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

Should you visit Medellin or Cusco?

Should I visit Medellin or Cusco? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Medellin

In addition to big improvements in public safety, Medellin has witnessed a huge surge in urban development projects, including Colombia's first metro system and cable cars to service poorer neighborhoods located high on the mountain sides. There is an abundance of parks, libraries, museums and public spaces with many cultural events taking place. Many travelers also enjoy visiting the surrounding villages, where life is simple and landscapes and nature reserves are wonderful. Medellin has now become one of the "it" cities in the world, with tons of tourists visiting and foreigners settling and retiring here. Beautiful mountains, warm weather, friendly locals, and a vibrant culture are just a few of the reasons why you should visit Medellin.

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.)

Which city is cheaper, Cusco or Medellin?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Medellin is $16, while the average daily cost in Cusco is $38. 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 Medellin and Cusco in more detail.



Accommodation

If you're traveling alone, you may be able to find a budget hotel or hostel for around $3.62. But for two people in a standard two-person hotel room in Medellin the cost is $7.24 on average.

A hotel room in Cusco is about $34 This assumes double occupancy and modest accommodations.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Medellin $3.62
    Cusco $17
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Medellin $7.24
    Cusco $34

Food

Food in Medellin costs travelers about $6.40 per day on average. Restaurants can vary significantly in price, so choose wisely if you're trying to save money. Fast food and street stalls are typically your cheapest options, which sit down restaurants can be significantly more expensive.

Cusco food costs typically run travelers around $9.59 per day. Eating every meal in a nicer restaurant will drive the cost up, and grabbing fast food or casual meals will help you save money.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Medellin $6.40
    Cusco $9.59
Typical Food prices in Medellin

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Medellin:


  • Lunch
    $2.09

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Medellin

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

  • Medellin Local Flavours: Night Street Private Food Tour: $50
  • Half-day Medellín Street Food tour with a local guide: $65
  • Homemade Paisa Dinner at a Local's Home in Medellín: $69
  • Homemade Paisa Dinner at a Local's Home in Medellín: $69
  • Community project cooking class and Medellin social transformation tour: $70
  • Private Market Tour and Colombian Cooking Lesson With a Local Family in Medellin: $80
  • Withlocals LIVE Meditation and Online Cooking for a Healthy Mind and Body: $93
  • Medellín Food Tour: $94
  • food tour: $97
  • Sabaneta and Envigado Best Local Food Tour from Medellin: $99
  • Full Day Private Medellin City, Street Art and Food Tour: $104
  • Private Market Tour & Colombian Cooking Lesson with a Local in her Medellín Home: $111

Typical Food prices in Cusco

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


  • Sandwich
    $1.95
  • Mango
    $0.49

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 Classes: $43
  • Dinner at Tunupa restaurant with folkloric show.: $45
  • Dinner at Inca Grill Restaurant: $45
  • Curious Monkey- The Gordito, Walking Food Tour: $45
  • Fully hands-on High End Peruvian Cooking Class & San Pedro Market Guided Visit: $45

Local Transportation

The average price of local transportation around Medellin is $2.39 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.

The average price of local transportation around Cusco is $8.69 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.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Medellin $2.39
    Cusco $8.69
Typical Local Transportation prices in Medellin

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


  • Taxi
    $1.64

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Medellin

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Medellin:

  • Private Arrival or Departure Transfer: José María Córdova Airport: $16
  • History and Street Art Tour in Comuna 13 with Private Transfer: $18
  • Transfer in Private Car from El Poblado to Medellin Jose Maria Cordoba Airport: $22
  • Hotel to Airport Transportation in Medellin (transfer service): $25
  • Medellin Airport Pick-up (transfer service): $25
  • Private Airport Transfer: from Medellin to Jose Maria Córdova Int. Airport (MDE): $27
  • Private Arrival Transfer: MDE Medellin Airport to Medellin City: $28
  • Private Departure Transfer from Medellin City to MDE Medellin Airport: $28
  • Transfer in Private Minivan from Medellin City to Medellin Airport (MDE): $38
  • Airport Transfer: $43
  • Private Transfer from Medellín City to José María Córdova (MDE) Airport: $50
  • Medellín Private Transfer from Medellín City to Olaya Herrera (EOH) Airport: $50

Typical Local Transportation prices in Cusco

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


  • Taxi Ride
    $0.97

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cusco

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Cusco:

  • Aiport Transfers Service: $41
  • Airport Cusco Transfers: $60
  • Airport Transfer, City Tour, Sacred Valley & Machupicchu (All Included): $580
  • Arrival Private Transfer Cusco Airport CUZ to Cusco City by Minivan: $27
  • Arrival Private Transfer from Cusco Airport CUZ to Cusco City by Sedan Car: $18
  • Arrival Private Transfer: Cusco Airport CUZ to Cusco City by Sprinter Minibus: $51
  • Arrival Transfer & Cusco City Tour: $43
  • CUSCO MAGICAL 4D Transfer, Hotel, City Tour, Sacred Valley and Machu picchu: $641
  • Cusco – Puno Direct Transfers: $39
  • Cusco Airport Arrival Transfer: $8.20
  • Cusco Airport Arrival Transfer: $9.67
  • Cusco Airport Arrival or Departure Private Transfer: $9.70

Is it cheaper to fly into Medellin or Cusco?

Prices for flights to both Cusco and Medellin 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.





Entertainment

Medellin's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $10 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.

Cusco'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.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Medellin $10
    Cusco $20

Tours and Activities in Medellin

Here are a few actual costs in Medellin for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Medellin Walking Tour with Snacks and Skip The Line Access: $5.00
  • Skip the Line: Museum of Antioquia Admission Ticket: $6.50
  • Virtual Tour: Colonial Santa Fe de Antioquia: $14
  • Comuna 13 Graffiti Tour: $15
  • Comuna 13 Tour Graffiti by Locals Sag Tour Medellin: $17
  • Graffiti tour electrical stairs!: $19
  • Tropical Exotic Fruits Tour in Laureles: $19
  • Storytellers Tours: $21
  • The "not polite to use his name" City Tour: $24
  • Medellín Experience (full inmersion into the Aburrá Valley and its surroundings): $24
  • The North Side - Medellín Downtown Experience: $25
  • Atours - the side b of medellín, a tour for the real city: $25

Typical Entertainment prices in Cusco

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


  • Salsa Class
    $2.44

Tours and Activities in Cusco

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

  • Cochahuasi Animal Sanctuary Admission Ticket: $7.00
  • the best tour 4 ruins cusco: $10
  • Cusco Cathedral Admission Ticket: $10
  • Walking tour in Cusco: $10
  • Walking Tour Game: $11
  • city cusco tour: $12
  • City Tour in Cusco: $14
  • Tours in Cusco with mgtravelsperu: $14
  • Machu Picchu: 2-Hour Small Group Guided Tour: $14
  • City Tour cusco and archaeological sites: $15
  • Shared Cusco City Tour by Bus: $15
  • City Tour Cusco Peru: $15

Alcohol

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Medellin may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $5.75 per day on alcoholic beverages.

The average person spends about $6.81 on alcoholic beverages in Cusco per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Medellin $5.75
    Cusco $6.81

Sample the Local Flavors in Medellin

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

  • Live the Nightlife Rooftop Pub Crawl: $20
  • Medellin private bar crawl: $94
  • Medellin Pub Crawl Including Food and City Tour: $145


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

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Medellin vs. Cusco Travel Comparison

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