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

Should you visit San Pedro de Atacama or Machu Picchu?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the prices of travel for San Pedro de Atacama and Machu Picchu. 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.

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 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 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 San Pedro de Atacama and Machu Picchu 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.

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
    San Pedro de Atacama $30
    Machu Picchu $30
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    San Pedro de Atacama $60
    Machu Picchu $60

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.

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
    San Pedro de Atacama $14
    Machu Picchu $18
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

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.

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.
    San Pedro de Atacama $8.86
    Machu Picchu $21

Hired Cars and Shuttles in San Pedro de Atacama

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

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

Is it cheaper to fly into San Pedro de Atacama or Machu Picchu?

Prices for flights to both Machu Picchu 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.

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.
    San Pedro de Atacama $20
    Machu Picchu $55
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:

  • 2- day tour Quitor & Tulor + Moon & Death Valley in Atacama: $129
  • 4-Day Uyuni Salt Flats & Desert Adventure from San Pedro de Atacama: $357
  • 4-Days Experience at Uyuni Salt Flat From San Pedro de Atacama: $1,953
  • 8-Days Unique Experience in San Pedro de Atacama & Easter Island: $1,680
  • Altiplanic Lagoons and Piedras Rojas Tour - Full Day Tour - Private Option: $157
  • Ancestral Caravan with Sandra Flores - Half Day Special Tour - Local Community: $86
  • Archaeological Tour in Atacama: $49
  • Archaeological Tour, Quitor, Tulor, Coyo and San Pedro: $62
  • Archeological Tour: $59
  • Astronomic Tour Experience from San Pedro de Atacama: $65
  • Astronomic tour: $47
  • Astronomical Tour: $42

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.

  • Admission Ticket to Machu Picchu Ruin and Mountain: $53
  • Huaynapicchu mountain hike + Machu Picchu entrance ticket: $40
  • Inca Jungle Trek and Mountain Bike Tour - 4 days: $524
  • LGBT-Full-Day: Luxury Tour to Machu Picchu with Panoramic train: $495
  • LGBT:. Full day - Luxury Tour to Machu Picchu: $875
  • Machu Picchu Admission Ticket: $31
  • Machu Picchu And Huayna Picchu Morning Entrance Ticket: $88
  • Machu Picchu Exclusive Full Day Tour: $510
  • Machu Picchu Full Day Private Tour: $492
  • Machu Picchu Official Entrance Ticket: $68
  • Machu Picchu Official Ticket: $68
  • Machu Picchu Ticket: Official Entrance Ticket: $63

Alcohol

Typically, people visiting San Pedro de Atacama spend on average $4.78 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.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    San Pedro de Atacama $4.78
    Machu Picchu $4.95
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 Machu Picchu, we can see that Machu Picchu is more expensive. And not only is San Pedro de Atacama much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to San Pedro de Atacama would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in San Pedro de Atacama 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 San Pedro de Atacama.

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San Pedro de Atacama vs. Machu Picchu Travel Comparison

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