For the past five months I have been traveling through the South American country of Peru and recording my travel expenses along the way. This month I traveled through the Central Highlands of Peru, back to Lima, up the Northern Coast and then back to Lima before flying back to my parents’ home in Southern California.
I hope that by sharing my travel expenses with you it will help you to get an idea of just how much it costs to travel in Peru. This month was my last and final month in Peru… and the following is a breakdown of exactly how much money I spent while I was there:
The expenses here have been listed from largest to smallest.
Flight Home: 1,062.45 PEN ($375.10 USD)
My largest expense this month was the flight home. I paid for this a long time ago, but I’m adding the cost of the flight home to my travel expenses for this month, since I actually used the flight a few days ago in order to leave Peru and travel back to the United States.
Flight Change Fee: 793.38 PEN ($280.10 USD)
I was planning to fly home around the end of May, but after 5 months in Peru I decided that I had had enough. I was tired of being alone, sick of speaking Spanish all the time, and fed up with a number of other things that were bothering me about being in Peru. I also had a number of things back home that I was looking forward to seeing and doing, so I decided to come home one month early. Changing my flight to an earlier date, however, was not cheap. The airline (Continental Airlines) charged me $250 in order to change the date of my flight, plus some other random expenses due to the change in my reservation. I didn’t want to pay that much money just to come home early, but I was ready to leave Peru and I desperately wanted to go home.
Food: 425.85 PEN ($150.35 USD)
I didn’t eat any of the meat you see hanging in the photo above (I’m a vegetarian), but I did spend a lot of money this month on food. I ate out almost every single day and spent a lot of cash on fruit, bottled water and crackers.
Lodging: 340 PEN ($120.03 USD)
Lodging was another big expense for me this month. What’s crazy, however, is that I spent just a little over $120 for a month of travel lodging in Peru… and my lodging expenses back in the USA are a little over $1,000 USD. It’s going to be a shock having to pay my first mortgage bill back in the U.S. after traveling in Peru for 5 months and spending so little on lodging.
Bus Rides: 279 PEN ($98.50 USD)
My final moth in Peru consisted of more bus travel than the previous four months combined. All that travel via bus might have actually been part of the reason I decided to come home early. I don’t like sitting on buses for long periods of time, but in Peru I became an expert at it. During my fifth and final month in Peru I spent nearly $100 USD on bus rides.
Souvenirs: 112 PEN ($39.54 USD)
Because I’m not going to be back in Peru for quite some time, I spent a small amount of money this month on Peruvian souvenirs. I purchased some llama hair hats, a few Peruvian textiles, and a number of small coin bags for my friends and family back home.
Taxi Rides: 66 PEN ($23.30 USD)
Getting from the bus station to a hostel and/or from the hostel to a bus station often times requires the use of a taxi. Other times, taxis are used to transport oneself from one location to another, such as from the center of town to a nearby ruin or hiking trail. This month I used quite a few taxi cabs to move myself about… and those taxi rides set be back more than $23 Dollars.
Entertainment: 48 PEN ($16.95 USD)
After being in Peru for 5 months I purchased a few items this month to keep me entertained. I purchased a book written in English and a couple DVDs that I was able to watch on my computer.
Combi Rides: 25.50 PEN ($9.00 USD)
I’ve talked about combis in some of my previous Peruvian monthly expense reports, so I don’t think I need to explain what they are once again. But as is customary in Peru, I traveled in several crowded combis this month… and spent just a small amount of cash in the process.
Coco Leaf Tea: 18.40 PEN ($6.40 USD)
While in Chiclayo, Peru I purchased a bunch of different types of Coca-leaf tea. I wasn’t sure if the tea was legal to bring into the United States (it’s not), but I thought I would try anyway and see what happened. Of course, I spent the money on the tea, but had my year’s supply of coca-leaves taken away from me once I passed through customs. Ouch!
Chan Chan Entrance Fee: 11 PEN ($3.88 USD)
Just outside the city of Trujillo, Peru is an ancient adobe city known as Chan Chan. I walked to the ruins while staying in Trujillo and was forced to pay 11 Soles in order to access the city of Chan Chan and three other ruins scattered about the city of Trujillo. The entrance fee was a little steep when compared to some of the other ancient ruins I have visited in Peru, but even so, the ticket to enter Chan Chan set me back less than $4 USD.
Gambling: 10 PEN ($3.53 USD)
While in the high-altitude mining town of Cerro de Pasco, Peru, my travel companion at the time (Ben) and I wandered into one of the local casinos and each put 10 Soles into one of the tiny slot machines. Ben did better than I did… and walked away with the 10 Soles he started out with. I, on the other-hand, walked away with nothing.
Toiletries: 7.30 PEN ($2.58 USD)
I bought some toilet paper, soap and sunscreen this month. Fun stuff, right?
Lost Passport: 3 PEN ($1.06 USD)
My last month in Peru didn’t start very well. One of the first things I did this month was lose my passport on one of the local buses between Junin and Cerro de Pasco, Peru. I got the police in Cerro de Pasco involved in the search for my passport (I was sure I had lost it on the bus), but after a day of searching, it looked like my passport was gone forever. Miraculously though, the day after losing my passport on the bus, the police officer who had been helping me search for the thing the day before, found my passport and was able to get it back to me! I gave the police officer 3 Soles as a “thank you” gift… and afterward I just sat on the street for several minutes, holding my passport in my hand, and smiling!
Huaraz Park Entrance Fee: 3 PEN ($1.06 USD)
Finally, I paid another 3 Soles this month to access the National Park outside of Huaraz, Peru. I went on a short 2-day hike in the area and a man near the entrance gate demanded 3 Soles from me before I could enter the area. It was the best 3 Soles I spent this month.
TOTAL: 3,204.88 PEN ($1,131.49 USD)
In total, I spent just over three-thousand Soles during my final month in Peru. Obviously, the flight and change of flight fee added significantly to this number. Without these two large expenses, I would have only spent 1,349 Soles… or $476 Dollars. The lesson I learned this month: Major expenses (like flights and fees) certainly do add up!
LAN Airlines photo by JSF?