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Essentials Peru

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Essentials Peru

Most importantly bring your adventurous spirit, an open mind and a desire to experience some very unique cultures Cusco, navel of the Inca world, is now South America's gringo hangout, with its access to Machu Picchu and a buzzing nightlife. Not far away is magical Lake Titicaca birthplaces of the Inca myth. The adobe cities of the north coast, the mysterious cloud people of the northern highlands, the  giant figures etched on the desert by the Nazcans, are just a few of the Pre-Inca cultures Peru has to offer. You can trek for ever amid high peaks and blue lakes, cycle down remote mountainsides, or surf the Pacific rollers. Eat of the Andes the jungles stretch towards the heart of teh continent with some of the richest biodiversity on earth. And, should you tire of nature, there is always Lima, loud and brash, but with some of the best museums and liveliest nightlife in the country.


Where to go - Peru


Planning your trip



Lima the sprawling capital, is daunting at first sight, but worth investigating for its museums, colonial architecture and nightlife. Routes radiate in every direction and great steps have been taken to improve major roads linking the pacific with the highlands.

essentials peru


North of Lima

North of Lima it is only seven hours to Huaraz, in the Cordillera Blanca, the country's climbing and trekking centre. Mountaineering and hiking can be easily linked with the archeological site at Chavin, east of Huaraz, or with the pre-inca cities Sechin and Chan Chan,the latter close to the colonial city of Trujillo. Heading up the coast, there is plenty of evidence of precolumbian culture, particularly around Chiclayo, beaches for surfing (eg Chicama) or watching traditional fishing techniques, and wildlife parks in the far north near Tumbes. (Tumbes and the nearby Piura-Sullana route are the gateways to Ecuador) In the northern highlands, Cajamarca is a pleasant base for exploring more archeological sites, thermal baths and beautiful countryside. From here, or by a route from Chiclayo, there is access to the remote Chachapoyas region where a bewildering number of prehispanic citires and cultures are beginning to be opened up to visitors. Going east from here is one of the less travelled roads into the jungle lowlands.

Essential Peru


South of Lima

South of Lima are Peru's most deservedly famous tourist destinations. The chief focus is Cusco, where spanish colonial and Inca architecture are unted, and the Sacred Valley of th Incas, with the mountain top city of Machu Picchu as the highlight of a historical and cultural treasure trove. Regular trips from Cusco extend to Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca (on the overland route to Bolivia), in which islands are frequently visited to see a unique way of life. 


Arequipa, a fine city at the foot of El Misti volcano, gives access to the canyons of Colca and, for those with more time, the even deeper Cotahuasi. A lunch-travelled railway links Cusco, Puno and Arequipa, but the Cusco - Puno road is a good paved road, offering new opportunities for exploring these high altitude regions.



On the southern coastal route is the Paracas Peninsula (near Pisco), reputed to be home to the largest sea-lion colony on earth, and offshore Ballestas Islands, one of the best places to see marine birdlife in the world. The mysterious Nazca line, whose meanings still stir debate, etched in the stony desert, should not be missed if you are on the Lima - Arequipa road or taking the Pan- American highway south to Tacna and Chile.


The Central Highlands

The central highlands can be reached by roads from Lima, Pisco and Nasca, the main center being Huancayo, Huancavelica and Ayacucho. There is much of historical interest here and the Mantaro Valley, near Huancayo and Ayacucho are good areas for buying bus. Roads in this part of the Sierra are being improved considerably, but check conditions if going far off the beaten track


Another route into the Peruvian jungle runs from the Central Highlands to Pucallpa, but the most popular journeys are by air to the Amazon city of Iquitos, from where boat can be taken to Brazil, or from Cusco to the spectacular Manu Biosphere Reserve and the Tambopata area (accesed from Puerto Maldonado). This has some of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world, providing wonderful opportunities for watches of birds, butterflies and animals and for plant lovers


Peruvian Jungle

The most popular and by far the most comfortable journeys are by air to the Amazon city of Iquitos or from Cusco to the spectacular Manu biosphere and the Tambopata area accessed by air to Puerto Maldonado. This has some of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world, providing wonderful opportunities for animal, butterfly, and plant lovers. bird watchers. Just spending time hiking or sitting in a hammock outside your hut in the Amazon jungle feed the body, mind and soul with a green intensely vibrant natural world in a way no other place compares.


IMPORTANT INFORMATION - Before you Travel to Peru


After you have decided to go to South America for a vacation, always research which countries you are drawn to. Not just the political situation, but whether it is necessary to get a visa beforehand.

Vaccinations eg typhoid or yellow fever for the Amazon jungle are often required. Travel insurance is strongly advised. Anything could happen from and accident to a missed flight and can cost big money sometimes.

It's advisable to have photocopies of passport and other valuable documents. Don't forget your student ID is can save you money on entrance fees and other discounts. Money pouches/belt under clothes are also recommended. Bring Us dollars or Euros. Travel cards are excellent and work like a debit card at ATMs . Emergency money funds can come in very handy and save the stress of worrying about whether you will be able to have a stress free trip, without cutting out special places you may want to stay longer or buying something special for yourself or someone else.


Personal first aid kit and personal medications you may use. Pharmacies are everywhere, but don't presume your brand will be in South America Take time to learn some Spanish. It will make a big difference when interacting with South American cultures and also not getting ripped off.


Electrical adaptors are handy if wanting to use your personal appliances. Don't bring valuable jewellery it is too easy and obvious for thieves to see. Most importantly bring your adventurous spirit, an open mind and a desire to experience some very unique cultures.


How to Prepare for your Trip to Peru? Best Travel Tips

When it comes to traveling to Peru, there are several Essential Peru, you should consider packing to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip. Here's a list of essentials for your trip to Peru:

Peru travel essentials

  • Passport and Travel Documents: Make sure you have a valid passport with at least six months of remaining validity. Carry printed copies of your passport, travel insurance, and any other important documents.
  • Visa Requirements: Check if you need a visa to enter Peru based on your nationality. Make sure to obtain the necessary visa in advance, if required.
  • Money: Carry a mix of cash (in local currency, Peruvian Sol) and cards. While credit and debit cards are widely accepted in cities, it's useful to have some cash for smaller establishments and remote areas.
  • Travel Insurance: Purchase travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellation or interruption, and theft or loss of belongings. Ensure it provides adequate coverage for your activities, such as hiking or adventure sports.
  • Vaccination and Medications: Check the recommended vaccinations for Peru and ensure you are up to date. Consult your doctor regarding any necessary medications or prescriptions you may need during your trip.
  • Weather-Appropriate Clothing: Peru has diverse climates, so pack clothing suitable for various conditions. Include lightweight and breathable clothes for warm coastal areas, warmer layers for the highlands, and rain gear for the Amazon rainforest.
  • Comfortable Shoes: Peru offers numerous opportunities for walking, hiking, and exploring. Bring comfortable shoes suitable for different terrains, such as hiking boots or sturdy sneakers.
  • Daypack and Water Bottle: A small daypack is handy for day trips, hikes, and carrying your essentials. A reusable water bottle is recommended to stay hydrated while reducing plastic waste.
  • Travel Adapters and Chargers: Peru uses 220V outlets, so bring a travel adapter if your devices use a different plug type. Also, carry chargers and power banks for your electronics.
  • Insect Repellent and Sunscreen: Protect yourself from mosquitoes and other insects by packing a reliable insect repellent. Additionally, bring a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF to shield your skin from the strong sun.
  • First Aid Kit: Carry a basic first aid kit with essentials like band-aids, pain relievers, antiseptic ointment, and any personal medications you may need.
  • Language Guide or Translator: While not mandatory, having a Spanish phrasebook, language app, or translator device can be helpful, especially if you don't speak Spanish.
  • Travel Guidebooks and Maps: Consider bringing a travel guidebook or maps to learn more about Peru's attractions, history, and culture. These resources can be handy for planning your itinerary and navigating.

Remember to pack according to your specific travel plans and preferences. It's always a good idea to check the weather forecast and research your destinations to ensure you have everything you need for a comfortable and enjoyable trip to Peru.


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The Responsible People foundation is registered under the Peruvian Non-Profit Organization Act. With an annual contribution from Inca Trail Machu, we support our operating costs as well as a significant portion of project development costs.
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