Heading to Peru anytime soon? Well this guide will take you through 6 helpful Peru travel tips to better help you plan your trip. You are sure to have a trip of a lifetime and I am hoping these tips can help make that happen. Feel free to comment below with any additional questions and have fun in Peru!
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Peru Travel Tip #1: When to Visit & Weather
As you think of when you want to visit Peru, you will have to take into account what the weather will be like during your trip. You can break up the year into two main seasons for the most part – the wet and the dry. This can change a bit, however depending on what area of the country you will be in.
From around November to March the country experiences a higher level of rainfall. While the average temperature is warmer during these months since Peru is near the equator, there is a higher chance that your days can be impacted by the poor weather.
Also to note during the rainy season you will also find that the Inca Trail will be closed for a portion of it due to the dangerous conditions.
The dry season on the other hand runs from April to October and is definitely the most popular time to visit. You will find clearer days with a bit cooler weather during this time. See below for rainfall and temperature stats courtesy of holiday-weather.
Peru Travel Tip #2: Getting Around
Flights: For your longer journeys such as Lima – Cusco or Cusco – Puno for example you will most likely be looking at some short flights. Take a look at LATAM Airlines, Star Peru or TACA Airlines for best options.
Trains: Getting from Cusco to Machu Picchu and vice versa, your best bet is to take PeruRail. There are a few departure times to choose from each day as well as different class types. Make sure to book these in advance once you know your dates as they will sell out!
Taxis & Ubers: There will be portions of your trip where you will have to take taxis or Ubers to visit attractions. In the Sacred Valley for example you will need to drive each attraction.
You can do so easily by hiring a taxi for the day who can bring you along to all the different places and wait for you as you go explore. Another option is hiring a private guide as well who can do the same but also give you more insight into each place.
Shared Taxi / Colectivo: If you want to save some money, you can also take a colectivo or shared taxi within cities or even between longer routes. These colectivos run more so on set routes and you can hop in one as they make their way through a city.
Peru Travel Tip #3: Booking Machu Picchu
As of 2023 there have been some important changes to the rules at Machu Picchu. Most notably this has to do with specific routes/circuits that you will need to follow.
Machu Picchu has had its fair share of rule changes throughout the years, so we will see what sticks and what doesn’t.
Machu Picchu Circuits
There are 5 routes to choose from when visiting Machu Picchu (numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5). On the official Machu Picchu website, you can find more info about each circuit.
When going about the booking process, you do not need to choose a specific route (unless you are taking part of one of the more limited mountain hikes).
These main options include:
- Circuit 1, 2, 3 or 4
- Huayna Picchu Mountain + Circuit 4
- Machu Picchu Mountain + Circuit 3
- Huchuy Picchu Mountain + Circuit 4
- Circuit 1 or 2 + Inka Bridge
If you are deciding which Circuit to take part of, it seems like Circuit 2 is the most comprehensive of the options. This offers around 3 hours of walking to all the various areas of the Machu Picchu complex.
Now, if you want to take part of one of the three more limited mountain hikes, then you will be stuck with either Circuit 3 or 4. I have seen some people recommend buying two tickets (mountain hike in the morning / standard ticket in the afternoon), in order to see more of the complex.
You must purchase tickets to Machu Picchu in advance through the government website or an authorized ticket provider. The tickets can sell out, especially in high season so do buy your tickets beforehand.
If you opt for a prearranged tour of Machu Picchu, many of them will take care of tickets, transportation, lodging, tour guide etc. So just make sure you have an idea of what is and what is not included in your package.
Entry time slots are hourly starting at 6:00AM and ending at 3:00PM for a standard ticket.
If you want to take part of one of the mountain hikes, these will just have hourly entry time slots in the morning.
If purchasing tickets through the government website, here are the ticket costs for the various route offerings:
- Standard Ticket: S/ 152 ($42 USD)
- Huayna Picchu: S/ 200 ($55 USD)
- Macchu Picchu Mountain: S/ 200 ($55 USD)
- Huchuy Picchu: S/ 152 ($42 USD)
- Circuit 1 or 2 + Inka Bridge: S/ 152 ($42 USD)
Peru Travel Tip #4: Staying Healthy
A few tips regarding taking care of your health while on your trip:
Tap water: Do not drink it! – even when brushing your teeth. Always drink bottled water while in the country. Also be careful if you are being served ice cubes or ordering any type of salad/fruit – ask whether purified water is being used.
Vaccinations: Stay up to date with the latest advisories of which vaccinations you will need in Peru. Some areas might require them (such as the Amazon) and some may not so just make sure you are in the know before you head out.
Altitude: Odds are the elevation in Peru will be much higher than you are used to. The elevation in Cusco is around 11,000 feet while Lake Titicaca is around 12,500.
There are a couple ways to make sure you don’t get altitude sickness on your trip – you can start taking altitude sickness pills beforehand and you should drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Some Inca Trail guides also require you to arrive a few days early in Cusco in order to get used to the elevation.
Peru Travel Tip #5: Bring All Types of Clothing
No matter when you are going to Peru, you will have to come prepared with different types of clothing. Due to the various elevation changes throughout the country, it can get quite cold at night while being warm during the day.
Therefore you should pack both shorts and t-shirts along with long pants and sweatshirts. If you are headed into the Amazon you will definitely want to bring some long sleeved shirts and pants to better protect you from all sorts of insects.
And since you will probably be on your feet a bunch be sure to bring some comfortable walking/hiking shoes as well.
Peru Travel Tip #6: Always Have Some Cash
The local currency in Peru is the Peruvian Sol. Throughout your trip you will want to make sure you have some Sol on you.
From markets to taxis to using public restrooms, you will have to pay in cash. Do not worry though, credit cards should be accepted at many hotels, restaurants, bars, etc.