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

Should you visit Salta or Cusco?

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

Salta

Located in the heart of the famous Northwest region of Argentina, at 1200m of elevation and at the foot of the Cerro San Bernardo, Salta is the largest city of the region and perhaps the most beautiful colonial city of Argentina. Founded in 1582 by the Spanish, Salta was an important stop for merchants who followed the usual trade road through Bolivia and Peru. Argentines call this city nestled in the foothills of the Andes and surrounded by mountains, of just over half a million inhabitants, Salta La Linda (Salta the Beautiful) and it's easy to see why. Young and traditional at the same time, Salta and its renowned museums, plaza side cafes and live musica folklorica of its bustling penas, is a sophisticated and lively city day and night.

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 Salta?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Salta is $68, 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 Salta and Cusco in more detail.



Accommodation

Double occupancy rooms typically run around $48 in Salta For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.

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


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Salta $24
    Cusco $17
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Salta $48
    Cusco $34

Food

While meal prices in Salta can vary, the average travelers spends about $23 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in Salta should cost around $9.20 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in Salta is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.

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
    Salta $23
    Cusco $9.59
Typical Food prices in Salta

For Salta, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Emplanadas
    $0.05
  • Ice Cream
    $0.06
  • Lunch
    $5.92
  • Coffee
    $1.22

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

To get around in Salta, the average visitor spends $28 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.

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.
    Salta $28
    Cusco $8.69
Typical Local Transportation prices in Salta

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Salta are as follows:


  • Taxi Ride
    $0.05

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Salta

Also for Salta, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • One-Way or Round Trip Airport Transfer: $5.50
  • Salta Airport Shuttle Transfer: $9.97
  • Shared Arrival Transfer: Martín Miguel de Güemes International Airport to Salta: $19
  • Shared Departure Transfer: Salta Hotels to Martín Miguel de Güemes International Airport: $27
  • Private Airport Transfer: Martin Miguel de Guemes Int. Airport (SLA) to Salta: $30
  • Private Airport Transfer: Salta to Martin Miguel de Guemes Int. Airport (SLA): $30
  • Salta Airport Private Transfer: $50
  • Salta City Tour & Round Trip Transfers airport - hotel: $62
  • Humahuaca, 7-color Hill & round trip transfers airport - hotel in Salta: $127

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:

  • Transfer to Ollantaytambo Cusco Peru: $51
  • Transfer to Cusco Airport 2020: $5.36
  • Transfer services - airport / hotel: $45
  • Transfer in Private Vehicle from Cusco Alejandro Velasco Airport to Cusco City: $11
  • Transfer in Private Minivan from Cusco City to Airport: $17
  • Transfer in Private Minivan from Cusco Alejandro Velasco Airport to Cusco City: $17
  • Transfer from Cusco to Ollantaytambo Station or Hotels: $31
  • Transfer from Cusco city to the airport: $10
  • Transfer from Cusco Airport to the Hotel (Cusco): $17
  • Transfer From Cusco Airport: $10
  • Transfer From Airport to Cusco Center Hotels: $25
  • Transfer Cusco To Ollantaytambo: $60

Is it cheaper to fly into Salta or Cusco?

Prices for flights to both Cusco and Salta 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

In Salta, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $24 per person, per day.

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.
    Salta $24
    Cusco $20
Typical Entertainment prices in Salta

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Salta's activities, tours, and tickets:


  • Gondola Ride
    $0.15
  • Pool
    $0.51
  • Wine and Cheese night
    $37

Tours and Activities in Salta

For Salta, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Salta City Half Day Tour: $14
  • citytour salta y alrededores: $17
  • Salta City Sightseeing Tour: $21
  • Salta City Tour: $21
  • Half-Day Tour of Salta: $22
  • 4-Hour Walking Tour: $26
  • Full-Day Tour Cafayate Calchaqui Valleys with Wine: $27
  • One Day Tour of Cachi and Calchaquí Valleys from Salta: $28
  • Half Day Salta City Tour: $33
  • Full-Day Tour to Humahuaca Gorge from Salta: $33
  • Salta City Half-Day Tour: $34
  • Full-Day Tour Salinas Grandes, Purmamarca whith trekking and More from Salta: $35

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:

  • "Waqrapukara" Great Canyon Full Day Tour: $100
  • (H) Cusco 04 Days: City Tour - Sacred Valley - MachuPicchu (Group Tour): $550
  • (H) Inka Jungle Trail 04 Days (Group Tour): $336
  • 01 Day Tour to Machu Picchu The Inca City: $410
  • 07 Day Andean Experience Through the Living Culture of the Incas: $1,699
  • 07 Day: Inca Jungle Adventure with Mountain Bike, Rafting, Zipline & Trek: $999
  • 1 Day Hike on the Inca Trail + 1 Day in Machupicchu: Private 2 days Tour: $484
  • 1 Day Luxury Tour to Machu Picchu: $1,280
  • 1 Day Tour to Palcoyo Mountain and 4 Lagoons - private service: $359
  • 1 Day tour to Machupicchu: $340
  • 1-Day Machu Picchu Tour by Vistadome Train: $485
  • 1-Day Machu Picchu Tour from Cusco, Peru: $850

Alcohol

Typically, people visiting Salta spend on average $9.62 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.

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
    Salta $9.62
    Cusco $6.81
Typical Alcohol prices in Salta

Some typical examples of the costs for nightlife and alcohol in Salta are as follows:


  • Beer
    $0.10
  • Alcohol
    $3.06

Sample the Local Flavors in Salta

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Salta:

  • Full-day Cafayate, Lerma Valley, and Wine Tasting from Salta: $24
  • From Cafayate Day Trip with Wine Tasting: $25
  • From Full-Day Tour to Cafayate with Wine Tasting: $27
  • Luxury Colome wine tour: $806


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Salta and Cusco, we can see that Salta 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 Salta would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Salta than you might in Cusco.

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Salta vs. Cusco Travel Comparison

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