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

Should you visit Paracas or Machu Picchu?

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 Machu Picchu can help you decide which place is right for you.

Where Should I go: Paracas or Machu Picchu?


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.

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 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, Machu Picchu 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 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 Paracas and Machu Picchu in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Paracas $22
    Machu Picchu $42
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Paracas $44
    Machu Picchu $84
Compare Hotels in Paracas and Machu Picchu

Looking for a hotel in Paracas 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 Paracas

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: Paracas Hotel Prices and Machu Picchu Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Paracas $19
    Machu Picchu $30

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Paracas

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Paracas:

  • Private Transfer From Paracas To Lima With 2 Stops: $175
  • Direct Private Transfer From Paracas to Lima, English Speaking Driver: $163
  • Lima: Private taxi transfer from Lima airport to Paracas: $129
  • Private Transfer from Pisco Cruise Port to Lima hotels: $87
  • Private Transfer from Pisco Port to Jorge Chavez Airport (LIM): $87
  • Private Transfer from Pisko Cruise Port to Lima City Hotels: $87
  • Private Transfer from Pisco Port to Jorge Chavez Airport (LIM): $78
  • Private Transfer from Pisco Cruise Port to Lima City Hotels: $78
  • Oneway Transfer from San Juan Airport, Hotel, Airbnb to Bayamon: $60
  • Private Transfer From San Juan Airport (SJU) to /from San Juan: $44
  • Paracas Bus Station Private Transfer: $16
  • Bus Station Private Transfer: $16

Is it cheaper to fly into Paracas or Machu Picchu?

Prices for flights to both Machu Picchu 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
    Machu Picchu $19

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

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Paracas $25
    Machu Picchu $74

Tours and Activities in Paracas

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

  • 2-Hour Tour to the Ballestas Islands from Puerto San Martín: $49
  • 2-day, 1-night tour to Paracas, Ica, and Nasca: $400
  • 3-Day Paracas Tour Package: $235
  • 4-Hour Guided Tour Paracas National Reserve: $20
  • 7-Hours Tour in Paracas National Reserve with Pickup: $38
  • ATV Tour Adventure in Reserva Nacional de Paracas: $45
  • Adventure in the Paracas National Reserve in private: $39
  • Ballestas Islands Group Tour from Paracas : $26
  • Ballestas Islands Group Tour from San Martin Port: $50
  • Ballestas Islands Sightseeing Boat Ride from Paracas: $24
  • Ballestas Islands Tour: $24
  • Ballestas Islands Tour - Paracas: $25

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
    Paracas $11
    Machu Picchu $6.90

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

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