Peru travel guide

Where to go, what to see: your Peru travel guide

Why visit Peru?

There are hundreds of reasons to visit Peru. Among them are the epic scenery, the people of Peru who still channel the spirit of the ancient Inca civilization, the coastal areas and Ballestas Islands where you can see penguins, sea lions, and exotic birds, Peruvian cuisine – some of the most exotic, flavourful, and adventurous in the world – the varied landscapes from dry desert to ocean to the snow-capped Andes, and Peru’s Amazon, which contains some of the most unique forms of wildlife; its densely-packed rainforest holds adventure and visions you could not imagine. But it comes as no surprise that the top reason to visit Peru is the captivating and mysterious Machu Picchu. Experience it all from the capital in Lima to the ancient Inca ruins and the ever-puzzling Nazca Lines, where ancient markings – drawings of animals and geometric figures – remain mysteriously etched in the soil, stretching up to 1,000 feet long.

Weather and climate in Peru

When is the best time to visit Peru?

To help you plan, below are average low and high temperatures for Peru:




 Machu Picchu


















































Peru food and fun facts

Things to consider before visiting Peru

How to call Peru: Country code

The country code for Peru is 51. When calling to Peru from overseas, dial your international access code (+44 from the UK), followed by the country code, area code, and phone number.

Peru’s currency

The official currency of Peru is the Nuevo Sol (S/)

1 Nuevo Sol = 100 céntimos (cents)

  • Banknote denominations (S/): 10, 20, 50, 100
  • Coin denominations (céntimos): 10, 20, 50, 1S, 2S, 5S

The US Dollar is also widely accepted in Peru by many hotels, shops, taxis, and restaurants. Be sure to have on hand small bills and making change can be a problem especially in smaller villages and cities.

Bank hours:

  • Mon – Fri: 9:30– 4 pm
  • Sat: 9:30 am – 12:30 pm
  • Sun: Closed

Credit cards are accepted in Peru, and you should have no problems using them in larger shops and restaurants. Visa and MasterCard are the most accepted. Smaller shops may ask you to pay in cash or have a minimum amount required to use a credit card.

Traveller’s Cheques are extremely difficult to exchange in Peru. Their use is not recommended.

Counterfeiting is common in Peru so if you want to look like a savvy traveller, do not hesitate to scrutinize monies received and reject any note or coin (especially the 5 sol coins) that looks suspicious, just like any Peruvian would do. All bills have a watermark and security stripe, and the large number on the extreme right denoting the denomination of the bill will change from purple to green when viewed at an angle. You should not accept damaged bills, as they may not be accepted in stores; you will need to go to a bank to replace them.

Shopping in Peru

In open street markets, try not to touch items unless you are interested in purchasing them. If you would like to take photos, please ask permission. Most vendors are happy to have their picture taken with the item you have just purchased. If you are being confronted by vendors, smile, say nothing and then shake your hand low to say no. This is polite and they understand. For many people, saying “No” means I want it at a lower price and they will follow you in attempt to bargain.

In many areas of South America, bargaining for purchases is normal. First, ask for a price. Offer an amount slightly below what you wish to pay. It is important to be polite and smile while bargaining. In most cases, bargaining will not save you a lot of money. Keep different value bills folded and separated in different pockets, that way you can pull out the exact money you need, and sometimes this can close the deal. Opening a wallet or purse to pull a roll of bills out can lead to negotiation problems. Always finish the transaction with "thank you" and a smile.

When and how much to tip in Peru

Tipping in restaurants is not common, though we do recommend a small tip be left for services. A tip of 5-10% is acceptable.

  • For a taxi, a tip is not customary
  • Tip hotel staff 1-2S for room or bar service.

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