Experience the best of Peru with a personalized travel package that includes hotels, guides, transportation, and friendly, professional service from start to finish. Our expert Travel Advisors will work with you to create a tour itinerary that fits your needs and your travel style. All tours are fully customizable.
Cusco, Sacred Valley & Machu Picchu - 6 Days
Arequipa & Colca Canyon, Cusco & Machu Picchu, Amazon - 12 Days
Lima, Paracas & Nazca, Arequipa & Colca Canyon, Cusco & Machu Picchu, Puno, Amazon - 16 Days
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Tell your travel advisor what kind of trip you want to have. Where do you want to go in Peru? What do you want to do? Our team is here to help you plan your dream vacation and give advice. Questions? Send us an email or give us a call. We’re here to help!
Step 3: Customize Your Trip
Let us take care of the hard part. Your travel advisor will send you a fully customized itinerary based on your preferences and work with you until you are completely satisfied. Then it’s time to book your trip!
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Pack your bags and get fired up for an unforgettable adventure! Our team will be waiting to meet you on arrival in Peru.
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Our decades of knowledge, experience, and achievements come together to ensure you have a trip of a lifetime.
Four-time Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker
Author of The Last Days of the Incas
MA in Anthropology
Adventurer and explorer
Ph.D. in Philosophy and Spanish Literature, University of Texas, Austin
Recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation grant
One of the most renowned Spanish-speaking authors
Recipient of several international literary awards
His work has been translated into over 15 languages
Ph.D. in Progress, Economics at Oxford University, UK
MA in Development Economics at Harvard University
Author of several works for the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund
Ph.D. in Latin American history, Georgetown University
Professor of History, Pontifical Catholic University of Chile
Specialist in Modern Andean History
"The old Inca capital of Cusco, the breathtaking "Sacred Valley," and the ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu are all overwhelming, each in their own right. But they can all be even more overwhelming after Peru-for-Less has done their trick of dressing them up a little for you."
Karl-Heinrich & Terttu Barsch (Orlando, Florida) Traveled to: Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu
"Cusco and Machu Picchu were certainly the highlights of our trip. Even though we read books and have seen documentaries of the Inca Ruins, nothing prepared us for the immensity, lushness, and location of the ruin. Seeing the ruin as the morning mist cleared was so memorable."
Dave and Blanche (Colorado, USA) Traveled to: Nazca Lines, Ballestas Islands, Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, Puerto Maldonado
"We selected Peru For Less because of your willingness to individualize our trip to Cuzco and Machu Picchu for a great price. Little did we realize just how wise a decision this would turn out to be."
Janet and Karlene (Texas and Virginia, USA) Traveled to: Cusco, Machu Picchu
Are you a foodie, nature lover, or armchair historian? No matter what your passion, Peru has something for you. Use our Peru for Less Travel Style Guide to help you find destinations and activities that match your interests.
Peru is a wonderland of culture and history. There are so many different worlds within the boundaries of just one country. No other country in Latin America has been blessed with so many different sites and environments. Cusco and Machu Picchu are the obvious places to start. But don’t stop there, because you’ll be missing out on a lot. Go to Lima to see the wonderful mix of America, Europe, Asia, and Africa that make up modern Peru. A tour to Puno and Lake Titicaca will transport you to the oldest Andes with vibrant festivals that celebrate Quechua and Aymara roots. Food lovers, bring your appetite to Peru. As you’ll soon discover, no matter where you go, food opens the widest window into Peruvian culture. It is an example of how people from all over the world came here bringing their best to make such a rich and beautiful place.
With no shortage of mountains, jungles, deserts, and beaches, Peru was made for travelers in pursuit of thrills. You can go from the great rivers of the jungle to the highest peaks covered with snow. Choose from trekking or horseback riding in the Andes, zip lining in the Amazon or the Sacred Valley, whitewater rafting on the Urubamba River or in the Colca Canyon. Try your hand at sand boarding in Pisco and Ica, parasailing in Lima, paddle boarding or kayaking on a rainforest river, kitesurfing in Paracas, or surfing on the beaches of Mancora in northern Peru. Don’t forget to pause, catch your breath, and let the beauty of Peru’s adventure hot spots sweep you of your feet.
Get your nature fix in each of Peru’s three major regions -- coast, mountains, and jungle. South of Lima, the Paracas National Reserve protects a photogenic colony of sea lions and more than 100 species of seabirds. You will never forget a visit fo the sea lions in their natural environment, just a few miles away from the coast. In the mountains, the Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary preserves not just the historic Inca ruins, but also rare flora and fauna. Visit the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo hotel’s private reserve to see this biodiversity in person. In the southeastern jungle, the Manu Biosphere and the Tambopata National Reserve are a hot spot of ecotourism in Peru. Go to see nature, stay to experience the magic allure of the rainforest.
Put on your urban explorer hat, because Peru has fascinating cities bursting with intrigue and cosmopolitan flair. Lima, Cusco, Arequipa, Trujillo, Iquitos -- each has a character all its own. The oldest continuously inhabited city in South America? That’s the great stone city of Cusco. A few days in the former capital of the Inca Empire will convince you that it is one of the world’s most powerful and sensual cities. Whatever you do, make time to visit Lima. Diverse, energetic and vibrant, the Peruvian capital is home to an enchanting array of museums, restaurants, plazas, and gorgeous coastal attractions waiting to be discovered. The majestic view of the Pacific Ocean with its long white waves, its stone docks and the seagulls flying around will always be with you.
Peru is the place to go to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. But beyond the famous trail, there are paths less beaten. Salkantay, Lares, Choquequirao, and Vilcabamba — these appeal to true adventurers. Outside of Cusco, the possibilities are equally endless. The Colca Canyon trek snakes along ancient terraced valleys shadowed by volcanoes. Further north, Huaraz, “trekking capital of Peru,” is basecamp for ascents to the icy 22,204-foot peak of Huascaran in the Cordillera Blanca.
Founded in 1998, Peru for Less has more than 15 years of experience crafting travel packages to Peru and Latin America. We've done the research. We've searched far and wide for the best hotels, tours, and guides. And we've honed our itineraries to make the most out of precious vacation days. We're here to help you travel the way you want. We're here to make your dream vacation happen.
Peru for Less knows how to plan and execute vacation itineraries that work. Travel to one destination or ten, by yourself or with your family, our staff will work full time to get you where you want to go safely and efficiently.
It matters to us that you get exactly what you want from your trip. Whether it takes 3 emails or 30 emails and a few phone calls, your expert Travel Advisor will work with you to adjust your itinerary until it's just right.
Book with Peru for Less and you'll get expert hotel and tour recommendations, phenomenal guides who will make you feel at home, and friendly service from start to finish. At the end of your trip, we're sure that you'll feel you've gotten more than what you bargained for.
Search TripAdvisor for reviews of Peru for Less. Or browse through our collection of 2,000+ testimonials. Our goal is to serve you with the same standards of service and attention to detail that have earned us glowing reviews from thousands of satisfied clients since 1998.
We give you a 24-hour phone number to call during your trip. We also monitor your trip from beginning to end to make sure your itinerary goes as planned. If there's a problem, our team will work full time to get your vacation back on track.
While walking on a busy street in Lima, capital of the country, you will witness a wide representation of the world’s population. How did the country get to be so culturally and ethnically diverse? It’s a long story, which begins thousands of years ago.
About 130 miles from Lima, Caral is one of six sites in the world where human civilization is believed to have first emerged. At the Sacred City of Caral-Supe, archaeologists have unearthed urban settlements and pyramids built between 3000 and 1800 BCE.
In subsequent millennia, a multiplicity of civilizations flourished in every major geographic region of Peru - coast, mountains, and jungle. While research has provided a number of questions and hypotheses about the making of these civilizations, we still know very little about many of them. Ruins and artifacts have provided important clues to their rise, crisis, and demise. Ethnographic and anthropological inquiries have complemented material analysis. Significant pre-Inca cultures include: the Chavin (900-200 BCE); the Paracas (600-50 BCE); the Nazca, makers of the famous Nazca Lines (50 BCE- 700 CE); the Moche (100 CE – 800 CE); the Wari, believed to be the origins of an Andean ideal of state (550 CE -950 CE); and the Chimu (900 CE – 1400 CE).
More than any other pre-Columbian culture, the Inca Empire has exerted the strongest influence on the perception of Peru’s ancient history and contemporary national identity. Most travelers arrive in Peru to see the “lost city” of the Incas, Machu Picchu. Lesser-known, yet still impressive, Inca ruins are found not just in Cusco and the Sacred Valley, but also elsewhere throughout the Andes and beyond.
Foundational myths and legends from Inca and pre-Inca times persist in the present. In rural communities, ancient wisdom structure manifold aspects of quotidian life, including textile art, ceramics, handicrafts, food preparation, agriculture, ceremonies, traditional dances, and various agrarian rituals. Thus, pre-Columbian culture is very much alive and shape everyday life in modern Peru.
The Inca Empire established its capital in the city of Cusco. Beginning in the early 1400s, Inca sovereigns expanded their territorial conquests across the Andes and down to the Pacific coast, primarily through family networking, the politics of persuasion, and scattered military coercion. The Inca polity is often referred as the largest empire South America had ever seen, though Inca hegemonic rule endured less than a century (1438-1532).
The arrival of conquistador Francisco Pizarro marked the downfall of the Incas, which were at the point engulfed by political and demographic crises, and the beginning of Spanish colonial rule in Peru. In 1535, Pizarro founded a new political capital in Lima, which provided access to the Pacific Ocean and facilitated communication and trade with other colonial outposts of the Spanish Crown and the Iberian metropolis.
By 1542, Lima became the headquarters of the Viceroyalty of Peru, a vast geopolitical unit virtually encompassing the entire South American continent – with the exception of modern-day Brazil, which remained in Portugal’s possession under the Treaty of Tordesillas. As a central hub of political and religious power, the city of Lima became fabulously wealthy and extremely powerful. Yet wealth and power were sustained by the immoral exploitation of indigenous populations and African slaves.
Political and social distress first brought colonial order into question when -- in an attempt to improve administration over the south -- the Viceroyalty of Peru was fractured. In 1717, modern-day Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Panama became grouped into the Viceroyalty of New Granada. In 1776, modern-day Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, Paraguay clustered into the Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata. Under the same provisions, known as the Bourbon Reforms, duty exemptions shifted the Spanish Empire’s commercial center away from Lima and to Caracas and Buenos Aires, sealing the gradual decline of the Viceroyalty of Peru.
When generals Simón Bolívar and José de San Martín began to organize their respective revolutionary movements against Spain, much of the establishment of South American societies – ranging from political and religious officials to the privileged domestic elites – was particularly hesitant to join open political contestation. Their socioeconomic positions were the result of loyalty to the Spanish Crown and the colonial structure of power and wealth. In turn, the Wars of Independence proved to be less of a two-side conflict and more of a centrifugal civil war.
Despite this hurdle, Lima had its independence formally declared on July 28, 1821, though many other Peruvian towns expressed their emancipation long before. (When traveling to Peru in July, expect to see the red-and-white-colored national flag flying everywhere!) During the remainder of the nineteenth century, Peru was involved in political and territorial conflicts as most newly independent countries of the Americas were. Among these conflicts, Lima experienced a devastating three-year occupation by Chilean forces during the War of the Pacific (1879-1883).
Worldwide immigration from Europe, Asia, and the Middle East was a trend of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Consequently, thousands of French, Italian and German immigrants as well as Chinese and Japanese laborers came to Peru. Many settled in Lima, and others moved elsewhere along the coast and into the countryside. They adapted their lifestyles to local conditions in Peru, while also creating a new Peruvian culture. Contemporary observers stress that the kitchen, served as a place where the melting pot metaphor came to life through an extraordinary combination of ingredients and flavors that characterize Peruvian “national” cuisine.
As it happened elsewhere in Latin America, twentieth-century Peruvian history has been marked by cycles of economic booms and busts, social unrest, political dictatorships and guerrilla movements. In the 1980s, Shining Path – a Maoist organization – wreaked terror in Peru well beyond the capture of their leader Abimael Guzman in 1992. State repression also engulfed civil society. The result of the Internal Armed Conflict (1980-2000) was almost 70,000 Peruvians killed in the name of subversion and counter-subversion. The vast majority of them did not speak Spanish as their native language, and came from the most impoverished rural regions of the country.
Many people believe the early 1990s marked an upward turn for Peru. It is often claimed the return of political stability and the adoption of a neoliberal paradigm placed Peru as a regional economic leader. Yet these “achievements” came at a great cost. President Alberto Fujimori severely undermined political institutions, democracy, and the integrity of civil society. As a result, Fujimori was convicted for human rights abuses. In spite of the alleged “progress”, sharp contrasts remain — a single day of travel separates Lima’s cosmopolitan districts, like Miraflores and Barranco, from rural towns that are often neglected by the Peruvian state. One of the fundamental challenges tourism claims to tackle is turning contrasts into opportunities.
Peru lies at the heart of western South America and the center of the South Pacific basin, sharing borders with five countries: Ecuador and Colombia on the north, Brazil on the east, Bolivia on the southeast, and Chile on the south. Slightly smaller than Alaska, the Peruvian territory covers 496,225 square miles. The Andes, the longest continental mountain chain in the world, structure a rocky spine through the middle of Peru, dividing the country into three distinct geographic regions – coastal Peru, the Andean highlands, and the Amazonian region – and creating eighty-four of the world’s 117 ecological life zones..
Peru’s arid coastline stretches over a length of 1,500 miles from the southern border of Ecuador to the northernmost point of Chile. Home of ancient civilizations that relied on artificial irrigation and the maximization or water supply, contemporary settlement is heavily concentrated in Lima and a few other coastal towns. Haciendas, plantations, and rural estates are also widely present. Still, aridness and the seasonality of El Niño have historically presented numerous and recurrent challenges.
The deep cold Humboldt Current, a current of water that flows up the coast from Antarctica towards the Equator, has a remarkable influence on the coastal climate and the larger ecology of Peru. Interaction with marine air currents produces upwelling, bringing micro-nutrient rich water up to the surface and supporting a very rich marine ecosystem. The cold water current also cools the air and reduces moisture, producing an overall chiller climate, less precipitation, and the arid conditions that characterize Peru’s coastal region.
The snow-clad peaks of Peru’s Andean highlands host a wide range of climates. The lower and more humid northern section morphs into higher and colder altitudes of the central Cordillera Blanca where the country’s highest peak, Huascarán, soars to a staggering 22,205 feet above sea level near the mountain town Huaraz. The wider southern Andes form a high plateau known in Spanish as the “Altiplano,” or the Collao plateau, which extends to Lake Titicaca and into Bolivia.
The Peruvian Amazon jungle has historically ranked among the most biodiverse and pristine regions in the world, though recent economic developments threaten its integrity. Year-round weather is hot and humid with plenty of rainfall. In total, this region covers more than sixty percent of the country while – according to national census - being home to only twelve percent of the total population. Much of the Peruvian Amazon is uninhabited and ongoing exploration continues to unveil new and exciting findings about native flora and fauna. Jungle lodges near Iquitos or Puerto Maldonado — Peru’s gateway cities for Amazon tours — are ideal for having close encounters with nature and animals in a safe environment.
It’s been the talk of the 21st century — Lima is the gastronomic capital of South America. And its reputation rests on culinary traditions that derive from every region of the country. For travelers who enjoy sampling creative fusions and new flavors, food can be the highlight of a trip to Peru.
The capital city of Lima boasts a high concentration of top-notch restaurants in the districts of Miraflores, San Isidro, and Barranco. Celebrated chef Gaston Acurio has dining venues across Peru and abroad. In Lima, Astrid & Gaston (Peruvian fusion) and La Mar Cevicheria (seafood) are among the best.
Another top choice is Central Restaurant where chef Virgilio Martinez is not afraid to mix ingredients and cooking techniques from across Peru and around the world. He uses products like cushuro, an edible cyanobacteria found in the Andean wetlands. Central was recently recognized as the #1 Restaurant in Latin America by San Pellegrino.
Peru has no shortage of options to satisfy your hunger. Be sure to seek out a chifa restaurant to sample the Peruvian version of Chinese food. Ceviche (pronounced “seh-BEE-chay”) is a local dish whose basic ingredient is raw fish marinated in lime juice, salt and seasoned. It’s hugely popular along the coast and also prepared in the jungle with tropical flair. Aji de gallina, lomo saltado, and rocoto relleno are other typical Peruvian dishes that everyone should try at least once. Peru is known for its selection of exotic meat dishes — think alpaca and cuy (guinea pig). But if meat is not your thing, no worries because a growing number of Peruvian restaurants cater to vegetarian and vegan diners. Then there’s dessert — try alfajores or the donut-like picarones.
The southern Andean region of Peru en route to Machu Picchu has its own food highlights. Both Cusco and Arequipa have their fair share of restaurants, bars and eateries that will satisfy any craving. Cuy (guinea pig) is usually consumed by locals during festival times but is also prepared year-round for tourists.
Peru hosts South America’s largest culinary festival called Mistura each year in Lima. This multi-day event attracts gourmands from near and far and gives Peruvians the opportunity to showcase their culinary talents. Along with stands selling food platters, there’s a variety of food-related activities including cooking demonstrations and competitions, round table discussions, and live entertainment. Mistura is also a good opportunity to see and sample dishes made from locally grown crops, such as quinoa, dozens of potato species, and exotic fruit from the Amazon jungle.
Call Peru For Less, fill out one of our online forms, or email a request. We will pair you with your personal travel advisor within 24 hours.
Your travel advisor will help you customize the trip of your dreams in Latin America by sharing expert travel advice on destinations, attractions, hotels, transportation, and more.
Once you are happy with your travel itinerary, simply confirm with a down payment of 30% of the total package price.
You will receive full confirmation for your trip approximately 3-4 weeks after booking. We will coordinate everything from internal flights, buses and trains to hotels and tours.
Your travel advisor will remind you about your trip balance one month before your trip.
Peru For Less will send reservation requests to all of the hotels on your preference list, but normally the hotels take one week or more to reply. We also confirm hotels that you did not request, in order to have a back-up hotel just in case your requested hotel is already fully booked. We will always make sure that the backup hotel is of the same quality as your preferred choice. All of our hotels are handpicked to ensure your quality and comfort.
Airport lockers: Lockers are near the domestic departure exit. The airport staff will point you in the right direction. There is also a left-luggage area where you can leave your suitcase for the whole day. Prices are charged per day (S/. 38 for 24 hours) or per hour (S/. 8).
Money Exchange & ATMs: Open 24 hours, reasonable rates, and easily accessible in the airport.
Going through customs in Lima: Domestic flights customs are a breeze. For international flights between the United States & Lima: avoid packing liquids, gels, drinks, shampoo, sun block/suntan lotion, creams, toothpaste, hair gel, hair spray, & liquid cosmetics in your carry-on bag. Put them in your check-in luggage. To bring medicines, you need a prescription.
Departure taxes: For all flights from Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima, passengers must pay a domestic or international flight departure tax. Most international departure taxes are now included in the ticket price. A domestic departure tax of $5-10 USD, depending on the airport, is not always included in the ticket price and must be paid before boarding. This is payable at the airport payment teller window located right before you pass through security. This will mean lining up twice, which is a good reason to arrive early although the process is rather quick.
Personal Service: A Peru for Less representative will be waiting for you with a name sign as you exit customs, and will lead you to your transportation. Keep a look out for the Peru for Less logo and your group name.
Your own booking: Even if you book your own flights, send us your flight number so that we can keep tabs on you. Our team keeps track of airline changes for you so you can count on our representatives to be there at the correct time, even if your flight is delayed.
Our booking: Airlines are subject to change and we’re one step ahead. If by any chance your flight is delayed or cancelled, you are automatically on the next flight and we will coordinate everything from there. Our team also confirms your flights for you so you don’t need to bother with the details.
Always informed: If there are any changes, you will be notified wherever you are by our representative in each destination.
E-ticket flexibility: We arrange everything via e-tickets so there is maximum flexibility for you. We put you in the airline’s system so you simply breeze through the check-in counter and get your boarding pass(es).
Frequent Flyers: Pass us your frequent flyer numbers so we can automatically credit your miles with participating airlines in South America.
Do I need a visa to enter Peru?
With a few exceptions, visas are not required for travelers entering Peru. Tourists are permitted to stay in the country up to 183 days without a visa. An entry stamp is placed into the passport and onto a tourist card, called a Tarjeta Andina de Migración (Andean Immigration Card), which you must return upon leaving the country. The actual length of stay is determined by the immigration officer at the point of entry. Be careful not to lose your tourist card, or you will have to line up at the oficina de migraciónes (immigration office), also simply known as migraciónes, for a replacement card. It’s a good idea to carry your passport and tourist card on your person at all times, especially when traveling in remote areas (it’s required by law on the Inca Trail). For security, make a photocopy of both documents and keep them in a separate place from the originals.
Money in Peru
The currency of Peru is called the Nuevo Sol (PEN). Prices are abbreviated as S/. The Sol circulates in small copper-colored coins of 10, 20 and 50 centavos and 1, 2 and 5 Soles. Bills are produced in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 Soles.
Where to change currency: You can change your money in Peru or in your home country. Many banks will exchange large amounts of money at no charge, but require several business days. You can also change money at the airport in Lima (open 24 hours) and the rest of it at your other destinations as needed. There are casa de cambio (money exchange offices) in all major cities, generally easily accessible.
The most secure and easiest places in Peru to exchange your US dollars are at the airport or at your hotel, but you will easily find places to change money in most cities. Make sure you know the official exchange rate, as not all places offer the same rates. You can also use ATMs to withdraw money throughout Peru (but not in very remote areas like Machu Picchu or the Titicaca Islands). Keep in mind that when you travel to more remote areas of the country you should have plenty of small bills or coins in Peruvian currency on hand.
Are American dollars readily accepted? Yes, US dollars (in mint condition, with no marks or rips) are widely accepted in Peru. You can use them in most of the hotels, supermarkets, and restaurants, but please carry Peruvian currency with you for remote areas or for shopping in small shops.
Large bills (soles): Avoid paying with or carrying around large bills. Many merchants can’t or won’t change them, and finding someone to provide change can be a hassle (this is particularly true for taxi drivers, who almost never have – or claim not to have – sufficient change).
Other currencies: It is easier to use US dollars, as larger stores and hotels readily accept them and it may be difficult to find places that will change other currencies outside banks and official currency exchange houses. However, you are still likely to get a better currency exchange rate in Peru than in your own country.
Fake currency warning: Though most travelers report no problems with fake currency, you can avoid receiving counterfeit bills in Peru by using official bank ATMs and reputable currency exchange offices. It is usually relatively easy to tell if you’ve received a counterfeit note; click here to see and read about the difference between real bills and fake ones.
Budget: Roughly how much do you think we are likely to need for our trip?
Numerically, prices in Peru are very much like in the USA. But it’s really a bargain, because in Peru your dollar is worth almost three times what it is in the US. An average good meal in the US is $14-20, and a good meal in Peru is 15-25 soles (under $10 USD). A high-end meal that is $70 in the US is 70 soles (about $20).
Bargaining is expected when you shop in markets. Always make a counter offer lower than the amount asked. If you plan to make big purchases, a nice high-quality Alpaca sweater can cost around $100, while little trinkets will cost anywhere from 30 cents and up.
How much should one tip in Peru and who?
Peruvians generally do not tip well, if at all. From this perspective, you should tip according to how well you were served. Be aware that some restaurants already include a service charge in the bill.
Tour guide - $5 - $10 per person
Waiters in good restaurants - 10%
Waiters in budget restaurants - from nothing to 5%
Drivers/maids - $1 - $2 per person
Bellboys - 1 sol per piece of luggage
Should we tip the drivers who will be transporting us (for example from airport to hotel and back)?
Drivers in Peru usually do not receive tips. But at Peru For Less we take a liberal approach and would like to leave it up to you. Tip according to how well you were served. Usually 1 sol should be enough.
Everything is included except lunch and dinner, personal trip costs during your free days such as taxi rides, activities not mentioned in your itinerary, and some airport taxes.
Do you know what voltage the sockets have -- 110 or 220? What are the standard plugs?
The voltage in Peru is 220V. Some of your electronics may be able to take up to 220V; just look at the label on the charger. If not, you might want to carry an adapter/converter with you. Almost all of the outlets here accommodate both round and flat prongs (the outlet is a combination of the 2 pictures below).
What should we pack?
This will depend very much upon which area of Peru you are visiting. Here is a rough guide to help you decide. The secret, by the way, is layering. Peel off during the warm day, and layer on for cool nights. But pack as light as possible. You don’t want to lug around lots of unnecessary bags during the trip (and you might need room for souvenirs!).
Recommended Travel Accessories
Rainy season in the highlands and the jungle: The rainy season in Peru starts in December and continues until March. On the coast, the weather is arid with a warm summer from late December through March. A mist known as garúa covers the central and southern coastal provinces for the majority of the rest of the year. During the dry season it will be warm in the jungle, while it may be hot during the day and very cold at night in the other high regions such as Cusco, Arequipa, and Puno. Lima, Nazca, and Paracas are in between the two.
Altitude sickness recommendations: Cusco is located at about 10,970 feet (3,320 meters), meaning that an adjustment period will be necessary for virtually everyone. Prevention is the best treatment. Before going to Cusco, don’t eat too much. Avoid fatty food and alcohol in favor of easily-digestible foods and a lot of water. Once you’re in Cusco, take baby steps as your body gets used to the altitude. If you want to be extra safe you can bring/buy Sorochi or Grovol (over-the-counter medications to be taken 24 hours before). You can get these easily in drugstores found on almost every corner in Lima and Cusco. Don’t forget to consult your doctor before taking these medications. Once you get to Cusco, you can buy muna and coca tea, all natural lung-openers.
Recommended Travel Documents: Your passport should be valid for at least six months after the day of your entry into Peru. Carry a copy of your passport at all times.
Should we pack only backpacks to carry with us through the journey or will we be able to bring the roller luggage (carry-on) with us?
A duffel bag with wheels and a lock (for security) is a good option since you will go through some cobblestone roads. Pack a daypack for short journeys, when on the Inca Trail, or when heading to your jungle lodge.
Are we likely to encounter a dress code anywhere we visit on our tour?
There are no dress codes, and you are unlikely to offend anybody with your appearance. Peruvians and the Andeans are very open-minded and used to foreign travelers with different types of fashion.
Are there any other airport security issues we should be aware of when flying within Peru?
Flight restrictions in Peru are not as strict as in the USA. Whatever you can bring from the US, you will be able to carry on your flights within Peru.
What is the best way to make calls to the US?
You can make cheap international calls using a calling card. We recommend either 147 or Hola Peru. For 10 soles (about $3.57) you get 48 minutes of call time to the States from a standard landline (pay phones have very high surcharges). Skype is always an option if you have access to a computer.
If we rent an international cell phone will it work in the areas where we are going, or do we need a satellite cell phone?
In most of the places you'll be visiting, your international cell phone will work and will be able to get a signal. However, for remote places like the jungle, a satellite phone is best if you wish to keep in touch.
Do you know what the least expensive prepaid SIM cards for cell phones are, if we bought them in Peru?
There are two major telecommunications companies in Peru: Claro and Movistar. You can buy a prepaid SIM card for about 15 soles then recharge them depending on your needs in any store selling Claro or Movistar products, as well as in most supermarkets and gas stations. Before buying a SIM card, make sure that your phone recognizes the local networks, as this is not always the case.
What is the time difference between the United States and Peru?
Peru is five hours behind GMT (same as EST). Peru does not observe daylight-savings time so during these months (April-October), Peru is on CST.
In terms of safety, especially for children, is there anything we should be concerned about, be prepared for, etc.?
Watch what your children eat and drink because they are generally more prone to food sickness. You can rest assured that the food in good hotels and reputable restaurants is safe. For children with asthma, it would be best to consult your doctor before traveling, especially if you are visiting a city at high altitude such as Cusco or Puno.
What are the conditions for personal safety?
Avoid wearing flashy jewelry and always keep your belongings close to you. Since you will be traveling with Peru For Less and your transportation will be arranged for you, you should feel safe. Traveling in a group or with your guides, you can always feel secure. However, as with any crowded area in any city, exercise caution – keep an eye on your bags, don’t put your cameras or cash on display and watch out for pickpockets.
Are shots required before traveling to Peru
Yellow fever vaccination is recommended but not required if you are traveling to the jungle. If you want to be on the safe side, you should get your shots 12 days prior to entering the Amazon jungle.
Should we take any food and drink precautions while in Peru?
Drinking only bottled water is a good idea. You’ll find many brands in supermarkets or in little stores called bodegas. Common brands are Cielo, San Antonio, San Luis, and Fresh (lemon infused water). There are two types of water you can buy: sin gas meaning un-carbonated, still water, and con gas which is carbonated. Peru for Less works with good hotels and the food in these hotels is of high quality. Make sure to eat in good restaurants and buy fruits from quality supermarkets like Vivanda and Wong (found all over Lima). If you buy fruit from a street market, take extra care to wash it very thoroughly before eating.
Important note: Peruvian tap water is not potable. It is fine to use for teeth-brushing and cooking (provided it is boiled) but should not be ingested directly from the tap.
The weather in Peru varies from region to region and climatic conditions vary depending on the time of year. The weather in Lima is generally pretty mild regardless of the time of year; winters are chilly but not very cold (lows are around 50°F or 10°C), with warm summers. Locations at high altitude are naturally going to be colder than those at low altitudes. See specific location FAQs for more detailed weather information.
A sizable amount of the population in Lima speaks passable English, but many Peruvians do not. In other areas of Peru, that amount is much smaller. If you don’t speak Spanish, you can probably get by with gestures and a few common English words. Depending on where you plan to go, it may be a good idea to purchase a phrasebook.
What is the best option for flying between destinations in Peru?
LAN, Star Peru, and TACA are three principal airlines that operate domestic flights in Peru – all are good options. LAN is a bigger airline carrier and serves a higher number of daily flights to major destinations within Peru compared to Star Peru and TACA. LAN has the best track record for on-time flights throughout the year and offers the highest level of flexibility with last minute changes and cancellations. However, fares for LAN tend to be more expensive than those of Star Peru and TACA.
There is really no place on Earth like Peru. The country has everything - literally, everything - that a traveler might want to do.
Animal residents of the Amazon set the fashion curve in South America. Some opt for a classic chic clook, while others pull from a wildly eclectic palate of bright colors, spots, and stripes.
Barbara, Doug, and friends sport some amazing Cusco-style on their trip to Peru. Learn more about their adventure!