The Peru Roundup

31 Dec

We’ve been meaning to start posting about how our budget is working out, and we finally decided that the best way to do this is not by the month, but rather by the country.  In addition, we want to be able to highlight some of the places we really loved (or in some cases, really didn’t).  To that effect, we present the inaugural “roundup” post – a compilation of our budget and travel statistics for each country we visit.

The Statistics

Number of days spent in country – 19

Cities/towns visited –  Lima, Cuzco, Ollantaytambo, Aguas Calientes, Pisac, Arequipa, San Juan De Chuccho, Sangalle

Number of different lodgings – 8

Flights – 1

Local bus journeys – 20

Combi/collective/taxi  journeys – 11

Long distance bus journeys – 2

Days of rain – 2

Weddings attended – 1

Antibiotics needed – 1 round each (sinus infections)

Moving Box Bet – Anticuchos

The Budget

*Air travel is not included in this budget*

Total US dollar amount spent – $1,335.93

Average cost per day, per person – $35.16

Average lodging cost per night – $15.73

– We stayed entirely in hostels with a private room, often with a private bath. On our last night we stayed in a dorm in Lima, but we were the only ones in that room, so it was essentially private.

Most expensive lodging – $25.90 Hitchhiker’s Hostel, Lima

Least expensive lodging – $5.51 Rivelino House, San Juan De Chuccho (Colca Canyon)

Average food/drink cost per day (per person) – $8.18

* Generally, breakfast was provided by the hostels.  We often self-catered lunch by going to the markets, or went out for a set menu.  We ate out for every dinner.  We consumed very little beer and wine, mostly because we were hiking regularly so we weren’t going out to bars much.

The Best

Accommodation –  Estela de Oro in Arequipa.  Another traveller told us about this gem of a place, and it was easily the best of our time in Peru.  It’s really more a hotel than a hostel as the rooms are huge, all with private bath,  flat screen television, and great internet access.  The rooms come with lovely fluffy towels, little bars of soap, and a pretty standard breakfast of tea/coffee, rolls and jam.  We paid only 50 soles a night, which was a HUGE bargain considering the comfort level.

Huge, delicious steaks.

FoodRasa Nostra, also in Arequipa, and only for meat lovers.  Rasa Nostra is located on Bolognesi, between Sucre and the Plaza de Armas (and right around the corner from our favorite hostel).  They have incredible set menus for dinner, most of which involve a colossal amount of Argentine-style grilled meat (think perfectly cooked steaks, chorizo, etc), french fries, and a salad bar.  A full meal was about 15 soles, more than we’d paid generally, but a total steal for the amount and quality of the food.  The restaurant itself is quite nice, and was packed for both lunch (when they have a cheaper set menu that is more traditional with a soup, entrée, and drink) and dinner.

Empanadas at the market in Arequipa.  Clearly Arequipa treated us well.  If you head over to the main market, there is an empanadas stand just inside the center entrance.  They were the best empanadas we had in all of Peru, especially the chorizo ones.

Prasada in Cuzco.  Prasada serves up delicious vegetarian dishes, including a mean falafel sandwich.  They also make great fruit smoothies.  You can find Prasada on Choquechaka, near San Blas.

The Worst


Hostel Joe in Aquas Calientes.  Based on the review in Lonely Planet, we expected this place to be basic, but tolerable.  In reality, it was awful.  Filthy hallways, questionable sheets, and a definitely sewage-like odor.  Do yourself a favor, pay a little more and stay somewhere that understands the basics of sanitation.

Oasis Paraiso in Sangalle (the ‘Oasis’ in Colca Canyon) – This is one of the more expensive places to stay in Sangalle, and clearly it has seen better days.  The rooms/huts are in various stages of tolerable, the bathrooms leave much to be desired, the bar area is literally falling apart.  The pool was ok, and the staff was nice enough, but not nice enough to make up for the condition of the place.  It looks good when you enter (lovely gardens, all the trees, the pool, etc) and it took us a little while to realize how run down it really was.  There are at least 4 places to choose from in this village, so even if you’re exhausted, suck it up and keep moving.


7 Responses to “The Peru Roundup”

  1. woodswoman December 31, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

    As I’ve said before, you have the makings of a book, and at this point it is starting to sound like a damned good travel book! I’m so sorry about the Patagonia fire. I’m reading about it now in some news articles online.

    Back to your post, I’ll happily follow these stats from country to country. I’m reading some of the same for the Camino de Santiago, in preparation for a trip there in the next three or four years . . . before I’m too old to walk 800 km across the top of Spain!

    • Ashley December 31, 2011 at 4:06 pm #

      Don’t wait too long and then you won’t be too old to walk across the top of Spain!

  2. Allison Centonze December 31, 2011 at 1:26 pm #

    Thanks for the break down…. It gives a nice picture of what you guys are doing and how the cost breaks down. And I’m a sucker for a pie chart…

    Kind of amazing that with a good plan and budget, you can spend almost 3 weeks in Peru for under $700 a person. Nicely done!

    And I agree with mom! A DIY travel book sounds like a great idea!

    Cheers and Happy New Years! xoxox

    • Ashley December 31, 2011 at 4:21 pm #


      Yeah, you can travel for super cheap if you wanted, we met people doing it cheaper than us even! You can also spend a HUGE amount of money if you want super-luxury, but since out goal is spread it out as long as possible, we are going for “comfortable-cheap”.

      Happy NY to you too!

  3. risingontheroad December 31, 2011 at 3:01 pm #

    Thanks for this! I am just thinking of a trip to South America so this is really handy. Do write where your favourite places were too!

    • Ashley December 31, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

      We definitely will! We actually really liked everywhere we went in Peru, so city/town-wise, they were all good. We’ve only really LOVED a few hostels and restaurants, though there were plenty that were good, and plenty that were just average. Let me know if you want more specifics about a certain place, we’ve kept a list of everywhere we stayed, and many places that we ate that were good so I’m happy to pass the info along at some point.

      • risingontheroad January 1, 2012 at 5:19 am #

        Thanks and happy new year! I am just trying to work out which countries I want to go to so I will be reading more and you may get some questions!

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