I have compiled a list of tips for traveling to Peru. These are things we’ve learned while traveling in this beautiful country. I hope it helps you out if you are planning a trip to the Andes.
- WHEN TO GO– If you are trying to avoid the tourist’s herds just like we were, I recommend to go the last two weeks of May. There’s no rain, the sun is shining high up in the sky. This is supposed to be low season, although this can be argue because May could be considered the beginning of the high season.
- FLIGHTS- Buy as early as possible to get the best deals. Constant monitoring of prices pays off. That’s how we got two round tickets for 80K miles and $135USD. For internal flights we used AVIANCA. Not only did we get a good price but when we needed to change our flights due to a change in our itinerary we paid $0 for the changes, unheard of!
- ITINERARY- You can book your tour with an agency and paid them an exorbitant amount of money or you can create your own itinerary. I tried to work with a local tour agency after my own research was completed. The tour agency told me that the Huayna/Macchu Picchu hikes were closed until June. I decided not to work with them right then because I knew they were lying straight to my face or maybe they haven’t done the research like I had. You can create your own itinerary you just have to carefully coordinate everything. Understand that some times there are things that can not be planned ahead for. (i.e. Strike in Puno during our trip)
- TRAIN AND MACHU PICCHU ENTRANCE TICKETS- You can buy the train and the Machu Picchu entrance online. Buy them as much ahead of time as you can, specially during the high season because they will sell out months in advance. If you want to hike Huayna Picchu or Macchu Picchu you better get your tickets as soon as you know you’re traveling because they only allow 400 hikers on each trail a day. If you only want to see the city they only sell 2,000 entrance tickets per day. Once they’re sold out they are sold out.
- GOOD BILLS- This is extremely important, make sure to bring good bills otherwise they will not take your bills. Even if they have a tiny, not even visible rip or if the bills are too old they will not take them. We had an experience where an exchange house didn’t take about $80 in cash because the bills were either too old or had a small rip. Mind you that those bills came from the bank in the USA. Practically every exchange house is this picky so beware!
- HUAYNA PICCHU VS. MACHU PICCHU HIKE- Huayna Picchu hike is on the list of the most dangerous hikes in the world, supposedly is not very difficult. We hiked Machu Picchu because Huayna Picchu was already sold out. This is a challenging hike, so if you plan on hiking Machu Picchu do some sort of training or intense cardio at least a month in advance. If you have time, you can also do the 4 day trek to Machu Picchu called: Inka trail. We didn’t have time, we were not physically fit, and a coworker who did it told me not to do it. We are happy with our decision…to each its own!!
- TRAVEL LIGHT- I think this tip is applicable to anywhere you travel. We actually have a little contest among ourselves to see who’s bag will weight the less. I won with a 20 lbs checked bag. Anything you need you can buy over there, and I rather leave the extra space to bring goodies. Cuzco and Puno have plenty of laundry places. We found a place in Cuzco, where they had our laundry ready in 2 hours for the like $15USD.
- TRY THE FOOD!- Even the guinea pig!! Trying the food is part of learning about the culture. Specially because in Latin America food is a big part of our culture, so this is a must when traveling anywhere in Latin America.
- SHOES-Invest in a good pair of shoes. I have the Merrel brand and so did my husband. They were so comfortable that we just keep going and going.
- GOOD CAMERA- In my opinion, this is the most important investment. After the trip is done and once you’re back home the only thing behind is the pictures along with the memories.
- ITEMS TO BRING-There are a few knicknacks that will make your life easy while traveling in Peru.
- Sun Glasses- The sun is super bright it is hard on your eyes. You will not want to take them off, so make sure you buy a good brand that protects your eyes.
- Lip balm-Get yourself a lip balm with SPF protection, you will need it. The sun, the cold and the lack of moisture will dry up your lips.
- Eye drops- My eyes were so tired and dried up at the end of each day. I was happy that I brought my drops. I am not sure if it was because of the sun, the dryness or what, but every night I had red eyes.
- Vaseline- Dry and cold weather will cause you nosebleed. To stop the bleeding you can put some regular Vaseline inside your nostrils. This is a tip that a doctor gave my husband and it really works!!
- ENJOY!! This is a once in a lifetime experience, make sure you enjoy every single minute of it. It goes by soo quickly, that it is all over in a blink of your eyes, the only thing left behind are the memories and the pictures.