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

Should you visit Quito or Machu Picchu?

Should I visit Quito or Machu Picchu? 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.

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.

Which city is cheaper, Machu Picchu 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 Machu Picchu is $78. 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 Machu Picchu 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.

Double occupancy rooms typically run around $60 in Machu Picchu For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Quito $18
    Machu Picchu $30
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Quito $36
    Machu Picchu $60

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.

While meal prices in Machu Picchu can vary, the average travelers spends about $18 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in Machu Picchu should cost around $7.20 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in Machu Picchu is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Quito $16
    Machu Picchu $18

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

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.

To get around in Machu Picchu, the average visitor spends $21 per day, per person. This includes the costs of taxi rides and private drivers as well as public transportation, which tends to be much more affordable.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Quito $5.59
    Machu Picchu $21
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:

  • 8-Day Tour of Galapagos and Quito Including Hotels and Transfers: $1,318
  • 7-Day Tour of Galapagos and Quito Including Hotel and Transfers: $1,240
  • Private transfer: Quito to Quito International Airport (UIO): $622
  • Private transfer: Quito International Airport (UIO) to Quito: $622
  • 2-Night Quito Experience: Transfer, Tour and Mariscal Accommodation: $140
  • transfer airport to hotel in Quito or from Quito to airport: $117
  • Quito Airport Private Transfer Service: $112
  • Private transfers To Mindo: $96
  • Private transfer in or out Quito airport. Bilingual guide-driver: $80
  • Transfer IN & OUT of Quito: $80
  • Transfer IN & OUT of Quito: $75
  • Round-Trip Transfer in Private Minivan from Quito Airport (UIO) to Quito City: $73

Is it cheaper to fly into Quito or Machu Picchu?

Prices for flights to both Machu Picchu 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.

In Machu Picchu, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $55 per person, per day.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Quito $13
    Machu Picchu $55
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:

  • 10 days True Ecuador Experience: $2,300
  • 12 Day Galapagos Snorkeling Tour: $3,211
  • 15-Day Ecuador and Galapagos Highlights Tour from Quito: $7,780
  • 15-day Adventure: Experiencing the Andes and Amazon of Ecuador: $2,103
  • 16-Day Ecuador Adventure: Andes, Amazon & Galapagos: $4,513
  • 1914 Original Trolley City Tour of Quito: $15
  • 2 Day Private Tour to Mindo Cloud Forest from Quito: $295
  • 2 Day Private Tour to Otavalo Market & surroundings from Quito: $258
  • 2 Full Days Exploring The Ecuadorian Amazon | Tour Start In Quito: $267
  • 2-Day Avenue of the Volcanoes and Baños Tour from Quito -"Small Group": $417
  • 2-Day Baños Full Adrenaline Tour from Quito: $581
  • 2-Day Private Sightseeing Tour Cotopaxi and Quilotoa: $328

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
    $2.44

Tours and Activities in Machu Picchu

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Machu Picchu.

  • Machu Picchu Admission Ticket: $31
  • Huaynapicchu mountain hike + Machu Picchu entrance ticket: $40
  • Machu Picchu official entrance ticket: $40
  • Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu Admission Ticket: $53
  • Admission Ticket to Machu Picchu Ruin and Mountain: $53
  • Machu Picchu Ticket: Official Entrance Ticket: $63
  • Machu Picchu Official Entrance Ticket: $68
  • Machu Picchu Official Ticket: $68
  • Machu Picchu And Huayna Picchu Morning Entrance Ticket: $88
  • Skip the Line: Entrance Ticket to Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu 2020: $89
  • Tickets to Machu Picchu with guided in Machu Picchu.: $99
  • Machu Picchu with Bus and Entrance Ticket: $123

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.

Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Machu Picchu, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $4.95.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Quito $14
    Machu Picchu $4.95
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 we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Quito and Machu Picchu, we can see that Machu Picchu is more expensive. And not only is Quito much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Quito would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Quito 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 Quito.

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Quito vs. Machu Picchu Travel Comparison

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