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

Should you visit Cusco or Machu Picchu?

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

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Cusco or Machu Picchu, this travel comparison, which includes costs, can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison down below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Where Should I go: Cusco or Machu Picchu?

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. (Read this advice about managing the altitude in Cusco and Machu Picchu.)

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.

Which city is cheaper, Machu Picchu or Cusco?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Cusco is $38, while the average daily cost in Machu Picchu is $76. 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. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Cusco and Machu Picchu in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Cusco $17
    Machu Picchu $32
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Cusco $34
    Machu Picchu $64

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Cusco $7.58
    Machu Picchu $23
Typical Local Transportation prices in Cusco

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


  • Taxi Ride
    $1.02

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cusco

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Cusco:

  • Private Transfer from Cusco to Puno: $689
  • CUSCO MAGICAL 4D Transfer, Hotel, City Tour, Sacred Valley and Machu picchu: $641
  • Airport Transfer, City Tour, Sacred Valley & Machupicchu (All Included): $580
  • Private Transfer from Cusco City to Ollantaytambo Train Station by Minibus: $196
  • Private Transfer from Alejandro Velasco Astete (CUZ) Airport to Valle Sagrado: $178
  • Private Transfer from Alejandro Velasco Astete (CUZ) Airport to Ollantaytambo: $158
  • San Sebasti├ín Private Transfer from San Sebasti├ín Airport to City centre: $100
  • One-Way Scenic Bus Transfer to Puno from Cusco: $97
  • Scenic Journey from Cusco to Puno by Bus Including Hotel Transfers: $97
  • Private Transfer from Cusco City to Ollantaytambo Train Station by Minivan: $85
  • Cuzco city or airport to Ollantaytambo train station -Departure Private Transfer: $67
  • Private Transfer from Cusco City to Ollantaytambo Train Station by Sedan Car: $67

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: $16

Is it cheaper to fly into Cusco or Machu Picchu?

Prices for flights to both Machu Picchu and Cusco 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
    Cusco $9.86
    Machu Picchu $14
Typical Food prices in Cusco

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


  • Sandwich
    $2.05
  • Mango
    $0.51

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
  • Small-Group Virtual Ceviche Cooking Experience: $25
  • Tunupa Cusco Restaurant: Dinner with Show: $28
  • CUSCO COOKING CLASS LUNCH 12:00PM TO 1:30PM (Available only in English): $37
  • Peruvian Cooking Class and Local Market in Cusco: $39
  • Dinner at Calle del Medio restaurant: $40
  • Dinner at Pachapapa restaurant.: $40
  • Peruvian Cooking Class and Local Market Tour: $40
  • Peruvian Cooking Classes: $43
  • Fully hands-on High End Peruvian Cooking Class & San Pedro Market Guided Visit: $45
  • Dinner at Tunupa restaurant with folkloric show.: $45
  • Dinner at Inca Grill Restaurant: $45

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Cusco $22
    Machu Picchu $56
Typical Entertainment prices in Cusco

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


  • Salsa Class
    $2.56

Tours and Activities in Cusco

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

  • "Waqrapukara" Great Canyon Full Day Tour: $100
  • (H) Cusco 04 Days: City Tour - Sacred Valley - MachuPicchu (Group Tour): $550
  • (H) Inka Jungle Trail 04 Days (Group Tour): $336
  • 01 Day Tour to Machu Picchu The Inca City: $410
  • 07 Day Andean Experience Through the Living Culture of the Incas: $1,699
  • 07 Day: Inca Jungle Adventure with Mountain Bike, Rafting, Zipline & Trek: $999
  • 1 Day Hike on the Inca Trail + 1 Day in Machupicchu: Private 2 days Tour: $484
  • 1 Day Luxury Tour to Machu Picchu: $1,280
  • 1 Day Tour to Palcoyo Mountain and 4 Lagoons - private service: $359
  • 1 Day tour to Machupicchu: $340
  • 1-Day Machu Picchu Tour by Vistadome Train: $485
  • 1-Day Machu Picchu Tour from Cusco, Peru: $850

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
    $2.56

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: $27
  • Machu Picchu Admission Ticket: $31
  • Huaynapicchu mountain hike + Machu Picchu entrance ticket: $40
  • Machu Picchu official entrance ticket: $40
  • Private Guided Tour from Aguas Calientes: $45
  • Admission Ticket to Machu Picchu Ruin and Mountain: $53
  • Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu Admission Ticket: $53
  • Machu Picchu Ticket: Official Entrance Ticket: $63
  • Machu Picchu Lost Citadel Official Ticket: $65
  • Machu Picchu Official Ticket: $68
  • Machu Picchu Official Entrance Ticket: $68
  • Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu Entrance Ticket: $85

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Cusco $7.20
    Machu Picchu $5.20


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Cusco and Machu Picchu, we can see that Machu Picchu 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 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 Cusco.

Budget Your Trip

Budget Your Trip has average travel costs for thousands of cities around the world, all provided by other travelers. You can also register to organize your spending by category and location with graphs, maps, charts, and tables.

More City Comparisons
Share This Page
Pin This Page
Cusco vs. Machu Picchu Travel Comparison

Some of the links on this website are sponsored or affiliate links which help to financially support this site. By clicking the link and making a purchase, we may receive a small commission, but this does not affect the price of your purchase.