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Arica than you might in Cusco.

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


Which is Bigger, Arica or Cusco?

Cusco has a larger population, and is about 68% larger than the population of Arica. When comparing the sizes of Arica and Cusco, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.