When you’re planning what to wear while travelling in Peru, it’s important to know what to expect from the weather during your trip. While there are generally two seasons, wet and dry, Peru's geography is super diverse — from deserts to mountains, rainforest to coast — and the weather patterns vary greatly.
There are a few things to bear in mind no matter where or when you're going, though. Dressing in layers is key, as you’ll need to layer up and down as the weather changes throughout the day. Wear clothes made of natural, breathable fabrics like linen, cotton (although cotton doesn't dry well in high humidity) or merino wool; merino is particularly good for hiking as it wicks away moisture and regulates body temperature. Sportswear is also a good shout for hot weather as it’s lightweight and quick-drying.
At higher altitudes, in places like Cusco, Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca, the temperature can plummet at night, so you’ll also need a warm, waterproof jacket, thermals and a beanie — especially if you're travelling in the winter months from April to October.
Casual, comfy attire is the go in Peru, but you may want to dress up a bit if you plan on hanging out in bars and restaurants in Lima — think a t-shirt with jeans or a skirt... nothing too fancy. It’s not essential, but you might feel more comfortable, especially if you visit any up-scale restaurants.
Peru is generally safe for travellers, but you should avoid wearing expensive jewellery and branded clothing. Flashy attire can unfortunately make you a target for thieves.
In terms of footwear, runners and/or sandals made for walking are a must for anyone travelling in Peru. You'll spend a lot of time exploring the country's historical sites on your feet. Plus, pathways at historical sites are often rocky and uneven, and cobbled footpaths in the main cities aren’t much better.
What should female travellers wear in Peru?
Peru is modern in many ways, but locals are generally quite modest when it comes to clothing, particularly outside of major cities in rural areas. It’s best to err on the conservative side and cover shoulders, cleavage and bare legs from the knee down. Plus, loose, long clothing keeps you cooler in hot climates.
It’s handy to have a scarf/shawl to pop on when visiting one of Peru’s many religious sites. You should also save swimwear and sarongs for the beach and poolside only.
Must-pack items for Peru
Here are some essentials that'll come in handy for Peru:
Loose, breathable clothing that covers your knees and shoulders. Athletic wear is recommended for particularly humid days
Fleece or hoodie, plus warm layers for the evening during cooler months
Warm jacket, gloves and beanie if travelling to the dry season (winter) from April to October