A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers San Pedro de Atacama vs. Cusco for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit San Pedro de Atacama or Cusco?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the prices of travel for San Pedro de Atacama and Cusco. We’ll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget. So, let's dig into it.

San Pedro de Atacama

San Pedro de Atacama is a gateway to northern Chile. It is a good jumping off point for exploring the area's impressive landscape, most of which is included in the Los Flamencos National Reserve. It is popular with both Chilean and international tourists, and because of its popularity, it is a relatively expensive destination, with many prices comparable to what you might pay in Santiago.

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 San Pedro de Atacama?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in San Pedro de Atacama is $56, 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 San Pedro de Atacama and Cusco in more detail.



Accommodation

For a normal double-occupancy room in San Pedro de Atacama, $60 is the average cost for a hotel room. Also in San Pedro de Atacama, the typical price for a place to stay for one person is $30, such as in a hostel.

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


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    San Pedro de Atacama $30
    Cusco $17
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    San Pedro de Atacama $60
    Cusco $34

Food

Food in San Pedro de Atacama costs travelers about $14 per day on average. Restaurants can vary significantly in price, so choose wisely if you're trying to save money. Fast food and street stalls are typically your cheapest options, which sit down restaurants can be significantly more expensive.

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
    San Pedro de Atacama $14
    Cusco $9.59
Typical Food prices in San Pedro de Atacama

For San Pedro de Atacama, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Empanadas
    $1.52
  • Lunch
    $13
  • Dinner
    $13
  • Drink
    $1.14
  • Empanada
    $6.34

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

San Pedro de Atacama's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $8.86 per person, per day on transportation in San Pedro de Atacama.

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.
    San Pedro de Atacama $8.86
    Cusco $8.69

Hired Cars and Shuttles in San Pedro de Atacama

Also for San Pedro de Atacama, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Shared Transfer from San Pedro de Atacama to Calama Airport: $25
  • Transfer San Pedro de Atacama Hotels to El Loa Airport Shared Service: $26
  • Atacama Airport Shuttle Transfer: $30
  • Atacama Airport Private Transfer: $93
  • Private transfer from San Pedro de Atacama to Calama City: $115

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 San Pedro de Atacama or Cusco?

Prices for flights to both Cusco and San Pedro de Atacama 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

Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in San Pedro de Atacama can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $20 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.

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.
    San Pedro de Atacama $20
    Cusco $20
Typical Entertainment prices in San Pedro de Atacama

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for San Pedro de Atacama's activities, tours, and tickets:


  • Sand Boarding
    $67

Tours and Activities in San Pedro de Atacama

For San Pedro de Atacama, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Half day Valle de la Luna, Afternoon Tour: $26
  • Sandboarding Adventure in Death Valley: $29
  • Moon Valley & Death Valley Tour from San Pedro de Atacama: $33
  • Geysers del Tatio Tour: $40
  • Valle del Arcoiris Tour: $40
  • Floating experience in the Hidden Lagoons (Lagunas Escondidas): $41
  • Small-Group Tour to Moon Valley from San Pedro de Atacama: $42
  • Astronomical Tour: $42
  • Puritama Springs - Half Day Tour - San Pedro de Atacama - Typical Tour: $44
  • Atacama Desert Stargazing Tour: $44
  • Moon Valley Tour - Half Day Tour: $45
  • Small-Group tour to Laguna Cejar, Ojos del Salar and Laguna Tebinquinche: $46

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 San Pedro de Atacama spend on average $4.78 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
    San Pedro de Atacama $4.78
    Cusco $6.81
Typical Alcohol prices in San Pedro de Atacama

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in San Pedro de Atacama:


  • Alcohol
    $30


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

Budget Your Trip

Budget Your Trip has average travel costs for thousands of cities around the world, all provided by other travelers. You can also register to organize your spending by category and location with graphs, maps, charts, and tables.

Share This Page
Pin This Page
San Pedro de Atacama vs. Cusco Travel Comparison

Some of the links on this website are sponsored or affiliate links which help to financially support this site. By clicking the link and making a purchase, we may receive a small commission, but this does not affect the price of your purchase.