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

Should you visit Lima 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 Lima 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: Lima or Cusco?

Lima

Lima, the capital city of Peru, is likely to be your point of entry for the country. Lima was founded in 1535 and was the seat of the Spanish rule for 300 years. It's a surprisingly modern city despite its rich history, but many beautiful churches and colonial architecture remain today. There are also large slum areas that highlight the poverty that exists in the city. The city and its surrounding metropolitan area have a population of about 8.5 million people, many of whom came from the Andes Mountains in search of work. Unfortunately the work opportunities are limited and the poverty is obvious as you arrive in Lima.

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 Tours for Outdoor and Nature Lovers in Peru, The Best Adventure Tours to Peru, The Best Eco Tours in Peru, and The Best Sightseeing Tours in Peru.


Which place is cheaper, Cusco or Lima?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Lima is $77, 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 Lima and Cusco in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Lima $49
    Cusco $23
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Lima $98
    Cusco $46
Compare Hotels in Lima and Cusco

Looking for a hotel in Lima 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 Lima


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: Lima Hotel Prices and Cusco Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Lima $5.73
    Cusco $10
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Lima

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


  • Taxi Ride
    $5.43
  • Taxi Ride
    $5.43
  • Short Taxi Ride
    $4.07

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Lima

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Lima:

  • QuickLlama: Door-to-door transfer from Lima Airport to Miraflores: $5.00
  • QuickLlama: Door-to-door transfer from Miraflores to Lima Airport: $5.00
  • QuickLlama: Transfer from Miraflores Kennedy Park to Lima Airport: $5.00
  • Lima Airport: Bus Transfer to/from Miraflores: $5.63
  • Lima Airport: BUS Transfer to/from Lima city center: $6.00
  • SHARED AIRPORT TRANSFER - From or To Lima Airport: $11
  • Private Transfer from Jorge Chavez Airport to Hotels in Lima: $13
  • Private transfers from Lima Airport or to Lima Airport: $17
  • Transfer from Lima city to the airport: $18
  • Lima Airport Departure Transfer: $20
  • Lima Airport (LIM) to Miraflores city - Arrival Private Transfer: $23
  • Transfer from the Airport to the Hotel or Hotel-Airport!!: $25

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
  • One-Way Cusco Airport Arrival Transfer: $6.12
  • Cusco Airport Transfers: $8.00
  • Private 1-Way Transfer to Velasco Astete Airport: $9.00
  • One-Way Cusco Airport Arrival Transfer: $9.00
  • One-Way Airport Transfer to Hotel: $9.50
  • Pickup from Cusco airport and transfer to your hotel in Private vehicle: $9.52
  • Cusco Airport Departure Transfer: $9.67
  • Cusco Airport Arrival Transfer: $9.67
  • Private Transfer From the Airport to your Hotel in Cuzco: $9.68
  • Private Shuttle Transfer from Cusco Airport (CUZ) to Hotels in Cusco: $9.90
  • Transfer Hotel to Airport in Cusco | Private Service |: $10

Is it cheaper to fly into Lima or Cusco?

Prices for flights to both Cusco and Lima 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
    Lima $18
    Cusco $13
Typical Food Prices in Lima

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


  • Lunch for Two
    $4.34
  • Ice cream
    $3.53
  • Coffee
    $2.99
  • Donut
    $0.95

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Lima

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

  • Lima Market Food Tour: $33
  • Lima Market Food Tour: $34
  • Lima Market Food Tour - Taste 9 Popular Peruvian Snacks: $35
  • Ceviche Cooking Class Including Pisco Sour Lesson: $40
  • Lima Street Food Tour: $40
  • Lima Street Food Tour: $45
  • Lima Food Tour: $45
  • Cooking Workshop and Water Circuit Tour: $45
  • Street Food Tour in Miraflores District: $45
  • Barranco Tour with Dinner: $47
  • Bohemian tour of Barranco with Dinner: $47
  • Private Cooking Class With a Local Family in Lima: $48

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 Ceviche Cooking Experience: $25
  • 3-Hour Peruvian Cooking Class: $49
  • Pete's Peruvian Cooking Class: $52
  • Market Tour & Traditional Peruvian Cooking Class in Cusco: $53
  • CUSCO COOKING CLASS DINNER - Short & Immersive Cooking Class: $53
  • Cooking Class and market tour with a local chef: $56
  • Vegetarian Cooking Class, Local Market Tour in Cusco: $57
  • 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
  • Curious Monkey Cusco- Market and Streets, Walking Food Tour: $70

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Lima $8.66
    Cusco $29
Typical Entertainment Prices in Lima

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


  • Entrance to Museo Larco (for 2)
    $16
  • Movie Tickets
    $2.31

Tours and Activities in Lima

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

  • Free Walking Tour of Lima: $2.00
  • Lima Historic Center Walking Tour: $8.00
  • Entrance ticket to Museo de Arte de Lima - MALI: $11
  • Customize your trip to Peru with Lima Experience: $12
  • bike tour: $12
  • Skip the Line: Larco Museum Admission Ticket: $13
  • Beach tour and surfboards for rent in Lima, Peru: $14
  • Bike Tour of the Lima Coast: Eco-Friendly Adventure: $17
  • Party tour Fridays Barranco / Saturdays Miraflores: $18
  • Private Beach Guided Bike Tour in Lima : $19
  • Miraflores and Barranco Private Bike Tour: $19
  • 2 Hour Guided Walking Tour in Barranco: $20

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:

  • Free Walking Tour of Cusco: $2.00
  • Cusco : Half Day City Tour: $9.00
  • Cusco City Tour: $10
  • Cusco City Tour including Sacsayhuaman Koricancha and Tambomachay: $10
  • Combined city tour cusco: $10
  • Cochahuasi Animal Sanctuary Admission Ticket: $10
  • Guided Walking Tour with fluent English: $10
  • extreme adventure in cusco warachicuy adventure park: $11
  • Mirabus Cusco city tour | Panoramic view |: $12
  • Sightseeing Tour of the City on an Open-Top Bus: $12
  • City tours Cusco: $12
  • Mirabus Cusco city tour | Panoramic view |: $12

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Lima $5.63
    Cusco $9.56
Typical Alcohol Prices in Lima

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


  • Bottle of Wine
    $7.30
  • Beer
    $4.07
  • Cocktail
    $3.26

Sample the Local Flavors in Lima

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Lima:

  • Gin and Rum Distillery Tour: $12
  • Pub Crawl in Lima: $17
  • Lima Pub Crawl - Party tour: Friday Barranco/Saturday miraflores: $18
  • Exclusive Pub Crawl with 10+ benefits: $18
  • Party Tour in Miraflores with Bar Crawl and Drinks: $18
  • Local Wine Tour : $39
  • Local Wine Tour: $50
  • Ballestas Islands + Huacachina Oasis + Wine Tour !! The best price: $226

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 Lima and Cusco, we can see that Lima 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 Lima would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Lima 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 Lima Expensive? and Is Cusco Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Lima or Cusco?

Lima has a larger population, and is about 20 times larger than the population of Cusco. When comparing the sizes of Lima 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.