What’s the first thing you think of to do when you come to Peru? Of course…the glorious Machu Picchu. With good reason, it is one of the seven wonders of the world.
So, without surprise when my 3 cousins and a friend rang me to tell me they wanted to come visit me in Peru, of course they mentioned they wanted to do a quick trip to Machu Picchu. A quick trip….ha! Living in the north of Peru, Cusco and where Machu Picchu is located is essentially the opposite end of Peru.
Another factor to take into consideration is the cost of getting to and seeing Machu Picchu. It isn’t chump change at all. The total cost for the whole she-bang of Machu Picchu roundtrip is about $500/per person. That is of course, from Lima. For an item by item breakdown of the cost of going to Machu Picchu…please stay posted for my next blog post by following my blog!
After discussing it with our visitors, we explored other (more economic) options of beautiful things to do in Peru and we decided on…Huaraz!!!
Keep reading for an item by item cost breakdown of the trip!
Located in the central mountains of Peru, about a 5 hour drive inland from the coast, Huaraz boasts a bustling city center, and an unbeatable view of the snow capped mountains in the Cordillera Blanca mountain range. Huaraz acts as ground zero for the hundreds of trekkers yearly who come to scale one of the highest mountain ranges (18 different summits of more than 6000m) in the world, outside the Himalayas.
The Cordillera Blanca is one of the highest mountain ranges in the world outside the Himalayas, and its 18 ostentatious summits of more than 6000m will not let you forget it for a second.
After a quick google search we came across some breathtaking images of lagoons nestled up high in the mountains. Our wanderlust kicked in, and it was decided, Huaraz it is!
We don’t regret it, we had an amazing stay. The lodging had a full and well equipped kitchen, 3 bedrooms and 3 full bathrooms, hot water in the showers (this is huge in Peru) and….a fireplace! (At an additional cost of 10 soles, $3USD)
The price…was, to die for. For two people the rooms were $33USD/night. What is really awesome about this lodging, is that they are bungalows. They can accommodate all group sizes from 2-8 people. We were 6, so we sprung for a villa. It was $130USD/night. Divide that by 6, and it worked out to be about $20/per person, per night. Not too shabby.
Oh….and breakfast was included. YUM. It wasn’t half bad. It included unlimited coffee, tea, bread, cheese, fresh juices from pineapple, papaya, and mango, and scrambled eggs or tamales. You definitely need to fuel up to avoid altitude sickness, and for energy on the hikes and excursions.
Huaraz itself was a beautiful get away. The city itself is relatively clean for Peru. There wasn’t as much refuse as there usually is in other Peruvian cities. The streets, and the houses were quaint and well kept. Being a smaller city, there weren’t the commodities such as a major supermarket or stores, but in the local bodega shops you could pick up almost all that you needed…especially the wine. Don’t forget the wine.
While in Huaraz, we were able to do two excursions:
To one of the lagoons, “Laguna Paron”:
Here is the breakdown of how much it cost to tour the Lagoon:
Private Taxi to Caraz, the town where the lagoon is S/6 per person ($2 USD)
Entrance to the Laguna Paron S/5 per person (less that $2 USD)
Tour guide fee: S/30 (about $10 USD)
Lunch (there are no places to eat in the park. We went to a grocery store before hand to pick up some picnic foods we could eat) S/10, per person ($3.33 USD)
So the grand total for the tour of Laguna Paron: S/57 per person ($20 USD) Again – may I say…not. too. shabby!
The other excursion we were able to do was to one of South America’s only glacier reef,
So…technically, it has lost it’s glacier status because it no longer builds up ice in the winter, to melt into water in the summer (thanks Wikipedia!) It is quickly receding, more and more each year. In spite of the fact that it is quickly disappearing, it is still quite impressive to get to close up.
The altitude is not a light matter. At 5,000 meters above sea level, the hike although it seems easy, takes much longer than you would anticipate. There are horses, and guides who will take you up the mountain, for a fee of S/10, or $3.33 USD. My husband and I may, or may not have used them 🙂
Here is the total cost of doing the Pastururi Glacier tour:
Bus Tour (includes transport to and from the park) S/40 ($15 USD)
The Pastururi Park entrance fee S/10 ($3.33 USD)
Lunch (we ate with the whole tour group at a local restaurant) S/10 ($3.33 USD)
Altitude sickness tablets (optional of course) S/5 ($2 USD approx)
The grand total of Pastururi Glacier excursion came to S/65 per person, or about $22USD
So the grand total for our 3 day, 2 night trip to Huaraz and for the two excursions to the Paron Lagoon, and the Pastururi glacier came up to $112USD!!!
Again, here is the breakdown:
Lodging =S/120, $40USD/person
Food (we went out to eat for lunch and dinner both days) S/90, $30USD
Paron Lagoon Tour = S/57, $20USD
Pastururi Glacier Tour = S/65, $22USD
Of course, this didn’t include the fare to get to Huaraz itself. We live in northern Peru, so coming from Trujillo, we paid S/45, $15USD. If you are coming from Lima as most would be you can take any bus like Cruz de Sur or Movil Tours to take an overnight bus. Fares are around S/80, about $28USD one way.
Peru – is SUCH a beautiful country. While visiting the iconic Machu Picchu is a bucket list must do – there are many more other breathtaking sites to see for the seasoned (and budget friendly) traveler.
I highly recommend this escape to the beautiful town of Huaraz. Having been to Machu Picchu, and seen how amazing it is, I do acknowledge that it is a must if you can afford it.
If you can’t swing the $500 extra you would need for Machu Picchu, Huaraz is a top-notch alternative.
Was this post helpful? Did you guys have any other questions about Huaraz or the trip? Feel free to comment below.