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Planning a Trip to Peru: All You Need to Know

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Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the mighty Andes lies Peru. Here, verdant forests, vibrant culture, and versatile landscapes pose an undeniable allure. It is one of only 17 “megadiverse” countries, with hundreds of thousands of bird, animal, and plant species. And its cuisine is just as colorful. If you are planning a trip to Peru, be ready to eat your body weight with offerings like ceviche, stir-fried beef, and potatoes with spicy cheese sauce. Have a look at the best things to do in Peru and gear up for an unforgettable adventure.

Best time to visit Peru

A woman enjoying the views in Machu Picchu on a solo trip to Peru.
Trips to Peru are ideal year-round but you can enjoy nice sunny days from May to September as it is the best time to visit the country.

Home to 28 of the 32 climatic zones, Peru is one of the most diverse countries in the world to visit. It can be broken up into wet and dry seasons which will give you a good indication of when the best time to visit Peru is. May to October is considered a dry season, making it the best time for hiking, with July and August being the busiest of the dry months. May and September are less crowded and have favorable weather. The rainy season usually begins in November and continues through to April, but this is mostly confined to the mountainous areas. Meanwhile, the desert coast is at its hottest during this time with temperatures between 25°C—30°C.

More Information:
Peru in May
Peru in June
Peru in July
Peru in August
Peru in September
Peru in October

What not to miss in Peru

You can enjoy a boat ride like this when you visit Lake Titicaca.
There are remains of an ancient temple at the bottom of Lake Titicaca.
Statue of Pachacuti and Catholic church are major sights in Cusco.
Sightseeing tours in Cusco are a must while on a trip to Peru.

There are a lot of exciting things to do in Peru. Here are a few of them.

  • Follow the Inca Trail: This is the first point of order for Peru trip planning. Follow the ancient Inca road through the Andes to one of the seven world wonders, Machu Picchu.
  • Navigate Lake Titicaca: This iconic lake has a cloud of mystery hanging over it. It is the highest navigable body of water in the world and includes the Floating Islands of the Uros. Check out our trips to Lake Titicaca.
  • Surf in Máncora beach: With year-round sunshine and excellent surfing conditions, this idyllic beach is one of the most popular destinations in South America.
  • Explore Cusco: This is a stunning colonial city in the Peruvian Andes with great archeological wonders and offers a unique look into the Peruvian way of life. Learn about Peru's history in Qoricancha Temple, discover ancient in the Sacred Valley and explore the Pisac Ruins on tours to Cusco.
  • Relax in Huacachina: When you are done riding dune buggies in the deserts of southwestern Peru, your resting spot has to be Huacachina. This backpacker’s paradise is quite literally a desert oasis sitting just outside of Ica with a handful of restaurants, shops, bars, and hotels.

More information:
9 Best Machu Picchu Treks
Things To Do in Machu Picchu
Things To Do in Cusco

How long to stay in Peru

Watch the beautiful turquoise water in Lake Paron while on a trip to Peru.
We recommend building an itinerary for at least 10 days while planning a holiday in Peru.

Most travelers need at least 10 days to two weeks to hit all the major points of interest. A 7-day itinerary in Peru will start at Lima and cover the Inca trail before you head to Lake Titicaca. You can explore most of the culture and history in places like Cusco in a 10-day itinerary in Peru and then you can head to Colca Valley to discover its natural beauty. 

If you are visiting with your family, consider a 12-day tour in Peru that includes fun family activities like piranha fishing in the Amazon. A two-week trip to Peru adds the opportunity to cruise down the Amazon river and undertake a grueling trek through the Andes.

Look at our article on how many days to spend in Peru to get a better idea of the time needed for planning a trip to this South American nation.

More information:
2 Weeks in Peru

How to get to Peru

Enjoy paragliding like these people while touring Peru.
There are multiple flight options to head for Peru.

Most people choose to fly through one of the 5 international airports, Lima, Arequipa, Cusco, Iquitos and Piura, when planning a trip to Peru. Lima is the most common point of entry with many options for flights or busses to other places.

Land borders with Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Chile, and Bolivia are easy to cross with many comfortable busses crossing daily. There are a few cruises that head to Peru from San Francisco too.

Getting around

Watch beautiful scenes like this while traveling in trains in Peru.
Tourist trains might be a more expensive option while getting around in Peru.

A bus is the most popular way to travel in Peru. This is also the best way to get around when planning a trip to Peru on a budget. On the other hand, roads are long and slow and a trip between Lima and Cusco can take upwards of 29 hours. The same journey can be covered in an hour's flight but is more expensive. Star Peru, LATAM, and Avianca are the main domestic carriers that travel to smaller airports across the country.

Tourist trains are a luxurious option offering a comfortable and scenic trip. IncaRail and PeruRail run between Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu Pueblo with the former also running between Cusco and Machu Picchu Pueblo.

More information:
How to Get From Lima to Machu Picchu
How to Get From Lima to Huaraz
Best Ways to Get From Cusco to Puerto Maldonado
Best Ways to Get From Lima to Cusco

Budget and money

Peru has an excellent range of options for travelers of all budgets. Backpackers are spoiled with hostel options in all areas. You can even find a bed for as little as *USD10 per night in Cusco. Low-budget transport is also in abundance with tickets around USD20 to major destinations. The lowest prices in Peru are from October to April.

Mid-range travel is probably the best way to plan a trip to Peru. Stay in hotels that offer great value for money and eat a mix of local food and more refined cuisine. You can experience the best of the country with a little luxury for around USD20– 40 per day.

There are tons of luxury experiences for travelers seeking finer things. Making your budget upwards of USD310 per night would afford you lodges on the banks of Lake Titicaca and luxury train tickets.

More information:
Budget tours in Peru
Luxury tours in Peru

*Note: The prices mentioned are of April 2022 and are subject to change.

What you didn’t know (but should)

Huacachina is an oasis in Peruvian desert which you should visit in Peru.
Make sure you have got everything covered before heading for your trip to Peru.

Peru is a wonderful country with warm and hospitable people, but remember a few things to make your trip worry-free:

  • Expect delays: Don’t be surprised if things run late in Peru. Peruvian time is far different than what the clock tells you!
  • Plan your spending: It is difficult to split bills in Peru and many places don’t offer change. Use your big bills at upscale places and supermarkets and save your smaller bills for taxis or street food.
  • Personal space: Social distancing is not a factor in Peru and people have no issue encroaching on personal space. Get used to it, especially in crowded cities like Lima.

Safety

Head to markets like this in Peru to pick up some souvenirs.
Peru is a safe country to visit but it is always good to be careful.

Peru is considered a safe country for travelers but there are just a few things to keep in mind:

  • Safe for women: Planning a solo trip to Peru is very common and is a perfectly safe place for female travelers.
  • Pickpockets: Petty crimes like pickpocketing are the most common safety concerns so keep everything zipped up or padlocked and close to your person, especially during overnight bus rides.
  • Night time: Small towns and villages are very safe at night but avoid areas outside the neighborhoods of Miraflores and Barranco in Lima after dark.

Peru offers a cornucopia of adventures with authentic and unforgettable experiences around every corner. See ancient wonders, set foot in the Amazon rainforest, eat tantalizing food, and explore a vibrant new culture in Peru.

If you need help planning a trip to Peru, speak to our expert travel planners for a customized trip.

Tours Options in the Country

Create your custom-made trip to Peru

Traveling to Peru? Chat with a local travel specialist in Peru who can help organize your trip.

  • Lisa Artal
    Lisa Artal
    Travel Expert in Bolivia & Peru
  • Erik Krause
    Erik Krause
    Travel Expert in Peru
  • James Mackender
    James Mackender
    Travel Expert in Peru
Our travel experts are recommended by
  • BBC
  • Independent
  • Herald Sun
0 Comments We welcome your questions or comments to this article. Our travel experts will respond within 48 hours.
Travel Expert in Bolivia & Peru
Lisa Artal Travel Expert in Bolivia & Peru
Travel Expert in Peru
Erik Krause Travel Expert in Peru
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