It is unsurprising that a visit to Peru makes it at the top of many traveler’s bucket lists. A country rich in culture, history, and landscape; their cuisine is an epicure’s dream come true, and they house one of the Seven Wonders of the World; Machu Picchu. It’s not expensive, and the country takes the international cake for geographic diversity. This Peru travel guide will help you plan your next vacation.
Peru Travel Guide: Fast Facts
- Peruvian power voltage is 200 V 60 Hz; Power sockets A, B & C
- The Peruvian currency is the Peruvian Nuevo Sol (PEN) and is around 1 PEN for 0.33 USD
- Two-thirds of Peru is covered in prime Amazon Rain Forest.
- Bathroom breaks can be quite the adventure in Peru. First off, never ever flush toilet paper down the toilet, it can (and will) clog it, instead always remember to throw everything away in the adjacent trash bins. Also make sure to bring along some extra t.p., wet naps and spare change as many public toilet facilities are pay-to-use.
- The pisco sour is Peru’s national drink and is made using Pisco brandy, lemons, sugar water, egg whites, ice and finished with bitters. It's really good, try it!
- Fun Fact: Peru is home to the highest sand dune in the world. Cerro Blanco located in the Sechura Desert near the Nazca Lines measures 3,860 feet (1,176 meters) from the base to the summit.
Top Packing Tips for Peru Travel
Peru's terrain ranges from desert to jungle and mountain to coast. February and March are generally fair everywhere. The mountains tend to be rainy from November to March and the Highlands between October and April. Lima is most humid from June through September and the Amazon is always hot and humid.
- Personal Safety products – Certain areas in Peru are known as pickpocket hotspots. Before leaving for your trip, make sure to pack some personal safety products, like money belts and locks, so that you can keep your valuables safe on your trip.
- Get Medical Insurance – adventure travel is common in Peru, but if you plan on trekking in the amazon; paragliding and/or hiking, make sure to be covered just in case.
- Pack accordingly depending on season – Peru is split into two periods: the wet (November – March) and dry (April – October) season. During the wet season make sure to pack a rain slicker, jacket or poncho, water resistant shoes with rubber soles and an umbrella.
- During the dry season, due to the geographic diversity of Peru, travellers might experience a range of different climates depending on region and time of day, so make sure to bring a couple of sweaters or a jacket with a scarf, hat and a pair of gloves.
- Bring a water bottle – water is not potable in Peru, so make sure to pack a water bottle that is easily refillable, especially if you plan on doing any adventure sports!
- Plan for altitude – when hiking to Machu Picchu, you will fly into the town of Cuzco. Cuzco is over 3000 metres (9000 feet) so you will be immediately at altitude. We recommend visiting your doctor or a travel clinic before traveling to Peru to have them prescribe Diamox to help with altitude sickness.
- Pack a hat – The sun can be very hot especially in the desert and the Amazon. A sun hat like a breathable Tilly hat is an important item in your travel gear.
Read our Travel Packing List for our complete packing list.
When to Visit Peru
Peru has a very diverse landscape with deserts, tropical coasts, Amazon Rainforests and high Andes mountains. Travel and temperatures vary. Peru can be visited anytime of the year but here is a breakdown to help you decide what is best for you.
May – October is Peru's dry season and the best time for hiking the Inca Trail, visiting Machu Picchu, Cusco and Sacred Valley.
July and August are the busiest moths and trails are packed.
May and October are good shoulder season with good weather and a bit less crowds.
May – Oct is also prime season for Amazon Travel: We visited the Amazon late November and while we had a few rains, it was only in late afternoon or evening. It was very hot at this time of year.
You can visit the Amazon any time of the year, just expect more rain and mosquitoes in the rainy season.
November – April is rainy season and mountain passes can be impassable at this time of year.
Note: The Inca Trail is closed for the month of February. Feb-April are the wettest months.
Dec – April – This is a good time of year to visit the desert region as it is hot and dry.
Anytime of Year – The West Coast and Lima are good to visit anytime of the year.
Top Things to do in Peru
- Visit Machu Picchu – visit the land of the Incas and walk upon the mythical ruins of Machu Picchu for an unforgettable travel experience.
- Visit the Amazon – cruise the Amazon river, chat with locals, experience breath-taking sunsets, spot pink dolphins and so much more!
- Hit the waves, dude… – Peru's waves rarely grace the pages of popular surf magazines, but with 1,400 hundred miles of desert coastline, you can bet that Peru has some amazing swells. The best surf spots can be found in Northern Peru. In fact Chicama (in Peru) has the longest left point break in the world.
- Eat cuy – if you are feeling extra adventurous then why not try cuy or Guinea Pig, a traditional dish eaten in Peru during important festivals, served crispy complete with head, legs and eyes.
- Take A Photography Safari – join some of the best photographers in the industry as you embark on a journey through the Tambopata National Reserve looking for that perfect shot.
- Admire the Sand Dunes at sunset – Huacachina is the ideal place to walk up to the top of a dune and watch the sun set over the desert
- Set sail to Isla Ballestas – known as the poor man's Galapagos, these islands are part of an amazing conservation area of more than 700,000 acres filled with different types of wildlife.
- Visit Lake Titicaca – located along Peru's border with Bolivia, lake Titicaca is the largest lake in South America and is also the highest navigable lake in the world with a surface elevation of 3,812 meters.
- Hike Rainbow Mountain – Take an Adventure and hike the colourful layers of Rainbow Mountain.