Information before traveling to Peru!
It has been a while since I traveled to Peru, but its mystique continues to catch me. So much so that, four years later, I still want to read and write about this wonderful country. For this reason, in this post I am going to collect all the information you need before traveling to Peru .
Before getting down to business, tell you that this article has been written in collaboration with the Peru Grand Travel agency , who have helped me put this basic guide about Peru in order . So, a thousand thanks and let’s start.
Peru is one of the reference countries among travelers who want to know South America . And it is not for less because, in addition to being the nation where the Inca Empire was founded, it is a destination full of mysticism and has a huge variety of landscapes.
Traveling to Peru is to enjoy great views, taste one of the best gastronomies in the world and, above all, immerse yourself in its Andean culture. Throughout this guide you will discover everything you need to know to make the most of your trip to Peru.
Weather in Peru – What is the best time to go?
Peru is one of the countries with the greatest climate diversity in the world due to its location and size. In it we can distinguish three major regions: the coast, mountains and jungle, so the perfect climate will depend on the place you are going to visit. If you decide to travel to the south (the most visited part of Peru), the rainy season runs from October to March , with February being the rainiest month. In dry season the days become sunny and with the sky totally clear.
In the jungle area, humidity and high temperatures rule, being the months of April to October the hottest of the year. You can reach 31º C during the day, although the nights are usually cooler (17º C).
For its part, the coast has a temperate, warm climate with high atmospheric humidity, which produces a slight sensation of cold between the months of May to November.
Accommodation in Peru
In general, the value for money of the accommodations in Peru is good (you can find more than decent accommodations paying a little), although I advise you to look at two or three options before getting anywhere .
If you prefer to take them previously booked, then as always I recommend AirBnb , if you like to stay in local houses …
… or Booking , the best platform to search and book accommodations of any kind. The user ratings will help you find the best option.
Peruvian cuisine has a unique variety in the world and can be tasted in all parts of the country. The markets are one of the cheapest places to eat, where you can have breakfast for between 4 and 6 soles (1 – € 1.5) and eat between 6 and 10 soles (€ 1.5 – € 2.5). There you can also drink excellent juices for less than a euro.
Regardless of the market, Peru is full of restaurants of higher or lower category, but in all of them, quality and good price tend to predominate . Any place is good to sweeten our palate, be it the Lima, Andean or North coast cuisine.
Transportation in Peru
By land, sea and air. There are many options to move around Peru, although any land option can be longer than necessary . Despite the fact that there are very tourist-oriented bus companies such as Ormeño and Cruz del Sur, the distances in the country are enormous, traffic is heavy in the cities and some sections of roads leave much to be desired.
Although there are them at almost any time of the day, if it is a long trip I advise you to move in night buses , especially in the Premium option (it is not much more expensive and they are much more comfortable). Think that there are many trips that will take you 8 hours or more.
For this same reason, if you can afford it, don’t rule out internal flights . There are companies like Star Peru that offer quite affordable prices and for frequent routes like Lima – Cuzco (more than 24 hours by bus) they are the salvation.
To move within cities, taxis are relatively cheap , although always haggle and never get on one without closing the deal. For your reference, a taxi from the Cusco airport to the central plaza leaves around 8 to 10 soles, although initially they will ask you for more than 35 soles, or the one that goes to the train station in Poroy (to go Machu Picchu) for 25 soles. In Arequipa a 2/3 kilometer route usually costs about 6/7 soles and in Puno about 5 soles.
Visa, passport and other documents
You can stay in Peru up to a total of 183 days (accumulated) in a year without the need for a visa, only with your passport . Of course, make sure that you stamp the entrance when you cross the border because if you could not have problems when leaving the country. Also, do not lose the “Andean Migration Card”, a paper that you fill out and seal when you enter Peru, as they will ask you to do it when you leave.
Health: vaccines and altitude sickness
No vaccine is necessary to enter Peru if you travel through the usual tourist circuits. But if you travel to the jungle, prophylaxis against malaria is recommended and mosquitoes bite you. Here I leave you some more information about vaccination in Peru .
Regarding altitude sickness or Soroche, many tourists who arrive in Cusco or destinations many meters above sea level have this type of illness , due to increased atmospheric pressure. It usually manifests with weakness, headache and nausea. These symptoms are gradually lost when the person acclimatizes to the altitude. It is recommended to drink a lot of water, almost twice as much, chew coca leaves or take them as tea, eat lightly and do not make any physical effort during the first days. More information about altitude sickness in this post.
Currency, change and cards
The currency of Peru is the “nuevo sol” and in all the country’s departments there are banks and ATMs where you can make any type of exchange (€ 1 is 4 soles, more or less). Paying by credit card is relatively easy in tourist establishments (not so in the most remote areas), although many charge some extra commission for this service.
But, even with everything, the cost of living in Peru is much lower than in Spain and most of Europe. If you are looking in your pocket, you will be happy to know that you can eat for two or three euros, sleep for less than ten and transport yourself from one city to another for a similar amount.
Security in Peru
Wondering about security in Peru is logical and habitual, since to a certain extent it is one of the aspects that most worries the traveler in this type of destination. And, although it should not be neglected in this regard, it should not be put at the worst. Tourism is increasingly frequent in Peru and the locals know it, so the tourist areas (and there are many) are under constant surveillance . Ask the locals, move to the right places at the right times, take care of your things and use common sense. If you need more information, here is a guide about security in Peru .
Other basic tips
As a tailor’s box I will tell you that Peru is in the GMT -5 time zone , that is to say that there are about 7 hours less than in Spain. Also warn you that tap water is NOT drinkable (beware of ice) and that the plugs in Peru are two-prong , like ours.
Things to do in Peru
Peru is a multifaceted country in its geography, so there are plans for all tastes : mountain routes, waterfalls, Amazon jungle, colonial cities, ancient cultures, pure desert and an imposing mountain range invite you to live all kinds of extreme experiences. There you can practice mountaineering in the Andes mountain range, sandboard in the coastal dunes, kayak in rivers or do the “Inca Trail”, one of the most famous hiking routes in South America.
What you shouldn’t miss
Last but not least, here we leave you our what to see in Peru , those places that you should not miss on any trip through the country.
Lima, the city of kings
Although it was not my favorite place in the country, it is possible that your trip begins or ends in Lima , the Peruvian capital. If so, be sure to stroll through one of its most pleasant neighborhoods such as Miraflores and Barranco , visit museums, party and see the most modern part of the country.
Cajamarca land of Inca traces
The city of Cajamarca is a beautiful colonial city, famous for being the place where the conqueror Francisco Pizarro assassinated the last Inca emperor Atahualpa. The region stands out for its colonial architecture, its colorful towns and a gastronomy worth admiring. Mandatory to visit the Inca baths.
Iquitos and the Amazon river
Iquitos is the largest city in the Peruvian Amazon. Located on the banks of the Amazon River (the largest and longest in the world), it also has several records of biodiversity.
Cusco, the Rome of America
What to say about my favorite city in Peru . The imperial city of Cuzco has its unique charm, with its streets, churches and squares from the Inca period. In addition, it is the gateway to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. the imposing sacred city of Machu Picchu and the colorful Vinicunca .
The Sacred Valley of the Incas
An irreplaceable destination that houses several traditional Andean towns from the colonial era, full of archaeological monuments and indigenous peoples . Ollantaytambo, Pisac and Urubamba stand out there, where, apart from enjoying the scenery, you can visit their fairs, buy handicrafts and make wonderful walks.
The citadel of Machu Picchu
What would be Peru without Machu Picchu and Machu Picchu without Peru. One of those destinations worth a whole trip , a place that will certainly not disappoint you. The magic of this wonder of the world is overwhelming, the ruins are located on top of a mountain and every stage is surrounded by supernatural beauty. Here I leave you the best route to go to Machu Picchu .
Arequipa and the Colca canyon
The second most inhabited city in Peru, Arequipa is a beautiful colonial city perfect also as a starting point to visit the Colca canyon. This canyon famous for its huge ravines, for its active condor population and for the impressive views from above.
Other places to see in Peru
Peru is an immense and beautiful country, so it would never finish giving recommendations . Also join the desert of Ica or Puno and Lake Titicaca, but as I say the list is endless.
A Chemical completes this guide with useful information for travel to Peru . Once again, thanks to Josimar and the Peru Grand Travel agency for your help in preparing the post. But if you still have some doubts about the Andean country, I will be happy to answer you in the comments.