In Cusco, we relaxed in the Peruvian Andes Mountains. We wandered the streets of an ancient Incan city that was once the capital of this Empire. We explored Machu Picchu, considered one of the new seven wonders of the world. (It hadn’t been discovered when the first seven wonders of the world were declared!). We also did a day trip to the Maras Salt Mines. This was a busy (and somewhat expensive) month for us! Here is the 30-night breakdown of our travel budget in Cusco, Peru–the second month of our adventure.
We stayed in an authentic one-bedroom AirBnb home near the center of town, known as the Plaza de Armas. This home consisted of a living/dining room and one bedroom. The kitchen and bathroom were technically outside the main house, but were covered. This place was cozy (we estimate 400 square feet), but cold. It was early springtime in the southern hemisphere (we’re a little behind on our trip reports)! Thankfully, the owner had a space heater that we could use as needed for an extra $2.50/night.
This AirBnb was priced at $682, but we did some travel-hacking to use a $100 credit from a credit card. Check out AirBnb for your next travel adventure! If you use this code when you sign up, you get $25 off your first stay (and we get a small credit, too!)
Food (Groceries and Restaurants): $273
Again we cooked most of our meals at home with food from the grocery store and the amazing fresh produce markets. We only ate out a few times during the month, but we preferred to eat in the cheap markets.
Wow! We knew that visiting Machu Picchu was going to be one of our main expenses on this leg of our journey. This experience consisted of a train ride to Aguas Calientes, an overnight stay in a hostel, and all the tickets needed to see this amazing site. Check out our Machu Picchu trip report with details of all the expenses and pictures (which don’t do it justice!).
We also spent additional money going to see the Maras Salt Mines. This is where a cooperative of families harvest salt to sell throughout the region. Our Maras Salt Mines trip report shows how we did this without a tour and depended on the kindness of strangers.
This total includes 5 buses, 3 taxis, 1 airplane (Lima to Cusco, $138 for two, one-way tickets), 2 trains, 3 collectivos, and 1 accidental hitchhike (see Maras Salt Mine report). Again, we walked many places, but our mileage was lower due to the cooler weather. We only walked 98 miles this month. On the day we toured the Salt Mines, we walked over 9 miles!
We spent most this category on the laundry service this month. Our home did not include a washing machine, so we would take our clothes to the local laundry service in the morning. In the afternoon we would pick it up, cleaned and pressed. At first it was weird to have someone washing our underwear, but I (Emily) was glad to give up this chore for a while! Our other miscellaneous expenses included toilet paper and restocking some toiletry items like toothpaste.
Total travel budget for Cusco, Peru: $1,562
This is for the entire month! As always, we also pay $175 per month for a global health insurance policy that covers both of us (our coverage is better than our previous policy in the US and at a fraction of the price!). Additionally, tithing is important to us, and we were able to give to a local church and to some people in need.
We had a wonderful time in Cusco, and felt it was worth every Peruvian sol (or U.S. penny) that we spent. By far, our favorite experience was visiting Machu Picchu, and we recommend it to everyone.
Our budgeting strategy is working well for us so far. Each month we set aside the same amount of money in our budget. Since we were under our budget goal in Lima, we were able to have a little more flexibility with our travel budget while in Cusco, Peru. And so far, every month we are coming in under budget, giving us the freedom to go on all of these amazing adventures. With that start of a new year, we hope that you are able to use a budget to take control of your money and make your dreams come true.
Thanks again for following along! And get ready for our final stop in Peru, and one of our favorite cities so far–Arequipa.