You’re about to embark on an amazing adventure to Peru, and to ensure your trip goes smoothly, we’ve compiled the “Top 10 Peru Travel Tips” just for you. Whether you’re exploring the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu or immersing yourself in the vibrant culture of Lima, these essential tips will help you make the most of your journey. From navigating the local transportation to savoring the delectable Peruvian cuisine, get ready to experience the wonders of Peru like a seasoned traveler.

Top 10 Peru Travel Tips

Best Time to Visit Peru

When planning a trip to Peru, it’s important to consider the weather, peak and off-peak seasons, as well as the festivals and events happening in the country. The best time to visit Peru depends on what you want to experience during your trip.

Weather in Peru

Peru has a diverse climate due to its geographical features, which include the Andes Mountains and the Amazon Rainforest. It’s important to note that Peru experiences two distinct seasons – the dry season and the wet season.

The dry season runs from May to September, making it an ideal time to visit if you want to explore the Inca ruins or trek to Machu Picchu. During this time, the weather is generally dry and sunny, with cooler temperatures in the highlands.

On the other hand, the wet season occurs from November to April, with the heaviest rainfall in the Amazon Rainforest and the eastern side of the Andes. While the wet season brings lush green landscapes and blooming flowers, it’s worth noting that some areas may be inaccessible or experience heavy rainfall.

Peak and Off-peak Season

Peru experiences peak tourist season from June to August when the weather is dry and many travelers visit to see the famous sites such as Machu Picchu. During this time, it’s recommended to book accommodations and tours in advance as they can fill up quickly.

If you prefer to avoid crowds, the off-peak season from September to November and from April to May can be more suitable. The weather during these months is still pleasant, and you can enjoy Peru’s attractions with fewer tourists around.

Festivals and Events in Peru

Peru is known for its vibrant festivals and cultural events throughout the year. The most famous festival is Inti Raymi, the Festival of the Sun, which takes place in Cusco every June. During this festival, you can witness traditional Inca rituals and colorful parades.

Another popular event is the Fiesta de la Virgen de la Candelaria, which happens in Puno in February. This festival showcases traditional dances, music, and elaborate costumes, making it a must-see for those interested in Peruvian culture.

It’s worth researching the festivals and events happening in Peru during your visit, as they can add an extra layer of excitement and immersion into the country’s rich heritage.

Entry Requirements

Before traveling to Peru, make sure you are aware of the entry requirements to ensure a smooth and hassle-free journey.

Passport and Visa

To enter Peru, you will need a valid passport with at least six months of validity remaining. Depending on your nationality, you may also need a visa. It’s recommended to check the visa requirements for your specific country before traveling.

Tourist Card

Upon arrival in Peru, you will be required to fill out a tourist card, also known as an Andean Immigration Card. This card will be provided to you during your flight or at the point of entry. Make sure to fill it out accurately and keep it safe, as you will need to present it when leaving the country.

Vaccinations

It’s always a good idea to check with your healthcare provider for any recommended vaccinations before traveling to Peru. Common vaccines include those for hepatitis A, typhoid, and yellow fever, especially if you plan to visit the Amazon Rainforest.

Currency and Money Matters

Being familiar with the currency and money matters in Peru will help you navigate financial transactions smoothly during your trip.

Peruvian Currency

The official currency of Peru is the Peruvian Sol (PEN). It’s advisable to carry a mix of cash (preferably small bills) and credit/debit cards for convenience. While major credit and debit cards are widely accepted in larger establishments, having some cash on hand for smaller vendors or places without card facilities is recommended.

ATMs and Credit Cards

ATMs are readily available in major cities and tourist areas, making it convenient to withdraw cash in the local currency. However, it’s important to notify your bank before traveling to ensure your cards will work internationally.

Credit cards are accepted in most hotels, restaurants, and shops catering to tourists. It’s always a good idea to carry a backup credit card in case of any issues or emergencies.

Tipping in Peru

Tipping in Peru is customary, especially in restaurants and for tour guides. It’s recommended to tip around 10% of the total bill in restaurants. For tour guides, a tip of around $5 to $10 per person per day is considered appropriate. It’s always a good idea to check if a service charge is already included before tipping.

Language and Communication

While traveling in Peru, understanding the local language and communication nuances can greatly enhance your experience.

Official Language

The official language of Peru is Spanish. While English is spoken in tourist areas or larger cities, it’s advisable to learn a few basic Spanish phrases to help you communicate with locals and navigate daily interactions.

Basic Spanish Phrases

Learning a few key phrases in Spanish can go a long way in connecting with local Peruvians. Here are some essential phrases to get you started:

  • “Hola” – Hello
  • “Gracias” – Thank you
  • “Por favor” – Please
  • “¿Dónde está…?” – Where is…?
  • “¿Cuánto cuesta?” – How much does it cost?
  • “No entiendo” – I don’t understand

Communication Tips

When communicating with locals, it’s important to be patient and respectful. Using basic greetings such as “buenos días” (good morning), “buenas tardes” (good afternoon), or “buenas noches” (good evening) can help establish a friendly rapport.

If you’re unsure about something, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification or use simple hand gestures to help convey your message. A friendly and open attitude will go a long way in making meaningful connections with the people of Peru.

Top 10 Peru Travel Tips

Safety in Peru

Ensuring your safety while traveling should always be a top priority. Here are some important safety considerations to keep in mind when visiting Peru.

Crime and Scams

While Peru is generally a safe country for travelers, it’s advisable to take precautions to avoid becoming a victim of crime or scams. Be cautious of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas or tourist hotspots, and keep your belongings secure.

Avoid displaying valuable items openly, and be wary of strangers offering unsolicited help or goods. It’s always a good idea to research common scams in the area you will be visiting to be better prepared and informed.

Altitude Sickness

Many popular tourist destinations in Peru are at high altitudes, such as Cusco and Machu Picchu. It’s important to prepare and acclimatize yourself to avoid altitude sickness.

Take it easy during your first day at high altitude, drink plenty of water, and avoid consuming alcohol or heavy meals. If symptoms of altitude sickness such as headache, dizziness, or shortness of breath persist, seek medical attention.

Transportation Safety

When using public transportation or taxis in Peru, it’s recommended to choose licensed and reputable operators. Use official taxi services or have your accommodation arrange transportation for you. If using local buses, keep an eye on your belongings and be cautious of pickpockets.

It’s also important to exercise caution when crossing the road, as traffic in Peru can be chaotic. Always use pedestrian crossings when available and be aware of your surroundings.

Getting Around in Peru

Navigating the transportation options in Peru is essential for exploring the country’s diverse landscapes and attractions.

Transportation Options

Peru offers various transportation options to suit different preferences and budgets. Domestic flights, buses, trains, and taxis are common means of getting around the country.

Domestic Flights

When traveling long distances within Peru, domestic flights can save you time and allow for more efficient travel. Airlines such as LATAM, Avianca, and Sky Airline operate domestic routes to popular destinations.

It’s advisable to book domestic flights in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, to secure the best fares and availability.

Buses and Trains

Buses are a popular mode of transportation in Peru, offering a cost-effective way to travel between cities or regions. There are various bus companies with different levels of comfort and prices, so it’s recommended to research and choose reputable operators.

For a unique travel experience, consider taking a train ride in Peru. The Andean Explorer, for example, offers a scenic journey between Cusco and Lake Titicaca, showcasing breathtaking landscapes along the way.

Top 10 Peru Travel Tips

Accommodation in Peru

Choosing the right accommodation for your stay in Peru is crucial for a comfortable and enjoyable trip.

Types of Accommodation

Peru offers a range of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences. From budget hostels and guesthouses to luxurious hotels and eco-lodges, there is something for every traveler.

If you’re looking for an authentic experience, consider staying in a homestay or a local guesthouse, where you can immerse yourself in the local culture and interact with friendly hosts.

Recommended Areas to Stay

The choice of where to stay in Peru depends on the places you plan to visit. Here are some popular areas to consider:

  • Lima: The capital city offers a variety of accommodations and serves as a gateway to other parts of the country.
  • Cusco: The historic city of Cusco is a popular base for exploring Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley.
  • Arequipa: Known for its beautiful colonial architecture and proximity to the Colca Canyon, Arequipa offers a charming stay for nature enthusiasts.
  • Puno: Located on the shores of Lake Titicaca, Puno is an ideal location for experiencing the lake’s cultural heritage.

Booking Tips

To secure the best accommodations at competitive prices, it’s advisable to book in advance, especially during peak travel seasons. Utilize online booking platforms or consult with a travel agent to find the best deals and availability.

Read reviews from previous guests to get an idea of the quality and service provided by the accommodation. This will help ensure a comfortable and pleasant stay during your time in Peru.

Local Cuisine and Drinks

Exploring the local cuisine and drinks in Peru is a culinary adventure in itself. From unique flavors to traditional dishes, here’s what you need to know.

Must-Try Peruvian Dishes

Peruvian cuisine is renowned for its diverse flavors and use of local ingredients. Some must-try dishes include:

  • Ceviche: A refreshing dish made with fresh seafood marinated in citrus juices and mixed with onions, chili peppers, and cilantro.
  • Lomo Saltado: Stir-fried beef or alpaca served with tomatoes, onions, and French fries, often accompanied by rice.
  • Aji de Gallina: Shredded chicken in a creamy walnut sauce, served with rice and boiled potatoes.
  • Anticuchos: Grilled skewers, typically made with marinated beef heart, served with potatoes and a spicy sauce.

Street Food Safety

Peruvian street food offers a wide array of flavors and is an integral part of the local culture. To enjoy street food safely:

  • Look for vendors with a high turnover of customers, as it indicates the food is fresh.
  • Make sure food is cooked thoroughly and served hot.
  • Avoid raw or uncooked items, such as raw fish or unpasteurized juices.
  • Use discretion when consuming food from street stalls, ensuring proper cleanliness and hygiene practices are followed.

Traditional Drinks

Peru is famous for its traditional beverages, ranging from refreshing to potent. Some popular drinks include:

  • Pisco Sour: Peru’s national drink, made with Pisco (grape brandy), lime juice, simple syrup, and egg white.
  • Chicha Morada: A refreshing non-alcoholic drink made from purple corn, flavored with pineapple, cinnamon, and cloves.
  • Inca Kola: A bright yellow soda with a sweet, bubblegum-like flavor, often considered the national soda of Peru.

Don’t miss the opportunity to try these traditional drinks and explore the vibrant Peruvian culinary scene during your visit.

Must-See Destinations in Peru

While Peru offers a wealth of attractions, there are a few must-see destinations that should not be missed.

Machu Picchu

No visit to Peru is complete without a trip to the iconic Machu Picchu. This ancient Inca citadel is nestled high in the Andes and offers breathtaking views and a glimpse into Peru’s rich history. Whether hiking the Inca Trail or taking a train, witnessing the beauty of Machu Picchu is an unforgettable experience.

Cusco

As the former capital of the Inca Empire, Cusco is a city steeped in history and charm. From exploring the impressive archaeological sites to wandering the cobblestone streets lined with colonial buildings, Cusco offers a magical atmosphere. Take time to visit the local markets, try traditional foods, and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of this fascinating city.

Lake Titicaca

Situated on the border of Peru and Bolivia, Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world. Known for its floating reed islands and indigenous communities, a visit to Lake Titicaca provides a unique insight into Andean culture and traditions. Take a boat tour, visit the Uros Islands, and experience the tranquility of this majestic lake.

Cultural Etiquette

Respecting local customs and cultural etiquette is important when visiting Peru. Here are some essential guidelines to follow:

Greetings and Handshakes

When meeting Peruvians, it’s customary to greet with a handshake and maintain direct eye contact. In more rural areas, a slight bow or nod of the head may accompany the greeting. Use formal titles such as “Señor” for men and “Señora” for women unless invited to use a first name.

Respecting Local Customs

Peru has a rich cultural heritage, and it’s important to show respect for local customs and traditions. When visiting religious sites or participating in traditional ceremonies, dress modestly and be aware of any specific rules or guidelines.

Gift-giving Etiquette

If invited to someone’s home, it’s customary to bring a small gift for the host. Flowers, chocolates, or a small souvenir from your home country are appropriate choices. Avoid giving sharp objects or white lilies, as they are associated with funerals.

By following these cultural etiquette tips, you’ll show respect for the local customs and enhance your interactions with Peruvians.

In conclusion, Peru offers a diverse range of experiences, from exploring ancient ruins to delighting in the rich culinary scene. By considering the best time to visit, understanding entry requirements, respecting local customs, and being mindful of safety and transportation, you can have a memorable and enjoyable trip to this remarkable country. So pack your bags, prepare your taste buds, and get ready for an adventure in Peru!