Should you visit Cajamarca or Machu Picchu?
Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Cajamarca and Machu Picchu can help you decide which place is right for you.
Located in the northern highlands of Peru, Cajamarca is a town of about 100,000 people. The city's mild weather and fertile soil is ideal for agriculture, which is a major industry in the area. The city is also well known for its cheeses and dairy products. Cajamarca is the site of the Battle of Cajamarca which led to the execution of the Inca emperor Atahualpa and the end of the infamous Inca empire. Today, the area is appealing to visitors in part because of its lovely churches, nice hot springs, and interesting Inca Baths.
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.
Which city is cheaper, Machu Picchu or Cajamarca?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Cajamarca is $53, while the average daily cost in Machu Picchu is $82. 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 city. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Cajamarca and Machu Picchu in more detail.
Cajamarca's average price for two people sharing a typical double-occupancy hotel room is $36. A typical place to stay for one person, per day is $18.
Double occupancy rooms typically run around $64 in Machu Picchu For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.
The average traveler spends about $22 per day in Cajamarca for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.
While meal prices in Machu Picchu can vary, the average travelers spends about $20 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in Machu Picchu should cost around $8.00 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in Machu Picchu is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.
Meals for one day
Machu Picchu $20
The average price of local transportation around Cajamarca is $13 per person, per day. As this average includes both taxis and public transport, keep in mind that the prices of private drivers and taxis are significantly more expensive than public transportation.
To get around in Machu Picchu, the average visitor spends $23 per day, per person. This includes the costs of taxi rides and private drivers as well as public transportation, which tends to be much more affordable.
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Machu Picchu
Also for Machu Picchu, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Aguas Calientes: Bus Transfer to Machu Picchu Citadel:
Is it cheaper to fly into Cajamarca or Machu Picchu?
Prices for flights to both Machu Picchu and Cajamarca 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.
Cajamarca's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $20 per person, per day. This cost can vary widely by the type of activity, however, as this includes admission tickets, day tours, museums, and other things to do.
In Machu Picchu, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $58 per person, per day.
Tours and Activities in Cajamarca
Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Cajamarca are as follows:
3-Day Guided Cultural Tour of Cajamarca with Transportation:
Cajamarca city tour - Private tour:
Cumbemayo, the stone forest - Private tour:
Inca's Bath - Private tour:
Porcón farm - Private tour:
Ventanillas de Otuzco - private tour:
Tour of the Port of Callao and fort Real Felipe:
Typical Entertainment prices in Machu Picchu
For Machu Picchu, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:
Tours and Activities in Machu Picchu
Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Machu Picchu.
From Aguas Calientes: Machu Picchu Guided Tour:
Machu Picchu Admission Ticket:
Machu Picchu official entrance ticket:
Huaynapicchu mountain hike + Machu Picchu entrance ticket:
Private Guided Tour from Aguas Calientes:
Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu Admission Ticket:
Admission Ticket to Machu Picchu Ruin and Mountain:
Machu Picchu Ticket: Official Entrance Ticket:
Machu Picchu Official Ticket:
Machu Picchu Official Entrance Ticket:
Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu Entrance Ticket:
Machu Picchu And Huayna Picchu Morning Entrance Ticket:
The average person spends about $12 on alcoholic beverages in Cajamarca per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.
Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Machu Picchu, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $5.25.
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Cajamarca and Machu Picchu, we can see that Machu Picchu is more expensive. And not only is Cajamarca much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Cajamarca would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Cajamarca 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 Cajamarca.
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