People who travel to Peru are usually those stepping foot on the South American continent for the first time since the country serves as an easy gateway to wider adventure.
Peru is a diverse spectrum of landscapes beyond its famed Amazon and highlands and the stretch of desert on the west coast. It dazzles with its Colonial buildings, marvels with mystery as people seek out its ancient Inca ruins and the pilgrimage to Machu Picchu, and tempts people into its untouched nature from the deep valley to high mountain peak as travellers seek out adrenaline fuel with a view.
Despite being more on the trodden trail (with a chance to get off it a little), and because it is one of the cheapest of the 10 countries that make up the continent, travelling to Peru can still seem overwhelming for a first-time traveller.
Here, we have everything you need to know as a comprehensive one-stop Peru travel guide, from what to see and how much you spend, to safety and the most responsible, ethical travel choices you can make with us.
Wet and Dry Seasons in Peru, the easiest way to determine when is the best time to travel to Peru is by breaking it down into the country’s wet and dry seasons:
▬ May to November is the dry season in Peru
▬ December to April is the rainy season in Peru
May & December are typically considered the shoulder seasons in Peru, where anything goes as the seasons pass over
February has been marked as the hottest month in Peru and August as the coldest.
Lima is an adventure holiday capital. Therefore, considering the diverse topography of the country, from desert to amazon jungle, the weather is also dependent on where you are planning to visit Peru and what activities you will be doing. For instance, it is not recommended to travel to the jungle highland and high altitude areas in the north and even those around Cusco and Sacred Valley during monsoon. There is a high possiblity of roads being closed. Lima, on the other hand, would be more accessible since it is situated on the desert coastline.
As the Tourism website states, Peru is “a country of open doors” and for American and Western European countries, no visa is required for travelling.
The United States
▬ All ten South American countries
All Central American countries except Cuba, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haití, Honduras and Nicaragua
▬ All countries within the European Union (EU) and Switzerland
▬ South Africa
▬ Brunei, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand
Oceania: Australia and New Zealand
Even so, do check your country’s consulate for up-to-date information and any changes before you embark on your Peru holidays. You can check if you need a visa and how many days you get upon entry here.
The tourist entry to Peru is a single entry stamp at the airport or land border that grants you a maximum stay of 6 months or 183 days. You need a passport valid for at least six months and with at least two free pages. The entry stamp cannot be extended once you are inside the country and any overstay time can be met with a fine.
A Peru trip is surrounded by travel temptation, with borders to Ecuador and Colombia in the north, Bolivia and Brazil in the east and Chile to the South. That makes Peru a perfect starting point for onward travel or the idea country to travel paired with a neighbour.
Enter to Peru from neighbouring countries overland requires you to do a little immigration legwork afterwards. Immigration authorities may not allow you to leave Peru without proof of a valid exit stamp from the last country you visited and it is required by law to apply for an entry stamp once you are in Peruvian land. That is if you didn’t get an entry stamp at the land border. You will need to show authorities various documentation of your travel trip
Via Huaquillas (the most popular), Macará or La Balsa at Zumba.
If you are entering Peru from Bolivia, do make sure your that your passport is stamped at the Peruvian immigration check-point in Desaguadero or Copacabana (near Puno, Lake Titicaca which is a known traveller hub).
Use Cruz Del Sur – The Best Bus Travel in Peru
Furiously researching how you would travel from Lima to Cusco and see everything from the sand dunes, colonial cities and the man-made habitable lake islands as Huacachina.
The best-priced flights to Peru usually get you to Lima, which becomes the main starting hub for the majority of travellers. The company behind Lima Peru Tour also operates the Lima Peru tour bus that has multiple stops in the city centre. You can book online or simply show up and hope for space. This is a cheaper option than the taxi pick-ups organised by many hostels, although much preferred the organised taxi option late at night.
Cruz Del Sur currently does offer any bus service in the north of the country, which is great and is a service. Many travellers make their way to northern Peru for grand treks such as Laguna 69 used local buses “with many citing there were enough gringos riding them not to feel too sketchy and isolated”.
You can book buses here via the Cruz Del Sur website.
Flights in Peru – Traveling from Lima to Cusco – Cusco to Lima
If you are wanting to travel from Lima to Cusco (or vice versa), without any stops in between, the easiest way is via an internal flight. Many use Lima as a cheap flight route from their home city to then fly to Machu Picchu making it a more famous direction.
While you might find a good deal with Peruvian Airlines, we recommend LaTam which has a good safety record. It is more of an established pan South American airline. Latam has regular routes between both cities and isn’t too expensive. You can even get a round trip flight for around $80 if you get lucky.
Typically on the first visit to Peru, travellers will visit the southern part of the country (Cusco). Cusco often the only or main stop as it serves as a jump-off point to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. Which is a shame, as there are plenty of places to visit in Peru on this loop with great historical interest or with famed natural views.
Those with more time typically tent to venture north for the famed Laguna 69 Peru route, or do so on a second visit.
The Coastal Paracas may not have much going on apart from its super chill vibes, but people come here to head out on a speedboat to visit the protected Ballestas Islands. Known as the Poor Man’s Galapagos, this is a chance to spend two hours spotting wildlife including, pelicans, penguins, birds and sleepy sea lions.
Contrasting sweeping desert plains of Paracas National Park, marked by cliff drops and jagged rock formations is also another highlight although there’s plenty of things to check out if you decide to stay for a few lazy days.