7 budget-friendly things to do in Peru in 2022

It’s not surprising to find out that many travelers label Peru as one of the best tourist destinations in the world. After all, Peru is home to picturesque landscapes, delightful cuisine, and exciting historic places. And as travel restrictions will ease soon, you can start making a list of things to do in Peru on your upcoming vacation.

Even if you’re on a strict budget, you can still expect to have a great time during your Peru trip. Besides, there are tons of fun activities to do in Peru that won’t hurt your wallet. For that matter, here are seven budget-friendly things to do in Peru in 2022!

lima things to do in peru
Affordable things to do in Peru: walk around Lima

1. Explore Lima on foot

Lima has several stunning streets and vibrant neighborhoods. Although you can roam the city with a bike or carriage ride, you can always take your time and slowly explore Lima on foot. It’s a vast city, so you have many options when choosing a particular district to explore. Barranco, Chorillos, and Miraflores are some of Lima’s well-known districts to explore.

In addition, Peru has excellent cuisine. And Lima’s lively districts should be full of budget-friendly food options. So if you’re getting tired from sightseeing in Lima on foot, you can always recharge with some delectable meals and refreshing beverages.

How to save money on this activity in Peru

You and your travel companions can join a free walking tour if you want a much more organized Lima visit. You can find offers for free walking tours in Lima by visiting a particular district’s tourist information centers and looking up available schedules you can join.

rainbow mountain things to do in peru
Top things to do in Peru: go to the Rainbow Mountains

2. Hike the Rainbow Mountain

Here’s another travel-worthy activity to add to your things to Do in Peru list. Besides, hiking Rainbow Mountain is much cheaper than trekking the Inca Trail! So, even if it’s a budget-friendly activity, you can have a blast hiking this site and enjoy an equally-breathtaking view afterward.

The Rainbow Mountain stands at 5,200 meters above sea level. The area is famous for its colorful, stripy mountains resulting from its mineral structure. And compared to Inca Trail’s five-day trek, you’ll only need one day to hike this mountain’s eleven-kilometer trail. Many tour operators offer tours with the starting point in Cusco.

If you decide to go hiking on Rainbow Mountain, make sure you carry a sturdy hiking backpack for all your travel essentials. In case of bad weather, don’t forget to bring a lightweight rain jacket. And of course, don’t forget to bring your camera so you can snap amazing photos!

How to save money on this activity in Peru

The most affordable choice for exploring Rainbow Mountain is booking a tour from a local tour company or tourism office. Although the hostel you’re staying at may offer a trip to Rainbow Mountain, that can be expensive. Some hostels raise the prices for such tours to gain more profits.

night bus to lima things to do in peru
Cheap things to do in Peru: ride a night bus to Lima or to some other big city in Peru

3. Travel between major cities by night bus

If you want more things to do in Peru on a tight budget, you can consider traveling between major cities by night buses. Although there are also cheap flight options, city-hopping by plane will significantly strain your already tight budget. On the other hand, riding a night bus allows you to save up on hotel expenses by sleeping while moving from one city to another. You will also deep-dive further into Peru’s culture while traveling by night bus.

Traveling at night by night buses also helps you save your daylight hours for your Peru trip. Furthermore, you can get to see more of the country. And the best part? You have spare money for extra expenses or additional activities that cost money.

Just make sure to stick to Peru’s high-end and midrange night buses. They should offer plenty of safety and comfort for a good night’s sleep while on the road. And these things matter when traveling by night and through potentially unsafe roads during nighttime. In addition, high-end bus company tickets are relatively cheap by European standards, and some bus companies even offer in-seat entertainment and snack service.

How to save money on this activity in Peru

If your schedule allows it, go on Peru’s long-distance bus rides for moving from one place to another. That way, you can easily catch up on good hours of sleep during the long travel hours. Just remember to book bus tickets in advance to get cheaper tickets than on the departure day.

arequipa things to do in peru
Best things to do in Peru: Discover the local cuisine in Arequipa

4. Visit a local market in Arequipa

Arequipa is bustling with various local markets. It’s a great shopping area if you want to bring home souvenirs, mementos, and other trinkets that will remind you of your visit to Peru. Peru’s commercial markets should also be your go-to to stock up on fresh meat, seafood, vegetables, and fruits during your stay.

But there’s more to Arequipa’s local markets than their great deals. They also have great food courts. Some of them may even host energetic performances, so you can expect a great time when visiting them.

You should also visit the Fundo el Fierro Local Market morning to purchase traditional Peruvian jewelry, trinkets, and other related items. However, if you want a place to fill your tummy, a visit to Mercado Central should be among the things to do in Peru!

You should visit local markets in the late morning when all the stalls are finally open.

How to save money on this activity in Peru

Try learning how to speak basic Spanish for haggling. If you know a little Spanish, you can try haggling prices with some vendors. Of course, not all haggling may end up successful, but hey, at least you tried! In addition, knowing some Spanish can also spare you from getting scammed.

things to do in peru accommodation
Best things to do in Peru: stay with the locals

5. Stay in local guesthouses to get a feeling of the culture

Local guest houses are great affordable accommodation options, especially for travelers who don’t have much to spend on things to do in Peru. Local guest houses mainly offer rooms comprising one to four beds. They don’t feel too confined, unlike most accommodations provided by hostels or impersonal hotels.

Moreover, these local guest houses are tended by families, hence their cozy and welcoming feel. And by staying in a guest house, you can even get a peek inside Peru’s local life. So, other than being a good cheap alternative, these guest houses won’t disappoint you while you’re enjoying the best things to do in Peru.

Some local guest houses in higher areas can experience colder temperatures. It’s best to bring additional sleeping bags, jackets, and blankets. That way, you can still enjoy a leisurely stay at Peru’s extremely homelike local guest houses.

How to save money on this activity in Peru

Instead of constantly having takeout and eating out in pricy restaurants, you should try cooking your own meals when you stay at a local guest house. Also, there should be enough local markets filled with great deals, as mentioned previously. So, you’re better off stocking on some food you can buy from Peru’s local markets to save up on food expenses and enjoy more things to do in Peru.

sand surfing things to do in peru
Budget things to do in Peru: go sand surfing in the desert near Ica

6. Go sand surfing and camping in the desert near Ica

Sandboarding or sand surfing in the desert near Ica is one of the things to do in Peru you should try if you’re looking for some adventure and action. Local guides can offer you all the necessary equipment to sand surf safely. They will also escort you to the best sand surfing spots in Peru so you can surf all the way down with all your might.

And after a fun day of sand surfing with your family or friends, you can also set up a campsite in the Peruvian desert. After all, camping should help you immerse in Peru’s beautiful desert wilderness.

Make sure to bring a sturdy camping tent that will fit you and the rest of your companions for a comfortable rest under the marvelous desert night sky.

How to save money on this activity in Peru

If you’re heading to the Ica desert from Lima, you will need to go on a bus ride, and then take a taxi to the phenomenal desert.

Make sure to agree on the taxi fare with the driver before boarding the cab. After all, some Peruvian taxi drivers might charge you higher fares since their taxis don’t have meters. If you think that the driver is offering an unreasonable price, look for another ride. That would be definitely better than fighting over an overpriced fare upon reaching your destination.

You can also look for cheap minibusses and other budget-friendly public transportation options that will take you to your desired destination.

Ballestas Islands things to do in Peru
Cheap things to do in Peru: See the seals on the Ballestas Islands

7. Visit the Paracas National Reserve and Ballestas Islands

The Paracas National Reserve has played a vital role in protecting avian and marine creatures living on the reserve. It spans over fifteen kilometers and is located in the Southern area of Pisco. This reserve also happens to host one of the most enormous sea-lion colonies in the world. And if you’re lucky, you might even spot pink flamingos during your visit!

Meanwhile, the Ballestas Islands is an attraction that just happens to be near the Paracas National Reserve. Visiting these islands in March will give you a glimpse of sea lion families occupying the sandy landscapes in this area. You will also see various birds and penguins here.

Due to the proximity of these areas, it’s no surprise that most travelers take the opportunity to visit both sites when time allows it. You too should visit these places to witness Peru’s beautiful nature and wildlife.

How to save money on this activity in Peru

Find local travel agencies that provide tours to the Paracas National Reserve. Once you’re done exploring the Ballestas Islands within the day, you can take another trip to the next area. That way, you won’t have to bother looking for a place to stay overnight in one location.

You also get the chance to explore both tourist attractions in just one day too, which is good if you don’t have much time to try lots of things to do in Peru.

Final thoughts

Overall, there are many budget-friendly things to do in Peru. You just have to know your options and do your best to look for equally unique and affordable alternatives. By doing enough research, you should find the best deals that will make you and your wallet happy. And, as long as you take note of the valuable tips mentioned in this travel article, you won’t need to break the bank to have a great time in Peru!

Who recommends these affordable things to do in Peru

res marty guest post writer on the travel bunny blog

Res Marty is a passionate blogger and outdoor enthusiast from Switzerland. He loves to travel and find the best hiking and camping spots all around the world. There’s nothing he loves more than breathing in the scent of the wilderness.

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