Peru Traveler's Guide to Make The Most Out of Your Trip
By The Non Fiction
Published by The Non
The Non Fiction Author
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Table of Contents
Why You Will Fall In Love With Peru!
1: Welcome to Peru!
2: Planning Your Trip In Advance (Itineraries, Costs, Weather)
3: Travel Costs, Sample Budgets & Money Tips
4: Immersing Yourself in Peru (Culture, Language & More)
5: Let's Go to Lima! (Iconic Experiences, Transport, Nightlife)
6: Cusco & The Inca Trail
7: Welcome to Arequipa!
8: The Northwest - Chiclayo & Trujillo
9: The Most Beautiful Beaches of Peru (You Can't Miss Them!)
10: Lake Titicaca & Puno
11: The Ballestas Islands & Nazca
Why You Will Fall In Love With Peru!
It is a big leap to make travel
plans to Peru. Despite what it appears to be in size on the entire
South American map, Peru is a big country! Travelling from one
destination to the next requires planning, sometimes at least a
couple months in advance. When you arrive, making your way from one
place to the next might take planning some extra details with another
added detail of just having simple patience. In saying this, it is
not to intimidate you from travelling to Peru, but it is highly
travels you are not only going to learn about ancient civilizations,
culture, language and more, but you will learn more about yourself.
You do not have to trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu to learn more
about what you can sustain physically or mentally, though you
definitely will if you travel that route. You can learn about
yourself in any part of Peru. You can travel as far as Africa to see
the beginnings of mankind and the start of culture, language and
arts, but it can be found in Peru as well in hundreds if not
thousands of sites throughout the entire land.
For outdoor lovers
who want to escape civilization in a remote mountain destination with
the bonus of entering one completely different from their own, you
come to Peru. Here you can travel and follow in the footsteps of
millions of peoples before you from over a millenia ago and even
further back. If higher altitude adventure does not thrill you, you
can visit numerous cultural and urban centers. Bring your sense of
wonder and adventure! Oh, did we already say that?
Welcome to Peru!
You have arrived or you are about to
travel to Peru! There are so many details to work out and to get
started, the best way to get the rest of the details is to learn more
about the place where you are about to embark on your journey. This
carefully and lovingly written guide is about to help you out with
that, but let’s start simply with some high-points and
inspiring aspects you want to see and do during your stay in Peru.
Some of the
highlights of your experience in Peru will actually be ‘high’!
Peru is known for its tourist attractions being at some of the
highest altitudes! If you are into trekking or if you are just into
checking out the urban and town centers, be prepared for the
altitude! Drink plenty of water and eat well. There is definitely
no shortage of food! Some of the best highlights will be in the
small pueblos just at the foot of towering peaks. The people, dress
and food is some of the most welcoming, colorful and delicious from
around the globe. You will feel as if you are at home from abroad
and there is plenty to see, do and taste!
The most popular
destination for tourists when they reach Peru is the Inca Trail
leading up to Machu Picchu. It is said that any visitor who rubs
their forehead against the Intihuatana Stone will gain access into
the spirit world. For another popular must-see, you must go to Colca
Canyon in the Andes range in the south for amazing views of the Colca
River below and watch the Andean condors sail and drift, rising on
the thermals of the valley.
If you visit Lake
Titicaca, you must see the Uros Islands. The people who inhabit this
floating village have existed since before the Incas and their
village is a true wonder to the eyes and imagination made of
interwoven reeds that always need tending to in order to keep the
construction of the floating village ‘afloat’ as the
reeds at the bottom fall into the lake and rot away.
From a birdseye view
in a Cessna, you can see the famous Nazca lines of the region between
Nazca and Palpa. Created by indigenous tribes of long-ago, they were
made between the years of 200 BC and 700 AD, with figures of spiders,
fish, lizards, monkeys, llamas and human forms.
Visit the adobe city
of Chan Chan. It was once the largest pre-Columbian city in all of
the Americas, where at one time 30,000 people resided. The walled
citadels, burial chambers and temples, built by the Chimu people and
later by the Incas are still intact even with having been erected as
far back as 850 AD.
When people think of
Peru, they are instantly drawn to the image of Machu Picchu, and
while this is a must-see and for many a chance-of-a-lifetime
opportunity to witness such ancient grandeur, there is much more to
Peru to experience. Explore the Amazon! It covers sixty percent of
the entire country and you can see a small part of it flying into
Iquitos or Puerto Maldonado. From here, get a riverboat 3 hours
through the jungle to an isolated lodge off the Tambopata River
Just outside of the
touristic city of Ica you can go to Huacachina for some sandboarding
on the sand dunes or get on another type of board and go surfing in
Mancora off the Pacific coast! If you are into wildlife viewing, go
visit what is known as the Galapagos Islands of Peru, the Ballestas
Islands. There are a few more amazing and unique experiences to have
while in Peru, just read on to find out more!
How to Use This
Are you happy you
have picked up this guide? There is much more waiting for you in the
continuing pages to help you plan your trip to Peru and with even
some things for you to do and experience in your travels that you
might not have even thought of! Do continue to read on for a more
comprehensive view and advice in planning your ultimate trip to Peru.
You are already
almost through Chapter 1, but continue on to Chapter 2 that will help
you understand the best ways of getting to and around Peru. There
are pointers on how to find accommodations and learn about the best
places to stay. It will also talk about the different regions and
when the best time of year it is to go to these regions along with
travel and themed itineraries to help maximize your travel time and
Chapter 3 is sort of
the second part of Chapter 2, to assist in planning your budget and
have an idea of what things cost and what money you might expect to
spend each day, whether you are on a tight budget or otherwise.
Chapter 4 will help
you become informed of certain culture, language and mannerisms
specific to regions and Peru overall. Learn what to expect of
Peruvian cuisine, drink and more. This chapter will also help you in
figuring out what to pack.
Next, the fun
begins. The following chapters will take you through cities, regions
and highlights of the entire country of Peru from iconic and the
well-traveled places to more off-the-beaten tourist path. There is
something for everyone! What is great about this guide is you can
use it to plan your travels and keep it with you to use as a
reference throughout your journey. So let’s get started.
Planning Your Trip In Advance (Itineraries, Costs, Weather)
Basic Travel Requirements
When planning to
travel, one of the first things to write down on your ‘To-Do
List’ is to check and double-check your travel requirements.
Do you have enough of the required pages in your passport for stamps
on arrival? Is your Passport within the amount of time before
expiration required to enter? Do you need a visa? Working on these
details ahead of time may relieve a lot of possible stress and
last-minute worries. According to current information,
citizens/permanent residents of any South American country, Europe
and the United States do not need a visa and can enter for tourist
reasons for up to 183 days. Though, it is not always a bad idea to
double-check this information.
When you travel to
most parts of South America it is always good to check the
information on certain vaccines you might need before travel. They
may not be required, but they will keep you from getting seriously
sick or even save your life. The vaccines which are recommended for
Peru, whether you are staying in city centers or going off towards
the rainforest are: Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Yellow Fever, Hepatitis B,
Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR) and Tetanus-diphtheria. If you are
spending time in the outdoors, just beware of your surroundings and
animals as some might carry rabies. Malaria prophylaxis is also
recommended for any travel below 2,000 meters (6,561 feet). Most of
remaining safe and healthy throughout your travel, no matter where
you might go, starts with being informed and prepared. For any
vaccine, it is always recommended to see your doctor for
administration at least 6 weeks before travel.
Getting to Peru
If you are flying
into Peru, you will land at the Jorge Chavez International Airport
(LIM) in Lima. There are direct flights from New York, Newark,
Atlanta, Miami, Houston, LA, Mexico and Toronto. From Europe you can
also get there direct from Madrid, Paris and Amsterdam. Within Latin
America and South America, there are also numerous major cities that
connect to Lima. The international airport in Lima is also the main
hub for most domestic flights.
If you are looking
at the overall map of South America, Peru seems relatively small.
But have another look and you will realize it is larger than you
think. Travelling from destination to destination is not only far at
times, but the mountainous terrain can make some travel long and
daunting. It is best to plan ahead and have at the least a rough
idea of where you want to go and what you want to see during your
visit. As an example, two of the most travelled tourist locations
are Lima to Cusco. There are 724 miles (1,165km) between the two
destinations and you need around 20 hours to get from one to the next
if you travel on the road and one hour by air. A lot of what you
will be able to see will depend largely on the length of your stay
and even your budget.
Of course, one of
the most efficient ways to get around Peru is by air. If you have
the budget you can get practically anywhere you wish to go, even the
more remote regions. In fact, a couple remote areas can only be
reached via the air (though it might be on a small engine plane).
The rates are relatively inexpensive, though you should expect to pay
more during peak tourist seasons. The best way to get any fair rate
no matter the time of year, is to book ahead. The general rule is no
later than three weeks before travel. For more information on
domestic flights in Peru, see the following section..
Renting a Car
If you have a larger
budget and want to experience what a road trip is in Peru driving
yourself, you can rent a car at any of the international rental car
companies in most of the major cities of Peru. You will find some
upon your arrival just inside the Jorge Chavez International Airport
(LIM). You must be over 21 years of age and you must have an
international driver’s license and international credit card.
Book your rental in advance! It is highly recommended.
Travel by Sea
If you love
travelling via cruise lines, there are many companies who have Peru
on their destination list. There are also some offerings from
shipping companies that offer sailings from the US or Europe to the
ports of Lima (Callao), Arequipa (Matarani), Trujillo (Salaverry) and
One of the best ways
to travel on a budget in Peru is by the train. Even if money is no
object, the views you can see on the train are some of the best
tourist sights to see throughout the Peruvian countryside. It runs
from Cuzco to Machu Picchu and then from Cuzco to Puno and Lake
Titicaca and Puno. The routes the trains cross have been awarded the
second most beautiful of the entire world. Peru-Rail started in 1999
and since then, the services have been upgraded and are safe,
convenient and comfortable. There are first-class carriages,
improved washrooms and excellent dining. You can head to the
observation car for the best unobstructed views as you travel through
the beautiful landscapes.
The next best way to
travel from place to place and from city to city in Peru is by bus.
If you are a backpacker on a budget, this is by far the best option.
However, it will take longer to travel in between your destinations,
so budget your time as well. The prices are reasonable and buses are
always running. The main stops are in Lima, Arequipa, Cuzco, Lake
Titicaca and Puno, Chiclayo, Huaraz & Callejon de Huaylas, Piura,
Paracas, Mancora, Trujillo, Tacna, Ayacucho and Tumbes, but there are
many more. For booking your tickets, go to
These are for
long-distance travel bus routes just to get you to your main
destination(s), but you can also take tour buses that stop with
guided tours en route on InkaExpress from Cuzco to Puno, 4M Express
for Colca Valley, Arequipa and Puno or Cruz del Sur for routes to
Lima, Nazca, Cuzco and Arequipa.
Getting around Peru
via air is by far the most efficient way to travel and see more,
especially if you are staying on a short visit. There are at seven
different airlines to choose from; LAN, Avianca, Peruvian Airlines,
StarPeru, Amaszonas and Sky Airline. You can check the website,
for the latest deals and fares for when and where you travel. The
airlines can virtually get you anywhere in Peru, just get online and
see where you can go!
Where to Stay
Like any place in
South America there are plenty of options for accommodations and
where you can rest your head during your travels. In various places,
you will find anything from luxury lodging to very rustic and homey
homestays and almost everything in between. There are options for
every budget and even if you are on a tight budget, you can still
afford to splurge every once in a while.
These are the most
popular for any backpacker coming to Peru. They are great places to
meet other travelers and they are often very well organized with
social areas, internet and multi-lingual employees. One tip as sort
of a buyer-beware item is that the hostels are not always the best
option, especially if you might have been travelling long in Peru and
your budget is getting really tight or you start out that way. You
might find better rates at a homestay/guesthouse or cheap hotel. The
best way to sort your needs out is to shop around a little in advance
to at least have an idea of what to expect.
These are also known
as alojamientos, albergues or hospedajes. They can be rated
somewhere in between some hostels and hotels. You will rarely be
packed into dorm rooms in them and there are options of single
bedrooms and up to four-beds per room. They are often run by a
family and are a nice way to meet and mingle with the locals and they
are a cheaper alternative.
The Budget Hotel
These are not always
the best option for budget travelers as the value for your money is
not that great. The service is typically poor and the rooms are
often very rundown, not to mention, security is sometimes an issue
and they are mainly located in the less-than-desirable parts of town.
However, if you get lucky and have a look around, you may find a
diamond in the rough, just ask to see your room before you accept.
These are two- to
three-starred hotels and they can be a hit or miss. Just check out
your room and ask about the amenities offered before you check in.
You can find luxury
hotels in the main tourist attractions of Cusco, Lake Titicaca, Lima
and Arequipa. They start around $US100 and go up from there
depending on location and the amenities they offer. But if you want
to splurge, you can expect only the best service and features. Some
are even older homes and buildings refurbished into a top hotel. If
you are history buff, look for some historic hotels when you are in
This is a fairly new
concept, but you can find some of these lodges in Iquitos, the
Tambopata and Manu rainforests and Madre de Dios. They offer great
views for top-end wildlife viewing and oftentimes from your own deck
and they are great for anyone looking for a romantic spot or for the
Travel Routes &
A few days:
If you only have the opportunity to stay for a few days and you have
never been to Peru, then you must see what is iconic about Peru.
Choose one destination or two if you are super motivated. Lima is a
big one and/or just get a direct connecting flight to Cusco for the
Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. You will need to do one of the shorter
treks, however. Getting the train to Machu Picchu will get you close
enough in just a good day to hike the rest of the way to the top.
If it might be your second trip to Peru and you have seen that and
done that, then Lake Titicaca and Puno could be a destination or even
the beaches of the north and the Amazon. A lot of what you can fit
in will depend on the size of your budget.
Up to One
Week: If you have a complete week then just as you might for
a few days, choose one destination or two if you have the energy and
budget. Fly into Lima with a connection to Cusco for the Machu
Picchu destination trek on the Inca Trail. You will need to do one
of the quicker routes! And if you have been to Peru before and
you’ve returned because you cannot get enough, go to Lake
Titicaca for a few days and fly over Nazca before you have to catch
your flight back home. If you are on a budget, it would be better to
choose just one destination.
If you can make it to Peru for two weeks, you can take more of a
leisurely route and attitude. It all depends on what you have on
your checklist. You can easily do a nice multi-day trek from Cusco
to Machu Picchu and have time to acclimate. You could also visit
Lima and still have time for Lake Titicaca if you can catch a flight.
It would be a lot to fit in, but possible. If you want to go more
off the beaten path, there is Arequipa and its surrounding areas for
trekking and visiting ancient ruins. If you need some lower-altitude
sporting, you can head to the northwest to the beaches for surf and
Three or More
Weeks: If your travel to Peru includes at least three weeks,
then you can take your time and enjoy many of the details each
destination can offer. You will have time to see most if not all of
the main sites and even have time to relax. A trip as long as this,
of course would take a fairly sizeable budget, even on a small
budget, but if you have a travel partner it is more than doable! Get
a taste of urban life and historical beginnings in Lima before you
head off to Cusco to prepare for Machu Picchu. Catch a bus or fly to
Lake Titicaca for unique experiences in one of the more remote
regions. Afterwards, you can see the Nazca lines and head further
north either to the beaches or have a small adventure in the Amazon.
Themed Example Itineraries
A Few days
Urban Vacay: For a
few days, choose one destination if you want to be more relaxed.
Many like to visit Lima or Cusco for both the nightlife and food, but
you can also catch much of the historical background of Peru here in
these destination cities as well.
> The Highlights:
If you must squeeze more than one destination into your trip to
Peru, pick Lima and Cusco. See the sites in Lima and go to the
hottest spots. There are options for all budget sizes and you will
still experience what people come to Lima for. Then fly, train, or
bus it to Cusco for the short trip to Machu Picchu. Take the iconic
photo of you atop the ancient grounds and fly back home.
> Been there,
done Machu Picchu/Lima: Go to Lake Titicaca for more cultural
attractions and beautiful countryside. Fly over the Nazca Lines and
go see the Ballestas Islands. You could even do all of these with
budgeted time. If you want some relaxation for just a few days, there
are still the less-traveled, but lovely beaches and towns in the
Up to a
The beaten path:
Fly into Lima and check out the cultural heritage sites and enjoy the
great food and nightlife of the city before heading off to Cusco via,
plane, train or bus. Acclimate semi-comfortably and do the Machu
> Outdoors and
Away: Go to Cusco but instead of the Inca Trail, choose a
less-than-traveled route to have some time to yourself and maybe a
few new friends. Take it easy and then go to Arequipa for more
trekking through the beautiful Andes. Go see the surrounding towns
and visit the hot springs.
Adventures: Get a connection flight from Lima to Juliaca and book it
via bus or taxi to Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca. View the
Nazca Lines, maybe catch a sandboarding tour on the local dunes. You
might have time to still view the ‘Poor Man’s Galapagos’
at the Ballestas Islands.