Peru has thus far proved to be a little more pricy to travel in than Ecuador, especially the bus travel, but then it’s taking me a little time to adjust to using the Nuevo Sol rather than the US Dollar. Dealing with such big numbers can mean that you get through what feels like a scarily huge amount of money in no time at all. But it does seem to get used up all too quickly. Why?
At the time of writing, S/.1000 is equal to UK£234.63. In Peru, hostels cost on average S/.25 (£5.87) for a dorm room, often not including breakfast.
Fresh juice seems to come in at roughly S /.6 (£1.28) and a cheap meal somewhere between S/.10 (£2.34) and S/.20 (£4.68). Eating street food or at the markets is considerably cheaper. I cooked up an English breakfast and the ingredients, minus sausages, cost S/.30 (£7.03). Not cheap.
Bus journeys are EXPENSIVE in comparison to Ecuador (granted, it’s nothing compared to the cost of public transport in the UK) coming in at between S/.5-S/.15 per hour. That’s between £1.17 and £3.52 per hour. And with typical gringo trail towns a good ten hours or more apart, the overall costs soon stack up.
So what is good value? Clothing seems to be inexpensive, for example at the market you can buy a set of woollen gloves or a hat for S/.6 (£1.40) or a hand knitted jumper for S/.30 (£7.03). In Trujillo I needed to stock up on some tops to replace ones lost along the way and was able to find a store offering two for S/.10 (£2.34), so deals aren’t impossible to find.
This discussion is of course only measuring cost relative to travelling for a longer amount of time. When your money’s got to last, a S/. here and there is worth haggling over and saving. If I was still in full time employment and holidaying here in South America, my concept of cost would be very different.
But where I am, here and now, I am feeling a bit confused as I’m watching my money disappear. It’s not like I’m lavish. So what’s going on? And how are all these other travellers managing to eat at posh places and not worry? I’m still trying to figure this all out, but I’m not buying into the hype that it’s the cheapest place to travel in South America. No way.