Peru Country Guide
Passport & Visa Requirements
|Country||Visa Required||Reciprocity Fees||Return Ticket Required|
|Rest of World||Citizen of countries NOT mentioned on this list, it is vital that you check your specific visa requirements before traveling to Peru. We recommend visiting VisaHQ to stay up-to-date with all the latest visa & passport requirements. Visit VisaHQ.com|
Travelers from New Zealand, South Africa, and many other Latin American countries DO NOT REQUIRE A VISA to enter Peru. However, it is still very important you check with your local consulate or embassy for the most up-to-date visa & passport requirements.
Citizens of ALL countries: To enter Peru, your passport must be valid for a minimum of 6 months after your travel dates. For example, if you are traveling to Peru in March, your passport must be valid through September of that year.
We strongly recommend making copies of your passport. Keep your original passport locked away in the safe of your hotel and carry a photocopy of your passport with you during your travels. You might also consider purchasing a passport holder to keep all your documents safe.
With a few exceptions, visas for citizens of the USA, UK, Canada, Japan, and most other EU Nationals are NOT REQUIRED for entry into Peru.
Tourists are permitted a 183-day, non-extendable stay, stamped into passports, as well as a tourist card called a Tarjeta Andina de Migración (Andean Immigration Card). Do not lose this! It must be returned upon exiting the country.
Note: If you are considering extending your stay, request the full amount of time to the immigration officer at the point of entry, since they have a tendency to issue 30-day or 90-day stays.
If you lose your tourist card, visit an oficina de migraciónes (immigration office) for a replacement.
Processing Time for Visas:
If your nationality requires a visa, allow for at least 24 hours for visa processing.
We always recommend that if you need to apply for a visa, you do so as soon as your flights have been scheduled.
We highly recommend visiting the World Health Organization website for the most up-to-date country-specific vaccination requirements.
Embassy of the Republic of Peru in the USA
1700 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington DC, 20036
Telephone: +1 (202) 833 9860
Office Hours: Monday – Friday, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Consulate of Peru in Seattle, United States
3717 NE, 157th Street Suite 100
Seattle, Washington 98155
Contact: Mr. Miguel Angela
Email: [email protected]
Buying flights to Peru
Prices vary depending on many factors such as how far in advance you book when you want to travel and any special offers airlines may have. Typically July, August, and Christmas have the highest fares and, especially in these months, it pays to book ahead.
The vast majority of international flights to Peru are in and out of Peru’s capital – Lima. There are also a small number of international flights from other parts of South America to and from Cuzco, such as to Bogota, Colombia, Santiago de Chile, and La Paz, Bolivia.
Flights from the United States to Peru
There are direct flights from the United States to Peru from a number of cities. From Miami, you can fly to Lima with Latam, American Airlines and Avianca. From Dallas, you can fly to Lima with American Airlines. From Fort Lauderdale, there are flights to Peru with budget airlines Spirit and Jetblue. From Houston, there are flights with United Airlines to Lima. Latam flies from Los Angeles to Peru. Delta flies from Atlanta to Lima. United and Latam fly from Newark and JFK respectively to Lima. Indirect options include Copa via Panama City and Avianca via Bogota.
Flights from Canada to Peru
Air Canada Rouge has direct flights from Toronto to Lima and from Montreal to Lima. There are also numerous options via the United States.
Flights from Europe to Peru
British Airways fly direct from London Gatwick to Lima during the high season (roughly April to October). Iberia, Latam and Air Europa fly from Madrid to Lima. From Paris and Amsterdam, there are flights to Lima with Air France and KLM. These airlines offer connections from other European countries via their hubs to Lima.
Flights from the Middle East to Lima
The best route from the Middle East to Peru by air is usually via Europe.
Flights from South Africa to Lima
The shortest journey time from Johannesburg to Lima is via Sao Paulo. Latam and South African Airlines fly to Sao Paulo, then from there, a number of airlines fly onwards to Lima.
Flights from Australia and New Zealand to Peru
Typically flying first to Santiago in Chile will be your best option – often this is with Latam. From there, you can continue your journey to Peru either to Lima or directly to Cuzco.
Flights from Asia to Peru
There is no short route from Asia to Peru! Your options include flying through the USA, Europe or Australia or New Zealand.
Domestic flights in Peru
As with international flights, most domestic flights in Peru are in and out of Lima. There are a few useful exceptions though with flights from Cuzco to Puerto Maldonado, a great way to combine Machu Picchu and the Amazon Rainforest. From Cuzco, there are also flights to Juliaca for Lake Titicaca and Arequipa for the White City itself and the Colca Canyon. Seasonally there are also flights from Cuzco to Iquitos, another Amazon option as well as Pisco for the Nazca Lines. The main domestic airlines are Latam and Avianca, plus some smaller airlines such as Peruvian Airlines, Star Peru, Sky Peru, and Viva Airlines Peru. Cheap is not always best when it comes to flights in Peru.
Travelers visiting Peru can experience any type of weather they wish, because of Peru’s extremely varied landscapes. Peru rests in the west of South America and shares borders with Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, and Chile. Located just west of Peru is the South Pacific Ocean, and just to the east is Brazil’s section of the Amazon Rainforest.
Peru’s geographical location causes the country to experience several different climates. The coastal section is full of narrow deserts and fertile valleys neighboring the Pacific Ocean. The northern coast is sunny all year round with arid desert. While the southern section is more temperate with little to no rain but plenty of cloudy days. The Amazon rainforest, which covers 59% of the national territory, experiences hot and tropical weather, with plenty of rainfall during the wet season. The highlands are Peru’s mountainous region is highly dominated by the Andes. The northern Andes are lower and tend to be more humid than the rest, while the southern Andes are wider and higher in altitude. The perfect time to hike around the Andes is during the summer season, from April to October, when the days are warm and there is very little rain.
Due to the varied landscape, the weather in Peru ultimately depends on where you’re traveling. If you’re looking to escape to the Peruvian coast, the summer months from December to March are the most pleasant. Expect warm and sunny weather. During the winter months, which consist of the rest of the year, the coast is covered with a persistent fog, called garua. For travelers seeking to explore the Andes Mountains in the highlands, you can expect sunshine year-round. It is only from June to August when the temperature starts to drop. The eastern rainforests are humid and warm year-round, with more precipitation from December to February.
Best Time to Travel to Peru
Peru is a country to most of the year. It has some distinct seasons, as described here.
Most travelers visit Cuzco, the Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu between June to August. This is considered the peak season, but this isn’t the only time you should come. The best time to travel to Peru depends on your preferences and travel style.
Most destinations that travelers are keen to see are in the Andes. The Andes experience two major seasons. The dry season is from May to September and is considered to be the optimal time to visit. By May, the rain starts to disappear, the sun shines a little brighter, and all adventurers come out to explore! Tourists often enjoy boat rides on the blue Lake Titicaca, trekking past the snowcapped mountains, or hiking the iconic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. May and June are especially good months, just after the wet season has finished, when you get beautiful views of the Andes, lush with green vegetation just after the wet season has ended. June is also the month of Inti Raymi, also known as the Inca New Year, when there is a wonderful procession at the ruins of Sacsayhuaman.
If you’re planning a trip to Peru in peak season, especially July and August, you should plan ahead as flights and accommodation prices tend to rise and availability is limited. Traveling outside this period gives you smaller crowds and lower prices.
December through March is when the Andes experience a wet season. The wet season features bright green foliage, blooming bromeliads, and fewer crowds. Lower hotel prices and the picturesque scenery make traveling to Peru during the wet season well worth the trip! With the wet season, you also experience warmer, more humid temperatures, and while wet season means rains, sometimes it only rains for a short period during the day. For those who love warm weather and like to escape the cold of the Northern Hemisphere, the wet season is a great time to go.
Take note that the Inca trail does close during February due to maintenance, and the rainy season is not the best for hiking as trails become muddy.
Let’s also not forget the “shoulder seasons” – these can be the best times to go. These include September to November and February to May.
When to visit Cuzco and the Peruvian Andes
Dry season is May to September. As mentioned, the wet season also has advantages.
When to visit Lima and the coast of Peru
The warmest temperatures on the coast are from October to April. From May to September a mist or light drizzle sometimes occurs.
When to visit the Peruvian Amazon
Ideal time to go is during the drier months of June to September – but this is called the rainforest for a reason – rainfall can be expected year round.
Peru Travel | Money, Budgeting, and Tipping
The Peruvian currency is the Nuevo Sol (with the symbol S/. ), although the US Dollar is used as a parallel currency. US dollars and Euros are widely exchangeable, and you can get favorable exchange rates. There are ATMs in all major cities, including Cusco, but ATMs in the Sacred Valley and Aguas Calientes (near Machu Picchu) are few, so pull out cash (in Soles or Dollars) in advance. Credit cards are widely accepted, but you’ll want cash for souvenirs and tips. Tell your bank in advance that you will be traveling to Peru. For US citizens with a Bank of America checking account, look for Scotiabank, which is a Global Alliance partner and will allow you to withdraw with no transaction fee.
Peru is moderately priced in the major and touristic cities, and relatively inexpensive elsewhere. Drinks and meals cost about half what they do in North America, but for high-quality food at sit-down restaurants, expect to pay the same amount as you would in the US or Canada. You can eat a very high-quality meal for USUS $20 / EEK kr286 per person. There is no sales tax.
As for tipping in restaurants, add about 10%. At small local restaurants, you can just leave a few extra soles. You do not need to tip taxi drivers. It is customary to tip your tour director about US$ to USUS $5 / EEK kr72 per person per day, and your coach driver about USUS $2 / EEK kr29 USUS $3 / EEK kr43. Beware of counterfeit US currency, and credit card fraud such as “skimming,” where fraudsters write down or record your credit card number. Keep watch on your card at all times. Also, don’t buy counterfeit or pirated goods.
Peru is known for its colorful textiles, especially alpaca wool, and handicrafts such as carved gourds and creches. You may want to purchase souvenirs such as sweaters, beanies, flutes, or silver and gold jewelry. Beware that very cheap alpaca wool is commonly not alpaca wool at all, but acrylic. In Peru, bargaining is common and expected in open-air markets. Ask for the price, and then offer a lower price of about 20-30% and negotiate from there.
Peru Language Info
The official language of Peru is Spanish, but the nation is multilingual. Spanish is spoken by about 84% of the Peruvian population and is notably the most widely spoken language. Though, while you travel through different regions in Peru, you may notice a variation in Spanish. Some of the pronunciations of certain words will be different and expressions may be used in different settings. For example, Peruvian Spanish uses the 3rd-person plural form of “you” (“ustedes”) rather than the “vosotros”. Other languages spoken in Peru are Quechua and Aymara. Although these languages have a much less population speaking them. Today, speakers of Aymara are mostly located almost entirely in the deep south region of Peru, such as the floating islands of Uros.
While abroad, you may notice that many Peruvians like to practice their English with foreigners, but few speak the language fluently. Stay patient as you would hope they’d be with you, and you might be able to share the experience in learning a new language. The staff at hotels, restaurants, and tourist locations will speak English well. All of our tour guides are English-speaking, and other languages can be accommodated upon request.
It is always a good idea to learn some of the official language of the country you are visiting. While Peruvians may want to practice their English, you can reciprocate by practicing some Spanish. Learning a few basic Spanish phrases will make your travel in Peru much easier and enjoyable. We recommend that you take a “Spanish for Travelers” class at your local community center, or with a software program such as Rosetta Stone. Many travel guidebooks include brief language sections – study up before you go to familiarize yourself with basic Spanish.
Peru Food & Drink
Peruvian food has been described as one of the world’s most important cuisines and a trip to Peru is a paradise of rich new flavors for the gastronomically minded traveler. Peru has been voted as the World’s Leading Culinary destination for seven years running by the World Travel Awards.
Peru is famous for its fusion cuisine given its long multicultural history which combines elements of the culinary traditions from the indigenous population with those from immigrants from Europe, Asia and West Africa who made use of the locally available ingredients.
Each region of Peru offers dishes that maximize the unique ingredients found there. On the coast the highlight is the fresh seafood and ceviche. In the jungle flavors include exotic fruits and fish. In the highlands, food is hearty with potatoes, corn and meat.
Pachamanca is a traditional Peruvian method of cooking that has been around since the times of the Inca Empire. Hot stones are used to cook a delicious meal of potatoes, vegetables and a variety of meats marinated with local herbs and spices. The name Pachamanca means “earth pot” in the local Quechua language as preparation involves making a hole in the ground and adding the red-hot stones, then layering the other ingredients before covering the hole with grass and earth. The meal then cooks in the earthen oven for about two hours.
Peru is home to over 4,000 different varieties of potatoes which were originally domesticated nearly 10,000 years ago in the High Andes of Peru and Bolivia. Any visitor to Peru is sure to be amazed by the variety of colors, shapes, and flavors of potatoes during their visit to Peru. Superfoods like quinoa, maca, and camu camu are native to Peru have recently been discovered by the rest of the world for their healthy and nutritious properties.
While Lima’s culinary scene has become renowned because of its award-winning chefs and fine restaurants, a culinary explorer in Peru will also enjoy sampling the delicious flavors found at local market stalls, street vendors, and unassuming cafes throughout the country.
Peru is not normally thought of as a chocolate producer, but cacao has been grown in Latin America for thousands of years. On a chocoloate tour, you’ll see first-hand how Peruvian farmers grow cacao and transform it into the high-quality delicacy that is exported to the world.
Lima is the culinary capital of South America. This seaside city is renowned for having global superstar chefs and restaurants that combine authentic Peruvian cuisine with modern day culinary influences. Make sure to try ceviche, in Lima, a seafood dish with raw white fish marinated in lime, that is quite delicious. Mistura is the largest food fair in South America. It is held annually, typically in Lima in September, and showcases hundreds of restaurants, bars and food producers.
In Cusco, experiment with cuy, fried guinea pig, considered a delicacy. For the foodies that don’t have as adventurous taste buds, potato dishes are also common. Try papa rellena stuffed with meat, veggies, and cheese or Aji de gallina, tender chicken covered in cheese gravy along with slice potatoes.
Ceviche: Any guest in Peru must try Ceviche, a raw seafood cured in citrus juices. This is one of the most popular dishes in Peru.
Lomo Saltado: Lomo Saltado is a delicious stir-fry of steak, onion, and tomato served with rice and fried potatoes.
Guinea pig: For the bold and brave, try cuy (fried guinea pig), an authentic Peruvian delicacy.
Popular desserts include arroz con leche and alfajores with manjar blanco (dulce de leche). To accompany any meal, order a Pisco Sour, Peru’s national cocktail or chicha morada, fresh tropical juices, and coca tea.
Restaurants in Peru:
Chala Costa Fusion: Offering the flavors and ingredients of Peru, this restaurant is known for its seafood and creole dishes
Cafe Haiti: Try Peruvian specialties at one of the best cafes in the area.
Segundo Muelle: A Peruvian restaurant that specializes in creole seafood incorporated with international cuisines.
Malabar: Bringing Peruvian dishes to life with an Italian influence, Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino brings you beautifully prepared delicacies.
Central: Located in Lima, Central has been rated among the top restaurants in Latin America every year. The 17-course experience will have you on the edge of your seat with anticipation for the next artistic presentation.
Staying Safe in Peru
During the 1980s and 90s, Peru experienced terrorist problems with insurgency, especially the Sendero Luminoso, The Shining Path. With economic growth and strong governmental oversight, the guerrillas have been pushed to the fringes of remote Peruvian forests & highlands and the danger of running into these insurgents is very slim, unless you are on a hike through the remote wilderness.
Political demonstrations are common, and although these are usually peaceful, they can result in delays to road, air, and rail transportation. Your tour guide will alert you to any demonstrations.
Use common sense while traveling in Peru, just as you would in any other location. We recommend that you leave valuable jewelry & watches at home, as well as expensive electronics. Carry a money belt, use the hotel safe to hold your passport and other important documents, and be aware of your surroundings. If you’re going out at night, stay in a group; better if you can go with a trusted local or tour guide. Be especially careful of your surroundings when withdrawing cash from an ATM.
All our tours include professional tour guides, and we will arrange all transportation, transfers, hotels, and tours that we know personally and recommend highly.
For US Citizens, the State Department recommends bookmarking the Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts page, following their Twitter and Facebook accounts, and/or downloading their free Smart Traveler App through iTunes to stay up-to-date on travel warnings and news. They also offer useful tips for traveling safely abroad.
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office has some recommendations on traveling safely in Peru.
Staying Healthy in Peru
Some travelers to Cusco experience altitude sickness (11,000 feet) and Lake Titicaca (13,000 feet). To avoid symptoms, stay hydrated and avoid strenuous exercise and alcohol the first day you arrive. Read our blog article on How to Avoid Altitude Sickness in Cusco.
Drink only bottled water and make sure that the water served in restaurants comes from a bottle (the server will usually open it in front of you). When ordering a drink, ask for it “sin hielo,” without ice.
The government of Brazil currently requires yellow fever vaccinations for anyone who has traveled to Peru. We recommend that if you are heading for the Amazon on our Peruvian Rainforest Tours that you get prophylactic Malaria medication. Consult your doctor or the World Health Association website about vaccinations and other travel-related medical recommendations. Please note that our travel consultants cannot give medical advice.
Travel Insurance & Medical Insurance in Peru
While you are traveling abroad, consider obtaining travel insurance and additional medical coverage. Travel insurance can be useful in case of trip cancellation, trip delays, and other unforeseen events. We recommend TravelSafe travel insurance for citizens of the US; for citizens of other countries, check out Square Mouth.
Medical coverage can be useful if your primary medical insurance plan does not cover you abroad, or is very limited for overseas travel. Inquire as to whether your primary medical insurance plan includes trips to a foreign hospital or a medical evacuation. For US citizens, consult the US State Department’s medical insurance overseas page.
Internet, Telephones & Electricity in Peru
Internet and phones
With mysterious ancient ruins, the Amazon rainforest and imposing mountains, Peru is a great place to disconnect and relax. That said, for those who have to stay connected, here are our tips:
Most hotels in Peru provide internet access (sometimes at a cost) and international telephones – although for calling home, you will likely receive better rates using an internet-based phone service such as Skype or WhatsApp. Do not expect good WiFi access in all locations, especially in remote lodges and on cruises. In particular, in Peru, the Amazon, trekking destinations (the Inca Trail or Colca Canyon) and Lake Titicaca islands are remote areas and WiFi should not be relied on.
For heavy internet users, a service such as Skyroam, a wireless hotspot device, may be your best option for connecting to the internet in Peru. GlocalMe is another good hotspot option. If you plan on bringing your smartphone to Peru, make sure to remember to leave it on airplane mode to avoid any roaming charges. Just enable WiFi to access the Internet.
We don’t recommend buying a cell phone or sim card in Peru. There are often long waits, non-English speaking employees and local ID may be required. In addition, if you are traveling to multiple countries within South America, you will most likely need to buy a sim card for each. The easiest option for travel to Peru is to get a plan with your carrier in your home country that allows you to make emergency calls and/ or receive texts. If you do choose to buy a sim card in Peru, ask your guide where they recommend finding one and make sure your telephone is unlocked. Specifically at the Peru airport, the price is significantly higher than buying one in the city. Before traveling, consider checking about international call options and prices with your network provider.
When traveling to Peru, we recommend taking an electrical adapter on your trip. Some hotels in Peru provide adapters, but you should not rely on this. Before using adapters make sure to check the voltage of your electronic device to ensure that you have a charger equipped to handle a higher voltage. If not, you will need to use a voltage converter.
In the Amazon they focus on conservation and electricity may not be provided all day. In trekking destinations, you should bring portable chargers for cameras and phones and a digital watch for an alarm. If you are taking a sleeper train through Peru, an Amazon cruise, or a Lake Titicaca cruise you should check with the cruise or train to see what type of socket they have.
Peru uses plug type and socket type A and C But, an E and F type plug will also work with a C socket. The standard voltage is 220 V and frequency 60 Hz.
- When traveling from the USA or Canada to Peru you will need an electrical adaptor and voltage convertor.
- When traveling from Australia or New Zealand to Peru, you will need an electrical adaptor.
- When traveling from the UK, Ireland, Malaysia or Singapore to Peru, you will need an electrical adaptor.
- When traveling from South Africa to Peru, you will need an electrical adaptor.
The Essential Traveler’s Packing List
Packing List for Peru
- Your passport, valid for at least 6 months after your travel dates
- Any tourist visas necessary (see additional info above)
- Another form of identification, such as a driver’s license
- Cash for meals, souvenirs, and tips
- A camera with extra memory and/or batteries (You can share your trip photos on our Facebook page!)
- Your smartphone, set to airplane mode to avoid roaming charges, with our 12 Recommended Mobile Apps for Traveling
- A money belt and/or decoy wallet
Note: for those traveling to the Amazon or Machu Picchu, bring a smaller bag that meets weight restrictions. From Cuzco to Machu Picchu, you are only allowed 5kg (11lb).
Recommended Peru Hotels
Recommended Hotels in Peru. While traveling, we want you to look forward to the hotel you’re spending your nights in. Our expert staff dedicates themselves to finding you the best South America hotels. Whether you’re exploring Lima, Cuzco, or Arequipa, there is a hotel perfectly equipped to satisfy your needs.
Choose from an array of 4-star and 5-star hotels in Peru. Note that hotel standards in South America can be somewhat misleading because the standards are not as high as in North America or Europe. If you’re used to standard 4-star accommodation, you may want to consider looking at superior rooms in 4-star hotels or even a standard room in a 5-star hotel. Our staff vets the hotels that we work with, and we receive consistently positive feedback about these hotels.
View our recommended hotels in Peru:
For more information, check out our blog on the 5 Hotels You Need to Add to Your Bucket List.
Peru Tours Articles
When traveling abroad, you want to know as much about the country you’re going to as possible. Our SouthAmerica.travel blog makes it easy for international travelers to learn South American countries. Click on any of our Peru blog posts for visa travel information, food and drink recommendations and many more travel information tips! You can find blog postings related to Cuzco, Lima, Machu Picchu, the Amazon, and more. See what experienced travel consultants have to say about the best times to visit Peru, which Amazon Lodge is best, and what Peruvian food to sample!
Here are our latest Peru Blog Entries:
- The Perfect Peru Amazon Lodge – Posada Amazonas Lodge
- The 4 Best Amazon Cruises
- Best Times to Travel to Peru
- The 7 Best Things to do in Cuzco Peru
- New and Improved Peru Travel Guide