Peru experiences two very distinct seasons, wet and dry - terms that are more relevant than "summer" and "winter." Peru's high season for travel coincides with the driest months: May through September, with the most visitors in July and August. May and September are particularly fine months to visit much of Peru.
Peru is in the same zone as U.S. EST (GMT -5 hours).
Nuevo Sol (S/), divided in 100 cents. Coins come in 5,10,20 and 50 cents. Banknotes are in denominations of 10 20 50 100 and 200. US dollars are welcome at most shops, restaurant and services stations at the current exchange rate.
About Peru Travel
Amazon Jungle: This is one of the most biologically diverse locations in the world. Wildlife is abundant such as jacanas, macaws, howlers and squirrel monkeys, primates and sloths. River trips explore the confluence of the Ucayali and Maranon Rivers, and the point where the Amazon River takes its name. Riverbank settlements offer the chance to engage with indigenous people. Daily activities vary due to season or prevailing conditions each day, but the list of options includes birding watching treks, boat journeys, swimming, fishing and canopy tours. Another option is to explore Amazonia from a jungle lodge. Guests set their own pace whether that is a siesta, a guided walk, or a nighttime view of the Southern Hemisphere sky.
Arequipa, Colca Canyon & Lake Titicaca: Arequipa, Peru’s second largest city is often acclaimed as its most beautiful. This ‘”white city” was built using volcanic stone. The Spanish founded Arequipa in 1540. Landmarks include 16th-century Santa Catalina Convent and the Plaza de Armas, surrounded by double-storied, arched colonial buildings and a huge cathedral. In the high Andes, Colca Canyon reaches staggering depths of 3,353 meters/11,000 feet, twice the depth of the Grand Canyon. This is the land of the great Andean condor. Lake Titicaca on the border of Bolivia and Peru is the world’s highest navigable body of water at more than 3,658 meters/12,000 feet. This scenic lake is known also for the Uros culture, many of whom live on dozens of the floating reed islands. Established in 1668, Puno is the capital and largest city the region. It spreads along the shores of the lake, and is considered the folklore capital of Peru for its artistic and cultural expressions, especially in dance. Pre-Inca ruins are found here, too.
Cusco & Urubamba (Sacred) Valley: At about 3,353 meters/11,000 feet, Cusco basks in the bright, cool high-altitude sunlight. It is brimming with Incan and Spanish treasures, cobblestone streets, lovely plazas and small shops offering everything from upscale clothing to traditional crafts. It has fine hotels and restaurants. Urubamba Valley is home to outstanding archaeological remains. It was one of the Incan empire’s primary points for producing maize. Many descendants of the Inca carry on the traditions of their ancestors. Pisaq Indian Market is open daily, but the best day to visit is Sunday when locals go to market. The village of Chinchero is home to artists skilled at back-strap weaving, a technique handed down through generations. Some designs date back two millennia. Willoq is an Andean community also known for unique textile designs produced by women and girls. Ollantaytambo has Incan fortress ruins. The Moray Incan terraces were perhaps an agricultural experiment station.
Inca Trail: The six-day trek along the mythic Inca Trail travels the Piscacucho/Huayllabamba route along some of the very same trails used by ancient Incas. This high-altitude hike crosses rivers, cloud forest, valleys and mountain passes as high as Warmiwañusqa Pass at 4,199 meters/13,776 feet. The final section of the trail is a stunningly beautiful traverse leading to the Sun Gate, which overlooks the citadel of Machu Picchu. Hiking the Inca trail has become a grand challenge, but its high altitude requires walkers to be in good physical condition.
Lima: Peru’s capital city stretches along the Pacific Ocean. Founded in 1535, it was the seat of Spanish power in the New World for 300 years. In the 17th century, it had a trading network that stretched to Europe and the Philippines. The city center is noted for colonial architecture such as Plaza de Armas, presidential palace, the ornate 16th-century cathedral and the catacombs of the Convento de San Francisco. Lima enjoys a legacy of art from its colonial period. Its museums are bursting with artifacts of gold, ceramic and weavings. The Rafael Larco Herrera Archaeological Museum has a captivating collection of pre-Inca artifacts – pottery, gold and silver works, mummies, and more. It also features a one-of-kind collection of erotic ceramics from the Chimu, Mohica and other Pre-Inca civilizations. Lima’s renowned cuisine fuses Andean and Spanish traditions with influences from many countries.
Machu Picchu: The 15th-century Lost City of the Incas is more than just a place to visit. These stone ruins are as much about an experience as about a destination. Machu Picchu stands at an altitude of 2,430 meters/7,972 feet in an extraordinarily beautiful setting. It was an amazing urban creation with its giant walls, terraces and ramps, which seems as if they have been cut naturally in the continuous rock escarpments. For many, it is an extraordinary, spiritual experience; and for everyone, it is dazzling and dramatic. It was built around 1460 AD, but abandoned as an official site for the Inca rulers 100 years later during the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire. It is classic Inca style with polished dry-stone walls. Mysteries still linger such as how the Inca moved the large rocks they used to construct the city. Each stone block was carefully carved to fit with the other stones without cement or mortar. Machu Picchu is quite simply mesmerizing.
Nazca Lines & Paracas: A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the fascinating Nazca Lines are enigmatic figures in the desert that are 2,000 years old. Many questions remain as to their origins and purpose. The patterns of lines are put into perspective from the air, when they transform into monkey, spider, bird, fish and reptile, ranging in size up to 305 meters/1,000 feet. Scenic flights from Ica (weather permitting) fly above these ancient earth drawings. The resort town of Paracas, nearby, is where the desert and the sea come together. The Paracas culture was an important Andean society between approximately 750 BC and 100 AD. It was known for the high quality of its textiles and weavings. Cliffs that are home to millions of birds rim the town’s beaches. Boats cruise out to see the Islas Ballestas, where the wildlife has been likened to the Galapagos. No boats land on these islands to protect the colonies of sea lion, Humboldt penguin and seabirds.
Tambopata National Reserve: Tambopata National Reserve is part of the great Tambopata Madidi Wilderness on the Peru-Bolivia border. The Tambopata River watershed is one of the world’s richest ecosystems in terms of biodiversity. The area includes forest species of economic importance such as cedar, mahogany and palm trees as well as endangered giant river otters and vulnerable species such as the anteater, giant armadillo, black spider monkey, jaguar, pink river dolphin, yellow-headed river turtle and the anaconda. Tambopata National Reserve is also strikingly beautiful with lush vegetation, rivers and cascading waterfalls. The reserve and Bahuaja-Sonene National Park have been listed as vulnerable due to threats that include gold mining, illegal logging and excessive extraction of other natural resources.
Undiscovered Peru: Several ancient cultures occupied the areas around Trujillo, Chiclayo and Cajamarca. Trujillo has a cathedral, ten lovely colonial churches, convents and monasteries. It serves as a base to visit Chan Chan, the largest pre-Columbian city in South America. Chan Chan was built 850 and lasted until its conquest by the Inca Empire in 1470. Chiclayo, once a rural Indian village, has a neoclassical cathedral and a daily market. Near Chiclayo is the Sipan, an imposing complex where excavations have yielded fine examples of pre-Colombian art. In the most extravagant Moche tomb, some 1800 years old, El Senor de Sipan, a priest, was found clad in gold, and with turquoise and other valuables. The Bruning Museum, north of Chiclayo in Lambayeque, specializes in Mochica, Lambayeque, Chimu and Vicus cultures, and has a fine collection of Sipan and Lambayeque gold. Cajamarca in the northern highlands dates back more than 2,000 years with traces of pre Chavín cultures that can still be seen in surrounding sites. Cajamarca is considered the place where the Inca Empire ended when Spanish soldiers captured and later killed the last Incan emperor.
Suggested Peru Tour Itinerary
Day 1: Lima, Peru
Founded in 1535, Peru’s capital city was the seat of Spanish power in the New World for three centuries.
Day 2: Lima
The city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site honored for its exquisite Spanish colonial architecture.
Day 3: Lima/Cusco/Urubamba (Sacred) Valley
Urubamba Valley boasts a wealth of Inca sights.
Day 4: Urubamba Valley
The unusual Incan terraced ruins at Moray may have been used for agricultural experimentation.
Day 5: Machu Picchu
The 15th-century Andean fortress, the Lost City of the Incas is a captivating and quite moving experience.
Day 6: Machu Picchu/Cusco
A lovely colonial city, Cusco was the capital of the Incan Empire from the 11th century until 1532.
Day 7: Cusco
This city is a delight to explore with Incan and Spanish treasures, cobblestone streets, open plazas and shops.
Day 8: Cusco/Lima/Depart
Custom Travel Options
Amazon Jungle (4, 5 or 8 days)
One of the last true wildernesses left, the Amazon can be explored by cruise or from a jungle resort.
Arequipa, Colca Canyon & Lake Titicaca (6 days)
Arequipa is the gateway to the remarkable Colca Canyon. Lake Titicaca is the world’s highest navigable lake.
Inca Trail (6 days)
This popular hiking adventure follows in the footsteps of the ancient Inca, and at trail’s end is stunning Machu Picchu.
Nazca Lines & Paracas (3 days)
The 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines still offer countless mysteries. Nearby is the resort town of Paracas.
Tambopata National Reserve (4 days)
The reserve is strikingly beautiful with lush vegetation, rivers and cascading waterfalls.
Undiscovered Peru (4 days)
Ancient cultures occupied Trujillo and Chiclayo leaving behind pyramids and the royal tomb of Lord of Sipan.
Land price, per person, double occupancy: Approx. $500 - $850 per day.