Peru is a land of wonders. Machu Picchu, the mysterious Inca enclave high in the Andes, is the most famous among them, but the country’s incredible diversity also encompasses Spanish colonial architecture, treasure-filled pre-Colombian tombs, a network of Inca roads, and the biggest gastronomic festival in South America. Factor in the breathtaking beauty of Peru’s landscapes—from the lush canopy of the Amazon rainforest to the limpid waters of Lake Titicaca to the gorgeous colors of one of the world’s deepest canyons at Colca—and you have a travel experience whose memories will last a lifetime.
Classic Machu Picchu
8 Days/7 Nights from $1,519
Classic Machu Picchu, our Featured Peru Tour, is a great way to experience the most interesting destinations of the country. It includes Lima, Cusco, the…
Classic Machu Picchu, Arequipa, and the Colca Canyon
10 Days/9 Nights from $1,679
Arequipa is Peru’s second largest city and lies on the slopes of Misti Volcano. It was named a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site, due to…
Classic Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley
9 Days/8 Nights from $1,889
This tour is an extended version of our Classic Machu Picchu Tour. It includes Lima, Cusco, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, and an overnight…
Classic Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca
10 Days/9 Nights from $2,099
Appreciate Peru’s fascinating cultures and history in one of our most popular tours. It includes Lima, Cusco, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, an overnight…
Classic Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail
10 Days/9 Nights from $2,219
Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu should be on every adventure traveler’s “to do” list. While it is physically challenging, the rewards include spectacular…
Classic Machu Picchu and Nazca Lines
10 Days/9 Nights from $2,269
Experience the Inca and Nazca cultures in this amazing tour of Peru. Beginning in Lima, you will travel to the Ica Region for an overflight…
Classic Machu Picchu and Reserva Amazonica
11 Days/10 Nights from $2,379
Explore the cultural history of the Incas and witness the biodiversity of the Peruvian Amazon on this incomparable Peru tour. You will begin in Lima…
Classic Machu Picchu and Posada Amazonas
11 Days/10 Nights from $2,489
Experience Peru’s culture, history, and amazing wildlife in this fascinating tour. You will begin in Lima, and continue on to Cusco, the Andean capital of…
Classic Machu Picchu and Ceiba Tops Lodge
11 Days/10 Nights from $2,499
Classic Machu Picchu, our Featured Peru Tour, is a great way to experience the most interesting destinations of the country. It includes Lima, Cusco, the…
5 Best Peru Tours for 2023-24
|Classic Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley||$1,889||9 Days||This tour is an extended version of our Classic Machu Picchu Tour. It includes Lima, Cusco, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, and an overnight…|
|Classic Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca||$2,099||10 Days||Appreciate Peru’s fascinating cultures and history in one of our most popular tours. It includes Lima, Cusco, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, an overnight…|
|Classic Machu Picchu, Nazca Lines, and Lake Titicaca||$2,969||13 Days||Discover the Nazca, Inca, and Aymara cultures of Peru. Beginning in Lima, you will travel to the Ica Region for an overflight of the Nazca…|
|Classic Machu Picchu and Reserva Amazonica||$2,379||11 Days||Explore the cultural history of the Incas and witness the biodiversity of the Peruvian Amazon on this incomparable Peru tour. You will begin in Lima…|
|Classic Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail||$2,219||10 Days||Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu should be on every adventure traveler’s “to do” list. While it is physically challenging, the rewards include spectacular…|
Peru Tour Information
When is the best time to travel to Peru & Machu Picchu?
The weather along Peru’s desert coast is decidedly moderate, with little rain and temperatures between 50 and 85 degrees year round. In summer (December to March), there are warm days with several hours of morning sunshine, but in the winter a coastal fog called la garúa sets in and makes everything gray. The best months to visit cities like Lima and Trujillo are October, November, and April, when conditions are mild and the humidity is tolerable.
Weather in Peru’s sierra consists of wet and dry seasons; the former runs from November to March, the latter from May to September. The best time to go is from April to October, which coincides with several local festivities and peak tourist crowds. Even then, expect cool nights and occasional afternoon downpours.
The Amazon region also has wet and dry seasons, with strong heat and humidity all year. To maximize wildlife-viewing opportunities, go between June and September, since in other months the sudden onset of heavy rains can foil even the best-laid plans. See all Peru FAQ.
The Best Places to Visit in Peru
Other South American countries may have their attractions, but only Peru was the capital of an empire–twice. From the time of the Incas in the 15th century to that of the Spanish viceroyalty in the 16th, 17th, and 18th, Peru was a place of imperial riches and splendor. With its Andean fortresses and colonial cathedrals, Inca stonework and Sevillian azulejo tiles, no wonder choosing the best places to visit in Peru is so difficult. The country is an embarrassment of marvels….
1. Machu Picchu
The Andes’ most famous ruin, rediscovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911, needs no introduction. No matter how many Instagram snapshots you’ve seen, they can’t come close to the mystic stonework and sublime geometry of the real thing. For those staying overnight, an abundance of secondary marvels…
The Incas’ legendary capital is a place of enchantment. Solar temples and colossal native palaces fuse with baroque Spanish cathedrals in a city where two worlds collide. Highlights include Sacsayhuaman, the most imposing Inca fortress ever built, and quirky San Blas, a neighborhood of local artisans…
3. The Sacred Valley
The Urubamba Valley was the Incas’ heartland, and when you travel through by bus or luxury train, you’ll see why. The ceremonial complexes here, including those at Choquequirao and Pisac, are among the most awe-inspiring the Americas have ever produced. Don’t miss the fortress town of Ollantaytambo…
Peru’s kinetic capital positively hums with energy. From the colonial monuments of its plaza de armas to the posh eateries of Miraflores and Barranco, the city electrifies via its architecture, food, and nightlife. Don’t miss the nightly danzas folklóricas, with their whirling, colorfully clad performers, or the…
5. Puno & Lake Titicaca
The world’s highest navigable lake is also a living repository of indigenous cultures. Its people, inhabiting postcard-perfect islands like the Uros, Taquile, and Antamani, are the guardians of a heritage that dates back to before the Incas. Interested in experiencing the residents’ lifestyles?…
6. Puerto Maldonado & the Southern Amazon
If you’re looking to go off the grid, Peru’s southern rainforest is the place to do it. Remote and largely untouched by civilization, it’s the site of two of the continent’s most pristine parks for wildlife watching, as well as countless exotic flora and fauna. One Tambopata clay lick is so crowded with macaws…
7. Iquitos & the Northern Amazon
For those wanting to stay at a jungle lodge or take an Amazon cruise, Iquitos, one of Peru’s oddest cities, is your point of departure. Floating markets, stilt-raised huts, and iron architecture by Gustav Eiffel give this frontier town a personality unlike any other. Don’t miss the pink river dolphins: legend has it…
8. Arequipa & the Colca Canyon
Peru’s “white city” is considered by many to be its most beautiful—and to have its best food. A short early-morning jaunt takes you to see Colca Canyon, with its Inca terraces and famous “Condor Crossing,” while inside the city itself, colonial convents and Inca mummies whisper secrets of a remote past…
9. Ica & the Nazca Lines
Archaeologists and pilots continue to discover new geoglyphs at Nazca, ground zero for one of Peru’s most mysterious civilizations. Meanwhile, further up the coast, Ica’s bodegas allow wine lovers to sample Peruvian vintages and piscos at bargain prices. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, dune-buggies and sandboarding…
10. Paracas & the Ballestas Islands
Located just 100 miles south of Lima, this coastal resort offers luxury hotels and outings in high-speed launches. Sea lions, Humboldt penguins, and dolphins serve as the welcome committee. If you’re archaeologically minded, don’t skip the vast Paracas necropolis, with its bottle-shaped tombs and stunning textiles…
11. Trujillo & Northern Peru
Peru’s north coast was home to two great pre-Inca civilizations, the Moche and Chimú. When you visit, you’ll find a legacy of adobe pyramids, silverwork, and grisly human sacrifice. High points include Chan Chan, a strange geometric city full of echoing royal vaults, and the tomb of El Señor de Sipán, the most fabulous…
Peru Travel Articles
The Great Peruvian Menu
With its varied regional cuisines and incredibly diverse array of platos típicos, Peru is a foodie’s paradise. El Comercio, the country’s chief newspaper, reports that nearly 40 percent of visitors to the South American nation come for the food alone, so that there’s no shortage of gastronomic festivals or tours for those hoping to sample this alimentary abundance. Best of all, all of Peru’s regional cuisines are easily available in Lima, making the capital a melting pot…
Travel Guide To Machu Picchu: What You Need To Know
Looking to visit the world’s most celebrated Inca ruin, but don’t know where to start? Relax: this Travel Guide to Machu Picchu has you covered. Here we answer many common queries, regarding both the ruins themselves and the logistics of visiting. Still have questions? Feel free to contact…
A Guide To The Main Structures Of Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu isn’t just an archaeological wonder: It’s also an architectural masterpiece. With more than 200 buildings that we know of, intelligently divided into urban and agricultural sectors and an upper town and lower town, there are no finer examples of Inca planning and construction…
Hiram Bingham And The Discovery Of Machu Picchu
On July 24, 1911, a Yale lecturer of South American history stumbled through the dense jungle on the saddle of a steep-sided mountaintop in Peru. Cutting through the undergrowth, he began to see signs of a former settlement. Walls and archways, paths and structures, and monumental architecture…
Day Two At Machu Picchu: Four Top Options
So you’ve finally done it. You’ve bought your PeruRail tickets, your entrance pass, and your chuyo, and you’re on your way to Machu Picchu. Mission accomplished—at least the first stage. By now your envious friends are blowing up your Facebook page with “OMG! How exciting!” posts and asking…
Eight Things To Do In Cusco, Peru
Cusco is famous throughout the world, primarily as the gateway to Machu Picchu. But the historic capital of the Inca Empire has far more to offer than just Machu Picchu, and plenty of things to see and do closer to the city. Here we take a look at attractions in Cusco itself, and some sights just beyond…
Ten Interesting Facts About The Inca Empire
When people think of the Incas, they normally think of Machu Picchu. But the Inca Empire was a huge and powerful force in South America, far more so than even the magnificent Machu Picchu may imply. The influence of the Incas can still be seen quite clearly in modern Peru, despite the empire’s…
Art And Artisans In Cuzco’s San Blas Neighborhood
Juana Mendívil has a story she likes to tell about her father, Hilario. As a young boy growing up in Cuzco’s arty San Blas district, Hilario early on was infected by his barrio’s mania for sculpture. Every day after school he’d stop to peer in the neighborhood studios, to watch the masters work. It was his world…
Quipu: Ancient Writing System Used By The Incas
The motorcycle taxi driver had my number immediately. Every time I stepped out of my hotel in Mancora, there he was offering me a ride. It took longer for me to figure out what he was doing with the colorful cords tied to the handlebars of his machine. He knotted one cord whenever I paid him…
The Sacred Valley
Ollantaytambo: Temple-Citadel Of The Incas
Horror: That was the immediate reaction of the Spanish upon seeing Ollantaytambo. Given their situation, you can hardly blame them. At some 200 feet high, and made up of coursed ashlar stones weighing 50 tons or more, the massive walls and terraced parapets of this Inca stronghold…
Pisac: Cuzco’s Most Mysterious Ruin
High above the Andean town of Pisac, carved into a rock face that looks out over a valley of soft green terraces, there is a tunnel. A slender, teardrop-shaped slit arrived at via a narrow pass. This tunnel extends for 16 meters through an outcrop of solid granite, and is just wide enough…
The Road To Ruins: Seven Inca Sites You’ve Never Heard Of, But Should
Machu Picchu. Cuzco. The Hatunrumiyoc or twelve-angled stone. Even for travelers who’ve never been to South America, these Inca sites are iconic to the point of near-cliché. Splashed across Facebook and Instagram backgrounds like pre-Colombian wallpaper, they’re magnets for selfie-snappers…
Hiking The Inca Trail To Machu Picchu: What You Need To Know
Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu has long ranked at the top of the bucket list for adventurous travelers. The legendary four-day trek climbs through the Andes to the great citadel built by the Inca Pachacutec in the 15th century, and encompasses historic ruins, mountain views, and an outdoor…
Beyond The Inca Trail: Walking The Capac Ñan, South America’s Ancient Superhighway
“Can you hear me?” My voice booms out unnaturally over the canyon. In Peru in general, and in rural Peru in particular, cell-phone signals tend to be sketchy even under ideal conditions, so it’s a tiny miracle when Kiki, my journalist friend, comes through loud and clear. “Claro, hombre. Es increíble, ¿no?”
Visiting Lima: Ten Must-Do Experiences
Lima, with its 10 million inhabitants, 49 sprawling districts, and world-class cuisine, may just be Peru’s least-known destination. True, all visitors to the Andean nation “know” Lima in that they’re required to pass through its bustling airport, and some even manage to set aside a day or two to blow through…
Where To Stay In Lima? Miraflores Vs. Barranco For Travelers
Granted, it’s not an easy choice. Especially given the contenders: two equally posh, equally historic seaside barrios in the Peruvian capital, two totally different vibes. Miraflores is, for many, the more obvious pick. A hyper-modern—and also hyper-commercial—hub, it’s a smash-up between a Pacific resort…
Sex, Mayhem, And Snacks In Lima’s Pre-Colombian Museo Larco
Lima, Peru. It’s a quiet weekday morning at the Museo Larco, in the peaceful historic district of Pueblo Libre. Warm sunlight glints off the white manorial façade. In the café, a waiter is laying tablecloths for lunch, while off the deserted courtyard, purple and red azaleas nod in the pre-noon languor…
The Soul Of Black Peru: Lima’s Música Criolla
Three high double-stops from the guitar announce the song’s opening. Two trills and a rapid slide down the neck, and the crowd explodes into whoops and cheers. A series of meditative, arpeggiated chords. A pause. Then the guitarist launches into a fast waltz rhythm, percussive and full of manly swagger…
Letting Them Eat Cebiche: The Art Of Gastón Acurio
A chef for president? Don’t laugh: in Peru, it could really happen. Citizens of the Andean nation take food—and those who prepare it—very seriously. Last year, when rumors began circulating that Gastón Acurio, the country’s superstar cuisinier, might run for the country’s top political office…
Peru’s Great Banquet: Chowing Down At Lima’s Mistura
“¡Oye, maestro, más chancho rapidito!” The cook’s face gleams with sweat as he barks the order to the runner hauling slabs of raw pork to the grill. Spicy smoke rises from the coals, blackening the awning. The line cooks scramble to dish up plates of salad to await the chancho al palo…
Puno & Lake Titicaca
Seven Things To Do In Puno, Peru
Puno, Peru suffers from a case of bad PR. Ask most travelers about the windswept Andean town, and you’ll likely get a lot of blank stares. “Puno—where exactly is that?” Those same travelers will prick up their ears at the mention of neighboring Lake Titicaca, or of the Islands of the Sun…
Arequipa & the Colca Canyon
Seven Things To Do In Arequipa, Peru
Surrounded by volcanic cones and some of the world’s deepest canyons, the city of Arequipa is a must-see destination in southern Peru. With some 860,000 inhabitants, it’s the second largest city in Peru, but far less chaotic than Lima, which is ten times the size. Arequipa is also one of…
The Condor Passes: A Guide To Peru’s Majestic Colca Canyon
On the ledge below the overlook, the three birds huddle: a slate-gray mass. One stands slightly aloof, gazing into the distance, while a second, officious, pecks under the wing of the third. Above them the canyon air is warm, with a rising early-morning wind. Rufflike plumes ripple with the breeze…
Ica & the Nazca Lines
The Animal Geoglyphs Of The Nazca Lines, From The Hummingbird To The Whale
The Nazca Lines geoglyphs vary greatly in terms of size, form and complexity. Simple lines and geometric shapes run all across the arid plain, which stretches more than 50 miles across the desert near Peru’s southern coastline. You’ll also see representations of trees and flowers, etched into the dry…
Paracas & Ballestas Islands
Eight Things To Do In Paracas, Peru
The face-off is already underway as the launch sputters up to the rocks. One sea-lion bull, head swiveling in a wide arc to instill shock and awe, is reading the riot act to another, who retorts with a Pfffffftt snorted skyward as his jellied blubber shimmies against the ledge. The dissed bull snaps pettishly…
What currency is used in Peru?
The Peruvian Sol is the currency of Peru (PEN). The most frequently used coins are the Céntimo1, Céntimo5, Céntimo10, Céntimo20, Céntimo50, S/.1, S/.2, and S/.5, and the most frequently used bank notes are the S/.10, S/.20, S/.50, S/.100, and S/.200. (Source xe.com)
What is the exchange rate?
The current exchange rate is One Dollar = $3.92 Peruvian Soles. See xe.com for the most up to date information.
What is the transportation like in Peru?
Nearly all international flights to Peru arrive via Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima (LIM). From there, it’s customary to spend one or more nights in the capital before continuing on to destinations in the Andean sierra or the Amazon. Flights are also available from Lima to most of the cities of interest to tourists, including Cusco, Trujillo, Arequipa, and Iquitos.
In the Sacred Valley, trains to Machu Picchu depart from both Cusco (specifically, the Poroy district some 30 minutes outside downtown) and the Inca town of Ollantaytambo (approximately 90 minutes from Cusco). From Ollantaytambo, the train winds through the Urubamba River Valley before arriving at Aguas Calientes, the jumping-off point for Machu Picchu. Onward trains are also available from Cusco to Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca.
For travelers to the Amazon, flights are available to the gateway cities of Puerto Maldonado and Iquitos, after which it’s customary to take a motorboat or cruise ship to jungle lodges or points inside the rainforest.
Renting a car in Peru, while possible, is not recommended, due to the bad roads and chaotic traffic conditions in many regions. Taxis are very affordable in all the major Peruvian cities.
Can I drink the water in Peru?
Tap water is not safe to drink in Peru. We recommend that you drink bottled water. Ask for “agua sin gas” for uncarbonated water and for “agua con gas” for carbonated water.
What to eat and drink in Peru?
- Cebiche. Peru’s national dish—raw fish “cooked” in lime juice and hot pepper—exists in seemingly infinite permutations. Sample the best of them at Lima’s scrumptious cebicherías, including Chez Wong close to downtown and the posh La Mar by Gastón Acurio in Miraflores.
- Pachamanca. This dish’s name means “earth oven” in Quechua, which describes to a T its preparation over hot stones in a hole in the ground. Consisting of different meats such as alpaca, chicken, and cuy (guinea pig), it’s accompanied by herbs and vegetables and served principally on special occasions. Try it in any of the country restaurants that dot the Sacred Valley.
- Lomo Saltado. Stir-fried beef, peppers, onions, French fries: this Chinese-influenced dish is served in nearly every Peruvian eatery, from the humblest corner grill to five-star San Pellegrino powerhouses. For a delicious twist, try the alpaca version prepared at establishments like Huancahuasi in Lima and Huancayo.
- Anticuchos. This delicacy-on-a-skewer comes in many forms, but the most popular consists of beef hearts, roasted to perfection on a flaming grill. Typical accompaniments include potatoes and scrumptious pepper sauces. Don’t knock them till you try them.
- Seco de Cabrito. A mainstay of Peru’s comida norteña (northern cuisine), this thick goat stew is melt-in-your-mouth tender and accompanied by rice and beans. The best versions are served in Trujillo and Chiclayo, on Peru’s northern coast.
- Chifa. The influx of Chinese immigrants into Lima in the late 19th century gave rise to the Sino-Andean fusion known as chifa. At the best Lima eateries, such as Titi in San Isidro and Wah Lok in downtown’s barrio chino, the results are exquisite. Duck, pork, and seafood confections are available, along with numerous fried-rice dishes.
- Pollo a la Brasa. Peruvian chicken is available throughout the U.S., but the North American versions can’t compare with the original. The fries themselves are worth the trip in the best pollerías. In Lima, top chains include Pardo’s Chicken and Don Tito.
- Rocoto Relleno. This decadent classic is a mainstay of Arequipa cooking. Consisting of a hot rocoto pepper stuffed with ground beef, onions, and cheese, it’s best sampled at eateries in Peru’s White City such as La Nueva Palomino and Chicha by Gastón Acurio.
- Tacu Tacu. Dating from Peru’s colonial era, this seemingly simple dish consists of seasoned, pan-fried rice and beans served in a thick cake. Although the stripped-down versions come with fried eggs or plantains, more elaborate preparations use it as a basis for rich meat or seafood stews, in dishes that showcase Afro-Peruvians’ contributions to the country’s national cuisine.
- Pisco Sour. This classic cocktail, invented in Lima’s hotel bars in the mid-20th century, has a national holiday dedicated to it. When you’re in town, the best places to try the concoction of pisco, lime juice, egg whites, and bitters are the Bar Maury and the opulent Gran Hotel Bolívar in the Plaza San Martín.
Other Peru Tours
Ecuador & Peru Tours / Galapagos & Amazon Tours / Galapagos, Machu Picchu, & Easter Island Tours / 4-Day Inca Trail Tours / Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Tours / Machu Picchu & Amazon Tours / Machu Picchu & Easter Island Tours / Machu Picchu & Galapagos Tours / Machu Picchu & Iguazu Falls Tours / Machu Picchu & Lake Titicaca Tours / Machu Picchu & Nazca Lines Tours / Machu Picchu & Rio de Janeiro Tours / Peru Adventure Tours / Peru Amazon Tours / Peru & Argentina Tours / Peru & Brazil Tours / Peru & Chile Tours / Peru & Ecuador Tours / Peru Wildlife Tours
Peru Tours by Duration
8-Day Peru Tours / 9-Day Peru Tours / 10-Day Peru Tours / 11-Day Peru Tours / 12-Day Peru Tours / 13-Day Peru Tours