Looking for information about how to prepare for a trip to Peru?
We invite you to watch the following video which includes useful information and recommendations regarding transportation, what to bring, and how to prepare. We will show you what to pack in terms of clothes and personal items, what not to bring, how to deal with health and medical needs, such as avoiding Altitude sickness, and more! If you have decided to take an unforgettable trip to the ancient land of the Incas, proper preparation is key to make sure your trip is pleasant and enjoyable.
Tips on Exchanging Money
You can exchange money in your home country or in Peru, and it is best to take care of it before your trip officially begins so you do not have to worry about exchanging money as you immerse yourself in your experience. ATM machines, banks and currency convertors are normally located within major tourist locations, but not easily accessible in many remote areas and ancient sites. It is a good idea to always have some cash on you for meals, attractions or any unforeseen items, but it is not a good idea to carry large amounts of cash on you.
Major credit cards are widely accepted. You can use traveller’s checks in some places as well, however the exchange rate is quite high, so you may want to avoid these.
Be sure that your Peruvian bills are clean and free of any tears or damage as they may not be accepted by stores or vendors. Return to the list
Tips on Weather/Climate
Although Peru does have a tropical rainy season, at any time during your visit to Peru you may experience some rain. An umbrella is not a practical way to go as you need your hands free for various things amidst hiking and sightseeing. Instead bring a rain poncho, specifically a traveller’s sized one so it can be with you at all times without taking away too much space in your day trip bag.
Due to some very high altitudes and being close to the equator, the sun in Peru is very strong and proper care must be taken to avoid unpleasant sun burns and discomfort. Even during warm or hot periods light and loose, long sleeved clothing is best, along with a good, protective hat and sunglasses.
Additionally it is important to bring some sun block. Natural varieties based on zinc oxide are the safest options for your health. Return to the list
Tips on Luggage and Packing
When packing for your Peru trip, while it is important to come well prepared, both airlines and trains have bag size and weight restrictions. Regardless of the weight permitted on your International flight it is better to have your luggage weight reflect what the domestic Peru flights allow, as their restrictions are limited to 50lbs per person. The train from Cusco to Machu Picchu has little room for luggage. One medium sized piece of luggage and one carry-on per person is the typical limit.
In some places you will have to carry your own luggage, so the less you carry, the easier traveling will be.
Next, consider that you will be out and about for the full day on most days. Therefore the most important thing to have is a secure, comfortable and practical backpack or bag of some sort in which you will carry whatever you may need for your day of hiking, shopping, sightseeing or other activities.
It is always advisable to keep your luggage locked during your stay in Peru and have a proper identification tag on all bags. Return to the list
Tips on Clothing
Depending on what time of the year you visit Peru, you can expect anything from heavy rain to dry heat. Due to the fact that Peru also has drastic altitude differences, large variations in temperature can be experienced within the same region, and between the day and night time. It is best to be prepared therefore for both hot and cold weather. Bringing some t-shirts, long sleeved tops, comfortable pants, heavier sweaters and a proper coat is the best idea.
It is always best to dress in layers in Peru to account for the drastic temperature changes during the day and your level of physical activity during hiking and sightseeing. Depending on your hotel’s amenities, or if you want to visit any swimming pool, hot springs or spa facilities, be sure to also bring a swimsuit. Return to the list
Tips on Shoes for the Trek
Many of the sacred ancient sites, like Machu Picchu are located in areas which vary from mild to challenging hiking terrain, therefore proper hiking shoes are a must for your personal safety and pleasant trip experience. Shoes should be comfortable and have good tread. Closed shoes are best to keep your feet warm, safe and protected, but a pair of sandals can be enjoyed on city excursions, especially if staying in the coastal regions of Peru. Return to the list
Tips on Documents and Travel Insurance
A valid passport is required for all international travel, and it must be valid for 6 months after the date you enter Peru. Depending on the country of your citizenship, you may be required to get a visa to come to Peru. (Citizens of the U.S., Canada, and the European Union do not need a visa). Check with your local tour operator for details, or simply look online on the website of the Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the ministry of foreign affairs of your country of citizenship.
By Peruvian law, you must always carry your passport with you at all times in case of random document checks in towns, hotels or other areas. It is also advisable to make some photocopies of your passport and store them in different bags.
If you are on any medication, or have any health issues, be sure to bring a copy of your most up to date medical records as well.
It is highly recommend that you purchase travel insurance. To get the best coverage be sure to obtain your insurance 10 days after you make your trip deposit.
Wherever you purchase your travel insurance make sure the minimum coverage includes: Trip cancellation & Interruption, Baggage Delay, Baggage & Travel Documents lost, or stolen, Medical Expenses; Emergency Assistance, Accidental Death & dismemberment.
Have the copy of your insurance policy easily accessible during your entire trip. Return to the list
Tips on Snacks
- Natural, whole food bars like Vega bars, LaraBars, Raw Organic Food bars, Salba bars and other similar natural fruit and nut bars. It is best to avoid granola bars, chocolate bars and similar sugar-based bars which are nutrient-poor and cause blood-sugar imbalances.
- Whole Meal Replacement Shakes that can be easily mixed in a travel cup with some bottled water to offer a rich variety of beneficial nutrients. Examples include: Vega, Living Fuel or Garden of Life and similar products that can be found in single serving or travel sized packets.
- Hemp seeds are excellent to refuel giving you healthy fats and protein that keep you full longer. Many companies now sell these in single serving or travel sized pouches.
- Dried fruits and nuts – be sure to buy sealed travel sized packages if you are bringing these from your own country.
- To feel your best, especially in high altitudes, it is best not to overfill yourself at mealtimes and not to go to sleep with a full stomach.
Tips on Toileteries and Personal items
Even though most hotels today provide soap and shampoo, it is a good idea to have travel sized versions of your own personal care items. Typical personal care items to consider bringing include:
- Razor and shaving gear
- Comb and/or brush
- Feminine hygiene products
During various times of the year, and in different places you may encounter mosquitoes, flies and other insects that are attracted to scents or that bite. For your personal safety, as well as the comfort of other travelers, it is best to use unscented products, and not bring any perfumes either. A natural insect repellent, and products like tea tree oil, citronella, musk oil or peppermint oil can come in handy as well. Return to the list
Tips on Health, Supplements and Medication
One of the most common occurrences for newcomers to Peru is altitude sickness. This can range from a headache, shortness of breath and fatigue to insomnia, heart palpitations and flu-like symptoms. In rare cases more severe symptoms may require hospitalization. One of the best ways to prepare for and prevent altitude sickness is by doing the following 5 things:
1. Eating a cleaner, more natural, light, wholesome and plant-based diet for at least 2 weeks before coming to Peru, and during your stay in Peru. This includes more fresh fruits and vegetables, and other plant foods, while reducing your consumption of processed and animal foods, as well as sugary snacks.
2. Avoid smoking and alcohol, as well as stimulants like coffee or energy drinks.
3. Taking some supplements that can help strengthen your body and immune system at least 2 weeks before coming to Peru, and during your stay in Peru. These include:
- Antioxidants like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, or Selenium
- Herbs like Echinacea, Garlic, Ginseng, Ginkgo or Ashwagandha
- Other supplements like Chlorella, L-Glutamine or Reishi
4. Drinking ample pure water to hydrate your system a few days before your arrival, and continuing to do so during your stay in Peru. Juice, soda, coffee and alcohol is not recommended. Remember that water has more oxygen than air, so it is critical that you stay well hydrated!
5. Finally upon your arrival in Peru, specifically in Cusco where the Altitude is over 11,000 feet, plan to take it easy for at least 24 hours to allow your body to acclimate.
Depending on one’s personal health and lifestyle choices, there is a chance of experiencing traveller’s diarrhea or similar digestive upsets. Travellers should come prepared with their own natural or pharmaceutical medications in the case of such an event.
For those who experience jet-lag, helpful items to consider include:
- A homeopathic product called No-Jet-Lag
- Ginger caps, eating crystallized ginger or drinking Ginger tea
- Melatonin supplements
Typically no vaccines are required to visit Peru, but it is best to consult with your physician based on the specific area you will be visiting and your personal health needs. And of course don’t forget to bring any medication you are on. Return to the list
Other Tips to be well prepared for your Peru Trip
Other items that you may want to bring with you on your trip:
- Travel sized tissue packets
- Wet wipes and/or alcohol (not triclosan) based hand wipes or sanitizers
- Ziploc bags – you will find many reasons to use them
- A small flashlight – this is a good idea in case of any power failures, and for personal safety
- A notebook or journal, and pen to record any reflections, insights, names, or even directions
- A cell phone or other small device to act as a travel alarm
- Some bandaids, or a small first-aid kit
- And of course a photo and/or video camera with proper battery or charging equipment
- Valuables, such as jewelry
- Unnecessary electronic devices
- Pocket knives or any similar weapon-like items
- Any illegal substances. Return to the list
Tips on Electricity Outlets in Peru
The electrical supply in Peru is 220 volts AC at 60Hz. A twin flat blade (as used in North America) and twin round pin plugs (as used in continental Europe) are both standard. If you travel to Peru with a device that does not accept 220 Volts at 60Hz then you will need a voltage converter or transformer. Return to the list
What to eat and food safety
Although Peru has an exquisite cuisine that brings together a medley of mouthwatering dishes, you should be careful when eating on your trip. Lighter, plant-based but cooked meals are most recommended during your stay. The water in Peru is not recommended for drinking, washing your food, or brushing your teeth with. Purified bottled water is easily available everywhere, and most hotels provide it as well for your convenience. High end hotels have water purification systems in place.
It is highly recommended to bring your own healthy snacks. These will come in very handy during day trips, specifically when hiking is involved. Meals may be eaten at different times each day, depending on the itinerary, so it is always best to have personal snacks with you to easily re-fuel and feel comfortable. Return to the list
Tips for Personal Preparation
Finally, the most important thing to bring along on your trip is a positive attitude and optimistic mindset. As beautiful and magical as Peru is, and as much care as your trip leaders and guides put into making sure you have a fantastic experience, the biggest deciding factor in the quality of your experience is YOU. Return to the list
We hope that this information will help you as you prepare for your trip!