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Peru Travel Guide

Looking for an in-depth Peru travel guide?

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If you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, Peru is the place to go. Chock full of incredible historic sites, gorgeous natural wonders, and rich cultural experiences, Peru has plenty to entice any type of traveler.

It’s no wonder that the country is one of the most popular travel destinations in South America.

Whether you’re looking to dig into Peru’s delicious cuisine or explore the country’s top archeological sites, we’ve got you covered in this comprehensive Peru guide.

Most visitors to Peru make it a priority to visit the country’s historic sites, eager to learn more about the Indigenous Inca people and their culture.

A trip to Machu Picchu, one of the most famous pre-colonial sites in the world, is a must, whether you’re taking the four-day hike up the Inca Trail or riding up to the famous city with a tour bus company.

Built into the Andes Mountains, the ruins of this famous city will take your breath away and you’ll marvel at the well-preserved walls and buildings that remain more than 600 years after the city was built. This “Lost City of the Incas” will surely dazzle you and you’ll leave wanting to learn more about the powerful Inca society.

For a more recent look into Peruvian history, head to any of the country’s major cities, many of which feature incredible examples of colonial architecture.

One great city to visit is Arequipa, where you’ll find gorgeous colonial cathedrals and buildings among snow-peaked volcanoes.

If we can offer one piece of Peru travel advice, we’d highly recommend spending some time among Peru’s natural wonders. Beyond the majestic Andes Mountains, there’s plenty to see in this environmentally diverse country.

The Amazon rainforest covers part of Peru, offering visitors the chance to see one of the most famous rainforests in the world.

Head to the Pacaya-Samira National Reserve to get a sense of the area’s incredible biodiversity and see incredible sights like the Amazon River’s pink dolphins.

For a totally different experience, venture into the country’s coastal desert. Speed down the dunes on a sandboard, hike the hills for some amazing views, or spend some time in Huacachina, a desert oasis featuring a gorgeous lake, vineyards, and much more to explore.

Keep reading to dive into resources that will help you with planning a trip to Peru in South America.

Note: This ultimate guide to Peru travel contains affiliate links to trusted partners!

Peru Map

Use this Peru travel map to begin planning your trip to this incredible country!

Peru map

Click here for an interactive Google Map version of the above graphic.

Cusco Travel Guide

Plan the ultimate trip to Cusco with the help of these guides!

Inca Trail Travel Guide

Don’t miss the Ince Trail when traveling Peru!

Lima Travel Guide

The following guides will help make your Lima Peru vacation memorable!

Other Peru Travel Destinations

Continue planning your trip to peru with:

Traveling In South America

These guides share Peru travel advice as well as tips for exploring South America in general!

Best Peru Tours

Explore local culture with a Peruvian tour guide through these unique excursions:

  • Lima Ultimate Peruvian Food Tour
  • 4-Day Trek to Machu Picchu Through the Inca Trail from Cusco
  • Rainbow Mountain in One Day from Cusco
  • ATV Tour to Moray, Maras, and Salt Flat in the Sacred Valley from Cusco
  • 2-Day Tour: Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu by Train from Cusco
  • Full Day Paracas Ica and Huacachina from Lima All Included
  • Mysterious Nazca Lines, Overflight from Ica, Huacachina Oasis & Wine Tour from Lima
  • Visit the Sea Lions in Palomino Islands in Lima from Callao

Peru Hotels

Click here to browse the best Peru travel hotels!

Prefer self-contained stays?

Click here to check out unique local rentals!

You can also use this map to search for local stays:

Peru Travel Insurance

It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling solo or with a group on a Peru tour. When visiting Peru — or any other country in the world — make sure to get travel insurance to protect your health and safety.

In my opinion, the best travel medical insurance for travelers is SafetyWing as they’ve got a large network and offer both short-term and long-term coverage — including coverage if you’re traveling for months as well as limited coverage in your home country).

Additionally, SafetyWing is budget-friendly and offers $250,000 worth of coverage with just one low overall deductible of $250.

With coverage, you’ll have peace of mind as you embark on your Peru travel itinerary.

Click my referral link here to price out travel insurance for your trip in just a few clicks.

Peru Travel Guide FAQ

Below, find answers to frequently asked questions about traveling in Peru.

Q: What are the best places to visit in Peru?

The most popular place to visit by far in Peru is Machu Picchu, the famous Inca city. Set high in the mountains above the Urubamba River, the ruins of this ancient city and the lush mountains that surround them make for an incredible sight.

The dry stone walls you’ll see around the archeological site date back to the mid-1400s and the city is considered one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

You can easily access Machu Picchu by train or bus from one of the surrounding cities; though, if you’re a true adventurer, you can hike the Inca Trail, which winds through the mountains and terminates at Machu Picchu.

The hike takes about four days and must be done with a guide, but the sights along the trail are truly spectacular.

And while you’re in the area, spend some time in Cusco, a city full of architecture, cultural experiences, and museums that will help you learn more about Peru’s long history. Visit the Inca ruins at Sacsayhuaman, stroll through the gorgeous Plaza de Armas, and marvel at the Inca artifacts at the Museo Casa Concha.

Another great spot to visit is Lima, Peru’s capital. This city’s blend of Indigenous artifacts with gorgeous colonial architecture and a modern art scene make for a truly exciting destination that you won’t want to miss on your next trip.

Lima is home to some of the best-preserved examples of Spanish colonial architecture in South America, from the city’s Plaza de Armas to the Convento de San Francisco.

For a more modern look at the city, head to the Parque del Amor, featuring colorful mosaic works, romantic sculptures, and breathtaking views of the ocean.

Speaking of the ocean, you’ll want to head to the seaside neighborhood of Miraflores for some delicious New Peruvian food at some of the city’s top restaurants.

And you won’t want to miss the Magic Water Tour in the Park of the Reserve, the largest fountain complex in the world. Here you can catch amazing laser and light shows on some of the biggest fountains every night.

Peru is also home to part of Lake Titicaca, the largest lake in South America. This sparkling blue lake is always a tourist favorite, offering opportunities for both exploration and relaxation.

The lakeside city of Puno is a great “home base” for any trip to Lake Titicaca, offering plenty of its own historic charm and easy access to some of the lake’s top attractions, like the Uros Islands. These manmade floating reed islands are home to an entire community of people who have lived on the islands for hundreds of years.

Today, you can visit the islands and learn more about the Uru people and their way of life.

Also worth visiting are Amantani Island and Taquile Island, whose individual communities have helped preserve the traditions and crafts of Indigenous peoples for centuries.

Q: Is Peru expensive for tourists?

While Peru is a very popular travel destination, it’s still fairly inexpensive to visit. Cheap food options are ubiquitous, rideshares are much less expensive than here than they are elsewhere and it’s pretty easy to find comfortable, budget-friendly accommodations.

The average traveler spends about $44 USD per day on food, accommodations, transportation, activities, and other travel expenses.

Q: What is the best way to travel around Peru?

The bus is generally the best way to travel around Peru. Several coach bus services run routes between cities and regions, some of which will allow you to hop on and hop off at different destinations.

Bus trips can take some time (up to 21 hours in some cases) but you’ll get some great views of the countryside while traveling in comfort. A 10-hour journey will cost you around $12 USD one way, so these trips won’t eat up too much of your budget.

Flying is probably the most efficient way to get around Peru, with domestic airlines offering inexpensive, short flights between cities.

Many of these flights are not direct, though, and you may need to take a layover in a capital city like Lima; however, if you’re short on time, planes are a great way to maximize your time in Peru.

Q: Is Peru safe for travel?

Peru is a pretty safe destination for travelers. Violent crime rates are fairly low, though petty crime like pickpocketing and bag snatching remains an issue. You’ll want to avoid displaying any obvious signs of wealth while traveling in Peru and make sure your valuables are in a safe place and out of sight.

It’s also important to stay vigilant in crowded spaces to avoid pickpocketing and never keep anything valuable in your back pockets.

As with other destinations, it’s also a good idea to avoid traveling alone at night in Peru just to be safe.

Q: What do I need to know before going to Peru?

If you’re planning on visiting Machu Picchu during your trip to Peru (which, let’s be honest, you probably are), book your tickets and trains far in advance.

During the country’s high season (July through September), train tickets and admission to the ancient city book up fast and you won’t want to be caught without them.

Consider booking both as soon as you make the decision to visit the country and make sure you only buy from legitimate websites.

The same goes for Inca Trail tours; the sooner you can book your guide or tour group, the better. Also, make sure to book with a company that respects the rights of Inca Trail porters.

If you don’t currently live at a high altitude, Peru’s altitude — particularly around Machu Picchu — may be a bit of a shock to your system. You may actually want to visit Machu Picchu before visiting Cusco, as the ancient city sits at a lower altitude than Cusco and will allow you to adjust to the thin air more gradually.

If you’re concerned about altitude sickness, talk to your doctor before your trip; they might be able to suggest some medications or tips for staying healthy during your trip. They will also be able to prescribe any shots or medications you may need if you’re visiting the Amazon or other areas with a higher risk for diseases like malaria and yellow fever.

You’ll also want to carry cash while traveling through Peru. Cash is king in Peru and many businesses do not accept credit cards.

If you’re visiting multiple cities, make sure there’s an ATM near your next destination before you leave so that you’re not stuck in a new place without cash.

You also might want to keep some cash locked away in your accommodation so that you have a backup stash just in case. Just make sure that stash is in a safe place where only you can find it!

Q: How many days should you spend in Peru?

Most experts suggest spending about 7 to 10 days in Peru. This will give you enough time to explore the historic Inca sites of the Sacred Valley, spend some time in Cusco, explore Lima, and even spend a day or two at Lake Titicaca.

Q: What is the best month to visit Peru?

The best time to visit Peru is during the country’s dry season, between May and October. The weather during these months is generally pleasant and sunny, with temperatures in the 60s and 70s Fahrenheit.

This is also the country’s peak season for tourism, so be sure to book hotels and reservations well in advance if you plan to travel during this time.

Q: Do I need a Peru travel visa?

Travelers from the United States, Canada, the United Kindgom, the European Union, Australia, and many other countries do not need a visa to enter Peru.

Citizens from most South American countries, including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, and Uruguay simply need a national ID to enter the country.

It’s recommended to view your country’s Peru International Travel Information page for the most up-to-date information on entry and exit rules and Peru Travel Requirements. You can also contact the Consulate General of Peru.

Q: Where is Peru?

Peru is located in western South America. It shares borders with Ecuador and Colombia (north), Brazil (east), Bolivia (southeast), and Chile (south).

Q: Are credit cards accepted in Peru?

Credit cards — particularly Visa and Mastercard — are sometimes accepted around Peru in tourist areas, though you’ll definitely want to carry cash.

Q: Can you drink the tap water in Peru?

The tap water is not safe to drink in Peru.

Q: What is the local currency in Peru?

The local currency in Peru is the Sol (S/).

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