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

Should you visit Lima or Machu Picchu?

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 Machu Picchu. 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 Machu Picchu?


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.

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 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, Machu Picchu 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 Machu Picchu is $101. 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 Machu Picchu in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Lima $49
    Machu Picchu $42
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Lima $98
    Machu Picchu $84
Compare Hotels in Lima and Machu Picchu

Looking for a hotel in Lima 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 Lima

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: Lima Hotel Prices and Machu Picchu Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Lima $5.73
    Machu Picchu $30
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Lima

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

  • Taxi Ride
  • Taxi Ride
  • Short Taxi Ride

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Lima

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Lima:

  • Private Transfer From Lima To Paracas With 2 Stops : $176
  • Palomino Islands Excursion & Swimming with Sea Lions with Hotel Transfers: $119
  • Private Transfer from Lima city hotels to Callao Cruise Port: $87
  • Private Transfer from Callao Cruise Port to Lima city hotels: $87
  • Private Transfer from Lima hotels to Pisco Cruise Port: $87
  • Private Largevan Transfer - Arrival Lima Airport to Hotel: $80
  • Private Transfer from Lima City Hotels to Pisco Cruise Port: $79
  • Private Transfer from Jorge Chavez Airport (LIM) to Pisco Port : $79
  • Jorge Chavez Airport (LIM) to Lima - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $61
  • Transfer in Private Minivan from Lima City - Lima Airport (LIM): $61
  • Private Transfer from Lima to Jorge Chávez (LIM) Airport: $54
  • The Larco Museum Complete Tour with transfers: $53

Is it cheaper to fly into Lima or Machu Picchu?

Prices for flights to both Machu Picchu 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 Meals for one day
    Lima $18
    Machu Picchu $19
Typical Food Prices in Lima

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

  • Lunch for Two
  • Ice cream
  • Coffee
  • Donut

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

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Lima $8.66
    Machu Picchu $74
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)
  • Movie Tickets

Tours and Activities in Lima

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

  • The best of Lima walking tour: $198
  • 2 Day Tour from Nazca Lines Flight, Paracas, and Huacachina: $279
  • 2 Day Tour from Paracas, Ballestas Island and Huacachina: $149
  • 2 Day Tour from Paracas, Huacachina, and Pisco Vineyard: $149
  • 2 Hour Guided Walking Tour in Barranco: $20
  • 2d/1n Tour: Flight to the Nazca, Paracas and Huacachina Lines: $289
  • 3 Day Tour from Nazca Lines Flight, Paracas, and Huacachina: $289
  • 3 Day Tour to Paracas, Huacachina, and Pisco Vineyard: $159
  • 3-Day Trip to Lima Tour Package: $150
  • 3-Hour Guided Bicycle Tour in Miraflores: $30
  • 3-Hour Private Custom Walking Tour with a Local Guide in Lima: $51
  • 360° Panoramic bus - Sightseeing Tour: $27

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

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Lima $5.63
    Machu Picchu $6.90
Typical Alcohol Prices in Lima

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

  • Bottle of Wine
  • Beer
  • Cocktail

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

When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Lima and Machu Picchu, we can see that Machu Picchu is more expensive. And not only is Lima much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Lima would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Lima 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 Lima.

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