Peru gets some of its inspiration from our first trip to Mesa Verde National Park, where we got to see ancient ruins of Native Americans up close (built around 1,190AD). Machu Picchu is one of those once-in-a-lifetime kinds of places that also has ruins, but these are definitely more EPIC. Why have we waited so long? Let’s go!
Why do we want to go?
¿Por qué no? Peru has beautiful landscapes and has a rich culture. We have never been to South America, and the closest we have been was Costa Rica. Machu Picchu has always fascinated us and it would be incredible to see it in person. We also want to experience the food and the day-to-day life here. The bucket list items all look amazing!
What are some bucket list contenders?
- Lake Titicaca – Beautiful lake with floating islands and rich cultural eperiences
- Machu Picchu – Ancient Inca Ruins on a mountain top (may want to go during the edges of rainy season to avoid the crowds and high prices)
- Inca Trail – The 4 day adventure to climb up to Machu Picchu on foot (for those who dare, like us)
- Colca Canyon – A canyon that makes the Grand Canyon look like a baby with its deepest point 13,650 feet (4160 meters)
- Nazca Lines – 300 different figures depicting animals, people, geometric shapes and plants created by the Nazca Civilization between 500 B.C. and A.D. 500. (Pictured)
- Cuzco – Town near Machu Picchu with great food, abundance of Inca culture, cobblestone streets, hiking
- Paracas – Coastal town with lots of wildlife located on the Ballestas Islands and the Paracas National Reserve
- Sacsayhuaman – Sounds like “sexy woman” but is actually some ancient ruins near Cuzco
- Lima – Capital City of Peru, with views of the Ocean, rich culture, food and museums
- Huaca de la Luna – An active archaeological dig that is in very good condition. It has a temple with many levels built over centuries
|COUNTRY | Peru|
|Best Season||May – September is Dry Season / Winter|
|Average Temp / Weather Conditions||Averages are between 24°C (74°F) and 17°C (63°F)|
|Key Attractions||Machu Picchu, Inca Trail, Cusco’s Architecture, Lake Titicaca, Colca Canyon, Nazca Lines|
|Entry / Visa Requirements||Free tourist visa issued at point of entry (make sure you retain your record of entry to exit)|
|CURRENCY | Peruvian Sol (~$3.23 PEN = $1 USD)|
|Daily Budget||$160-$225 PEN ($50-$70 USD) per day for a couple depending on lodging|
|Frugal Tips||Eat local meals, stay in dorm rooms or budget hotels, book activities in advance|
|THE STAY | Possible duration: Two weeks to a month|
|Lodging Types||Hostel dorm rooms, budget hotels, airbnb for rooms and entire homes|
|Food||Stir fried meats, chicken and vegetable stews, stuffed potatoes, Chicken skewers with “secret sauce,” sausages|
|Transportation Options||Bus (between major cities), train (tourist trains to popular places), taxi (no tipping needed, ask for fare in advance), hitchhiking (with extreme caution), rental cars/motorcycles (in local areas).|
|Driving Requirements||International driver permit (IDP) highly recommended, but not required. Peruvian transit police are difficult to work with and may try force bribes from you, so having the IDP will help avoid this situation. Driving is on the right side of the road.|
|Connectivity||Wifi is available in cafes, some hotels and hostels. Internet booths are available on provided computers with a per hour meter (around $3 PEN/hour). 3G networks are available in the more populated areas of the country.|
|CULTURE | Language: Spanish (Official), Quechua and Aymara + 40 ethnic languages|
|English Availability||In major cities and in tour groups, you can find English|
|Attitudes Toward Americans||Great as long as you don’t look down on them and you at least make an attempt to speak Spanish. Be a gracious guest.|
|Photography Concerns||Not allowed in churches, convents, crypts and catacombs gernally, but ask before you take photos. Theft can be an issue so just maintain the same diligence about your gear as you would in a major US city and you will be fine. Drone photography is no longer allowed at Machu Picchu, and to fly a drone in this country you must get approval by emailing Email: [email protected] or calling +51-1-6157800. It usually takes seven days to get approval, so plan ahead. Avoid taking photographs of anything of a military nature, public water or electricity plants, police stations, harbours, mines and bridges.|
|General Safety||Peru is generally safe but take precautions as you would in any US city. Do not take unregulated taxis as they could scam you. In Lima, you may want to stick to the more touristy parts of town to feel safe. Petty theft is common as well as con artists trying to scam you.|
|Emergency Number||Police: 105. Ambulance: 117. Fire: 116.|
|Location of U.S. Embassy / Phone||Lima (Avenida La Encalada cdra. 17 s/n, Surco, Lima 33; Telephone: +(51)(1) 618-2000)|
|Medical Facilities||Medical care is generally good in Lima and usually adequate in major cities, but less so elsewhere in Peru. Private, urban health care facilities are often better staffed and equipped than public or rural ones. Public facilities in Cusco are generally inadequate for serious medical conditions.|
|Vaccinations Needed||Yellow fever vaccination is recommended.|
|Health Concerns||The following diseases are prevalent in some parts of Peru: Dengue, Diarrheal disease, Rabies, Yellow Fever, Zika, Malaria, and Typhoid from contaminated water
Bring mosquito repellant
Be aware that Machu Picchu, Cusco, Puno and the Colca Canyon are at high altitude and you will need time to acclimate.
|Water Quality||Do not drink tap water or well water unless it has been boiled for 3 minutes. Drink bottled water that has been sealed, water that has been disinfected, ice made with bottled or disinfected water, carbonated drinks|
Have you been? What activities do we have to try out? What other countries should we consider?