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 deals in Peru

Departing Days Price USD
15 Feb 2015 Real Food Adventure - Peru 9 $1855
4 Mar 2015 Homeland of the Incas 21 $2995
26 Mar 2015 Sacred Land of the Incas 15 $2980
2 Apr 2015 Sacred Land of the Incas 15 $2980
4 Apr 2015 Peru Encompassed 21 $3565

All our Peru trips

Inca Trail Express

7 days from
AUD $1,195
NZD $1,330
USD $1,180
ZAR R11,960
GBP £690
CHF FR995
EUR €820
CAD $1,220

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

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
AUD $3,175
NZD $3,540
USD $2,980
ZAR R31,780
GBP £1,765
CAD $3,240
CHF FR2,645
EUR €2,185

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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Ecuador on a shoestring

8 days from
USD $590
CAD $595
AUD $595
EUR €420
GBP £345
NZD $660
ZAR R5,955
CHF FR495

Set off on an adventure through stunning Ecuador. Travel through the Amazon Jungle, visit laidback Banos and discover...

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Ecuador and Peru Explorer

16 days from
USD $1,295
ZAR R13,160
GBP £760
CAD $1,340
CHF FR1,095
EUR €895
AUD $1,315
NZD $1,465

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

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Essential Peru

21 days from
AUD $2,795
NZD $3,090
USD $2,595
ZAR R27,775
GBP £1,540
CAD $2,830
CHF FR2,310
EUR €1,910

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 Trek - Teens on the Trail

14 days from
ZAR R25,920
NZD $2,890
GBP £1,500
EUR €1,785
AUD $2,590
CAD $2,645
USD $2,565
CHF FR2,160

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

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Peru Family Adventure

10 days from
AUD $2,760
NZD $3,075
USD $2,730
ZAR R27,630
GBP £1,595
CAD $2,820
CHF FR2,295
EUR €1,895

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

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Peru Amazon - 4 days

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

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

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Galapagos & Peru Adventure

24 days from
USD $6,265
CAD $6,475
AUD $6,353
EUR €4,366
GBP £3,672
NZD $7,067
ZAR R63,539
CHF FR5,285

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

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Remote Amazon

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

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 $1,855
CAD $1,915
AUD $1,880
EUR €1,295
GBP £1,090
NZD $2,090
ZAR R18,775
CHF FR1,565

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

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Peru Encompassed

21 days from
AUD $3,610
NZD $4,015
USD $3,565
ZAR R36,090
GBP £2,090
CAD $3,680
CHF FR3,005
EUR €2,480

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

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Galapagos & Inca Trail Adventure

17 days from
NZD $5,077
ZAR R45,624
CHF FR3,795
AUD $4,563
USD $4,500
GBP £2,637
CAD $4,645
EUR €3,136

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 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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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
AUD $3,180
NZD $3,540
USD $2,995
ZAR R31,810
GBP £1,770
CAD $3,240
CHF FR2,650
EUR €2,185

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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Rio to Quito via Ushuaia

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

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
CHF FR3,640
ZAR R43,740
NZD $4,865
GBP £2,525
EUR €2,995
AUD $4,370
CAD $4,455
USD $4,320

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 $11,850
CAD $12,837
AUD $12,767
EUR €8,665
GBP £7,288
NZD $14,046
ZAR R126,001
CHF FR10,483

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
AUD $3,795
NZD $4,225
USD $3,750
ZAR R37,985
GBP £2,195
CAD $3,870
CHF FR3,160
EUR €2,610

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
NZD $2,370
ZAR R21,320
CHF FR1,775
GBP £1,185
EUR €1,465
AUD $2,130
CAD $2,170
USD $1,995

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 $1,575
CAD $1,625
AUD $1,595
EUR €1,095
GBP £920
NZD $1,775
ZAR R15,965
CHF FR1,330

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

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 $2,941
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 $2,860
CAD $2,950
AUD $2,895
EUR €1,990
GBP £1,675
NZD $3,225
ZAR R28,980
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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Beautiful Machu Picchu

8 days from
USD $1,595
CAD $1,650
AUD $1,620
EUR €1,115
GBP £935
NZD $1,795
ZAR R16,215
CHF FR1,350

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

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Machu Picchu Explorer (Basix)

2 days from
ZAR R7,057
USD $662
NZD $785
AUD $705
EUR €485
CAD $717
GBP £392
CHF FR587

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

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
GBP £3,005
NZD $5,714
ZAR R46,761
CHF FR4,183
EUR €3,524
AUD $5,023

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 $1,650
CAD $1,787
AUD $2,000
EUR €1,207
GBP £1,014
NZD $1,954
ZAR R17,509
CHF FR1,458

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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Machu Picchu Express

7 days from
AUD $1,195
NZD $1,330
USD $1,180
ZAR R11,960
GBP £690
CAD $1,220
CHF FR995
EUR €820

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

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Best of South America

67 days from
AUD $7,855
NZD $8,750
USD $7,765
ZAR R78,625
GBP £4,540
CAD $8,010
CHF FR6,545
EUR €5,405

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

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

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Peru & Ecuador Adventure

36 days from
NZD $4,225
ZAR R37,990
CHF FR3,160
AUD $3,795
USD $3,750
GBP £2,195
CAD $3,870
EUR €2,595

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

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Inca Encounter

10 days from
CHF FR2,595
USD $3,090
AUD $3,125
NZD $3,480
ZAR R31,280
GBP £1,795
CAD $3,185
EUR €2,150

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 $3,555
CAD $3,670
AUD $3,995
EUR €2,615
GBP £2,080
NZD $4,005
ZAR R35,995
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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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
GBP £3,473
NZD $6,675
USD $5,635
ZAR R59,439
EUR €4,118
AUD $6,076
CAD $6,105
CHF FR4,944

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South America Traverse

27 days from
GBP £4,720
CHF FR6,800
EUR €5,620
AUD $8,165
NZD $9,095
USD $8,070
ZAR R81,730
CAD $8,325

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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Simply Peru

11 days from
AUD $2,295
NZD $2,555
USD $2,270
ZAR R22,970
GBP £1,325
CAD $2,340
CHF FR1,910
EUR €1,580

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

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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 Sojourn

36 days from
GBP £5,995
CAD $10,580
EUR €7,140
AUD $10,375
NZD $11,555
USD $10,255
ZAR R103,850
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
NZD $9,390
ZAR R84,380
CHF FR7,020
AUD $8,430
USD $8,330
GBP £4,870
CAD $8,595
EUR €5,800

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

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Ushuaia to Lima

64 days from
USD $6,905
CAD $7,477
AUD $7,436
EUR €5,051
GBP £4,249
NZD $8,180
ZAR R73,385
CHF FR6,105

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Bite-size Break Lima

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

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

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Majestic Peru

15 days from
CHF FR2,495
ZAR R29,980
NZD $3,335
GBP £1,730
EUR €2,060
AUD $2,995
CAD $3,055
USD $2,960

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

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Peru, Argentina & Brazil Explorer

22 days from
NZD $5,870
ZAR R52,750
CHF FR4,390
GBP £3,045
CAD $5,375
EUR €3,625
AUD $5,270
USD $5,210

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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Anchorage to Ushuaia

207 days from
USD $16,215
EUR €11,865
GBP £9,575
NZD $19,235
ZAR R172,445
CAD $17,570
AUD $17,230
CHF FR14,350

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
AUD $3,835
NZD $4,060
USD $3,605
ZAR R36,470
GBP £2,105
CAD $3,715
CHF FR3,040
EUR €2,510

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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South American Explorer

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

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

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Inca Empire

55 days from
USD $6,305
CAD $6,505
AUD $6,380
EUR €4,390
GBP £3,685
NZD $7,105
ZAR R63,860
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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Delve into South America

21 days from
ZAR R59,205
GBP £3,420
CAD $6,030
CHF FR4,925
EUR €4,070
AUD $5,915
NZD $6,585
USD $5,845

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

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Explore Peru

19 days from
USD $4,565
CAD $4,710
AUD $4,620
EUR €3,180
GBP £2,670
NZD $5,145
ZAR R46,245
CHF FR3,850

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Peru trip reviews

Our Peru trips score an average of 4.68 out of 5 based on 312 reviews in the last year.

Inca Trail Express, June 2014

Inca Trail Express, June 2014

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