Due to the great diversity of climate, Peru is one of the most beautiful destinations around the world. Lima is the second-largest desert city in the world, the Andes hide incredible Inca ruins left almost intact by a civilization that perished too soon, and the Peruvian part of the Amazon is one of the most biodiverse places on Earth. Besides, Machu Picchu citadel is considered one of the 7 Wonders of the Modern World, and its variety of resources attracts millions of tourists each year fascinated by Peruvian cuisine.
The incredible destinations that can be visited in Peru can sometimes make the task of planning a trip a bit challenging, so keep in mind the following:
1. Best Time to Visit
Peru’s diverse geography means that weather conditions can vary greatly across the country. Typically, the best time to visit largely depends on the regions you plan to explore. The wet season (November to March) is generally considered the ideal time to visit popular destinations like Lima, Cusco, and Sacred Valley of the Incas. However, if you’re interested in exploring the Amazon, the dry season (April to October) offers a unique experience for visitors.
2. Visa Requirements
Peru allows citizens of many countries to enter without a visa for tourism purposes (usually for 90 days). However, ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your planned departure date.
3. Health and Safety Precautions
Before traveling to Peru and especially if you plan to visit the Amazon rainforest consult with a healthcare professional and verify the conditions provided by the tour organizer. Inform yourself thoroughly and take all precautionary measures. Do not rely on the fact that you will easily find a local clinic or doctor and bring medication for: sun allergies, irritation caused by insect bites, mild colds, indigestion, and stomach pain, but also disinfectant solutions or patches in case of injury. Also, depending on the areas you plan to visit, consider vaccinations such as hepatitis A, typhoid and yellow fever, and don’t forget that malaria tablets are a travel essential to pack in your backpack.
The official currency of Peru is the Peruvian Sol (PEN). While credit cards are widely accepted in major cities and tourist areas, it is advisable to carry some cash, especially for smaller establishments or when traveling to remote areas.
Peru offers various transportation options to explore the country. Domestic flights are convenient for long distances, especially when traveling from Lima to other major cities. The main airline in Peru is LATAM, operating internationally as well as in major national cities. Buses are a popular and cost-effective option, with both luxury and budget options available. Finding a taxi is usually easy, but you should exclusively choose an officially registered driver, or better arrange a pickup/drop-off with your hotel.
Tips&Tricks: Do not forget that public transportation is often delayed at the last moment. Try to book your flights, train or boat tickets carefully to avoid unpleasant surprises and make sure to keep a few hours between flights with a stopover.
With enchanting deserts, snow-capped mountains and tropical rainforest considered one of the world’s most unique and biodiverse ecosystems, the entire continent is a contrast of landscapes and colors, and Peru offers so many breathtaking must-see destinations that you must discover. Among them is the ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu, the colonial city of Cusco, the floating islands of Lake Titicaca, the Nazca Lines, the Amazon rainforest, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, and the vibrant capital city of Lima. Each destination offers unforgettable experiences that you can only find in Peru.
Top Guided Tours and Activities (our favorite choices)
1. Visit the desert
Although Machu Picchu is one of the most famous tourist attractions in the world, do not miss out the chance to visit the coastal regions and the desert. Book at least three days in Lima to discover the Peruvian gastronomy for which Peru has been recognized as one of the world’s best culinary destinations. A cooking class is an authentic Peruvian experience where you can spend your time learning to prepare traditional dishes such as Lomo Saltado or Aji de Gallina.
Tips&Tricks: If you have time for a day trip, visit Huacachina, the oasis city in the middle of the desert.
2. Stay at a lodge in the Amazon
In the Amazon live millions of species of insects, fish, birds, or large mammals, and it is the last place on Earth where harpy eagles, jaguars, and pink dolphins are still found. Spend a few days at a lodge and don’t miss out on the opportunity to visit a Macaw Clay Lick or adventures such as trekking through the jungle at night. As accommodation options, you can choose between Iquitos, Tambopata National Park, or Taricaya Reserve.
Tips&Tricks: If you have the opportunity, visit two different parts of the jungle, because each National Park is special. We stayed 4 days in Taricaya Reserve to observe the wildlife and 3 days in Tambopata National Park for bird watching at Chuncho Macaw Clay Lick.
3. Choose Inka Trail
One of the most beautiful trekking routes in the world is located in the Peruvian Andres, along some ancient Inca cities and absolutely spectacular landscapes between the clouds. Hiking the small network of roads that connects Cusco with Machu Picchu has become in recent years one of the most appreciated experiences in Peru.
To reduce the negative impact of tourism on the original structures, there is only a limited number of access permits which are sold once a year, in January, and can be purchased just through a licensed tour operator. Therefore, if you are planning to hike the 88km to Inti Punku (the entry point to Machu Picchu), you should plan your trip at least 12 months in advance.
Tips&Tricks: From a safety point of view, you can opt for a personalized tour organized by a local travel agency. Depending on your preferred destinations, you can create your own itinerary, including accommodation, transport, and activities you want to take part with a guide. On the other hand, in case you’re traveling without an itinerary, then this option is also perfect to visit as much as possible without having to worry about staying in line for tickets.