Expenses in Peru (30 days of travel in a van)

We travelled in Peru between the 12th of September and the 11th of October 2018. In total we spend 30 days travelling in our van. All our expenses are included in the overview in this post. Every penny we have spend together or for personal use are included. Since we couldn’t cross the border from Chile into Peru, we drove from Chile into Bolivia and from Bolivia into Peru, we have included the 3 days traveling in Chile, two days traveling in Bolivia in the expenses for Peru. We are aware that we might have forgotten to add few expenses during our travel – nobody is perfect. Our budget is 66 USD per day including everything. In total we spend 2,074.97 USD in Peru, which calculates into 69.17 USD per day. This means that we spend 3.17 USD more per day, than what our budget allows. We use an app called TOSHL FINANCE (https://toshl.com), which we could customize to our travel expenses. We decided to buy TOSHL PRO for 19.99 USD (https://toshl.com/pricing/) which gives us access to an online account where all the pictures are from.

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To save money we have tried to follow these basic rules (10. edition for Peru)

  1. Wild (free) camp as much as possible. This is one of the most efficient ways of saving money, when you don’t have to pay for camping, hostels or hotels. Using www.ioverlander.com to find places, where we could camp for free.
    Here in Peru we have used more money on camping, because this also provide safe parking for the van. At the same time we have also traveled more with other overlanders, which lead to less wild camping (free).
  2. Stay with other people for free. We have also made friends during our trip, and have been invited to stay at their place for free. No stays for free here in Peru. This is also possible by using www.couchsurfing.com, which we didn’t do in Peru.
  3. Cook our own food. It is cheaper to cook your own food in Peru than eating out. We also decided to try some of the local delicacies, and when to a few restaurants, which raised our expenses. When you buy a snack, just buy one and share (do you really need one each?), you never know if it is good, and you can always buy another one after the first one. Not much else to say. The smaller food stalls at the road selling fruit, vegetables, eggs and cheese are cheaper than buying everything in a supermarket.
    We did find out, that the supermarkets in Peru was not very expensive, and we really liked the Plaza Vea (supermarket).
  4. Activities: pick the ones which are the most important for you. We try to explore areas by hiking, which doesn’t cost anything. Explore the towns and cities by walking around, and don’t spend money on expensive tours fx segway tours. First we had planned to do a lot of hiking in the northern part of Peru, but since I am having problems with my right knee, we changed our plan, and we only visited the southern part of Peru, where our focus was on the ruins. Having to ay an entry fee all the time adds expenses.

Categories for the expenses

Overview of how we have spend the 2074.97 USD in Peru. We have used the same categories for Peru, as for Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil, Chile and Argentina traveling in our van. Our expenses have been allocated into 12 categories. What springs to my mind is that we used 19 USD per day on food, and we spend 712.52 USD on activities. Our visit to Machu Picchu was very expensive (2 persons): entry 99 USD, train from Ollantaytambo to Aquas Caliente 270 USD and bus from Aquas Caliente to Machu Picchu 50 USD, in total 419 USD. How could we have kept the budget? To stay within our budget we should have spend 95.1 USD less during the 30 days. When I go through the subcategories, it would have easiest to save money on restaurants, alcohol and snack/candy. More wild camping would also have been an option.

Overview of expenses in categories. From the left Peru (69.17 USD per day) and Bolivia (38.38 USD per day)

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All the categories have subcategories (called Tags), which makes it possible for us to get a more detailed overview of the expenses within the different categories (the darker grey area). In the top each picture you have the total amount of expenses in the category, and underneath you have the amount of expenses allocated into the subcategories. Check out the subcategories under “Food and drinks”, where you can see that we have spend quite a bit of money on restaurants compared to groceries. Hanging out with other overlanders also added to our alcohol expenses, but homemade passionfruit drinks with rum are just the best.

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In total we are satisfied of how we spend our money in Peru, but would have preferred to have stayed within the budget. We spend most money on activities, which is important for us. In the end it was Machu Picchu that was the real “budget-breaker” for us, but due to my knee problem is was just not an option to skip the transport an walk instead (but it would be an option for you). It is all about keeping track for your expenses so you don’t overspend and spend money on the things that are important to you.

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