Should you visit Salta or Machu Picchu?
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 Machu Picchu can help you decide which place is right for you.
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.
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 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 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 Salta and Machu Picchu in more detail.
Double occupancy rooms typically run around $48 in Salta For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.
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.
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.
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.
Meals for one day
Machu Picchu $18
Typical Food prices in Salta
For Salta, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:
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.
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.
Typical Local Transportation prices in Salta
Some typical examples of transportation costs in Salta are as follows:
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Salta
Also for Salta, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Humahuaca, 7-color Hill & round trip transfers airport - hotel in Salta:
Salta City Tour & Round Trip Transfers airport - hotel:
Salta Airport Private Transfer:
Private Airport Transfer: Martin Miguel de Guemes Int. Airport (SLA) to Salta:
Private Airport Transfer: Salta to Martin Miguel de Guemes Int. Airport (SLA):
Shared Departure Transfer: Salta Hotels to Martín Miguel de Güemes International Airport:
Shared Arrival Transfer: Martín Miguel de Güemes International Airport to Salta:
Salta Airport Shuttle Transfer:
One-Way or Round Trip Airport Transfer:
Is it cheaper to fly into Salta or Machu Picchu?
Prices for flights to both Machu Picchu 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.
In Salta, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $24 per person, per day.
In Machu Picchu, the costs for things to do, activities, admission tickets, and other sightseeing expenses are on average $55 per person, per day.
Typical Entertainment prices in Salta
Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Salta's activities, tours, and tickets:
Wine and Cheese night
Tours and Activities in Salta
For Salta, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:
2-Day Calchaquí Valley Tour to Cachi and Cafayate:
2-day tour: Humahuaca Canyon + Cachi and Calchaquies Valleys:
2-day tour: Humahuaca Canyon + Cafayate Wine Country:
3-Days Salta, Purmamarca & Salinas Grandes Private Experience:
3-day Overland Adventure in Tolar Grande, Salta:
4 x 4 Safari Tour to Puna, Salt Falts and Purmamarca from Salta:
4-Days Discovering Amazing Salta - Nature & Adventure:
4-Days Tour of Salta Cafayate and Humahuaca:
5-Day Adventure Trip in Salta:
6-Day Tour in Salta, Purmamarca, Humahuaca, Tolar Grande & Salt flats!:
6-day Tour in Salta y Jujuy - Best of The Northwest:
7-Day Tour in Salta, the Calchaqui Valley and Cafayate and San Pedro de Atacama:
Typical Entertainment prices in Machu Picchu
For Machu Picchu, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:
Tours and Activities in Machu Picchu
Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Machu Picchu.
Admission Ticket to Machu Picchu Ruin and Mountain:
Huaynapicchu mountain hike + Machu Picchu entrance ticket:
Inca Jungle Trek and Mountain Bike Tour - 4 days:
LGBT-Full-Day: Luxury Tour to Machu Picchu with Panoramic train:
LGBT:. Full day - Luxury Tour to Machu Picchu:
Machu Picchu Admission Ticket:
Machu Picchu And Huayna Picchu Morning Entrance Ticket:
Machu Picchu Exclusive Full Day Tour:
Machu Picchu Full Day Private Tour:
Machu Picchu Official Entrance Ticket:
Machu Picchu Official Ticket:
Machu Picchu Ticket: Official Entrance Ticket:
Typically, people visiting Salta spend on average $9.62 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
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.
Typical Alcohol prices in Salta
Some typical examples of the costs for nightlife and alcohol in Salta are as follows:
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:
From Cafayate Day Trip with Wine Tasting:
From Full-Day Tour to Cafayate with Wine Tasting:
Luxury Colome wine tour:
When comparing the travel costs between Salta and Machu Picchu, we can see that Machu Picchu 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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