Peru Travel Guide

Peru

Travel

🇵🇪 CAPITAL | LIMA

💷 CURRENCY | SOLES – 4 = 1 USD

🙊 LANGUAGE | SPANISH

Welcome to the ultimate Peru travel guide.  Peru is a country that’s easy to love.  From great sand dunes to snow capped mountains to surf side beach towns, there are some incredible places to visit in Peru.

A trip to South America isn’t complete without a glimpse at the marvelous Inca citadel of Machu Picchu but once you start to explore this vast country you’ll quickly realize that this feted sight is just a flash in the pan of what this nation has to offer.

Peru is a destination for nature lovers, history buffs and wide eyed wonderers.  This is your Peru travel guide to help you plan a trip of a lifetime.

🇵🇪 PERU TRAVEL GUIDE

Pick a Destination

🦙 MACHU PICCHU

An Incan citadel set on top of a mountain high in the Andes. Renowned for its sophisticated dry-stone walls that fuse huge blocks without the use of mortar, fascinating buildings that are built on astronomical alignments and panoramic views.  A must visit in this Peru travel guide. 

🌽 CUSCO

Once the capital of the Incan empire, today Cusco is the cultural capital of Peru and one of the most popular places to visit in Peru.

🪂 LIMA

Lima is full of museums, an entrancing coastline and most importantly – the food scene!

🛶 LAKE TITICACA

The highest navigable lake in the world sitting at an elevation of 12,507.  The massive lake that straddles Peru and Bolivia.

🦅 COLCA CANYON

The Colca Canyon is the world’s second deepest canyon located about 3 hours Northwest of Arequipa.  Known for its flying condors and terraced hillsides, in order to truly experience this area of Peru is to go on a Colca Canyon trek.

⏳ HUACACHINA

Huacachina village is completely surrounded by sand dunes which happen to be the tallest sand dunes in South America.  The Huacachina Oasis is full of adventures like sand boarding and dune buggy tours.

Peru Map

Top 5 things to do in Peru ↓

Machu Picchu the best thing to do in Peru
Lima, Peru Travel Guide
Homestay on Lake Titicaca
Trekking the Colca Canyon in Peru
Cusco Travel

More Things to do in Peru

  • Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.  This is one of the best hikes in Peru and by far the most famous trek in South America.  The entire trek is 26 miles in total that ends at the famous Sun Gate.  You’ll trek up stone steps, past majestic mountains and through thick cloud forests.  If you are looking for a true pilgrimage, plan ahead for this hike in Peru.  You can book a tour here.
  • The Nazca Lines are a series of ancient geo-glyphs.  There are over 10,000 lines that depict 300 different plant and animal figures.  How they got there is still a mystery.  Check out the Nazca lines via plane or helicopter. 
  • Huacachina Oasis is a village completely surrounded by the tallest sand dunes in South America.  The small town is full of adventures like sand boarding, dune buggy tours and paragliding over the dunes.
  • Lake Titicaca is most known for the Lake Titicaca Floating Islands of Uros.  There are approximately 100 man made islands consisting of a population of 3,000 people.  The Uros Islands are artificial made islands composed of totora reeds.  Everything from the ground you stand on to the house you live in are composed entirely of totora reeds.  A trip to Peru isn’t complete without learning how the Uros community lives.
  • Explore the white city of Arequipa.  Arequipa is Peru’s second largest city crowned by some dazzling white architecture.  The city is backdropped with several sleeping volcanos.  A top sight on this Peru travel guide.  
  • Hang ten in Mancora.  Mancora is a Northern beach town that has the most consistent breaks.  Better yet, check out Los Oraganos for a more off-the-beaten path experience. 
  • Indulge in Lima cuisine.  Lima is one of the gastronomic capitals of the world and when exploring Lima, you plan your visit around your next meal. 
  • Sacred Valley is referred to the area between Cuzco and Machu Picchu.  Explore ancient Andean villages and lessen known Incan ruins.
  • Eat adventurously by trying the Peruvian delicacy Cuy.

  • Explore the rainforest in Iquitos.  The largest city in the Peruvian rainforest is only accessible by boat or plane. 
  • Gawk at sea lions and penguins at the ‘Poor Mans Galapagos’ on the Islas Ballestas in Paracas.
  • For the true adventurists and physically fit, hiking in the Cordillera Blanca will be the highlight of your trip to Peru.  Trek among imposing granite mountains and glacial lakes.
  • Rainbow mountain is an iconic hike in Peru located in the Andes Mountain range near Cusco. The hike takes you past a vibrant green valley and finally to the stunning seven colored rainbow mountain with the snow capped peak of Apu Ausangate towering in the distance.
  • Trek the Salkantay Trail through rugged mountain terrain to the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.  Often referred to as the alternative route to Machu Picchu, on this hike you will see some of the most beautiful landscapes in Peru.  Think snow capped mountains, free roaming horses, alpine lakes, cascading waterfalls and lush subtropical rainforest. 

📍 Peru Travel Tips

VISA

The USA and most European countries do not need a visa to travel Peru.  Make sure to have at least 6 months validty on your passport beyond your trip.

When to Travel to Peru

Dry season lasts from March through October, this means warmer weather at night and blue bird skies during the day.  The best time to visit Peru is in the shoulder months of dry season – March-May or October-September.

Traveling to Peru during dry season also means busy season, especially June to August.  But if you time it right, you can travel during the off peak months which allows you have the best of both worlds – great weather and thinner crowds.

How Long to Travel Peru?

In a perfect world, more time to travel Peru is better.  A month in this amazing country would allow you to see all of Peru’s highlights and experience one trek.  

If you are shorter on time like 2 weeks in Peru, pick 2 areas and stick to it.  Also, make sure you fly from place to place to save on time.

Joe and I traveled around Peru for 2 months and I still didn’t get to see everything that we wanted to.

Peru Travel Guide Tips

  • It’s not uncommon to see stray dogs as you explore Peru.
  • Book tickets to Machu Picchu in advance and to Huayna Picchu farther in advance.
  • Trains out of Aguas Calientes sell out quicker than trains coming.
  • You need to show your physical passport to enter Machu Picchu and to purchase bus tickets to get to the top of the mountain.
  • Tap water throughout Peru is not safe to drink.
  • Knowing some basics in Spanish will go along way.
  • Cash is the preferred way of paying for things in Peru but credit cards are accepted in major areas.
  • Many of Peru’s cities such as Cusco and Puno sit at a high elevation so you could experience altitude sickness. 

    Here are some tips to help prevent/tend to altitude sickness.

    1. Coca leaves are a traditional way to relieve altitude sickness by chewing it or making tea with it.  Coca leaves can be bought at any local supermarket and are available in most restaurants.
    2. Sorojchpills are pills you can buy at the local pharmacy that help with altitude sickness.
    3. Muna – is an herb that can be found in the mountains.  You can pick it, rub it in your hands and inhale it.  Or put it in tea and drink it.  It’s also a digestive.
    4. Allow 24-36 hours of acclimatization before setting off on a hike.
    5. Ascend gradually.
    6. Drink plenty of water.
    7. Avoid booze and cigarettes.

Useful Apps

Google Translate: Translate English to Spanish if your Spanish is rusty.

Cabify: The Uber of  Peru.

Uber: Uber is also very popular here.

Whatsapp:  Talk/text to friends and family anytime you are connected to the internet for free.

Rome2Rio: Calculates different routes from point A to point B, showing you the cheapest, quickest etc…

Trail Wallet: Easy to keep track on your expenses if you are traveling Peru on a budget.

Hi, we’re Jess (& Joe).  We hope you’re enjoying our free travel guides and tips.  If so please consider buying us a coffee ☕️.  We appreciate your support!

 🎥

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💲 Peru Travel Guide Costs

You can spend $40 a day in Peru, living comfortably and not denying yourself any comforts or pleasures.  It is possible to get by on $15 -20 a day traveling Peru but that’s only eating street food and staying in a bed in a dorm. 

For a slightly higher budget its nice to have your own room and bathroom.

ATM’s are available countrywide in most cities and towns. 

⛺️ 

 

Accommodation

  • Dorms – $2-10 USD
  • A Basic Room with Private Bath – $15-30 
  • Budget Luxury Hotel – $30 USD.
  • Higher End Hotels – $60 and up.

🍲 

 

Food

  • Dinner from the Supermarket – $2-6 USD
  • Domestic Beer – $2 
  • Multi-course Lunch at a Mid Range Restaurants – $8-10
  • Fine Restaurant with Drinks and Tip – $25

🚌

 

Transportation

  • 25 Hour Bus Ride from Lima to Cusco – $30
  • Highest Altitude Train ride in Peru on the Hiram Bingham train – $500
  • 10 Minute Uber Ride – Less than $5
  • Domestic Flight – $100 with checked Luggage

🦙

 

Activities

  • Average Inca Trail Trek – $800-1000
  • Lake Titicaca Homestay – $100 
  • Colca Canyon Entry Ticket – 70 Soles
  • Lima Food Tour– $70

🛖 Where to Stay in Peru

A bed in a dorm will cost 2- 10 USD’s.  You can get comfortable accommodation for $20-$25 a night for 2 people.

A higher budget allows you luxury that’s worth the cost.  Peru is a great place to travel on a budget.

⭐️ Worth the Splurge:  Inkaterra La Casona Relais & Chateaux – Cusco, Peru

Below are city specific Peru Travel Guides for accommodations to help plan your trip.

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Peru Travel Guide with I'm Jess Traveling

✈️ Getting to Peru

Arriving in Peru is pretty straight forward.  Make suer you have 6 months or more validity in your passport on arrival and a return ticket out of the country.    

By Plane:  Lima has international flights to and from most cities in North and South America.  As well as Western Europe.  

Jorge International Airport is Lima’s airport with the airport code LIM. 

If trying to get straight to Cusco, you’ll have to connect in Lima. 

Jetradar, Skyscanner and Kayak are sites that are flexible and give you the cheapest rates.  LAN Airways, LATAM Airlines, and Sky Airlines amongst other budget airlines have many flights daily operating to other parts of the continent.  

Booking with one of the search engines above ensures getting shown the latest and cheapest prices.  Just don’t expect much frills on these budget airlines and luggage will cost extra.

By Bus:  If you’re traveling slow throughout Peru or South America, it’s likely that you’ll be taking a long bus journey at some point or another.  International buses are cheap, plentiful and comes from all the neighboring countries including Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia, Chili and Brazil.

Cruz del Sur is the best bus company in Peru and very nice nice on those overnight journeys.  You can check out this vlog for what a long bus journey would look like. 

By Boat:  It is possible to arrive in Peru by boat via certain points in the Amazon River in Brazil and Colombia.

🚌 Transportation around Peru

Transferring between towns is plentiful and straight forward.  Download the apps Bookaway, 12Go Website and Rome2Rio to help navigate the best route.  They are very helpful to check bus, boat, and train schedules ahead of time.

Getting around in Peru is an adventure in itself.  

By Bus:  This will be the easiest way to travel around Peru.  Buses are frequent within the country.  Bus rides are never the most glamorous way to travel but usually the cheapest. 

Taking the bus isn’t just for tourists, most Peruvians travel via bus.  Roads are well maintained in most parts of the country.  Always plan a few extra hours on bus travel days as buses are never fully on schedule.

By Plane:  Domestic flights within the country are frequent and plentiful.  New budget airlines pop up every year but the most established airlines are LAN, Peruvian Airlines and Star Peru.

Peak season for air travel within Peru is North America summer time – late May to early September.  So plan ahead if you are traveling Peru during this time.  

By Train:  Peru Rail has services between Cusco and Aguas Calientes, Cusco to Puno and Puno to Arequipa. 

🧳 What to pack for Peru

Packing in my opinion is always the hardest part before going on a trip.  What you pack will depend on what you are traveling to Peru for.  

If you plan on doing some trekking, make sure you bring a warm jacket, waterproof hiking pants , rain gear and proper hiking boots.

Peru has a beautiful coast line and in the North you’ll have summer weather so a bathing suit, shorts and flip flops will come in handy.  

A Life Straw Water Bottle also came in handy more times than I can count both for trekking and traveling around the country.

Don’t leave home without theses Peru travel guide essentials.

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    🧷 Safety in Peru

    • Safety is an important factor in planning any trip, especially when it is international.  Here are some Peru travel guide safety tips.
    • Peru is a safe country to travel to as a solo female traveler.  Pickpocketing and thievery will be your biggest concern.  As always use your wits and common sense and basic precautions.
    • Rare but possible armed robberies and muggings have happen to trekkers on popular hiking trails around Huaraz.
    • ‘Express Kidnappings’ are when an armed attacker highjacks you in a taxi and takes you around to various ATM’s making you withdraw money before letting you go.  Rare but there has been reports.  This is more common in its neighboring countries of Ecuador and Colombia though.
    • Pharmacies can be found in all major towns and cities.  
    • You can find the US Embassy in Lima.
    • Travel insurance is very important.  There is nothing worse than being in need of medical care in a foreign country without insurance!  Protect yourself!  This is your best investment.

    🗺 Peru Travel Guides

    Peru Travel Guide
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