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How to Plan a Trip to Peru: Frequently Asked Questions

Updated: August 25, 2022

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Man walking the Inca Trail into Machu Picchu, Peru

Inca Trail into Machu Picchu, Peru

Peru overflows with history and tradition, and these are the most frequently asked questions from travelers eager to experience the country.

Trek the Inca Trail. Search for macaws in the rainforest. Sail along the largest high-altitude lake in the world, or visit a traditional Andean market. Peru balances the wonders of the past with contemporary lifestyle for endless majesty, from the Amazon Basin to hidden fortresses that cap sky-cracking mountains.

Find the information you need to start planning your perfect Peru trip by finding the answers you need to your questions.

Overview
  1. Can I travel to Peru?
  2. When is the best time to visit Peru?
  3. How many days should I spend in Peru?
  4. What are the most popular destinations in Peru?
  5. What should I do on my trip to Peru?
  6. How many regions does Peru have?
  7. Where can I see wildlife in Peru?
  8. Is Machu Picchu in Peru?
  9. What is Machu Picchu?
  10. How can I visit Machu Picchu?
  11. Is Peru a good destination for families?
  12. Is Peru suitable for senior travelers?
  13. Is Peru suitable for couples or honeymooners?
  14. What food should I try in Peru?
  15. Is Peru safe to visit?
  16. What language do they speak in Peru?
  17. What vaccinations do I need to travel to Peru?
  18. Which airports should I plan for?
  19. Do I need a visa for Peru?
  20. What currency does Peru use?
  21. How can Zicasso help me plan my trip to Peru?
  22. Where can I find recommended itineraries for my trip?

Can I travel to Peru?

Peru is open to American travelers.

There are no restrictions on visiting Peru from the United States. When planning your trip, the conditions are contingent on the decisions of the Peruvian government, but a Zicasso travel specialist can help you navigate the latest information should anything change between the planning, booking, and traveling stages.

For more ideas on where you can visit without restrictions, browse Where Americans Can Travel Right Now.

Learn more: Plan Your Trip to Peru

When is the best time to visit Peru?

The best time to visit Peru is between April and May, and August to October. Smaller crowds and better weather make these times ideal for visiting the country.

The climate varies across the disparate regions, making Peru a wonderful year-round destination, but also requires specific times of the year for visiting places like Machu Picchu or the Amazon. November has cool weather before the major rains in the Andes, while February has the most amount of rainfall. June is the busiest month, but offers the best weather throughout Peru.

The weather varies dramatically across the country, with the Andes offering a different climate to Lima and the coast, as well as possessing sharp temperatures along the high-altitude plateau. The Amazon also has completely different weather, with extensive rainfall in summer, but it’s calmer in autumn, winter, and spring. The weather can change dramatically, but the area remains accessible from April to May and August to October.

Learn more: Best Time to Visit Peru

How many days should I spend in Peru?

Most travelers from the United States spend between 10 to 14 days in Peru.

While your timeline should focus on what you want to see and experience, 10 to 14 days are enough to highlight the natural splendor and diverse cultures found between the coastline, Andes, desert, and rainforest.

From the Inca Trail to the Rainbow Mountain, overlooking the Nazca Lines to finding a desert oasis, your Peru travel expert can provide you with recommendations for any trip length, depending on the experiences you wish to have.

What are the most popular destinations in Peru?

Here is a list of the eight most popular cities, regions, and sites:

  • Machu Picchu
  • Lima
  • Cusco
  • Sacred Valley
  • the Amazon
  • Puno
  • Nazca
  • Paracas

The 8 Best Places to Visit in Peru offer different experiences for every type of traveler, from active exploration in the Amazon to gourmet restaurants in Lima, terraces topped with ruins in the Sacred Valley to vibrant marine life at Paracas. You can find the best place for your trip from this collection of secluded ruins, vibrant cities, and remote jungles.

What should I do on my trip to Peru?

The list of things to do provides endless options to consider, but a few of the highlights include:

  • Discover the historical grandeur of Cusco at sites like Koricancha, Plaza de Armas, and Sacsayhuaman
  • Learn about Andean heritage at the Textile Museum for better insight into the history and importance of textile-making in the region
  • Discover the steep ascents, dramatic views, and feeling of accomplishment that is gained on a one-day Inca Trail excursion
  • Experience the undulating paths, epic vistas, and ruins that are scattered across the Sacred Valley during a challenging four-day trek
  • Experience the Amazon River with a boat ride in view of small villages, fishing communities, and vibrant wildlife
  • Trek through the Amazon Rainforest with an experienced guide in search of wildlife and insects
  • Witness pre-Columbian Peru inside an 18th-century vice-royal building. The galleries reveal art and artifacts that span millennia, including jewelry and erotic pottery
  • No matter your experience, you can trek to the Lost City of the Incas during a guided day or multi-day trip for a thrilling way to discover the mighty ruins
  • The fishing village of Puerto Malabrigo in northwest Peru hosts the longest left-hand wave in the world, with great surf along barren cliffs
  • Experience the native wonders on display in the Museo Inka, where metal- and gold-work, jewelry, pottery, and textiles depict the civilization

This list explores some of the best things to do in Peru, but you can find out more with our New Ways to Visit Iconic Sites.

How many regions does Peru have?

Peru is separated into three geographical regions, the Andes, the coast, and the Amazon. Each has its own climate, wildlife, and cultures.

The coastline is arid and consists of the western shore, as well as dry desert inland, which includes places like Lima and Nazca. The Andes incorporate the mountain slopes, peaks, and valleys, and include places like Cusco, Puno, and Machu Picchu. The Amazon is a remote inland section of Peru that features the Amazon basin along cities like Iquitos and Puerto Maldonado.

Enjoy surfing or hiking, wildlife spotting or scenic flights as you experience the diversity of the Peruvian landscape and ecosystems.

Where can I see wildlife in Peru?

Peru’s diverse landscape makes it a hotbed for wildlife, marine life, and fauna. The following list features some of the best places to spot the stunning variety:

  • Colca Canyon to view the Andean Condor
  • Manu Biosphere Reserve to spot the Cock-of-the-Rock
  • Tambopata National Reserve to view the macaw
  • Ballestas Islands to find the Humboldt penguin
  • Tambopata National Reserve to search for puma
  • Manu Biosphere Reserve to spot jaguar
  • Iquitos to look for Amazon River dolphin
  • The Sacred Valley to find llamas and alpacas

Is Machu Picchu in Peru?

Machu Picchu is in the Peruvian Andes in the Eastern Cordillera. It is located in the Sacred Valley, which is approximately 50 miles northeast of the city of Cusco. Nearly 8,000 feet above sea level, this symbol of Incan design was forgotten by the greater world until its rediscovery by archeologists in 1911.

What is Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu is a former Incan city in Peru. It was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007 and highlights engineering and culture with more than 150 structural ruins that range from baths to houses, temples to sanctuaries. It is constructed on a plateau more than 7,000 feet above sea level.

How can I visit Machu Picchu?

You can visit Machu Picchu by bus, train, or walking the Inca Trail.

The popular option of trekking the Inca Trail connects other Incan ruins along the route before reaching the famous plateau of Machu Picchu on two-, four-, or five-day hikes. The train ride can take nearly five hours, but also offers a luxury seat under the Vistadome, a car with panoramic windows to enjoy the view of the surrounding Sacred Valley.

Each method of travel offers a different experience and price point, but results in an unforgettable visit to the ruins high above the Sacred Valley.

Is Peru a good destination for families?

Peru has plenty of options for a family trip. You and your children can enjoy uncovering ancient ruins at Machu Picchu or explore the myths of the Nazca Lines. Visit the Amazon Rainforest in search of vibrant and colorful macaws or learn the art of making chocolate.

You can find plenty of inspiration with our Top 8 Things to Do in Peru with Family. When speaking with a Zicasso Peru travel specialist, you can learn more about alternative activities and itineraries focused on your interests and how your family likes to travel.

Is Peru suitable for senior travelers?

Peru is safe, comfortable, and a unique destination for senior travelers of all fitness and energy levels. With an incredible history that spans millennia, as well as impressive geographical diversity, senior travelers can enjoy cultural immersion and captivating wilderness in comfort.

Colonial architecture, Incan ruins, impressive wildlife, and excellent cuisine represent the fascinating variety Peru has to offer. Whether visiting the Amazon or the Andes, seniors can enjoy the best of Peru in safe environments according to their needs and styles.

As a senior traveler, you can explore and discover Peru at your pace with guides who share stories and legends, focus on important details, and help accommodate your travel needs. Accommodations and drivers help with logistics, and a Zicasso Peru travel specialist can attend to all your requirements ahead of the trip to ensure a smooth and easy process. Find the right places to visit during your trip with our 8 Best Places to Visit in Peru for Seniors.

Is Peru suitable for couples or honeymooners?

Peru is passionate and romantic, offering immersive experiences for couples and honeymooners. From the Amazon to the Andes, a desert oasis to the Pacific coastline, Peru expresses beauty and limitless adventures to share. To visit Peru is to make a commitment to discovery and new experiences.

Cultural adventures and geographical exploration reveal grandeur and charm, crowned by secluded luxuries perfect to celebrate an anniversary, enjoy a romantic getaway, or embrace a honeymoon with our 7 Most Romantic Places in Peru for Couples.

What food should I try in Peru?

Peru’s culinary scene has grown over the years to include beloved dishes that have become staples in many cosmopolitan cities. The following list concentrates on some of the best to try in Peru:

  • Ceviche - citrus-cured fish and seafood
  • Lomo Saltado - Stir fried beef
  • Aji de Gallina - Creamy chicken
  • Anticuchos - grilled meat skewers
  • Choclo - Peruvian corn
  • Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken - slow-broiled chicken with a traditional spice rub
  • Arroz con Pato - duck with rice

Is Peru safe to visit?

Peru is very safe. As with most countries, you must remain vigilant in highly populated areas such as Lima or Cusco, where petty theft can occur. Overall, your safety is not in jeopardy in Peru, especially when in the hands of a travel specialist.

Altitude sickness is a real possibility for visitors to the Andes, especially when traveling from low-altitude destinations like the Amazon or Lima. Symptoms like headache, nausea, fatigue, or dizziness can keep you from discovering the sites you want to visit. It does not affect everyone, but you should make sure you have time to acclimatize to your surroundings, and drink plenty of water and coca tea.

What language do they speak in Peru?

The official language of Peru is Spanish.

Many locals may also speak other languages, but English is widely spoken in major cities and popular tourist destinations.

You should have little trouble communicating unless visiting small villages or remote towns where locals may speak an indigenous language, such as Quechua or Aymara. These have official status.

What vaccinations do I need to travel to Peru?

Vaccination requirements in Peru depend mainly on where you will visit and the activities you will do. CDC Peru Vaccination Information can help clarify any requirements you may have before going on your trip.

Your Zicasso travel specialist is also available to provide further insight if you have additional questions regarding vaccinations you may need before visiting.

Which airports should I plan for?

For most travelers, the most convenient airport is Lima International Airport (LIM), but the busiest international airports in Peru include:

  • Lima (LIM)
  • Cusco (CUS)
  • Arequipa (AQP)

Do I need a visa for Peru?

As an American citizen, you can visit Peru for up to 183 days without a visa. While a visa is not necessary, you do need a passport that’s valid for at least six months from the entry date.

If there are any changes to visa requirements, your Zicasso travel specialist will inform you during the planning stages.

What currency does Peru use?

The official currency of Peru is the Peruvian Sol (S/).

You should always carry Peruvian Sols with you when traveling in Peru to pay for meals, snacks, tips, and other amenities that were not pre-paid before arriving in the country. However, electronic banking makes payments in Peru simple, as most establishments in major cities accept major credit cards like Visa and Mastercard.

In case of emergencies and for tours to places in the jungle, rural towns, or outside main cities and tourist destinations, ensure you have Peruvian Sols.

How can Zicasso help me plan my trip to Peru?

Our Peru Vacations & Tours are a collection of curated trips that demonstrate what your custom-tailored itinerary could look like. Select a sample trip that aligns with your ideal vacation. They can be used as a stepping stone from which you create your unique itinerary.

When you are ready, you can complete a Trip Request to begin planning your vacation. We ask for more information on where you would like to go, how long you would like to spend in Peru, the size of your party, and traveler ages to help streamline your planning process.

You can also provide additional ideas and set a travel budget, after which our Travel Care team will contact you to match you with a top Peru travel specialist. Our Peru travel specialists will use their expertise and understanding of your preferences to curate your dream vacation.

Learn more: How to Plan Your Zicasso Trip in 4 Easy StepsHow to Plan Your Zicasso Trip Budget in 3 Easy Steps

Where can I find recommended itineraries for my trip?

Moray Terraces of the Incas near Cusco, Peru

Moray Terraces near Cusco, Peru

Peru exudes natural wonder and cultural preservation that stretches from the Pacific to the Andes, the canyons to the Amazon basin.

From the legend of Machu Picchu to the wildlife of the rainforest, the grandeur of soaring condors to the myths of the Nazca Lines, you can find the best ideas for your perfect trip with Peru Tours & Vacation sample itineraries.

Our Peru Travel Guide also has helpful information and tips to encourage your best experience.

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