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

Should you visit Paracas or Cusco?

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

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 Paracas and Cusco can help you decide which place is right for you.

Where Should I go: Paracas or Cusco?


Paracas, also known as El Chaco, is a resort town on the Southern coast of the country, about 150 miles south of Lima. The town in located in one of the oldest regions of Peru, with a history dating back to 900 BC and offers many pre-Inca cultural sites throughout the area. Paracas is possibly best known for being home to the Paracas National Reserve, a nature reserve boasting one of the most abundant and diverse ecosystems in the world.


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 The Best Eco Tours in Peru, The Best Sightseeing Tours in Peru, The Best Cultural Tours in Peru, and The Best Photography Tours in Peru.

Which place is cheaper, Cusco or Paracas?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Paracas is $63, 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 Paracas and Cusco in more detail.

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

Looking for a hotel in Paracas 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 Paracas

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: Paracas Hotel Prices and Cusco Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Paracas $19
    Cusco $10

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Paracas

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Paracas:

  • Bus Station Private Transfer: $16
  • Private Transfer From San Juan Airport (SJU) to /from San Juan: $44
  • Oneway Transfer from San Juan Airport, Hotel, Airbnb to Bayamon: $60
  • Private Transfer from Pisco Cruise Port to Lima City Hotels: $78
  • Private Transfer from Pisco Port to Jorge Chavez Airport (LIM): $78
  • Private Transfer from Pisco Port to Jorge Chavez Airport (LIM): $87
  • Private Transfer from Pisco Cruise Port to Lima hotels: $87
  • Private Transfer from Pisko Cruise Port to Lima City Hotels: $87
  • Lima: Private taxi transfer from Lima airport to Paracas: $129
  • Direct Private Transfer From Paracas to Lima, English Speaking Driver: $166
  • Private Transfer From Paracas To Lima With 2 Stops: $178

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Cusco

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

  • Taxi Ride

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cusco

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Cusco:

  • Airport Cusco Transfers: $69
  • Convenient Transfer Service in Cusco: $41
  • Cusco – Puno Direct Transfers: $24
  • Cusco Airport Arrival Transfer: $15
  • Cusco Airport Arrival Transfer: $9.67
  • Cusco Airport Arrival or Departure Transfer : $13
  • Cusco Airport Departure Transfer: $9.67
  • Cusco Airport Private Departure Transfer: $14
  • Cusco Airport Private Transfer with large Van: $45
  • Cusco Airport Transfers: $8.00
  • Cusco Airport: Private 1-Way Transfer: $15
  • Cusco to Ollantaytambo: One-Way Private Transfer: $55

Is it cheaper to fly into Paracas or Cusco?

Prices for flights to both Cusco and Paracas 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
    Paracas $23
    Cusco $13

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Paracas

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

  • From Lima Ballestas Islands, Ica and cooking class Ceviche: $139

Typical Food Prices in Cusco

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

  • Sandwich
  • Mango

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
  • Cusco Cooking Classes and San Pedro Market Tour: $59
  • Peruvian Cooking Class and Local Market in Cusco: $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 Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Paracas $25
    Cusco $29

Tours and Activities in Paracas

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

  • From Ballestas Islands Guided Boat Tour: $20
  • Ballestas Islands Tour Boat with roof: $20
  • Ballestas Islands Morning Boat Tour: $20
  • Boat Tour of the Ballestas Islands in Paracas: $20
  • Paracas Boat Tour at Islas Ballestas The Galapagos of Peru: $23
  • Ballestas Islands Sightseeing Boat Ride from Paracas: $24
  • Ballestas Islands Tour: $24
  • From Scenic Boat Tour to Ballestas Island: $25
  • Ballestas Islands Tour - Paracas: $25
  • Ballestas Islands Group Tour from Paracas : $26
  • From Ballestas Islands Guided Tour: $26
  • Islas Ballestas Boat Tour - The Galapagos of Peru: $29

Typical Entertainment Prices in Cusco

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

  • Salsa Class

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
  • Cochahuasi Animal Sanctuary Admission Ticket: $10
  • City Tour Cusco: $10
  • City tours Cusco: $10
  • Combined city tour cusco: $10
  • Cusco City Tour: $10
  • Cusco City Tour including Sacsayhuaman Koricancha and Tambomachay: $10
  • extreme adventure in cusco warachicuy adventure park: $11
  • Mirabus City Tour | Panoramic View: $12
  • Open Bus Tour of the City’s Wonder’s: $12
  • Mirabus Cusco city tour | Panoramic view |: $12

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Paracas $11
    Cusco $9.58

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

Which is Bigger, Paracas or Cusco?

Cusco has a larger population, and is about 260 times larger than the population of Paracas. When comparing the sizes of Paracas 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.