With colonial charm, ancient Inca history and llamas around every corner, Peru is a destination with a difference. Explore the Andes one day, then hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu or dive into the Amazon the next. Peru has rewards to bestow on every type of traveller.
Peru Tours & Travel
All our Peru trips
24 days from
Visit South America and travel to the Galapagos Islands, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. Visit Quito, San Cristobal, Lima,...View trip details
17 days from
Travel to Ecuador and the wildlife-rich shores of the Galapagos Islands. Then visit Peru and embark on an Inca Trail...View trip details
112 days from
Visit South America and travel through Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. Follow the Inca trail and...View trip details
44 days from
Travel through the heart of Brazil’s jungle, encountering unusual wildlife, fascinating people and breathtaking scenery...View trip details
112 days from
Visit South America and travel through Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile and Brazil. Follow the Inca trail,...View trip details
Articles on Peru
Rediscovering Peru food as we know it
Posted on Mon, 14 Apr 2014 by Alejandro Saravia
I am not a writer or a storyteller. I am a man of flavours and ingredients coming from a faraway land of a mystic culture and exotic products. A few [...]Read more
5 Peru ruins you didn’t know you should visit
Posted on Tue, 01 Apr 2014 by Jacqueline Donaldson
Don't stop at Machu Picchu. Peru has a wealth of other captivating and crowd-free ruins that are littered across this ancient and impressive landscape.Read more
Intrepid believes half the fun of experiencing a new country is getting there, and getting around once there! Where possible, Intrepid uses local transport options and traditional modes of transport - which usually carry less of an environmental impact, support small local operators and are heaps more fun.
Depending on which trip you're on while in Peru, you may find yourself travelling by:
Travelling with Intrepid is a little bit different. We endeavour to provide travellers with an authentic experience to remember, so we try to keep accommodation as unique and traditional as possible.
When travelling with us in Peru you may find yourself staying in a:
At a glance
- Trips Available:
- Capital city:
- Lima (population 8.2 million)
- 29.9 million
- Spanish, Quechua
- Time zone:
- (GMT-05:00) Bogota, Lima, Quito, Rio Branco
- Type A (North American/Japanese 2-pin) Type B (American 3-pin) Type C (European 2-pin)
- Dialing code:
Best time to visit Peru
Peru is a fascinating country with four distinct geographical regions. Not many countries can offer beaches, mountains, rainforests and deserts on one visit. These distinct regions offer something for everyone - that's why most Intrepid tours operate all year round. June, July and August are considered the driest months in the highlands and Amazon basin and are optimal for hiking and river journeys. However, even during the rainy season in the Amazon, the rains only fall for a few hours at a time. In the Andes, the rainy season can sometimes just mean a bit of overcast weather. The advantage to travelling in these areas at this time is that many other travellers make the mistake of postponing their plans until the dry season, leaving you with more of Peru to yourself. The best time to visit the infamous Nazca Lines or the coastal areas is from December to April, although the other months of the year are perfectly good times to visit also. Remember that the Inca Trail is closed for cleaning during February, although there are other treks to Machu Picchu which are available at this time.
Culture and customs
Eating and drinking
Intrepid believes that one of the best ways to experience a country is by eating! Whether you're sampling street food, savouring a cheap eat or indulging in a banquet, there are endless options to choose from wherever you are in the world.
Food in Peru tends to be hot and spicy, and while meat features quite heavily on the menu, vegetarian options aren't too hard to come by considering potatoes and avocados are in abundance.
Things to try in Peru
1. Papas Rellenas
This popular street food consists of baked potato stuffed with beef, onion and spices. The perfect budget backpacker snack.
2. Choclo con Queso
How can something as simple as corn on the cob with cheese be so tasty? This street food triumph is a winner - it's perfect for fussy eaters, vegetarians and the budget conscious.
3. Pisco Sour
The national drink of Peru gets whipped up with lime juice, egg white and sugar to create this well known cocktail. Try it in Pisco… actually why not try it all over Peru?
4. Mate de Coca
Rumoured to help with altitude sickness, this tea made from coca leaves is drunk by locals all over the Andes region and is hailed for its 'medicinal' properties.
Geography and environment
History and government
Archaeological evidence indicates that early life in Peru started up to 11,000 years ago, with nomadic people living a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Organised civilisations based on land cultivation appear to have been established some time around 6000 BC. Over the centuries, Peru has seen many different civilisations rise and fall, grow and decline and evidence of these ancient civilisations can be found all around the country today, with the Nazca Lines being one of the most enigmatic examples.
However, the Incas can lay claim to being one of the most famous and revered empires of all. Spanning from 1438 to 1532, the audacious Inca Empire was responsible for one of the world's most impressive archaeological ruins - Machu Picchu. While certainly a scene-stealer, there are also many other reminders of the Inca throughout Peru, with the ruins at Sacsayhuaman also holding much significance. The decline of the Incas began some time around 1532, with the arrival of Spanish colonisers, civil war and the devastating smallpox virus contributing to the instability of the once-great empire. The indigenous population was decimated by infectious diseases brought from Europe, for which they had no immunity.
By 1542, the Spanish Crown had created the Viceroyalty of Peru yet over the years various indigenous uprisings and rebellions indicated the level of dissatisfaction the original population felt at having their traditional way of life, identity and land interfered with by foreigners. These disputes finally led to the War of Independence, which lasted from 1810 to 1824, when Spanish troops were defeated in the Battle of Ayacucho. Peru's independence was finally officially recognised in 1879.
Peru's more recent history has been dominated by military coups and regional disputes with the years between 1960 and 1990 being a time of political instability and economic difficulty. With world commodity prices levelling out, Peru's agriculture-based economy suffered, as did its population who were largely reliant on farming. New leadership in the 1990s and beyond has led to economic reforms and trade promotion, which has driven economic growth for the country. With a focus on mining, construction, tourism and private investment, Peru withstood the Global Economic Crisis of 2008 considerably well and managed to avoid the high inflation and economic uncertainty that plagued many other nations. Celebrating the centenary of the re-discovery of Machu Picchu in 2011, Peru continues to enjoy widespread international attention for its cultural and historical riches.
Top 10 Must-Visit Places of Peru
1. Machu Picchu
No matter how many photos you've seen, nothing can prepare you for the reality. Time slips away as you try to uncover the ruins' secrets and marvel at how such grandeur is possible in a place so remote.
History comes to life in Cuzco. You can't turn a corner without coming across another reminder of its Inca past. Ruins are everywhere, and even the elegant colonial buildings have been built upon old Inca temples, houses, and markets.
3. Sacred Valley
This fertile valley is packed with Inca sites including the massive fortress of Ollantaytambo. Be sure to come on market day when the laidback villages come to life. The cobbled streets fill with every colour, produce and animal imaginable.
4. Amazon Jungle
Spend mornings watching colourful macaws and monkeys, the afternoon learning about traditional plant usage or spotting crocs in oxbow lakes. Then, at night, get your torch ready to seek out some of the jungle's larger creatures.
Peru's capital is home to unexpected treasures. Dig beneath the city's surface to uncover pre-Columbian temples, a touch of colonial elegance and a huge dose of modern distractions; like the cafe-rich district of Miraflores.
The White City, as it's affectionately known, is spectacular. Surrounded by canyons, volcanoes and deserts, the location is perfect for exploring Peru's wild side. But the true beauty of the city is in its elegant buildings, built from white volcanic rock.
7. Colca Canyon
While the canyon is a dramatic sight (it's twice as deep as the Grand Canyon), it's a glimpse of the elusive Andean condor that will really get your heart racing. With a wing span of 3.2m this bird doesn't just glide, it soars.
8. Lake Titicaca
Big enough to house countless island communities, coca smugglers and the entirety of Bolivia's navy, Lake Titicaca is massive. Remnants of ancient cultures are everywhere and many communities live on reed islands as they have done for hundreds of years.
9. Nazca Lines
The Nazca Lines are one of the world's great mysteries. Shapes of spiders, monkeys and birds are drawn into the desert landscape over 500 sq km. The most amazing part? They are only visible from the air.
10. Aguas Calientes
Whether you've just trekked the Inca Trail or travelled by train through the Sacred Valley, Aguas Calientes is the perfect place to stop, soak in a steaming thermal bath and reflect on the adventure so far.
With rich handicraft traditions on display in all the markets across the country, Peru is a great place to pick up handmade souvenirs at low prices.
It's also a good idea to check with your local customs officials to ensure that you are able to bring some items back into your home country. Australia and New Zealand generally have strict quarantine laws.
Things to buy in Peru
1. Alpaca Wool Clothing
As one of the largest alpaca wool producers in the world, travellers will be able to find alpaca wool clothing almost everywhere in Peru. Beautiful shawls, ponchos and jumpers are the perfect way to keep warm, as Peruvians have traditionally done for centuries.
The classic hallmark of any backpacker who has travelled through South America - the chullo (knitted hat with ear flaps) might be a bit of a travel cliché but will be a well received as a gift back home.
Good quality gold and silver earrings, rings and bracelets are widely available throughout Peru, with classic Inca-style designs proving popular.
Festivals and Events in Peru
Hundreds of thousands of people gather at the ruins of Sacsayhuaman (just outside of Cusco) each year for this ancient celebration known as the 'Festival of the Sun'. Dating back to the Inca Empire, this ceremony once used to involve animal sacrifices (to appease the Sun God) but these days, historical re-enactments spare the animals.
El Senor de los Milagros
Even though this is one of the most important Catholic rituals in the world, you don't have to be a believer to be moved by the stirring sight of thousands of purple-clad people walking down the streets of Lima in honour of the Lord of Miracles.
Held on the shores of Lake Titicaca, this week-long festival commemorates the liberation of the city and pays respects to the gods of the lake. Expect to see locals dressed up in colourful devil-like costumes parading through the streets to the sounds of traditional music.
FAQs on Peru
1 hour of internet use in a cyber café = 3 PEN
Bottle of beer = 4 PEN
Street cart snack/lunch = 6 PEN
Lunch in a café = 15 PEN
Dinner at a nice restaurant = 30 PEN
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Mar 28 Maundy Thursday
Mar 29 Good Friday
May 1 Labour Day
Jun 29 St Peter's and St Paul's Day
Jul 28 Independence Day Celebrations
Aug 30 St Rosa of Lima Day
Oct 8 Angamos Battle
Nov 1 All Saints' Day
Dec 8 Immaculate Conception
Dec 24 Christmas Eve
Dec 25 Christmas Day
Please note these dates are for 2013. For a current list of public holidays go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/peru/public-holidays
Australia: Not required
Belgium: Not required
Canada: Not required
Germany: Not required
Ireland: Not required
Netherlands: Not required
New Zealand: Not required
South Africa: Not required
Switzerland: Not required
United Kingdom: Not required
United States: Not required PERU TOURISTENVISUM:
Australien: Nicht erforderlich
Belgien: Nicht erforderlich
Kanada: Nicht erforderlich
Deutschland: Nicht erforderlich
Irland: Nicht erforderlich
Niederlande: Nicht erforderlich
Neuseeland: Nicht erforderlich
Südafrika: Nicht erforderlich
Schweiz: Nicht erforderlich
Großbritannien: Nicht erforderlich
USA: Nicht erforderlich
Health and Safety
Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:
From New Zealand?
Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/
Go to: http://travel.state.gov/
Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/
The World Health Organisation
also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/
Peru Travel Tips
Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.
Top responsible travel tips for Peru
1. Be considerate of Peru’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.
2. Dress modestly and respectfully when visiting communities, sacred sites and places of worship.
3. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water.
4. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.
5. When bargaining at markets, stay calm, be reasonable and keep a smile on your face. It's meant to be fun!
6. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.
7. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.
8. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.
9. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.
10. When on community visits or homestays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals.
The Intrepid Foundation
The Intrepid Foundation provides travellers with an opportunity to give something back to the many wonderful communities we travel to. By donating to The Intrepid Foundation you can make a difference in local communities - in health care, education, human rights, child welfare and the protection of wildlife and the environment.
In Peru, the Intrepid Foundation proudly supports:
This non-profit organisation helps the Andean women and children of the Sacred Valley area with education, conservation, nutrition and health programs.
Image supplied by Roxana Mori.
This small school offers free primary education to local children in a remote area of the Sacred Valley. Apart from providing schooling, the school also aims to strengthen Andean culture by promoting traditional language and values.
Image supplied by Escuela Winaypaq.
To learn more or donate, go to: www.theintrepidfoundation.org
|The Last Days of the Incas||Kim MacQuarrie|
|The Conquest of the Incas||John Hemming|
|Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter||Mario Vargas Llosa|
|American Chica||Marie Arena|
|Touching the Void||Joe Simpson|