There’s always a first time. Millions of travelers are heading towards Peru, South America yearly, just like you.
Most of them have this one thing in common, it’s their first time going to Peru, their first time to visit a country and also continent reflecting such a diverse and different social and natural environment from what you are used to.
So many don’t really know what awaits them as they just saw or heard of it on the web, catalogs or from friends & family.
Your idea of this journey = have a totally different experience from the normal, modern and westernized world.
I tell you, you made the right decision to come over here. It’s a real adventure if it’s cultural, gastronomic or pure adrenaline.
Let me share with you a Peru travel guide introduction with 11 quick facts and tips, 11 things you should know before traveling to Peru.
What you should know before traveling to Peru
1. When to go to Peru
Be aware of the different weather in Cusco, as this will have a big impact on your overall experience in Peru.
May – September, are the best months of when to go to Peru as there is the dry season, especially in the Peruvian highlands, the most visited places in Peru.
You won’t be worse off traveling at the time of Octobre to April, but especially in places like Cusco or Arequipa, the probability of rain is high.
Same for the tropical jungle as the coastal region is sunny all year long.
2. Do Peruvians speak English?
Fall in love with the different cafes and restaurants in Peru.
Don’t worry that the people don’t speak English. At least in case you are in the more touristic cities such as Lima, Paracas, Cusco, Arequipa and more you’ll be fine.
Also, the good guides speak fluent English when joining a tour.
In case you leave those cities, the probability of finding English speaking people and especially natives is very low and it’s recommendable to go with a guide.
Peru’s communities have over 300 unofficial and almost 100 official native languages they speak all over the country, sometimes not even Spanish is spoken.
3. What to do next to Machu Picchu
The Amazon is home to 850 different species of flora, over 330 birds and 150 reptiles and amphibians.
Even if we love Machu Picchu, Peru is full of wonders and amazing, still undiscovered places.
You come here to experience exactly that, being touched by the real Peru, unconventional and not touristy.
Don’t be shy and come closer to the Peruvian culture, if it’s by making your own Ceviche, tasting the notorious pisco, hiking in undiscovered but fascinating places or be part of the jungle community for a moment.
Experience moments that last and you can share back home.
4. Ceviche & Pisco
In Peru you’ll find some of the best restaurants in the world.
5. Always have small change with you
Make sure to change your money on the streets with officials, as they will give you a better exchange rate as your banks in your country.
Always have some small coins and change with you (1,2,5,10,20) to buy snacks, water, pay a taxi and to avoid problems with the change of 50s or 100s which can be complicated over here.
You’ll need Peruvian soles (S/) that you can change from US$ to S/ on the street with officials who change the money (they have blue jackets and can be found around the plaza de armas in Cusco or the Kennedy Park in Lima).
6. Be aware of the altitude sickness
Coca tea is one of the best ways to fight altitude sickness.
Yes, the rumors about the altitude sickness are true. People get sick and spend their time in their hotel room instead of being outside, experiencing Peru.
But, that doesn’t count for you as you’ll arrive prepared, knowing how to avoid the altitude sickness.
7. No travel visa necessary
Have always a copy of your passport and other travel documents with you.
For most western countries, there is no visa necessary to travel to Peru. You’ll probably receive between 30 to 180 days. However, it’s always best to double check in order to avoid any problems.
8. Don’t drink tap water
In Peru you’ll find plenty of little shops (“Tiendas”) where you can buy water or other beverages.
In case you’re thirsty, it’s better to have a bottle of water with you all the time. It’s not recommendable to drink tap water, as it’s not filtered and can cause stomach problems or diarrhea.
That’s not your idea, right? Also, when being in restaurants, make sure that ice cubes are not tapped water and that the salad is washed accordingly.
Anyway, this is not to demotivate you to enjoying Peruvian dishes. Just make sure that you’re served correctly.
9. Ask to take pictures
During our tours, you’ll learn more about the incredible history of the Incas.
Before taking pictures of locals, please ask them for permission, as it’s a matter of respect to do so. They are usually happy to make a picture with you but some may feel annoyed or even ask for money.
10. Use taxis in Peru
Before entering a taxi ask for the price as they don’t have a taximeter.
Uber can be a good help for transport, especially in Lima, Cusco or Arequipa. In case there is no Uber, there are tons of taxis available.
But, those don’t have a taximeter and are used to negotiate. Use half the price of what the taxi driver asks you to pay as they see walking $ signs when talking with you, especially in the “gringo” case (a foreigner who’s skin color is white).
You’ll probably have to ask 2-3 taxis to get a decent price but it’s not too difficult.
11. Bring an adapter to charge devices or buy one here
Don’t forget an adapter, as otherwise you can’t take incredible pictures of your time in Peru.
Bring an adapter to charge electronic devices or make sure to get one in your place where you stay. For example, Peru (220V) uses a higher voltage than the USA (120V). Further, a mobile battery is always a great help in case your mobile phone is at 5% and you are in the middle of nowhere.
Equipped with those 11 things to know before traveling to Peru your journey will already be much easier and comfortable.
In case you have any suggestions and important tips to share with us, feel free to share it with us by leaving a comment. Do you know already what to pack for your time in Peru?
See you in Peru!