Peru Travel Guide
With the stunning Andes peaks for the hikers, coastal bliss for the surfers and beach bums, exotic jungle for the Amazonian explorers and colonial cities for those in search of the best pisco sour, Peru serves up a limitless feast of adventure. While Machu Picchu may have initially piqued your interest, there are many more highlights that will surprise and enthral you.
The gateway to Machu Picchu and South America’s oldest continuously inhabited city, Cusco is both a cosmopolitan city and historical goldmine. Here you can visit the colourful markets and ornate cathedrals while you acclimatise to high altitudes.
The capital of Lima is a charm to discover, from the Museo Larco, which houses some of the most important pre-Columbian artefacts, Plaza Major and Casa di Aliaga, South America's oldest house. Outside of the city, there are surf-friendly beaches and vineyards waiting to be explored.
The Nazca Lines have baffled experts since they were discovered. Huge geoglyphs can be seen from the air in the shape of a hummingbird etched in the Peruvian desert by the Nazca people, who predated the Incas.
Vinicunca (Rainbow Mountain)
A beautiful, multi-coloured (hence the nickname) mountain situated southeast of Cusco standing at 16,500 feet above sea-level, the trek here is one of the most challenging in Peru due to altitude, but also utterly rewarding.
South America's largest lake, Lake Titicaca, sits high in the Andes and is bordered by Peru and Bolivia. You can see the hand-made floating islands built of reeds, where 2,000 native Uru people still live today.
Easily accessible from Peru's second largest city, Arequipa, the Colca Canyon is Peru's third most-visited attraction and twice as deep as America's Grand Canyon. Spend a few days hiking and exploring these epic landscapes.
Peru is a country in South America on the west coast of the continent, bordering Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia and Chile. From New York, a non-stop flight is 7h 30m, and from London it is roughly 15 hours, with a stopover.
Lima is situated on Peru's Pacific coast and is one of South America's largest cities with a bustling metropolis and a protected colonial centre.
Lima's Jorge Chávez International Airport is the main hub for domestic and international travellers. It is located in Callao, 11km from the city of Lima and 17km from the popular Miraflores district.
- Closest city
The official language of Peru is Spanish. A basic understanding of the language will go a long way in rural areas where English is not commonly spoken.
Peru uses the Peruvian Sol (S). The currency code is PEN. It is advisable to take some soles with you before you go, but it is safe to withdraw money at banks or ATMs while you're there.
For Australian, Canadian, UK and US citizens, no prior visa is required and will be issued for free upon arrival. Stays of up to 183 days in Peru are allowed in most cases. Visa information can change often and varies from country to country.
Electrical current is 220V/60hz using two round prongs, but sometimes dual purpose to take US two flat prongs. The standard voltage in the US is 110 volts.
Typhoid, Hepatitis A and B and antimalarial tablets are advised. Depending on where in Peru you're visiting, you may also need Yellow Fever. Consult your doctor 6 to 8 weeks before you depart.
The phone numbers to call in case of emergency are 105 for the police, 117 for an ambulance and 116 for a fire.
When to Visit
Sustainable Tourism in PeruTravelling responsibly means respecting the communities, culture and environment of the places you visit. Keep these tips in mind when travelling to Peru:
Go green. Be environmentally conscious on the road by taking short showers; turning off the lights in your hotel room when you leave; and resisting the urge to collect any plants, seashells, or other natural flora.
Respect cultural differences. Before travelling, read about the local culture and customs – even just knowing the dress code and a few basic phrases in the local language will go a long way.
Support local businesses. Enjoy a more authentic experience and directly support the local economy by travelling with a local guide, eating in local restaurants, buying from local artisans, and staying in locally-owned and operated accommodations.
Wherever possible, avoid single-use plastics. Pack reusable items such as your own shopping bags, utensils, a water bottle, and a straw. These items are typically lightweight and compact, and will greatly reduce your consumption of plastics.
Be conscious of overtourism. Opt to visit the lesser-known regions of Peru or travel outside the peak season – you'll likely even get a better deal and won't have all the crowds!
Sustainable Tourism in PeruSustainability is a deep-rooted value in Peru. The country has an abundance of natural resources, bountiful biodiversity, and a high level of government involvement in sustainable development and conservation.
Controlled Capacity in Machu Picchu
As one of the most iconic archaeological sites in the world, these "lost" ruins of the Inca Empire attract people from all over the world to Peru every year. When the number of visitors in Machu Picchu began to cause harm to the site and its surrounding area, the Peruvian government took action to limit the number of daily visitors in an effort to protect the impact of over-visitation on Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail. The Inca Trail is also closed every February for maintenance and for the safety of visitors, as there are typically heavy rains at this time of year.
A Journey in Sustainable Tourism
Did you know that 17% of Peru is protected land? The country takes conservation seriously, and PromPeru, the nation's tourism board, published a guide, A Journey in Sustainable Tourism, that is filled with information on the many opportunities for ecotourism in Peru, and authentic cultural experiences that visitors can partake in. The guide goes beyond Machu Picchu and provides information on the country's diverse regions.