What it costs to live here of course depends on your life style and where you stay. But generally, most volunteers can and do live quite cheaply, certainly by western standards. Accommodation can be as cheap as 350 Soles per person/month (US$135, Euros 103; GBP 89) for somewhere basic, like the cheapest rooms in our volunteer house, and usually range up to a maximum of double this for somewhere more comfortable and independent. See separate section below for Accommodation costs.
(As of writing in March 2013, 1 Euro = 3.40 Soles: 1US$ = 2.60 Soles and 1 British pound = 3.90 Soles, but this is constantly changing, so check out latest exchange rates if your budget is tight.)
In terms of food, you can get a 2/3 course lunch set 'Menu' for 5-8 Soles (or less) at some reasonable restaurants. Locals have their main meal at lunchtime so you always get better value then, and the set menu is much better value than anything else. Of course, if you can cook for yourself you can get even better value with fresh local fish 10/12 Soles/kilo or less, chicken around 7/8 Soles/kilo and a great selection of cheap local fruits and vegetables at the local market.
When going out, you can get a half hour local bus ride (e.g. from Huanchaco to Trujillo for 1.50 Soles, compared to a taxi for 10/12 Soles (12/15 Soles or more at night)). You can get a colectivo taxi back at night for 2 Soles if you walk to the colectivo stop. Local beer is around 5 Soles for a large bottle, soft drinks less and wine around 5 Soles/glass. Imported spirits can be more expensive (10 Soles+) but you get a good measure.
You can keep in touch with home at an Internet Cafe for 1 Sol/hour, or get a phone card to call home for 10 Soles for around 50 minutes to most locations worldwide.
We’re often asked, so how much money do I need to cover my monthly living costs. It really is difficult to generalize, but to give an idea, you could get by with basic accommodation and reasonable food at cheaper restaurants for less than S/.1,000 (295 Euros/US$385/£254) per month with not much going out. For S/.1,500 per month (440 Euros/US$580/£380) you can live somewhere nice, eat quite well and go out to the cheaper bars more regularly (but not afford to get drunk every night – remember you do have a project to work on next morning!) So, you can see that compared with almost all western countries, living is cheap here, once you get here, so longer stays do work out much better value and help the projects you volunteer at more.