Peru Travel Tips: Top 13 Things To Know Before You Go
Are you planning a trip to Peru and want to make the most of your adventure? Well, you’ve come to the right place! As a seasoned traveler to this amazing country, I’ve got some insider tips and tricks to share with you.
Peru is a breathtaking destination with so much to offer, from the towering peaks of the Andes to the lush rainforests of the Amazon. But, there are a few things you should know before you go. That’s why I’ve put together a list of the 13 most important Peru travel tips to help you have the trip of a lifetime.
Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-timer, these Peru travel tips will help you make the most of your time. So, let’s get started!
1. Plan ahead
Planning ahead is key to a successful and stress-free trip to Peru. Make sure you have a valid passport and visas, and think about your transportation options. I’d recommend booking a domestic flight and doing your research on accommodations, especially if you’re visiting popular tourist destinations. Book a guide and a porter for your trek to Machu Picchu, and don’t forget about travel insurance to cover medical expenses and trip cancellations.
When it comes to accommodations, do your research and book early. The more popular tourist destinations can get pretty booked up, especially during peak season. And if you’re planning on trekking to Machu Picchu, make sure you book a guide and a porter in advance. It’s not only safer, but it’s also more enjoyable to have someone knowledgeable show you around. Take your time, do your research, and plan ahead. Trust me, it’ll make all the difference on your trip to Peru.
2. Learn some Spanish
One of the most important things to keep in mind is that learning some Spanish can really come in handy. While you’ll find plenty of people who speak English, especially in touristy areas, it’s always a good idea to have a few basic phrases up your sleeve. Not only will it show respect for the local culture, but it’ll also help you communicate with locals and have a more authentic experience.
In addition to being a respectful gesture, speaking Spanish can also enhance your overall travel experience. You’ll be able to ask for directions, order food in restaurants, and engage in conversations with locals in a way that’s not possible if you only speak English. And who knows, you might even make some new friends along the way! So don’t be intimidated by the thought of learning a new language. Just grab a Spanish dictionary or download a language learning app, and start practicing. You’ll be surprised at how much you can pick up in a short amount of time.
3. Pack for the weather
One of the most important things to keep in mind when packing is the weather. Peru is a diverse country with different climates depending on where you are, so you need to be prepared.
Here are a few Peru travel tips to help you pack for the weather like a pro. Firstly, bring a light jacket or sweater for the Andes, as the weather can get chilly at night. Secondly, pack light, breathable clothing for the hot and humid Amazon rainforest. And thirdly, bring a good waterproof jacket for the rainy season in the coastal cities.
4. Respect the altitude
Peru is a country with a wide range of landscapes and climates, from the beach to the Andes. One thing that many people don’t realize is that much of the country is located at high altitudes. This can be a real shock to the system for travelers who are not used to it. When you arrive in Cusco, for example, you’ll be over 11,000 feet above sea level!
That’s why it’s important to respect the altitude and give your body time to adjust. The symptoms of altitude sickness can range from mild headaches and dizziness to more severe symptoms like nausea and even difficulty breathing. To avoid this, take it easy your first few days in Cusco and drink lots of water. If you’re feeling unwell, don’t be afraid to take a nap or spend the day relaxing. Your body will thank you for it.
Another tip for acclimatizing is to drink coca tea. This tea is made from the leaves of the coca plant, which is native to South America and has been used by locals for centuries to help with altitude sickness. You’ll find it everywhere in Cusco, and it’s a great way to hydrate and give your body a little extra boost. Just remember, coca tea is not the same as cocaine, and it’s perfectly safe to drink.
5. Use ATM’s in cities
I’ve been to Peru a few times and I can tell you one thing for sure – using ATM’s in cities is the best way to get cash while you’re there. Not only are they widely available, but they also have a good exchange rate. But there are a few things you need to know before you use one.
First of all, always make sure the ATM is in a secure location, preferably inside a bank or shopping mall. Secondly, check for any signs of tampering or skimming devices before inserting your card. And lastly, always choose to withdraw the local currency, which is the Peruvian Sol, instead of US dollars.
6. Be cautious of food and water
When it comes to food and water in Peru, you need to be extra cautious. The tap water is not safe to drink and it’s best to stick to bottled water. And, when it comes to street food, be aware that it may not be cooked in the most hygienic way.
So, if you’re not used to spicy or unfamiliar food, it may be best to stick to restaurants with good hygiene ratings. Trust me, it’s not worth getting sick on your vacation. Remember, always opt for cooked or peeled food and wash your hands frequently.
7. Try local cuisine
When it comes to food in Peru, there’s so much to explore and try! From ceviche to ají de gallina, you’ll find a ton of delicious dishes that are unique to this country. I highly recommend trying as many of these dishes as possible during your trip, as it’s a great way to experience the culture and traditions of Peru.
One dish that you definitely need to try is ceviche, a popular seafood dish that’s made with fresh fish, lime juice, chili peppers, and other ingredients. This dish is typically served as an appetizer and is a staple in Peru’s coastal regions. Another must-try is ají de gallina, a creamy chicken stew that’s flavored with chili peppers and spices. This dish is often served with rice, potatoes, and bread, making it a filling and satisfying meal.
8. Get travel insurance
Getting travel insurance is one of the most important Peru travel tips you’ll come across. Trust me, it’s worth the investment. You never know what kind of unexpected situations you may run into during your trip, such as theft, injury, or illness. With travel insurance, you can rest assured that you’re covered in case of any emergencies.
Make sure to choose a policy that covers medical expenses, trip cancellations, and other important aspects of travel. It’s also a good idea to get a policy that covers adventure activities, as Peru is known for its amazing hiking, surfing, and other outdoor activities. Don’t let a small accident ruin your entire trip, get travel insurance and be prepared for anything that may come your way.
9. Stay safe
When traveling to Peru, safety should always be a top priority. That being said, Peru is a relatively safe country with low levels of crime, but it’s still important to take some basic precautions. First and foremost, keep an eye on your valuables and don’t carry too much cash around with you. It’s also a good idea to avoid walking alone in unfamiliar areas, especially at night.
Another safety tip to keep in mind is to be careful when using ATMs, as card skimming is a common problem in Peru. To avoid this, only use ATMs in well-lit and populated areas, and cover the keypad with your free hand when entering your PIN. If you’re going to be traveling out of the city, it’s also a good idea to make a photocopy of your passport and keep it in a safe place. This way, if you do lose your passport, you’ll have a copy to help you get a replacement.
10. Respect the culture
Before traveling to Peru, it’s important to understand and respect the local culture. The country has a rich history and traditions that should be acknowledged and appreciated. This includes learning about the customs and beliefs of the indigenous people, as well as respecting the local dress code and behavior norms. For example, in some areas, it is considered inappropriate to show too much skin or to touch religious artifacts without permission.
It’s also important to remember that bargaining is a common practice in Peru, especially in markets and street stalls. While haggling may seem pushy or disrespectful in other cultures, it’s perfectly normal here. Just be sure to bargain respectfully, and always keep in mind that the seller is likely trying to make a living.
11. Support local communities
As you travel through Peru, it’s important to think about how you can support the local communities you visit. After all, tourism is a huge industry in the country, and it’s up to us travelers to make sure it’s a positive one. Here are a few ways you can do your part:
- Shop at local markets and small shops. By choosing to buy from local artisans and merchants, you’re supporting the local economy and helping to preserve traditional craftsmanship.
- Choose locally-owned accommodations. Instead of staying in big chain hotels, opt for a local bed and breakfast or homestay. This way, you’ll be directly supporting families in the community, and you’ll have a more authentic cultural experience.
- Take part in community-based tourism initiatives. Many communities in Peru have set up initiatives to allow visitors to experience their culture and way of life first-hand. This might include homestays, cooking classes, or guided hikes through the surrounding area. By participating, you’ll be supporting the local community and learning about their way of life.
Remember, every little bit helps! By making a few simple choices, you can make a big impact on the communities you visit in Peru.
12. Take time to acclimatize
Getting your vaccinations is an important step when it comes to traveling to Peru. There are a few different vaccines that are recommended depending on the areas you’ll be visiting and the activities you’ll be doing. For example, if you’re going to be trekking in the Amazon rainforest, you may need a yellow fever vaccine.
It’s always a good idea to check with your doctor or a travel clinic to see what vaccinations are recommended for your specific trip. They’ll be able to give you personalized advice based on your health, travel plans, and other factors.
Getting vaccinated is not only important for your own health, but it also helps to protect others, especially in areas where there’s a higher risk of infectious diseases. Plus, it gives you peace of mind so you can focus on enjoying your trip without worrying about getting sick. So, make sure to get your vaccinations before you go, and enjoy your trip to Peru with confidence!
13. Be open to new experiences
When it comes to traveling to Peru, you definitely want to be open to new experiences. From the stunning Machu Picchu to the vibrant culture in Cusco, there’s so much to see and do in this amazing country. Whether it’s trying a new food, or taking a hike through the Peruvian jungle, it’s important to be open to the unknown.
One of the things I love about Peru is that there’s always something new and exciting around the corner. Whether it’s learning about the Inca culture, or trying a new dish, you’re never bored. So, make sure you’re open to trying new things, and you’ll have an amazing time in Peru.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the locals are some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met. They love to share their culture with travelers, and they’re always happy to help with anything you need. So, if you’re open to new experiences and friendly interactions, you’re sure to have a great time in Peru.
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