When is the best time to travel to Peru?

I know this is going to sound like a non-answer, but figuring out when is the best time to travel to Peru really depends on what you want to do! Peru is a vastly diverse country, and the climate is basically opposite on the South Coast compared to the Andes. That said, there is truly no bad time to come, and it is possible to combine regions in a single trip, no matter when you travel to Peru.

Ancascocha trek Cusco Peru

Hiking in the Andes in the dry season is a little more pleasant and less treacherous than hiking in the wet season.

Many people will say that the best time to travel to Peru if you want to do a hike through the Andes is the North American summer, approximately from May-September. Technically winter in the Southern hemisphere, in the mountains around Cusco it’s better considered the “dry season”. Rainfall is the lowest in this period, making hiking in the mountains a little more pleasant and also less treacherous.

Cusco Peru festivals

One of the best things about travelling to Cusco in the dry season is the abundance of colourful festivals that are celebrated.

The other advantage to visiting Cusco during this period is the abundance of festivals. For some, the cultural high season is what makes this time of year the best time to travel to Peru. From Corpus Christi, to Qoylloriti to the Virgen del Carmen, the party practically never stops! And of course, who could forget Inti Raymi, the centrepiece of Cusqueñan festivals, celebrated in honor of the sun on June 24th. In addition to these big-name events, there are also a number of smaller, lesser-known but equally thrilling festivals, such as Señor de Choquekillca in Ollantaytambo. Even if you can’t stay for the festivals themselves, for weeks on end the main plaza in Cusco is a never-ending parade of traditional dancers from every region, making this definitely one of the best time to travel to Peru.

Cusco Plaza de Armas

One of the best times to travel to Peru is dry season, when the main plaza in Cusco is an unending parade of traditional song and dance.

Does this mean that the rest of the year is definitely NOT the best time to travel to Peru? Not so! There are lots of great reasons to visit the country from October-April, and in fact those two “shoulder months” are still considered great times for trekking. The onset of wet season in the Andes in October-November brings renewed life to the hillsides, as they turn from a dry brown to a lush green. As this is low season for tourism here as well, you will see fewer foreigners and the tourist sites will generally be less crowded.

Machu Picchu view

Enjoy Machu Picchu in near solitude if you go in February!

February is actually a great time to visit Machu Picchu. With the Inca Trail closed for maintenance, it can feel like you have this awe-inspiring citadel all to yourself! The more consistent rainfall means that it’s also more likely to be shrouded in an enigmatic mist, making it that much more mysterious. And low season also means low season prices! Expect to find some great deals if you venture to travel to Peru now. Read more about trekking in both wet and dry season here.

And don’t forget about visiting the coast! October is also the onset of the Southern summer, bringing clearer skies and warm temperatures to Lima and the rest of the coast. A perfect time to hit the beach, stroll along the malecón, or try your hand at hang-gliding! (you know you want to!) If this sounds like a dream vacation to you, then it’s definitely the best time to travel to Peru.

Lima Peru

Walking down to the malecon in Miraflores, Lima in January. Photo: Sarah Confer

So you see, with such a variety of climates and things to do, anytime is really the best time to travel to Peru!

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Prepare for a Trek in Peru: Part 2

Last week we gave you our top tips on How to Prepare for a Trek in Peru, going over the basics like physical fitness, acclimatization, and the essential packing list to get you fit and ready to hit the trail. In between reps at the gym and checking off the items on your packing list, though, it’s easy to overlook some of the other important stuff as you prepare for a trek in Peru. Here are a few things you don’t want to forget about!

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There’s more to preparing for a trek in Peru than hitting the gym and checking off your packing list. Read on for more top tips! Photo by Isaiah Brookshire.

Money

The local currency in Peru is called the sol (plural, soles), and it’s important to have some on hand as you move around the region. While some places accept US dollars, many – especially, small local shops and restaurants – do not. Make sure you have small denominations (bills of 20 soles or less!) and that the bills are in good condition.

Fun fact: The current form of the currency is formally called the “Nuevo Sol” which means “New Sun” in Spanish. It replaced the previous currency, the Inti, in the early 1990s. Inti also means “sun” – in Quechua, the indigenous language of the Andes.

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Peruvian currency is called the “Nuevo Sol”.

There are numerous ATMs in Cusco where you can withdraw cash in soles or US dollars, and currency exchange kiosks line the main street. Most ATMs will only dispense $200-300 at a time, though, so plan your cash needs accordingly!

Insurance

It’s impossible to predict what will happen on any journey, and so taking out comprehensive travel insurance is a smart way to prepare for a trek in Peru. Make sure you look for a policy that will cover health concerns, strikes, natural disasters, and anything else that could impact your ability to complete your trek. Specifically, you will want travel insurance that covers you for medical emergencies outside your home country. Read the fine print!

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Travelling to Peru is an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime experience – make sure you’re prepared for anything that could happen!

Passport

It might seem obvious, but make sure you bring your passport with you when you prepare for a trek in Peru! If you are hiking the Inca Trail, the Peruvian Ministry of Culture may actually ask to see it in order to compare your name to those on the issued permits. AND you will also have the opportunity to get an official stamp at Machu Picchu – but only if you have your passport with you!

passport

Don’t forget your passport when you prepare for a trek in Peru!

How to prepare for a trek in Peru: The little extras

Most personal items and other supplies are available in Peru, but when you prepare for a trek in Peru, it’s a good idea to stock up before you leave home. Here are a few items that we consider a must:

  • travel-size hand sanitizer or wipes
  • insect repellent
  • sunscreen
  • lip balm
  • travel-size hand cream
  • toilet paper or facial tissue
  • small plastic bags (such as Ziploc bags) – so, so useful
  • band aids, mole skin or “second skin”
  • pain killers
  • altitude pills
  • anti-diarrhea pills
  • a course of antibiotics – just in case
  • feminine hygiene products
  • a headlamp or small flashlight
  • refillable water bottle
  • extra batteries for your camera or other equipment
  • a small daypack for on the trail
  • a swimsuit
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Preparing for a trek in Peru can seem daunting, but the Apus Peru team is here to help, with more packing and preparation tips.

There is so much to consider when you prepare for a trek in Peru, it can seem overwhelming! For more information on what to bring, see our Packing List, or contact our Customer Service team for more tips. And when you arrive to Cusco, remember that the best thing you can do to prepare for a trek in Peru is to spend those first few days taking it easy and drinking lots of coca leaf tea!

How to Prepare for a Trek in Peru: Part 1

You’ve been dreaming about this your whole life. You’ve selected your dates, booked time off work, and now you’re finally going to take that once-in-a-lifetime trip to Peru: mysterious Machu Picchu, majestic Andean peaks, fascinating history, and rich, diverse culture await you. You’re all set! Right? But wait – now you’re wondering, what exactly do I have to do to prepare for a trek in Peru?!

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Read on for our top tips on how to prepare for a trek in Peru!

Peru is an amazing country, and trekking in the Andes a truly unforgettable experience. But you’ve probably never been somewhere quite like this, where life operates at a different pace, and the altitude starts at 3200m. So, preparing for a trek in Peru might seem a bit daunting. But fear not! We’ve got you covered. Here are our top tips for how to prepare for a trek in Peru:

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Peru is an amazing country, full of lively festivals and rich cultural traditions. Photo by Isaiah Brookshire.

How to prepare for a trek in Peru: Prepare for everything!

Weather in the Andes is notoriously fickle, and it’s entirely possible to experience intense sun, freezing wind, chilling rain, and even snow or hail, all in the same day. Even in dry season (May-September), when rain is scarce, the temperature can range from 25˚C in the daytime to -5˚C, or less, at night. That’s a drastic change! In the mountains, weather can turn on a dime, so when you prepare for a trek in Peru, it’s best to expect the unexpected, and carry gear that will protect you from all the elements.

Don’t leave home without these clothing essentials:

  • a sun hat – believe us, sunscreen is not enough to protect you from the intense rays at high altitude!
  • a warm winter hat, toque or beanie – for those cold nights under the stars;
  • a headband – I swear by this to protect my ears from the biting wind!
  • a long scarf – a versatile piece that you can wrap around you for warmth or to protect you from the wind;
  • gloves and warm socks – to keep your digits toasty!
  • layers, layers, and more layers – so you can go from summer to winter wear in a flash;
  • a rainproof, windproof shell – make it lightweight and foldable for easy storage.
  • sunglasses – rain gear and sunglasses, at the same time? Believe me – it happens.
  • adequate footwear – good-quality, well broken-in trekking boots to protect your feet on the trail, AND flip flops or sandals for walking around the campsite, your hotel room or luxurious hot springs!
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Good quality gear is essential when preparing for a trek in Peru. Make sure you’re ready for rain, sun, and cold – anything is possible in the Andes! Photo by Megan Gaston.

How to prepare for a trek in Peru: Physical Preparation

As we mention in our blog Top 5 Things that Make the Inca Trail Awesome, the Inca Trail – like all hikes in the Andes – is no walk in the park. This is challenging stuff! The best way to prepare for a trek in Peru is to make sure you’re fit and well-acclimatized to the altitude before starting.

Before you leave home, try doing plenty of aerobic exercise like running, spinning or aerobics classes – Zumba is a personal favourite! Get out and do some one day hikes in your area, testing out how you feel walking for 4-6 hours at a time. If you’ve never slept in a tent in the great outdoors – or it’s been a while – now’s the time to roll out your sleeping bag and take a couple of camping trips, too.

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There’s nothing quite like sleeping under the stars, but if it’s been a while – or maybe never! – doing some camping before you leave home is a good way to prepare for a trek in Peru.

And possibly the #1 thing you can do to prepare for a trek in Peru is to make sure you have adequate time built into your itinerary to acclimatize to the altitude. We recommend a minimum of 3 days of acclimatization at high altitude before beginning any trek.

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Hiking at high altitude is never easy – make sure you take the time to acclimatize!

Stay tuned for more of our Top Tips for How to Prepare for a Trek in Peru – coming next week!

The best way to visit the South Coast

 Welcome to this week’s edition of the Apus Peru FOCUS – The best way to visit the South Coast!

This series is a collection of travel tips and stories shared by other bloggers and traveler’s around the web.

We hope these tips and stories will inform and inspire you to visit the South Coast in Peru! If you have already been, please share a tip on things to see and do in the South Coast

 

 

South Coast Travel Essentials – What you need to know about a visit to the South Coast

A Short Overview – A short, but a very informative overview of the South Coast region of Peru. It discusses climate, history and even lists a few things to do while visiting!

Idea-Packed Travel Guide – A helpful travel guide that provides a more in-depth overview plus more! They even have a section to help you plan your trip ie. different transportation options, medical etc.

 

Things to do in the South Coast

Adventures You Can’t Miss Out On – A short but excitement packed list of activities to do while visiting the South Coast. Riding and sandboarding on the dunes sounds like a ton of fun! Have you ever done either of those?

 

 

Things to do with kids in the South Coast

Family Friendly Activities – If you by chance, need to take your little ones on a vacation with you, don’t fret! In the South Coast of Peru, there are many fun and family-friendly activities that everyone can enjoy!

Where to eat in the South Coast

Food For The Trip – A great list of restaurants located all along the South Coast of Peru. If you click on the name of the restaurant, you will be able to see the location, contact information, and a short description!

 

Where to stay in the South Coast

Finding A Place To Stay – A great list of some beautiful hotels located along the South Coast. As with the link for the restaurants above, once a hotel name is clicked you will be able to view a short description, location, contact details and you can even book a room directly from the page! How convenient is that?!

Children Friendly Accommodations – A short list of four great options for child-friendly accommodations while visiting the South Coast! Don’t worry, you will have the chance to relax! All of these hotels have been kid tested, and approved!

 

The best way to visit Nazca, Peru

 Welcome to this week’s edition of the Apus Peru FOCUS – The best way to visit Nazca, Peru!

This series is a collection of travel tips and stories shared by other bloggers and traveler’s around the web.

We hope these tips and stories will inform and inspire you to visit Nazca, Peru. If you have already been, please share a tip on things to see and do in Nazca, Peru

 

 

Nazca Lines Travel Essentials – What you need to know about a visit to Nazca, Peru

A Mystery of Old – This is a fantastic post from National Geographic that speaks about the history of the Nazca lines – aren’t they incredible? Have you ever heard a theory as to how they got there?

Things You May Not Know – This is a short list of 15 fun facts about the Nazca lines that you may not know as of yet! The lime in the rocks helps keep the designs from eroding! They are a pretty stunning sight if you ask me!

Prepare For The Trip – This post is a very informative, and helpful place to find tips on how to prepare for your flight about the Nazca lines! It’s better to be safe than sorry as they always say!

Things to do in Nazca, Peru

There’s More Than Lines Nearby – Nazca, Peru is home to many exciting activities other than just flying above the lines. This list provides 7 other options that are sure to delight! Have you ever been to Nazca, Peru? What did you do to bide the time?

Keeping Busy in Nazca – While this isn’t a post – it’s a good list of thing you can do while in Nazca, Peru! Among the activities are quite a few interesting museums and some ancient ruins, not to mention much more! You are able to see the ratings, and reviews that each location has acquired.

 

 

 

Where to eat in Nazca, Peru

Food For The Trip – A decent sized list of great restaurants in and around the area of Nazca. If you click on the name of the restaurant you’ll be able to see price range, website, and a short description! Pretty helpful, I’d say!

 

 

Where to stay in Nazca, Peru

Finding A Place To Stay – A great list of some beautiful hotels in and around Nazca, Peru! If you click on the name of the hotel, you can see their website, location, price range and a short description!

An Alternative Option – If you are staying in Nazca, Peru and are looking for an affordable place to stay – consider this highly related hostel! It’s clean, bright and comes with some wonderful amenities!

 

 

The best way to visit Kuelap & Gocta Falls

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Apus Peru FOCUS – The best way to visit Kuelap & Gocta Falls!

This series is a collection of travel tips and stories shared by other bloggers and traveler’s around the web.

We hope these tips and stories will inform and inspire you to visit Kuelap & Gocta Falls. If you have already been, please share a tip on things to see and do in Kuelap & Gocta Falls

 

Kuelap & Gocta Falls Travel Essentials – What you need to know about a visit to Kuelap & Gocta Falls

An Adventure Into The Unknown – This blog post is about a woman who decided to take a trip to Peru with her siblings. Unfortunately, their plans to visit the Machu Picchu ruins were canceled and they decided to make the best of their day and go exploring instead! A great post to read through!

An impressive View – This post is actually part two of a two-part post. You can find the first part here! This stunning location was only discovered several years ago – can you believe that? It’s definitely worth the trip just for the view alone!

 

Things to do in Kuelap & Gocta Falls

 

Hiking With Mermaids – I found this post to be fantastic – it’s an up close and honest opinion about the trek to Gocta Falls. It even mentions a fun folklore story about a mermaid who bathes in the pool under the waterfall.

Tour The Fortress – One of the best things to do in Chachapoyas is of course…to visit Kuelap! Such an impressive structure! It stills holds the remains of animal sacrifices thousands of years ago! Its current residents are a herd of llamas that tend to not be so friendly.

 

 

Where to eat in Kuelap & Gocta Falls

Food For The Trip – While this is not a post, it is a very informative list of restaurants that can be found in and around Chachapoyas. There are many reviews for each of the restaurant so you will know what to expect! If you click on the name of the restaurant, more information will pop up such as phone number, photos and the website of the restaurant itself.

 

Where to stay in Kuelap & Gocta Falls

Lodging It In Chachapoyas – There are many opportunities to find affordable and comfortable places to stay in Chachapoyas. This is a great and long list of hotels and hostels in the area. If you click on the name of the location, you’ll be able to see all of the features and have the option to book!

 

5 best reads before trekking in Peru

Are you heading off on a trek in Peru soon? Here are some ‘must read’ books that will get you inspired (or scared) to pull on your boots and get out and discover! These are a little more specific than general Peru reads, but just perfect if you want in-depth knowledge of the Incas, and their empire and the people that recently have explored this fabled land.

  1. Turn Right at Machu Picchu (by Mark Adams)
  2. Last Days of the Incas by Kim MacQuarrie
  3. Lost City of the Incas by Hiram Bingham
  4. The White Rock by Hugh Thomson
  5. Conversation in the Cathedral by Mario Vargas Llosa

For reviews of each book, please visit our website.

http://www.apus-peru.com/trip-planning/recommended_reads.htm

 

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