Peru is one of the most popular travel destinations in South America. It is celebrated for its diversity and is home to many traditional festivals and ancient rites. It has preserved its identity despite the influx of tourists and the growing development in its neighbouring countries.
The country proudly showcases the good mix of the old and new. Just as you did. it has fascinated travellers from all over the world. It is also home to one of the most sought-after trails in the world – the Inca Trail.
Things to Remember
When you travel to Peru, you might want to leave your plastic behind. While there are some hotels and establishments that accept credit cards, the majority of Peru is a cash-based economy. Most of those that require cash payment is the local food stalls.
If you want to have that authentic Peruvian experience, it is also recommended that you learn some Spanish. Staying in major cities like Lima should not give trouble in finding English-speaking locals.
However, when you explore the remote areas of Peru, this isn’t the case. When you travel to cities or destinations outside of the main cities, take the bus. This is a surprisingly good option for public transportation. The tips below will help you plan and write a 2-week travel itinerary for Peru.
Best Time To Go
Before visiting Peru, you have to know your seasons. The climate in Peru is quite different as the dry season runs from April to October. The rainy season would be the rest of the year. When you visit the dry season, you can expect hot and dry weather.
The good news is that the rainy season does not mean it would rain all day. But, when it does expect strong rain showers. The dry season might offer favourable weather but it is also the peak of travel to Peru so you can expect more crowd. If you plan to visit Machu Picchu, remember that it’s closed for maintenance for the entire month of February.
- When is the summer: May to October
- When is the typhoon season/winter season: December and January
Passport holders from up to 97 countries can travel to Peru without applying for a travel visa beforehand. You can stay for up to 183 days at a time. Make sure to check with your local embassy depending on your country of origin.
For Schengen passport holders, you can visit Peru for 90 days without a visa. Citizens of Panama and Costa Rica are allowed 90 days per visit. You might be asked to show an exit flight, but that’s not a regular protocol.
Average Cost Per Day (per person)
It will never be easy to determine the budget needed for travelling in Peru. These vary significantly based on where you want to go and your travel style. For backpackers, it is possible to travel to Peru for $40-$50 per day.
- On the budget: $40-$50
- On the mid-range: $100-$150
- On luxury: $200-$300
What To Pack
Deciding on what to pack for Peru will depend on the activities you plan to do and what time of year you visit. Make sure to research beforehand the climate of your intended destination and the season. There are different altitudes based on the geographic regions of Peru that you visit.
If you visit the jungle area, it can be hot and humid. If you scale the Andes, it can be chilly. Make sure you pack enough items for layering to add flexibility to your clothing options. If you plan to hike the Inca Trail, you don’t need to bring camping items, the tour company will arrange that for you.
Packing for 2 weeks can be tricky. But remember, if you are heading to an affordable destination, it’s probably best to buy some of the items when you arrive. This includes toiletries which are often heavy and takes a lot of space.
Where To Go
You will be spoiled for options when it comes to choosing where to go to Peru. The country offers a wide range of options, no matter what kind of adventure you want to embark on. Depending on where you want to go, you can spend a week in Peru to simply see one destination. However, 2 weeks in Peru will be more suitable and give you plenty of time to explore the citadel of Machu Picchu plus an urban city like Lima.
Below is a list of destinations that you can choose from, plus some recommendations on what to see and do.
Machu Picchu is one of the top tourist destinations in the world. This Incan citadel was built in the Andes Mountains of Peru, atop the Urubamba River Valley. It was built during the 15th century, a place where the Inca Empire could retreat during the long-colonialism of the Andes. At the same time, it was plain to be a luxury complex for the Royal Family of Inca Imperial.
Today, this destination is frequented by tourists who want to see first-hand these dry-stone walls. These were built without using any mortar. The Inca structure is also noted for its panoramic views and astronomical significance.
- Cost: US$45/ticket, or more if you plan to do a multi-day hike
- Location: It is located in the Andes Mountains above the Urubamba River valley.
- How to get there: To get to Machu Picchu, you must take a train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes. This scenic trip will take about 3.5 hours. You can also take a 2-4 day hike.
- What to see: Huayna Picchu, Inti Punku, Wiñay Wayna, Temple of the Moon
- How many days to stay: 2 days minimum
As the capital city of Peru, Lima lies on the Pacific coast region of Peru, known for its arid conditions. Lima is known for its beautifully preserved colonial centre, along with its bustling metropolis. For those who love kit surfing, Lima is an amazing location for that water activity.
As one of the largest cities in South America, there are plenty of things to see and do. This is also a great jump-off point for exploring other parts of Peru. You also shouldn’t have a problem getting around Lima as many locals can communicate in English very well.
- Location: Lima is located in the valleys of three major river systems: Chillon, Rimac, and Lurin.
- How to get there: You will most likely start your trip in Lima, your flight will land at Jorge Chavez International Airport.
- What to see: Museo de la Nación, old Lima Centro, Plaza de Armas, Miraflores Beach, La Punta
- How many days to stay: 3-4 Days, there are many day trips you can take from Lima such as visiting glacier lakes in Huaraz
One of the things that makes Cusco a desirable destination is its location. It is close to the Sacred Valley of Peru, which is why a lot of visitors spend their time here. You will have to get to Cusco to reach Machu Picchu.
The city also serves as the capital for the Peruvian Andes and was the ancient capital of the Inca Empire. It is, therefore, not a surprise to find plenty of archaeological remains and colonial architecture within the city.
- Location: It is located in southeastern Peru near the Andes’ Urubamba Valley.
- How to get there: You must take a flight to the city of Lima via international Airport Teniente FAP Alejandro Velasco Astete. From Lima, you can take a bus or taxi to Cusco.
- What to see: Sacred Valley, Tambomachay, Saqsaywaman, Qorikancha, San Pedro Market, Rainbow Mountain
- How many days to stay: 3 Days
Located along the border of two countries in South America, Lake Titicaca lies between Peru and Bolivia. It is positioned at the foot of the Andes Mountains. It is among the largest lakes in South America.
This remains the highest body of water that can be navigated (3,800 meters or 12,500 feet in elevation). Many consider this lake to be the birthplace of the Inca civilization. So, don’t be surprised by the sheer volume of Inca ruins in the area near the lake.
- Location: It is located along the border of Peru and Bolivia.
- How to get there: You can take the bus or train to Puno. This is the largest settlement near Lake Titicaca.
- What to see: Isla de la Luna, Suasi Island, Islas Uros, Sillustani
- How many days to stay: 1-2 Days
As the capital of the country during the colonial era, the Arequipa region of Peru is surrounded by three volcanoes. It is home to many Baroque buildings that are constructed using white volcanic stone. The historic centre of Arequipa is anchored by the Plaza de Armas, which is the main square in the region.
- Location: It is located southwest of the Andes Mountains.
- How to get there: Numerous bus routes travel daily from Cusco to Arequipa.
- What to see: Plaza de Armas, Santa Catalina Monastery, Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa, Playa Catarindo, Misti Volcano
- How many days to stay: 2 Days
Located in southern Peru, Colca Canyon is one of the most sought-after destinations in Peru. It is known as the deepest canyon in the world. Nowadays, it emerged as the favourite among avid trekkers for its spectacular landscape.
The region is also home to the giant Andean condor. Specifically, it is known for its terraced agriculture that was there before the Incas. Rafting is another popular activity in this canyon.
- Location: It is located at the foot of the Andes Mountains.
- How to get there: You can take a bus to Colca Canyon from the city of Arequipa. The travel time is about 4 hours.
- How many days to stay: 1 Day
What To Eat
Peruvian cuisine is as diverse as its culture and history. Each region is distinctive from one another so you can try many different dishes in each region you visit. Food is affordable in Peru, especially if you choose to eat from authentic food stalls.
The cuisine of Peru is closely tied to its history and culture. Thus, dining is a great way to immerse in the local experience. Here are some of the best Peruvian dishes to taste. Eat your way through Peru, or feast your senses with its vibrant culture and architecture.
Visiting each region in Peru is like a history lesson – you will uncover so much about its past and how the country has transformed over the years. It is no surprise why Peru is a popular travel destination.
Among the most popular dishes in Peru, Peruvian food would be associated with ceviche. This dish is made with raw fish that is marinated with lime juice. It has been cultured by many culinary experts from each restaurant.
The proximity to the ocean has led many to suggest that Lima has some of the best ceviches in Peru. It actually ensures the freshness of the fish. In some parts of Peru that are not close to the ocean, they use river trout instead.
- Where to try: Mercado de Surquillo, Chez Wong, Canta Rana
- Cost: $3-16 USD
Another popular dish that is a must-try in Peru is Lomo Saltado. It is one of the best comfort food. It is made with a hearty serving of beef, along with other ingredients such as tomato, onions, and soy sauce. This dish is often served with French fries and rice.
- Where to try: Mamashana Cafe Restaurante, Bisanti
- Cost: $2-11
As one of the must-try dishes that you have to try when in Peru, Causa can be served as an appetizer or as a light meal. It is often served cold. The dish is made from yellow potatoes with avocado, fish (or chicken), egg, olives, and celery. The different layers of ingredients make it look like a potato cake.
- Where to try: Mi Causa in Lima
- Cost: $8-20
As a dish that originated in the Arequipa region of Peru, Rocoto Relleno is popular in every part of Peru. This dish is a red bell pepper that is boiled to tone down its heat. The local pepper variety is known to be 10 times hotter than jalapeño peppers.
Once boiled, the pepper is stuffed with ground beef that had been spiced and sautéed. It is spiced along with a hard-boiled egg. The dish is topped with melted cheese on top. It can be served halved or whole.
- Where to try: Picanteria La Capitana, Ary Quepay, Restaurante Zingaro
- Cost: $5-15
Peru is an interesting place to visit. It is rich in culture, history, scenic locations, and tasty dishes. Not to mention how friendly and welcoming the locals are. Peru is also an affordable destination to spend your holiday and a perfect place to visit regardless if you are travelling alone, with your partner, or with young children.