Should you visit Sao Paulo or Machu Picchu?
If you're trying to decide where to visit between Sao Paulo or Machu Picchu, this travel cost comparison can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.
With a population of around 11 million, and 20 million in the metropolitan area, Sao Paulo is the largest city in Brazil. It's also one of the wealthiest cities in the southern hemisphere, although you don't have to look far to see the income disparities and inequalities that exist. The city is diverse and culturally rich, with excellent food, music, and entertainment.
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 Sao Paulo?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Sao Paulo is $44, while the average daily cost in Machu Picchu is $80. 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 Sao Paulo and Machu Picchu in more detail.
The prices for places to stay in Sao Paulo can vary by date, location, and type. Generally, the average cost for accommodation per person is $25, while a typical double-occupancy hotel room for two people will cost around $50.
Double occupancy rooms typically run around $66 in Machu Picchu For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.
Sao Paulo'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 $4.95 per person, per day on transportation in Sao Paulo.
To get around in Machu Picchu, the average visitor spends $24 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.
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Sao Paulo
Also for Sao Paulo, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Creative & Natural Transfer São Paulo-Paraty:
Private São Paulo Airport - Hotels Transfer In or Out:
Private Transfer from Congonhas Airport (CGH) to Campinas Airport (VCP):
Private Transfer from Sao Paulo City to Campinas Airport (VCP):
Private Transfer from Congonhas Airport (CGH) to Viracopos Airport (VCP):
Private Transfer from Congonhas Airport (CGH) to Santos Port:
Private Arrival Transfer: São Paulo Airport to Santos Cruise Terminal:
Private Departure Transfer from Santos Cruise Terminal to São Paulo Airport:
Private Transfer from Congonhas Airport (CGH) to Jundiai:
Private Transfer from Gru Airport to Port or City of Santos:
Low Cost Private Transfer From Governador André Franco Montoro International Airport to Guarulhos City - One Way:
Low Cost Private Transfer From Governador André Franco Montoro International Airport to São Paulo City - One Way:
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Machu Picchu
Also for Machu Picchu, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Aguas Calientes: Bus Transfer to Machu Picchu Citadel:
Is it cheaper to fly into Sao Paulo or Machu Picchu?
Prices for flights to both Machu Picchu and Sao Paulo 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.
The average traveler spends about $12 per day in Sao Paulo for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.
While meal prices in Machu Picchu can vary, the average travelers spends about $15 per day on food. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out, an average meal in Machu Picchu should cost around $6.00 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
Sao Paulo $12
Machu Picchu $15
Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Sao Paulo
For Sao Paulo, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:
Sao Paulo - Pinheiros Gourmet Food Tour (4 hours tour + 3 dishes included):
Brazilian Cooking Class:
Cooking Class in São Paulo:
Private Food Tour in São Paulo:
Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Sao Paulo can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $3.39 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 $59 per person, per day.
Tours and Activities in Sao Paulo
Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Sao Paulo.
2-Hour Boat and Stand Up Paddle Board Adventure in São Paulo, Brazil:
3 Beaches Hiking Santo Amaro Island - Paradise Route Tour from São Paulo:
4 Hour Customized "Private Tour" Drinking, Dining and Entertainment:
4-Day Private Guided Tour From São Paulo To Rio de Janeiro – Coastal Trip:
4-hour Private Tour - Hidden Gems and Top Sights of São Paulo:
4-hour Sum-up Private Tour Of São Paulo Including Its Major Attractions:
4WD One Day Tour visiting Water Fall and the Big Stone from Sao Paulo:
5-hour Private Street Art Tour Of São Paulo – The Coolest Urban Art Scenes:
5-hour Private Tour Of São Paulo With Its Main Sights – Optional Airport Pickup:
5h City Tour (pick up & delivery within SaoPaulo city):
7-hour Private Tour Overview Of São Paulo – Optional For GRU Airport Pickup:
8-Day São Paulo Tour: From City to Beaches, Waterfalls & Caves:
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:
Cusco: 2-Day Humantay Lake and Machu Picchu Tour:
Cusco: 2-Day Inca Trail Tour to Machu Picchu in Small Groups:
Cusco: 2-Day Maras, Moray Salt Mines and Machu Picchu Tour:
Cusco: 6-Day Andean Jewels Experience:
From Aguas Calientes: Machu Picchu Guided Tour:
From Cusco: Full-Day Group Tour of Machu Picchu:
From Cusco: Machu Picchu Full-day Private Tour:
From Ollantaytambo: Aguas Calientes Round-Trip Train Ticket:
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:
Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Sao Paulo, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $2.95.
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 $5.46.
Sample the Local Flavors in Sao Paulo
Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Sao Paulo:
4 Hours Pub Crawl in Vila Madalena:
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Sao Paulo and Machu Picchu, we can see that Machu Picchu is more expensive. And not only is Sao Paulo much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Sao Paulo would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Sao Paulo 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 Sao Paulo.
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