We were in Lima for four days, and we found it more expensive than expected. Before we left, we hadn’t been able to find much of a rundown of prices – so we’re writing up our daily budget for Lima, Peru. We’d estimate that daily costs are about the same as in Sicily, Greece, or Croatia. Find out about our daily budget for Lima here! TL;DR – scroll to the bottom for a quick and easy budgeting chart!
Lodging daily budget in Lima
As usual, we stayed in an Airbnb to have our own space and save a bit of money. There are other kinds of lodging available, of course, but no matter what you’re looking for, we recommend you stay in the Miraflores or Barranco districts. Sure, they’re touristy, but they also have all of the bars, restaurants, and coffee shops that you’ll be visiting, and they’re safe to walk around day and night. Plus, we saw just as many Peruvians as gringos strolling around the Parque Kennedy. There were even nightly Latin dance sessions in the park that seemed to be almost exclusively for older locals. So, these neighborhoods are still a part of the real city’s culture!
Including fees, our Airbnb in Miraflores came to around $60 USD per night, or $30 per person. We had a whole apartment, but if you just want a room in a shared apartment, you could get it for around $30 USD per night ($15 per person). That’s about the same price as a private room in a good hostel. For about $10 USD, you can have a dorm bed in a good hostel. And, if you’re fancier than us and want to stay in a hotel, that’ll set you back at least $110 a night.
Cost of food and drink in Lima
Food was definitely not cheap. Meals will eat up a significant part of your daily budget in Lima, unless you’re willing to leave the tourist centers or really go searching for a bargain.
We usually ate breakfast at home in the (late) morning. Mangoes, bananas, avocados, cheese, peanuts… these many not sound like the makings of a normal breakfast, but actually they are great, don’t judge. We also had to buy about 5 liters of water per day, since of course the tap water isn’t potable. This all came to about 30-40 soles per day ($10-12 USD) in groceries, split between two people (so, around $5-6 each). And, since we tended to get up and going late (duh, we’re on VACATION), our breakfast also doubled as our lunch. How handy is that!
Coffee was about the same price at each of the zillion cafes we visited throughout Miraflores and Barranco: 8 to 10 soles, or about $3 USD, for a cappuccino or a latte. (We spend a lot of time at coffee shops, so trust us on this one!) With our coffee, we would often buy a snack, like an empanada or a small sandwich; these were generally 10-15 soles ($3-5 USD).
Dinner usually cost us about 30 soles per night (around $10 USD). We were able to eat well at this price! You could probably go cheaper than this, but you’d have to search around a little bit more than we did, or leave Miraflores. In the Historic Center, for example, there were a ton of local restaurants with a two-course meal of the day available for around 9 soles ($3 USD).
Lima is also known for its fine dining, and many of the top-rated restaurants just didn’t fit into our budget for this trip. But, if you decide to go for it, they certainly look delicious!
Also note that many tourist-facing restaurants will ask you for a tip. They’re expecting about 10%. (One restaurant also charged an 18% tax. Unsure why this happened only once, but bear in mind that this is sometimes possible, seemingly at random!)
Drinks were pretty much exactly what we pay in Manhattan. Maybe a teensy bit cheaper, fine, but not much. The local national beer usually cost around 9 soles, or $3. A better beer would run about 15-20 soles, or $5-7. Cocktails, including the famous pisco sour, cost about 20-30 soles, or $7-10. These prices were similar at both bars and restaurants. If you’re just going for water at a cafe or restaurant, expect to pay around 6 soles ($2 USD) for a medium bottle.
Affordable transportation in Lima?
The best way to get into Miraflores from the airport is by Uber. There is an airport bus that’s apparently quite nice for $8 USD (or $15 round-trip). Seemed like a good option, BUT an Uber only cost us $14 USD, which was actually cheaper per person. No-brainer. Ubers leave from Door 3 of the international terminal in the airport.
Once you arrive in Miraflores or Barranco, you can get pretty much everywhere you need to go on foot, which is fun and free! We did take an Uber one day to the Historic Center of Lima, for a total of about $12 USD round-trip ($6 per person).
Peru SIM Card
We rarely leave the country without our trusty travel phones, so one of the first things we do upon arriving somewhere new is buy a SIM card. SIM cards were cheap and easy to buy in Lima. We got ours for $12 USD each, which included 3 gigabytes of data over a ten day period.
We’re gonna be honest – we didn’t really do very much of anything in Lima. We walked around a lot, we drank a lot of coffee and a few pisco sours, we went to dinner, we sat on the grass in the sunshine overlooking the water, we read books, we met the cats in Parque Kennedy. But mostly just a lot of wandering and relaxing, without much heavy tourist action. This is exactly how we love to travel, anyway, so we weren’t at all sad about the fact that there are relatively few sightseeing opportunities in Lima. (Besides, isn’t your inevitable Machu Picchu stop enough sightseeing for one trip?)
But there are several, if that’s what you’re looking to do. The Museo Larco (pre-Columbian art) costs 30 soles, or 10 USD. There’s a water fountain show that costs 4 soles, or about a dollar. In general, though, Lima is just a regular city full of regular people going about their business, so you won’t find as many attractions as in other tourist hubs across the world. (Don’t take this the wrong way at all – we love love LOVED our time wandering Lima!)
To sum it up…
Our total cost for four days in Lima was $578, or about $289 each, for a daily budget of about $72/per person/per day. This could definitely be reduced by staying in cheaper accommodations, searching out cheaper food, or drinking less coffee and alcohol! (We generally had 3 coffees, 2-3 drinks, 1 snack, and 1 dinner out per day). But it will be more expensive if you have a penchant for nice hotels, fine dining, or hard partying. Check out this table to get a better idea of your own daily budget in Lima.
What are your experiences with a travel budget in Lima? Let us know in the comments!
If you liked this post, you might also be interested in these!
Lima, Peru Food Guide (for vegetarians and everyone else!)
Lima, Peru: Is it safe?
How to Get To Machu Picchu
SIM Cards in Peru
Altitude Sickness in Cusco!