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Peru travel guide

A mix of ancient Inca heritage and strong Spanish and European influences, you’ll be left amazed by Peru. No trip to South America is complete without a pilgrimage to the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, a genuine world wonder hidden for years in the jungle! Add in the fascinating Nazca Lines, volcanoes, canyons, sand dunes, the depths of the Amazon rainforest, the lofty heights of the Andes, rich textiles, festivals and the best ceviche you'll ever taste... and you've got yourself an amazing adventure.

Peru: Fast Facts

language in peru

Languages Spoken

The official language spoken in Peru is Spanish but many Peruvians still speak the traditional Quenchua and Aymara languages.

peru currency

Currency

Name: Peruvian Sol
Code: PEN
Symbol: S/

time zone peru

Time Zone

Peru Time Zone (UTC-05:00)

Peru's travel highlights

Machu Picchu &

The Inca Trail

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Lima

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Lake Titicaca

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The Amazon

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Three Peruvian locals dressed in traditional clothing talking to a tourist

Peru on a Shoestring | 11 days

This is a trip that's packed with all the essentials - yep, we're giving you maximum Peru at minimum cost! Catch a glimpse of the mysterious Nazca Lines and the beautiful Colca Canyon, then soak up the delights of Cuzco and the iconic Machu Picchu before topping it all up with a unique homestay in the Sacred Valley. 
Two colorful parrots sititng in a tree

Amazon to the Andes | 12 Days

Experience the treasures of Argentina and Brazil in this jam-packed trip. Tango in Buenos Aires, soak up the sun and surf in Rio, exploring two of South America's most vibrant capitals. Marvel at the majesty of Iguassu Falls and chill out on beautiful beaches with caipirinhas. Peru, Argentina and Brazil?! Simply Amazon'. 
A group of Peruvians forming a circle dressed in typical red panchos

Peru Panorama | 15 Days

A two-week adventure showcasing many aspects of Peru's history and culture. Be challenged by the Inca Trail, immerse yourself in a local homestay, explore floating villages on Lake Titicaca and visit a women's weaving project. Not to mention, wildlife galore in the Amazon jungle! 

When is the best time to visit Peru?

Peru is huge, so the weather differs per region. Winter falls between May to September; this is the driest and coolest season and the best for anyone wanting to trek the Inca Trail. Summer falls from December to March sees heavy rain. For a reasonable chance of fair weather and less crowds of tourists, we recommend shoulder season. If you're heading to the Andes, wrap up - it can get cold!
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More Peru travel highlights

Sure, you might have ticked off Peru's highlights, like the Inca Trail and capital city Lima, but true adventure seekers have so much more to get stuck into. Watch condors soar at Colca Canyon, view the mysterious Nazca lines, explore the Sacred Valley and board down the sand dunes in Huacachina. Then hop over the border to one of the five neighboring South American countries - Bolivia, where you can take a trip down to the Bolivian Salt Flats. Feel at home in the jungle? Delve further into the tropical Amazon and travel through Brazil. Need some ideas? That's what we're here for...
The Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa with a mountain in the background

Arequipa

Welcome to Peru's second-largest city. Arequipa may not be as well-known as Cusco or Lima, but it has huge historical significance and some seriously good food! Set at the foot of three dramatic volcanoes, Arequipa - in the south of the country - is a great place to wander and an even better place to try classic Peruvian dishes like rocoto relleno (stuffed peppers) and chupe de camarones (spicy shrimp stew).
The sandy Huacachina Lagoon Reserved Zone

Huacachina

Ever seen a real oasis? Imagine living in one! Huacachina is a small town near the city of Ica surrounded by huge sand dunes. Largely abandoned until the 90s, it’s now a hotspot for travelers from all over the world. Jump in a dune buggy and tear down the dunes on a sand board. Watch the sun set over the dunes, then chill out in the small hippy restaurants and bars at night.
A condor spreading its wings and the mountains of Colca canyon

Colca Canyon

So you've heard of the Grand Canyon, sure. But Peru’s Colca Canyon is twice as deep as Arizona’s Grand Canyon and just as impressive. Book a trek to the Colca Canyon, and explore the dazzling scenery of the surrounding area. After your trek, relax in the oasis of chilled-out tourist resorts sitting at the bottom of the canyon. The views looking up are just as good as the views looking down.
A volunteer teacher working with Peruvian children

Volunteer in Peru

Peru and the rest of South America is a great place to volunteer. Give something back to the local communities, by teaching English in schools or volunteering with kids from poor areas. Not only are you helping the people around you, but it's a great way to learn or practice your Spanish!

Peru travel FAQs: You ask, we'll answer!

What's the best way of getting around Peru?

As with all big and beautiful countries with dramatic landscapes, public transport is s a little more difficult than normal. If you don’t have much time in the country, consider domestic flights to get from base to base. If you have a little more time, then bus or coach are a safe bet to save some dollars. Or, you could book on one of our tours instead and save yourself the worry!

Do I need a visa to visit Peru?

Peru essentially has an open door! If you’ve got an American passport, you’re free to visit Peru for up to 183 days. If you need longer than that, then you will need to apply for the corresponding visa. Just be sure to get an entry stamp as we’d bet our boots custom officials will check as you’re leaving!

Do I need any vaccinations for Peru?

There are no mandatory vaccinations for entry into Peru but we recommend vaccinating for Hepatitis A and chicken pox for travelers who have never had it previously. If you’re planning to visit more rural or jungle areas, we would also suggest vaccinating for Hepatitis B and Yellow Fever. Remember, the Yellow Fever vaccine needs to be administered at least 10 days prior to travel.

How can I get to Peru?

Bordering five other South American nations means Peru’s various destinations are easily in reach from the rest of the continent. With flights coming in from 29 destinations around the world, the Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima is the main place to fly to, but Cusco airport is a popular choice for those heading to Machu Picchu. Search for cheap flights to Peru with STA Travel.

Need a little more inspiration on all things Peru? Check out the STA Travel blog!

STA Travel Blog

The Perfect Peru Itinerary

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STA Travel Blog

Five Peru Instagrams that'll make you want to travel there

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STA Travel Blog

Top 10 Treks of the World

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