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

Should you visit Quito or Cusco?

Should I visit Quito 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.

Quito

Nestled between two mountain ranges lies the world's highest capital city, Quito, Ecuador. For history lovers, Quito is a very desirable destination as it's home to the Quito Historic Center – one of the largest and best-preserved historic centers in the Americas.

Even though Quito is full of people – in fact, it's the second most populous city in the country – very few of its inhabitants speak English. Luckily, however, the citizens of Quito tend to speak a slower and more clear Spanish than surrounding areas. This is the perfect place to practice what you read in your Intro to Spanish book.

Before visiting Quito, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, give yourself a few days to grow accustomed to the elevation. Staying 9,350 feet above sea level takes some getting used to. Second, don't be fooled into thinking that just because you're visiting a town on the equator that you'll need all your summer clothes. Because of the city's elevation, the area keeps a relatively cool climate year round.

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 Quito?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Quito is $41, 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 Quito and Cusco in more detail.



Accommodation

If you're traveling alone, you may be able to find a budget hotel or hostel for around $18. But for two people in a standard two-person hotel room in Quito the cost is $36 on average.

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


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Quito $18
    Cusco $17
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Quito $36
    Cusco $34

Food

In Quito travelers spend around $16 a day on food. You can save money by choosing casual restaurants or food stalls, or you can spend plenty more by dining in nicer restaurants at every meal.

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
    Quito $16
    Cusco $9.59

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Quito

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

  • Quito Like a Local Cooking Class: $75
  • Ecuadorian Cooking Classes Rooftop (English): $78
  • Quito Best Markets and Local Food Tour: $81
  • Quito Top Ecuadorian Food Tour and Canelazo at “La Ronda”: $87
  • Quito Cooking Class: $89
  • Jacchigua Show Including Dinner + Transfer: $90
  • Ecuadorian Cooking Class in Quito + Local Market Tour & Exotic Fruit Tasting: $102
  • Quito Culinary Tour and Cooking Class: $105
  • Gourmet Cooking Class in Historic Quito + Market Tour with Chef Pancho: $120
  • Cooking Class at the Andes & Roses (PRIVATE DAY TOUR): $149

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 Quito is $5.59 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.
    Quito $5.59
    Cusco $8.69
Typical Local Transportation prices in Quito

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


  • Taxi from Bus Terminal to Hotel
    $10

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Quito

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Quito:

  • Transfer Mariscal Sucre International Airport & Hotel: $8.00
  • Quito Airport Arrival Transfer to Hotel: $19
  • Transfer to Quito Airport with Hotel Pick-up: $19
  • Transfer Express - Quito Hotel - Airport: $25
  • Transfer Express - Quito Airport - Hotel: $25
  • Quito to BaƱos Transfer in Fantasy Bus: $25
  • Quito to Otavalo Transfer in Fantasy Bus: $25
  • Quito to Quilotoa Transfer in Fantasy Bus: $25
  • Quito to Cotopaxi in Transfer in Fantasy Bus: $25
  • Arrival Private Transfer: Quito Airport (UIO) to Quito City in a Minibus: $25
  • Departure Private Transfer: Quito City to Quito Airport (UIO) in a Minibus: $25
  • Transfer in Private Vehicle from Mariscal Sucre Airport (UIO) to Quito City: $25

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 Quito or Cusco?

Prices for flights to both Cusco and Quito 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

Quito's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $13 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.
    Quito $13
    Cusco $20
Typical Entertainment prices in Quito

Here are a few typical costs in Quito for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:


  • Entrance to Guyasimine Museum for Two
    $8.00

Tours and Activities in Quito

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

  • Skip the Line: La CompaƱia Church Admission Ticket: $5.50
  • Skip the Line: Capilla del Hombre and Guayasamin's Museum Ticket: $10
  • Tour Guide and Driver: $10
  • Quito City Tour Hop-On Hop-Off: $12
  • Quito 3-Hour City Tour at Night: $15
  • Quito at Night & Urban Legends Tour - "Small Group": $15
  • The Original Quito City Tour in Trolley with Hotel Pick-up - "Small Group": $15
  • Quito Hop-on Hop-off City Bus Tour: $15
  • 1914 Original Trolley City Tour of Quito: $15
  • Equatorial Monument: 3-Hour Tour from Quito: $19
  • Middle of the World Tour With Tickets - "Small Group": $19
  • Original Quito City Tour in Trolley: $20

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 Quito may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $14 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
    Quito $14
    Cusco $6.81
Typical Alcohol prices in Quito

Here are a few samples of the prices for alcohol and nightlife in Quito from other travelers:


  • Beers for Two
    $9.00


When comparing the travel costs between Quito and Cusco, we can see that Quito is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in South America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

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Quito vs. Cusco Travel Comparison

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