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How to visit Cusco & Machu Picchu on a budget

If you were ever amazed when you looked at a picture of Macchu Picchu, I have to tell you something: The reality is ten times better!

No picture shows the spirit, energy, and stunning natural surroundings of the ruins. Therefore, even if it wasn’t one of them Top destinations for backpacking trips It would still be worth every dollar you spend on this trip. But the whole point of the „adventure” is to push some boundaries. Because of this, I want to share with you the recommendations from my personal experience and my Peruvian friends so that you can get the most of it.

Peru is perfect for travelers on a budget and not just backpackers. Visiting Machu Picchu on a budget is absolutely possible!

Machu Picchu on a budgetMachu Picchu on a budget

How to visit Cusco & Machu Picchu on a budget

Peru’s currency is the Nuevo Sol (S /) and travel costs are low compared to other South American countries – it’s easy to survive on $ 30-40 a day. However, if your budget is a little tight, here are some tips on how to visit Cusco and Machu Picchu on a budget.

1. Bargain

In every small community and town, bargaining is almost a ruleand Cusco is no exception.

to. Hotel:

If you come to Cusco by bus, you will be approached by several „hotel representatives” at the terminal who will harass you until you go to your hotel. This is good news for you because if you play your cards right they will battle each other with the only competitive advantage they have: scoring. I managed to get an ensuite room 3 blocks from the main square for U $ D a night (this was in 2007).

Bonus song: Most of them pay your taxi to make sure you get to their hotel.

b. Tours:

Whether you want to hike the Inca Trail or take a regular tour, you need to contact one of the many travel agencies around the main square. All of them offer the same product. With that in mind, go around asking and bargaining until you find the best deal.

c. Handicrafts and regional products:

I don’t have to explain how it works. Test your negotiating skills and you will receive an average of 50 to 60% discount. In the small towns along the Sacred Valley of the Incas you will find the best product quality, variety and prices.

2. Nightlife in Cusco on a budget

All of the nightlife in Cusco runs around the main square, where you can find several pubs and nightclubs. Just pick any point and walk around the square (clockwise or counterclockwise!). Each bar will try to get you to enter. That’s why they offer you free entry and a free drink.

All you have to do is go in, have a drink, spend some time if you like the place, and go to the nearest bar where the same thing pops up again. When me and my friends returned to the starting point, we thought „OK, that’s it”. So imagine our surprise when all the bars offered free drinks again! In our case, we’ve just returned to our favorite, but in theory you can get drunk without spending a dime.

3. Eating in Cusco

Any wise traveler will tell you, „stay away from the touristic places”. In this case, it is enough to walk just 3 blocks from the square. Find a „picanteria” where the locals eat. We had a (simple) 3-course menu for 2.50 U $ (corn snack, soup and ceviche).

4. Churches

An important part of this trip is visiting the impressive Baroque churches of Cusco such as the Cathedral, the Church of La Merced and the Jesuit Church, to name a few. They have an artistic legacy of sculptures and paintings from the Cusco School (17th century) and earthquake-proof architecture with fascinating sheds. You have to buy the „tourist pass” (10 U $ D) to enter the cathedral and pay a small entrance fee for the other churches, however If you go during the fair, you can enter for free. * *

5. Sacsayhuaman

In the times of the Incas, the city of Cusco was a puma. Sacsayhuaman, now beautiful ruins overlooking the city, used to be the head of the puma. You can participate for free before opening time (7 a.m.).… Of course I wanted to sleep a few more hours!

Depending on how much time you have and what your interests are, it may be worth buying the tourist pass. A one-day partial Cusco ticket is $ 25 and includes admission to Sacsayhuaman, Qenko, Puka Pukara, and Tambomachay.

Sacsayhuaman in Cuzco, PeruSacsayhuaman in Cuzco, Peru

6. Train to Machu Picchu

At some point you have to take the train (Even if you walk the Inca Trail, you need it to go back) They will tempt you to buy the Deluxe Train instead of the Backpacker. It is certainly beautiful with those picture windows and first class service. But all the fun things on the backpackers train … We were (literally) at a party with adventurers from all over the world. Do not miss this experience!

7. Time is money!

You want to arrive at Machu Picchu early; The luxury train arrives around 10am which means that during this time everything will be crowded. I would recommend spending the night in the nearby town of Aguas Calientes and waking up early in the morning. If you haven’t walked the Inca Trail, resist the temptation to go to the ruins to prove to yourself how adventurous you are. This is a waste of time and energy. Take the bus straight to the ruins and finish the race early enough to climb Huayna Picchu for the most beautiful panoramic views of the citadel. You can start your trail until 1:00 p.m. and they have limited space for the first 200 people.

8. Free souvenir

Take your passport with you when you visit Machu Picchu and go to the visitor center where they enrich it with a chic stamp of the ruins.

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