Peru

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

Top holiday deals in Peru

Departing Days Price USD
10 May 2015 Real Food Adventure - Peru 9 $1835
16 May 2015 Sacred Land of the Incas 15 $2930
29 May 2015 Homeland of the Incas 21 $2950
30 May 2015 Peru Encompassed 21 $3665
30 May 2015 Peru Highlights 21 $3665

All our Peru trips

Inca Trail Express

7 days from
USD $1,215
CAD $1,255
AUD $1,230
EUR €820
GBP £710
NZD $1,370
ZAR R12,320
CHF FR995

Travel to Peru to discover the Inca, Peru's ancient civilisation. Walk the Inca Trail and visit Cuzco, Machu Picchu,...

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Inca Trail Extension

6 days from
USD $1,032
CAD $1,065
AUD $1,045
EUR €720
GBP £605
NZD $1,162
ZAR R10,460
CHF FR870

Take the historic Inca Trail hike and be rewarded with spectacular vistas and incredible sights. From Cuzco, travel...

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Sacred Land of the Incas

15 days from
USD $2,750
CAD $2,995
AUD $2,935
EUR €2,015
GBP £1,630
NZD $3,270
ZAR R29,360
CHF FR2,440

Discover Peru's sacred land of the Incas. Visit Lima, the Amazon, Cuzco, Puno, Lake Titicaca, trek the Inca Trail and...

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Remote Amazon

5 days from
USD $1,022
CAD $1,087
AUD $1,130
EUR €785
GBP £675
NZD $1,340
ZAR R10,285
CHF FR970

Join an expedition into the Amazon jungle and experience life in one of the world's greatest wildernesses. Learn...

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Real Food Adventure - Peru

9 days from
USD $1,835
CAD $1,895
AUD $1,860
EUR €1,280
GBP £1,075
NZD $2,065
ZAR R18,575
CHF FR1,545

Indulge in mouth-watering cuisine and witness stunning sights on Intrepid's Real Food Adventure - Peru. Explore Lima,...

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Ecuador and Peru Explorer

16 days from
USD $1,305
CAD $1,355
AUD $1,365
EUR €895
GBP £765
NZD $1,480
ZAR R13,290
CHF FR1,095

Travel from captivating Quito through the jungles of the Amazon, to the spa town of Banos, the seaside of Zorritos...

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Peru Family Trek - Teens on the Trail

14 days from
USD $2,720
CAD $2,805
AUD $2,835
EUR €1,875
GBP £1,590
NZD $3,070
ZAR R27,550
CHF FR2,270

Travel to South America and visit Peru on a family adventure through Lima, Ollantaytambo and Cuzco. Tour Peru and...

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Essential Peru

21 days from
USD $2,620
CAD $2,860
AUD $2,905
EUR €1,910
GBP £1,555
NZD $3,120
ZAR R28,050
CHF FR2,310

Discover Peru in depth on this adventure tour through Peru that ends in La Paz, Boliva. Trek the Inca Trail, marvel...

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Peru Family Adventure

10 days from
USD $2,755
CAD $2,850
AUD $2,870
EUR €1,895
GBP £1,610
NZD $3,105
ZAR R27,905
CHF FR2,295

Visit Peru on this Family Adventure, travelling through Lima, Cuzco and Aguas Calientes. Explore the Amazon Jungle...

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Galapagos & Peru Adventure

24 days from
USD $6,400
CAD $6,616
AUD $6,494
EUR €4,378
GBP £3,754
NZD $7,224
ZAR R64,940
CHF FR5,299

Visit South America and travel to the Galapagos Islands, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. Visit Quito, San Cristobal, Lima,...

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Peru Amazon - 4 days

4 days from
USD $400
CAD $412
AUD $405
EUR €277
GBP £235
NZD $450
ZAR R4,052
CHF FR337

Journey through the Amazon Jungle in Peru and discover stunning wildlife and friendly locals. Cruise the Amazon River...

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Peru Encompassed

21 days from
USD $3,510
CAD $3,625
AUD $3,555
EUR €2,445
GBP £2,055
NZD $3,960
ZAR R35,555
CHF FR2,960

Encounter the highlights of Peru, witnessing Lima's attractions, flying over the Nazca Lines, taking a trip to Machu...

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La Paz to Cuzco

12 days from
USD $1,778
CAD $1,926
AUD $1,922
EUR €1,299
GBP £1,109
NZD $2,106
ZAR R18,874
CHF FR1,571

Discover Incan heartlands on this Overland Bolivia and Peru tour. Travel from La Paz to Cuzco and take in Lake...

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Galapagos & Inca Trail Adventure

17 days from
USD $4,555
CAD $4,701
AUD $4,664
EUR €3,143
GBP £2,669
NZD $5,139
ZAR R46,170
CHF FR3,804

Travel to Ecuador and the wildlife-rich shores of the Galapagos Islands. Then visit Peru and embark on an Inca Trail...

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La Paz to Lima

22 days from
USD $2,895
CAD $3,135
AUD $3,011
EUR €2,120
GBP £1,791
NZD $3,430
ZAR R30,798
CHF FR2,562

Travel from La Paz to Lima and discover the vibrant heart of Inca culture. Trek an Inca trail and visit Colca Canyon,...

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Homeland of the Incas

21 days from
USD $2,950
CAD $3,195
AUD $3,135
EUR €2,150
GBP £1,745
NZD $3,490
ZAR R31,340
CHF FR2,610

Discover Peru's sacred land of the Incas. Visit Lima, the Amazon, Cuzco, Puno, Lake Titicaca, trek the Inca Trail and...

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Quito to Lima

20 days from
USD $1,593
CAD $1,726
AUD $1,717
EUR €1,166
GBP £982
NZD $1,887
ZAR R16,914
CHF FR1,408

Visit South America and travel through Ecuador and Peru on a tour from Quito to Lima. Explore the Amazon Jungle, Rio...

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Rio to Quito via Ushuaia

112 days from
USD $12,170
CAD $13,187
AUD $13,107
EUR €8,900
GBP £7,478
NZD $14,426
ZAR R129,421
CHF FR10,768

Visit South America and travel through Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. Follow the Inca trail and...

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Explore Peru & Bolivia

25 days from
USD $4,405
CAD $4,545
AUD $4,455
EUR €2,995
GBP £2,575
NZD $4,960
ZAR R44,615
CHF FR3,640

Visit South America and travel to Peru and Bolivia. Travel from Lima to La Paz, visit Cuzco, explore the Inca Trail...

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Quito to Rio via Ushuaia

112 days from
USD $8,642
CAD $9,362
AUD $9,220
EUR €6,320
GBP £5,162
NZD $10,251
ZAR R91,888
CHF FR7,645

Visit South America and travel through Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile and Brazil. Follow the Inca trail,...

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Peru Highlights

21 days from
USD $3,665
CAD $3,785
AUD $3,710
EUR €2,555
GBP £2,145
NZD $4,135
ZAR R37,135
CHF FR3,090

Visit Peru and see attractions in Lima, fly over the lines of Nazca, take a trip to Machu Picchu, discover things to...

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Classic Peru

9 days from
USD $2,015
CAD $2,185
AUD $2,135
EUR €1,465
GBP £1,195
NZD $2,385
ZAR R21,415
CHF FR1,775

Visit South America and travel to Peru. Visit Lima, Cuzco and Lake Titicaca, tour the Sacred Valley and Ollantaytambo...

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Inca Trail

8 days from
USD $1,655
CAD $1,705
AUD $1,625
EUR €1,135
GBP £965
NZD $1,865
ZAR R16,770
CHF FR1,375

Travel to Peru and retrace the steps of the Inca, Peru's fascinating ancient civilisation. Follow Inca traditions...

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Lake Titicaca

2 days from
USD $117
CAD $122
AUD $120
EUR €82
GBP £70
NZD $132
ZAR R1,200
CHF FR100

Travel from Puno to Lake Titicaca and take a boat ride on the world's highest navigable lake. Spend time with locals...

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Lima to La Paz

22 days from
USD $2,895
CAD $3,135
AUD $3,126
EUR €2,120
GBP £1,791
NZD $3,430
ZAR R30,798
CHF FR2,562

Travel from Lima to La Paz and fall in love with Incan South America. Complete the Inca Trail trek, visit Arequipa,...

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Inca Trail & Amazon

12 days from
USD $2,915
CAD $3,010
AUD $2,950
EUR €1,990
GBP £1,710
NZD $3,290
ZAR R29,560
CHF FR2,410

Travel from the heights of the Andes to the exotic Amazon rainforest on this best of Peru adventure tour. Trek the...

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Machu Picchu Explorer (Basix)

2 days from
USD $612
CAD $662
AUD $650
EUR €447
GBP £360
NZD $722
ZAR R6,505
CHF FR540

Visit South America and travel through Peru. Tour Cuzco, the Sacred Valley, Ollantaytambo, Aguas Calientes and Machu...

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Cuzco to La Paz

12 days from
USD $1,845
CAD $1,996
AUD $1,995
EUR €1,348
GBP £1,149
NZD $2,187
ZAR R19,605
CHF FR1,631

Take a scenic Overland tour from Peru to Bolivia. Be wooed by the vibrant heart of Inca lands

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Beautiful Machu Picchu

8 days from
USD $1,610
CAD $1,695
AUD $1,685
EUR €1,135
GBP £965
NZD $1,810
ZAR R16,680
CHF FR1,375

Discover magnificent Machu Picchu and visit Lima and Cuzco on this fun, accessible Peruvian adventure. Also visit the...

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Lima to Cuzco

17 days from
USD $2,160
CAD $2,335
AUD $2,332
EUR €1,579
GBP £1,342
NZD $2,557
ZAR R22,924
CHF FR1,908

Fall in love with Peru on this adventure tour. Travel from Lima to Cuzco via the Ballestas Islands, Nazca Lines,...

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Lima to Rio

60 days from
USD $6,935
CAD $7,515
AUD $7,484
EUR €5,073
GBP £4,288
NZD $8,219
ZAR R73,736
CHF FR6,134

Go Overland from Lima to Rio with Intrepid Travel. Uncover hidden treasures from Peru to Brazil via Bolivia and...

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lima to buenos aires

42 days from
USD $4,705
CAD $4,921
AUD $5,023
EUR €3,524
GBP £3,005
NZD $5,714
ZAR R46,761
CHF FR4,183

Visit South America and travel through Peru, Bolivia and Argentina from Lima to Buenos Aires. Follow the Inca Trail,...

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Cuzco to Lima

17 days from
USD $2,160
CAD $2,335
AUD $2,332
EUR €1,579
GBP £1,342
NZD $2,557
ZAR R22,924
CHF FR1,908

Visit South America and travel through Peru from Cuzco to Lima. Follow the Inca Trail, visit Machu Picchu, explore...

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Lima to Quito

20 days from
USD $1,583
CAD $1,715
AUD $1,706
EUR €1,158
GBP £975
NZD $1,875
ZAR R16,807
CHF FR1,399

Travel Overland from Lima, Peru, to Quito, Ecuador. Hit the beach in Punta Sal, get daring in Banos and go camping in...

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Ushuaia to Lima

64 days from
USD $6,990
CAD $7,572
AUD $7,526
EUR €5,111
GBP £4,299
NZD $8,280
ZAR R74,285
CHF FR6,180

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Simply Peru

11 days from
USD $2,205
CAD $2,275
AUD $2,235
EUR €1,580
GBP £1,290
NZD $2,485
ZAR R22,325
CHF FR1,910

Discover Peru's landmark attractions - amble along the cobbled streets of Cuzco, visit Machu Picchu, cruise out on...

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South America Sojourn

36 days from
USD $10,560
CAD $10,895
AUD $10,685
EUR €7,140
GBP £6,175
NZD $11,900
ZAR R106,965
CHF FR8,640

Spend over five weeks travelling through the delights of South America – from the elegant capital of Ecuador, through...

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South America Highlights

27 days from
USD $8,415
CAD $8,680
AUD $8,850
EUR €5,800
GBP £4,920
NZD $9,490
ZAR R85,225
CHF FR7,020

Travel from remarkable ‘Rio’ to Argentina’s charming capital. Marvel at the Iguazu Falls, wander through the Amazon...

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Bite-size Break Lima

3 days from
USD $490
CAD $505
AUD $495
EUR €340
GBP £285
NZD $550
ZAR R4,955
CHF FR412

Travel to Lima for a true Peruvian culinary experience. Visit a pisco bodega, take a cooking class and wander through...

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Anchorage to Ushuaia

207 days from
USD $15,565
CAD $16,865
AUD $16,535
EUR €11,385
GBP £9,190
NZD $18,460
ZAR R165,510
CHF FR13,775

Travel the length of the Americas from North through Central and to the very tip of the South. From Anchorage to...

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Wonders of Peru & Bolivia

14 days from
USD $3,825
CAD $3,950
AUD $3,875
EUR €2,610
GBP £2,235
NZD $4,310
ZAR R38,770
CHF FR3,155

Join a comfort style small group tour of Peru and Bolivia. Get to know Lima's attractions, venture into the Amazon...

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Majestic Peru

15 days from
USD $2,620
CAD $2,700
AUD $2,650
EUR €2,060
GBP £1,530
NZD $2,950
ZAR R26,505
CHF FR2,495

Visit South America and travel through Peru. Tour through Lima, Pisco, Cuzco, the Sacred Valley, Ollantaytambo, Aguas...

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Inca Empire

55 days from
USD $6,370
CAD $6,570
AUD $6,635
EUR €4,390
GBP £3,720
NZD $7,175
ZAR R64,500
CHF FR5,315

See the Inca Empire travelling in South America through Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile. From the Amazon...

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Peru, Argentina & Brazil Explorer

22 days from
USD $5,470
CAD $5,645
AUD $5,560
EUR €3,825
GBP £3,195
NZD $6,135
ZAR R54,330
CHF FR4,520

Travel from the city sights of Lima through to the vibrant beat of Rio via Machu Picchu, the Amazon Jungle, Buenos...

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Delve into South America

21 days from
USD $5,845
CAD $6,030
AUD $6,035
EUR €4,070
GBP £3,420
NZD $6,585
ZAR R59,205
CHF FR4,925

Fall for the beauty, charm and warmth of three of South America's most enigmatic countries. Wander through the Amazon...

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South American Explorer

83 days from
USD $10,090
CAD $10,410
AUD $10,210
EUR €7,025
GBP £5,900
NZD $11,370
ZAR R102,200
CHF FR8,505

Visit South America and travel through Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Brazil. Visit Machu...

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Machu Picchu Express

7 days from
USD $1,190
CAD $1,230
AUD $1,220
EUR €820
GBP £695
NZD $1,345
ZAR R12,080
CHF FR995

Explore the ancient civilisation of the Inca in Cuzco, Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley and the Ollantaytambo ruins on...

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Explore Peru

19 days from
USD $4,110
CAD $4,240
AUD $4,160
EUR €3,180
GBP £2,405
NZD $4,635
ZAR R41,625
CHF FR3,850

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Best of South America

67 days from
USD $7,765
CAD $8,090
AUD $8,010
EUR €5,405
GBP £4,585
NZD $8,835
ZAR R79,410
CHF FR6,545

Visit South America and travel through Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile. Visit the Amazon, Machu Picchu,...

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Inca Encounter - Independent Journey

10 days from
USD $3,652
CAD $3,767
AUD $3,695
EUR €2,542
GBP £2,135
NZD $4,115
ZAR R36,985
CHF FR3,077

Visit South America and travel through Peru. Tour Lima, the Amazon Jungle, Cuzco, the Sacred Valley, Ollantaytambo,...

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Inca Encounter

10 days from
USD $3,150
CAD $3,250
AUD $3,185
EUR €2,150
GBP £1,830
NZD $3,550
ZAR R31,905
CHF FR2,595

Visit South America and travel through Peru. Tour Lima, the Amazon Jungle, Cuzco, the Sacred Valley, Ollantaytambo,...

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Peruvian Pathways

14 days from
USD $3,755
CAD $3,875
AUD $4,075
EUR €2,615
GBP £2,195
NZD $4,230
ZAR R37,995
CHF FR3,160

Travel to Peru and discover the landscapes and traditions which make this country such a popular travel destination....

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Peru & Ecuador Adventure

36 days from
USD $3,825
CAD $3,945
AUD $3,945
EUR €2,595
GBP £2,240
NZD $4,310
ZAR R38,750
CHF FR3,160

Explore two gems of South America on this adventure tour through Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia, which includes the Inca...

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Cuzco to Cartagena

54 days from
USD $5,635
CAD $6,105
AUD $6,076
EUR €4,118
GBP £3,473
NZD $6,675
ZAR R59,889
CHF FR4,984

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Cartagena to Cuzco

54 days from
USD $5,635
CAD $6,105
AUD $6,076
EUR €4,118
GBP £3,473
NZD $6,675
ZAR R59,439
CHF FR4,944

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Lima to Ushuaia

64 days from
USD $6,955
CAD $7,532
AUD $7,491
EUR €5,086
GBP £4,279
NZD $8,240
ZAR R73,925
CHF FR6,150

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South America Traverse

27 days from
USD $8,070
CAD $8,325
AUD $8,330
EUR €5,620
GBP £4,720
NZD $9,095
ZAR R81,730
CHF FR6,800

See the best of South America on this comfort trip from Lima to Rio. From the allure of the Amazon and the wonders of...

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Peru trip reviews

Our Peru trips score an average of 4.67 out of 5 based on 408 reviews in the last year.

Sacred Land of the Incas, April 2015

Sacred Land of the Incas, April 2015

Video

Articles on Peru

Helping South America build a brighter future

Posted on Thu, 18 Dec 2014

South America is a beautiful destination, candid and colourful, but many South American countries are still working towards economic stability and equality.

Read more

Paddington Bear: getting wild in South America

Posted on Thu, 18 Dec 2014

 It may come as a shock that cheerful, marmalade-loving, wellington-wearing Paddington Bear – a UK icon as English as rain or understatement – comes not from London, but from ‘darkest […]

Read more

Recipes of the world: Trout Ceviche (Peru)

Posted on Mon, 24 Nov 2014

Peruvian cured fish, ceviche, is a delicious dish. Here's how to make it at home.

Read more

What’s Intrepid doing to help community development in Peru?

Posted on Fri, 26 Sep 2014

Studies suggest that the world’s indigenous people greater degrees of deprivation than non-indigenous people. What's Intrepid Travel doing to help counter that?

Read more

Transport

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:

Accommodation

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:

About Peru

At a glance

Capital city: Lima (population 8.2 million)
Population: 29.9 million
Language: Spanish, Quechua
Currency: PEN
Time zone: (GMT-05:00) Bogota, Lima, Quito, Rio Branco
Electricity: Type A (North American/Japanese 2-pin) Type B (American 3-pin) Type C (European 2-pin)
Dialing code: +51

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.

cuzco weather chart

Culture and customs

Young Peruvian boy dressed in full festival attire
Like many other South American nations, contemporary Peru is a rich mix of the modern and the ancient. The population is made up of Quechuans, Peruvians of Spanish descent and small groups of people from Asia, Africa and the Caribbean nations. With a long history of migration, many Peruvians may identify with several ethnic groups. While city dwellers tend to live modern lives, the Quechua communities of Peru have lived in the Andes for hundreds of years and live more of a traditional village-based lifestyle that revolves around markets and agriculture. While visiting Quechuan communities, travellers will be able to observe a markedly different way of life - with locals speaking a different language and wearing traditional clothing that isn't often seen in Peru's large cities. While the official religion is Christianity, some people still practice traditional rituals and customs alongside Christian beliefs. Indigenous celebrations and festivals offer fascinating insights into the ancient customs of Peru that have been carried into contemporary society from Inca times, with centuries-old food, clothing, song and dance playing an integral role in these celebrations.

Eating and drinking

Traveller basks in the glory of a traditional  Pisco sour

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

Variety of shades of Llama look around anxiously investigating
Sharing borders with Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Ecuador, Peru also has a long stretch of coast along the Pacific Ocean. Home to a diverse range of landscapes, Peru can lay claim to parts of the Amazon Basin, Andean mountain range and Lake Titicaca as well as areas of tropical savanna, desert, cloud forest, mangroves and beaches. Peru's major cities are decidedly colonial, with historic buildings from the colonial era sitting alongside newer constructions. Out of the cities, rural life is largely agriculture-based, with locals working on potato, maize, coffee, rice and other farms.

History and government

Ancient Incas statue in Peru Landscape view of ancient ruins in Machu Picchu

Early History

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.

Recent History

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 Picks

Young local Cuzco girl in traditional dress peru machu picchu view mountains village ancient

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.

2. Cuzco

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.

5. Lima

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.

6. Arequipa

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.

Shopping

Handmade scarves and blankets laid out neatly in front of mountain landscape backdrop

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.

2. Chullos

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.

3. Jewellery

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

Inti Raymi

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.

La Diablada

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

PERU TOURIST VISA
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
While tipping isn't mandatory in Peru, it's customary to add spare change or a small amount to restaurant bills. Although most restaurants and bars may already include a 10% service charge within the bill, feel free to add more if the service was good. Taxi drivers generally don't expect tips.
Internet cafes can be found in Peru's large cities and towns frequented by tourists. Internet availability is less widespread in rural and remote areas, so be prepared to disconnect for a while when traveling out of the city.
You should be able to use your mobile phone in Peru's cities, but prepare for less coverage in remote or mountainous areas. Ensure you have global roaming enabled before leaving your home country.
Peru has a mix of flushable toilets and squat toilets, so expect both. It's a good idea to carry your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer, as these aren't always provided.
Short ride on a public city bus = 1 PEN
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
Drinking tap water isn't recommended in Peru. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water. Ask your leader where filtered water can be found. It's also advisable to avoid ice in drinks and peel fruit and vegetables before eating.
Credit cards can be used at most top-end hotels, restaurants, shops and other tourist establishments. Expect to pay cash when dealing with smaller vendors, family-run restaurants and market stalls.
ATMs can be found in most of Peru's major cities and tourist areas. ATMs are far less common in rural areas and small villages so have enough cash to cover purchases when travelling away from the larger cities.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of your trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: [site:intrepid_insurance_link]
Jan 1 New Year's Day
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

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 Australia?

Go to: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

From New Zealand?

Go to: http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/

From Canada?

Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/

From US?

Go to: http://travel.state.gov/

From UK?

Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/

The World Health Organisation

also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/

Responsible Travel

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:

Living Heart

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.

Escuela Winaypaq

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

Further reading

Recommended reading

Title Author
The Last Days of the IncasKim MacQuarrie
The Conquest of the IncasJohn Hemming
Aunt Julia and the ScriptwriterMario Vargas Llosa
American ChicaMarie Arena
Touching the VoidJoe Simpson