A country of soaring mountains, lush rainforests and dry arid deserts, Peru is a wonderful place to explore and discover new experiences. Whether you're drawn to the remnants of ancient South American civilizations, the colorful culture and traditions or the unique foods, you are sure to find something new and exciting.
- Currency: Peruvian Sol (PEN)
- Must-See Landmark: Machu Picchu
- Must-Try Food: Ceviche
- Most Common Language: Spanish
- Emergency Services Telephone Number: 105 for police and general emergencies, 106 for ambulance and 116 for fire
Travel Insurance for Peru
With a wide range of plans on the market, it may be difficult to select a plan. To find the plan that's best for you, first assess the condition of your health then take a look at your travel plans. From there, you can compare plans side by side with our compare tool. For travelers with pre-existing conditions, senior travelers and those looking for more complete coverage, a comprehensive plan is the best option. If you are looking for basic coverage at an affordable price, a limited plan may be the way to go.
Visas and Documentation
If you are a visitor from North America, Oceania and Europe, you likely will not need a visa to visit Peru for 183 days or less. You can check and see if you need a visa by checking this comprehensive list from the Peruvian government. If you do need a visa, you can learn more about the process to get one.
Weather and What to Pack
Peru can be warm in places but is cooler in many of the high-altitude tourist attractions such as Machu Picchu. Furthermore, there are a lot of biting bugs in the country so insect repellant is a must-have. In areas that are particularly infested, it's a good idea to wear long pants and sleeves and reapply bug spray often.
If you forget any essentials, don't worry—you can always purchase them at your destination. However it is often more cost and time effective to simply bring your favorite supplies with you when you travel.
Common Words and Phrases in Portuguese
- Yes: Sí [see]
- No: No [no]
- Please: Por Favor [por-fah-vohr]
- Thank You: Gracias [grah-see-ahss]
- Cheers: Salud [sah-loohd]
- Hello: Hola [oh-la]
- Goodbye: Adiós [ah-dee-ohss]
Etiquette and Cultural Norms
When traveling in Peru, comfortable, practical clothing is the norm. Hiking boots, long pants and fleece jackets are all good staples. Do not wear revealing clothing in churches or political buildings.
When meeting someone new, or even entering a shop, it is polite to greet people with a handshake and a time-appropriate greeting (buenos dias for the morning, buenos tardes for afternoon and buenos noches for the evening). Similarly, handshakes and an audible farewell (adios or hasta luego) are considered polite.
In some large cities, townspeople make their living by posing for pictures for tourists. If you snap a photo of someone or would like to, they may ask for a tip. One or two sols is usually a good amount. Other adults and children make money by aggressively selling goods on the street. Do not be afraid to politely and firmly say no. Haggling is also acceptable in most shops, but avoid being too aggressive or flaunting foreign wealth.
- Machu Picchu: This ancient, mountaintop city is one of the most significant legacies of the Inca civilization. Despite its remote location, this UNESCO World Heritage site welcomes thousands of visitors every day. If you make the trek, be sure to buy tickets well in advance and bring your passport to be sure that you're able to enter the ruins.
- Lima: As Peru's capital city, Lima is full of great museums and churches to visit. However, the real star of the city is the food! Adventurous eaters can try rare delicacies like cuy (guinea pig meat), coca tea and llama jerky.
- Nazca Lines: These enormous grooves in the terrain were made by an ancient civilization for unknown reasons and survive to this day. These giant pictographs can be seen by plane or from nearby hilltops or explored at ground level and viewed from small towers.
- Cusco: Situated among the remains of Incan cities, this town is a great hub where you can stay and eat warm meals between ventures to nearby sites including Machu Picchu, Choquequirao, Kenko and Ollantaytambo.
- Manú National Park: This vast, natural landscape includes lowland rainforests, cloud forests and Andean grasslands. This unique biosphere reserve is open to tourists in five camping sites, four viewing points, three lodges and one canopy walkway where you can see the amazingly diverse flora and fauna of Peru.
Peru has a high crime rate. While you are in Peru, it is important to take precautions against pickpockets, muggers and scammers. Protect yourself by keeping your wallet and passport safe and avoid carrying too much cash on your person.
To reduce this risk, consider keeping your passport in the hotel safe or on your person in a passport holder. Also be sure to make copies of your passport, insurance information and credit cards and keep them in the bottom of your luggage or in the hotel safe. This way, if these important items are stolen, you have a backup and an easy way to verify your identity.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) recommend the following vaccinations for Peru: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, yellow fever, rabies, meningitis, polio, MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia and influenza.