A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Santa Cruz de la Sierra vs. Cusco for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Santa Cruz de la Sierra or Cusco?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Santa Cruz de la Sierra 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, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Where Should I go: Santa Cruz de la Sierra or Cusco?

Santa Cruz de la Sierra

Santa Cruz de la Sierra, or simply Santa Cruz, is a larger city in the middle of Bolivia. It is also one of the most wealthy cities in the country. The city is also one of the fastest growing in the world. It is famous for its nightlife and it makes an excellent base for exploring many of the tourist attractions in the nearby areas.

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.

Cusco is the starting point for many travelers making their way to the famed Machu Picchu or other Inca sites in the surrounding area.

The city is very beautiful and has impressive architecture throughout. The history is obvious as you walk around town and there are impressive ruins nearby, with the most impressive being Sacsayhuaman. The city also has a significant indigenous population that is obvious from their traditional clothing and style.

Cusco has a subtropical highland climate with a pleasant daytime temperature year around. There are two distinct seasons with the dry season being between May and August and the wet season between December and March. During the dry season there is plenty of sun with occasional nighttime freezes. Frost is less common in the wet season.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Tours Under $1000 in Bolivia, The Best Luxury Tours to Bolivia, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Cusco, and The Best 3-Day Tours from Cusco.


Which place is cheaper, Cusco or Santa Cruz de la Sierra?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Santa Cruz de la Sierra is $54, while the average daily cost in Cusco is $51. 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 destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Santa Cruz de la Sierra and Cusco in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Santa Cruz de la Sierra $22
    Cusco $23
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Santa Cruz de la Sierra $44
    Cusco $46
Compare Hotels in Santa Cruz de la Sierra and Cusco

Looking for a hotel in Santa Cruz de la Sierra or Cusco? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Santa Cruz de la Sierra


Hotels in Cusco


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Santa Cruz de la Sierra Hotel Prices and Cusco Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Santa Cruz de la Sierra $9.90
    Cusco $10
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Santa Cruz de la Sierra

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Santa Cruz de la Sierra:


  • Taxi Ride
    $4.34
  • Mini Bus
    $0.58

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Cusco

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Cusco:


  • Taxi Ride
    $1.09

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cusco

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Cusco:

  • Airport Cusco Transfers: $69
  • Arrival Transfer & Cusco City Tour (Private Service): $80
  • Cusco – Puno Direct Transfers: $24
  • Cusco Airport Arrival Transfer: $9.67
  • Cusco Airport Arrival or Departure Transfer : $13
  • Cusco Airport Departure Transfer: $15
  • Cusco Airport Departure Transfer: $9.67
  • Cusco Airport Pickup and Private Transfer: $15
  • Cusco Airport Private Departure Transfer: $14
  • Cusco Airport Private Transfer with large Van: $45
  • Cusco Airport Transfers: $8.00
  • Cusco Airport: Private 1-Way Transfer: $15

Is it cheaper to fly into Santa Cruz de la Sierra or Cusco?

Prices for flights to both Cusco and Santa Cruz de la Sierra 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.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Santa Cruz de la Sierra $20
    Cusco $13
Typical Food Prices in Santa Cruz de la Sierra

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Santa Cruz de la Sierra:


  • Snacks
    $3.18
  • Chips
    $0.29
  • Banana
    $0.14
  • Cookies
    $1.30

Typical Food Prices in Cusco

Some typical examples of dining costs in Cusco are as follows:


  • Sandwich
    $2.17
  • Mango
    $0.54

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
  • 3-Hour Peruvian Cooking Class: $49
  • Cusco Tunupa Restaurant Folk Show with Dinner : $49
  • Cusco Cooking Class by ChocoMuseo in Cusco: $50
  • Market Tour & Traditional Peruvian Cooking Class in Cusco: $53
  • Fully hands-on High End Peruvian Cooking Class & San Pedro Market Guided Visit: $55
  • Cooking Class and market tour with a local chef: $56
  • Vegetarian Cooking Class, Local Market Tour in Cusco: $59
  • Peruvian Cooking Class and Local Market in Cusco: $59
  • Cusco Cooking Classes and San Pedro Market Tour: $59
  • Peruvian Cooking Class and Local Market Tour: $63
  • Peruvian Cooking Class & Market Tour: $65

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Santa Cruz de la Sierra $19
    Cusco $29

Typical Entertainment Prices in Cusco

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Cusco are as follows:


  • Salsa Class
    $2.71

Tours and Activities in Cusco

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Cusco are as follows:

  • Free Walking Tour of Cusco: $2.00
  • Cusco : Half Day City Tour: $9.00
  • Guided Walking Tour with fluent English: $10
  • Cochahuasi Animal Sanctuary Admission Ticket: $10
  • Combined city tour cusco: $10
  • Cusco City Tour including Sacsayhuaman Koricancha and Tambomachay: $10
  • Cusco City Tour: $10
  • CUSCO CITY TOUR 2024 Half Day Tour in Cuzco: $10
  • Cusco City Half-Day Tour: $12
  • Mirabus Cusco city tour | Panoramic view |: $12
  • Mirabus Cusco city tour | Panoramic view |: $12
  • City tours Cusco: $12

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Santa Cruz de la Sierra $14
    Cusco $9.56
Typical Alcohol Prices in Santa Cruz de la Sierra

Here are a few samples of the prices for alcohol and nightlife in Santa Cruz de la Sierra from other travelers:


  • Beer
    $1.59

Sample the Local Flavors in Cusco

Also in Cusco, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Cusco Pub Crawl - Bar Tour Cusco : $18
  • Cusco Pub Crawl: Cusco Bar Hopping Experience : $18
  • Exclusive Pub Crawl with 10+ benefits: $18
  • Pub Crawl with Skip-the-Line Access and Drinks: $18
  • Exclusive Pub Crawl with more than 10 Benefits: $25


When comparing the travel costs between Santa Cruz de la Sierra and Cusco, we can see that Santa Cruz de la Sierra 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.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Santa Cruz de la Sierra Expensive? and Is Cusco Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Santa Cruz de la Sierra or Cusco?

Santa Cruz de la Sierra has a larger population, and is about 4 times larger than the population of Cusco. When comparing the sizes of Santa Cruz de la Sierra and Cusco, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.