A recent list compiled by Priceoftravel.com included Lima and Cusco as examples of Latin American cities that are good fits for backpackers.
Cusco, which appears on Price of Travel’s list in the third spot, costs a savvy backpacker about US$27 per day. The list cites Cusco’s abundance of affordable hostels as one reason that backpackers might want to spend some time there, as well as the long list of cultural activities available to visitors to the city.
The Huffington Post says that “Cuzco is traditionally the place people stay before heading to Machu Picchu. And if you’re going to Peru, you should go to Machu Picchu.”
“But don’t simply pass through Cuzco,” the Huffington Post advises, adding “It’s a terrific place to relax, explore churches, ruins and museums, and experience an often-overlooked city.”
Price of travel does warn, however, that the relative affordability of Cusco is a dramatic contrast to the high prices in Aguas Calientes and at Machu Picchu: “With most things being as cheap as they are, this is a wonderful town to just chill out in for a while if your schedule permits. Be aware that the train from Cusco to Machu Picchu and Machu Picchu admission are VERY expensive compared to everything else.”
Lima also makes the list, though two spots down at number five.
“Lima can be a surprising city to many who first visit,” explains Price of Travel, writing that Lima has “lots of great colonial architecture combined with a vibrant big-city nightlife scene and a European-style way of life.”
Price of Travel also highlights the Lima district of Miraflores as an especially good place for backpackers: “The Miraflores suburb just on the coast is where you’ll find most of the hotels and guesthouses, and fortunately things there are still quite cheap in spite of the slightly posh vibe.”
The Huffington Post echoes Price of Travel’s evaluation of the city, saying “Lima is a city of surprises. Its colonial architecture and museums transport visitors to another time, while its modern-day nightlife and shopping keeps the city contemporary. Lima is also a foodie’s wonderland — so come hungry.”
A frugal traveler can make it in Lima for around US$31 per day, says Price of Travel.
The entire 16-city list as published by Price of Travel looks like this:
1. La Paz, Bolivia
2. Quito, Ecuador
3. Cusco, Perú
4. Panama City, Panama
5. Lima, Peru
6. San Jose, Costa Rica
7. Mexico City, Mexico
8. Montevideo, Uruguay
9. Santiago, Chile
10. Cartagena, Colombia
11. Antigua, Guatemala
12. Buenos Aires, Argentina
13. San Pedro, Belize
14. Roatan Island, Honduras
15. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
16. Caracas, Venezuela
Price of Travel took a number of factors into consideration in compiling their list, including quality and affordability of hostels in the city, public transportation costs, expenses for seeing cities’ well-known sites, the availability of inexpensive food, and miscellaneous entertainment costs.