When is the best time to travel to Peru?

With three distinctive geographic zones, Peru can be enjoyed year-round though some activities are recommended at certain times over others. Trekking is best in the dry season, or mid-late April through early November. However, this is also the time of year when temperatures are the coolest and you may experience nighttime temperatures that are below freezing at very high altitudes. June, July and August are the most popular months to visit and larger crowds are not uncommon. In the Amazon regions, water levels and wildlife activity vary by season as well. The dry season offers the least number of days of rain/month and fewer mosquitoes. However each, season has its appeal. Talk to our Peru Program Director about your particular interests. Back to Top

What is the weather like in Peru?

Peru has two seasons: rainy & dry. The temperatures you experience and the amount of rainfall vary greatly based upon where you are traveling and what time of year. For more information, visit our Peru Seasons and Climate page or ask our Program Director for a synopsis during your particular time of travel. Back to Top

What are the visa and passport requirements for travel to Peru?

For U.S. and Canadian citizens, an advance visa for travel to Peru is not required, though your passport should be valid for at least 6 months after the return of your trip. Call the airline or a Peruvian embassy/consulate for the latest Peru travel requirements. Back to Top

Will I need any vaccinations, immunizations or special medications for travel to Peru?

You DO need immunizations for travel in Peru and Bolivia. Yellow fever and malaria prophylaxis are the most highly recommended if you are traveling into the Amazon. You also need to carry a copy of the yellow immunization card showing that you have been vaccinated for Yellow Fever or local officials could stop you from entering the Amazon region. (That being said, in 25 years of operation, we have never known for this to happen if travelers do not have proof of yellow fever immunization cards on-hand.) Hepatitis and typhoid vaccinations are also highly recommended as well as tetanus and polio boosters.

When you put down a deposit for any Wildland Adventure, our destination expert Program Directors will provide detailed information about health precautions and possible immunizations for travel to your destination. Wildland Adventures' staff are not licensed medical professionals, however, we do know the exact areas, environments and conditions under which you will be traveling, all of which can affect the relative risk of exposure and help you make a decision concerning immunizations and prescription medicines. All travelers should consult their physician or a travel health clinic and refer to the Center for Disease Control website for complete information on health considerations in your destination. Back to Top

Will I have problems with altitude while traveling in Peru?

Everyone who travels to Peru experiences some effects of high altitude. The abrupt change from sea level to the high altitudes of Cusco or Puno (over 11,000 feet) typically causes short-term symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness, headache, insomnia and loss of appetite. It's best to take it easy the first day upon arrival at high altitude and drink plenty of fluids (but avoid caffeinated or alcoholic beverages upon arrival as they contribute to dehydration). Coca tea (mate de coca) is a mild stimulant that helps and is widely served. Common headache remedies like Tylenol, Advil, etc. are helpful. But the best remedy is time and rest. Avoid excessive activity, overeating or drinking alcohol until you feel your body has begun to acclimatize. Parents traveling with children may want to avoid Cusco upon arrival in the Andes and proceed directly to the lower elevation of the Urubamba Valley and Machu Picchu, leaving your visit to Cusco for later after you have acclimatized. If you are very concerned about acclimatization, the best way to prepare is to add an extra day in Cusco or the Urubamba Valley. Local guides are prepared to adjust the pace or alter your itinerary if necessary. Back to Top

How do I prevent altitude sickness in Peru?

Altitude sickness prevention involves proper acclimatization and medications. Diamox is the most effective treatment because it allows you to breathe faster and metabolize more oxygen. It can be obtained from a doctor, so contact your local physician for a prescription. It is best to do a trial run of Diamox at home before traveling to a more remote location. Here are some additional tips for proper acclimatization:

  • Sleep at lower altitudes than you climb
  • Once symptoms begin, stay where you are
  • If symptoms increase, reduce your elevation
  • Remember that people acclimatize at different rates—check with your whole party before climbing higher
  • Stay properly hydrated
  • Avoid over-exertion
  • Avoid tobacco, alcohol, and other depressants that slow down the metabolism
  • Eat a high carbohydrate diet while climbing

Trekkers hiking over high passes will feel the continuing effects of altitude as they make their ascent. Be aware of the effects of altitude but don't be worried. Our itineraries are planned to allow the average person in good physical condition time to acclimatize before you start trekking and we proceed slowly as you ascend.

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Can I drink the water in Peru?

As our Program Director found out during her first journey through Peru – absolutely not! Tap water throughout Peru is not treated to the same standards that we are used to in North America and can result in upset stomach and traveler’s diarrhea. Bottled water is provided throughout your journey, both in hotels and by our guides while out exploring during the day. Nice restaurants will serve bottled water but always ask to be sure. To be on the safe side, brush your teeth with bottled water as well. The water provided on any of our trekking adventures has been treated and is safe to drink. Back to Top

Is it safe to eat Peruvian food?

Peru has a rich and marvelous culinary history, with diverse produce and proteins drawn from the Andes, the Coast and the Amazon. By all means, indulge and try all that you are comfortable with though street vendors should generally be avoided.. Back to Top

Can I travel to Machu Picchu from Lima on the same day?

It is possible, but not recommended and requires that you travel on the Hiram Bingham train (Orient Express Luxury Line). This is the only train that leaves at 9:00AM, the other trains leave Cusco very early. It is recommended to fly to Cusco, take a day to acclimate to the altitude and travel to Machu Picchu sometime in the next following days.. Back to Top

Is a one night visit to Machu Picchu enough?

That depends on who you ask. For most people and on the majority of our itineraries, one night allows for two separate visits – on the day of arrival when you tour the complex with our private local guide, and entrance fees & bus tickets for a second visit the following morning. During this time, you’ll be able to explore on your own and have several hours to do so before returning to Cuzco by train in the afternoon.

However, most of our trekking trips only include one guided visit to the Machu Picchu sanctuary. (On your last day of trekking, you enter the Sanctuary quite late in the day, if at all, and only pass through before descending to Aquas Calientes.) A guided visit is included the following day but if you want to climb Huayna Picchu or Cerro Machu Picchu, have a keen interest in photography, or just want to kick back and relax at one of the world’s most iconic sites, an extra night is certainly worthwhile. Back to Top

What types of transportation do you use while traveling in Peru?

Ground transfers are typically done by small van. Domestic flights are normally on Lan Peru which uses Airbus 320 or 727s. Access to certain jungle lodges is sometimes via smaller, twin-engine turboprop plane. River boat trips through the jungles are done in covered, motorized canoes. Short trips (under 1 hour) have wooden seats and longer trips have comfortable, reclining cushioned seats. The train service to & from Machu Picchu featured in our itineraries is first class in the Vista Dome category or train. Operated by Peru Rail, this train service features comfortable seats, large windows and glass ceilings and has limited snack and beverage service on board. The luxury Hiram Bingham line is available as an upgrade and is recommended from Cusco to Machu Picchu. (On the return, much of the journey takes place in the evening when it is too dark to take in the scenery. Back to Top

What is the electrical current in Peru? Will I need a plug adaptor?

Peru uses 220 volt, 60 cycle electricity. Travelers will require a voltage converter for 110 volt devices. Plugs are typically the 2 pronged flat type found in the US, though some facilities have been noted to use the 2 rounded prongs instead. Back to Top

How do I make reservations for trekking the Inca Trail?

At the moment, the Peruvian government limits travelers on the Inca Trail to 500 people per day, which includes all guides and porters as well as paying tourists, both those who are trekking the entire trail (4 days/3 nights) and those doing the 1-day hike from KM 104. Permits for the coming season are issued in February (when the Inca Trail is closed for clean-up) through a lottery system and can’t be confirmed before that. However, it is recommended that you book your Inca Trail trek at least 6 months in advance of your intended dates of travel. Permits sell out quickly, and having your complete Passport details on hand at the time of booking gives us the best chance of confirming permits for the dates you wish to trek. In 2011, we had a 100% success rate of securing permits for our travelers. Do you have more questions about trekking the Inca Trail with Wildland Adventures? Read our Inca Trail Trek FAQ and Inca Trail Trek: The Wild Difference.  Back to Top

What if Inca Trail permits are sold out?

While there is only one official ‘Inca Trail’ to Machu Picchu, the Incas built thousands of roads throughout their empire. Many of these can be explored on guided treks, offering exquisite high mountain scenery and vine-covered Inca Ruins but often with far less foot traffic from other travelers.

The most popular of these is often called the Salkantay Trek, featured on our Machu Picchu Mountain Lodges Trek. This challenging trek ascends to nearly 15,000’ while offering stunning views of glacier-crusted Mt. Salkantay. Instead of camping, however, guests stay in comfortable lodges throughout the highlands and are treated to hot showers, warm beds and fine wine and cuisine each evening. Group size is small with only 12 trekkers per departure and private group departures are available upon request.

I want to trek in Peru, but don’t want to camp for 3 nights. Are there other trekking alternatives?

Yes. The most popular of these is often called the Salkantay Trek, featured on our Machu Picchu Mountain Lodges Trek. This challenging trek ascends to nearly 15,000’ while offering stunning views of glacier-crusted Mt. Salkantay. Instead of camping, however, guests stay in comfortable lodges throughout the highlands and are treated to hot showers, warm beds and fine wine and cuisine each evening. Group size is small with only 12 trekkers per departure and private group departures are available upon request. Do you have more questions about trekking the Inca Trail with Wildland Adventures? Read our Inca Trail Trek FAQ and Inca Trail Trek: The Wild Difference.  Back to Top

Do I need to buy special gear for trekking in Peru?

No, very little. All of the treks we sell, while challenging and physically demanding, are non-technical. Sturdy, waterproof hiking boots, a hydration system or water bottle, a small day pack and rubber-tipped trekking poles are suggested. If you are on a trek that requires camping, sleeping bags can be rented though we recommend that you bring your own. The Peru Program Director will send you a complete packing list well in advance of departure to give you ample time to prepare for your trip. Back to Top

Is it possible to hike to Waynu Picchu?

Yes, though as of July 2011, you need an entrance ticket in advance, purchased at the same time as your entrance into the general Machu Picchu citadel. The fee is nominal but the number of climbers per day is limited. Please advise our Program Director at the time of booking if you’d like to add this admission to your general Machu Picchu entrance.

(Note: Waynu Picchu is the high conical hill behind the main temple complex, prominently featured in most iconic shots of Machu Picchu. This is a steep, challenging hike, all uphill and taking approximately 90 minutes to ascend for a person in average physical condition. There are sheer drop-offs near the top, so this is NOT recommended for people with vertigo or for children. If you are partaking in one of our small group treks and also wish to climb Waynu Picchu, we suggest you build in an extra night at Machu Picchu to avoid having to miss any part of your guided tour through the main temple complex.) Back to Top

I like a certain Peru itinerary but the scheduled departure dates don’t work for me. Or, I like most of this Peru adventure but want to change the order/visit other locations. Do you design custom Peru adventures?

Of course! We love planning customized trips and are happy to do so! We’ve designed travel in Peru for over 25 years and have gained a wealth of experience in the process. Many of our trips operate in a certain order because time has taught us that this ‘works best’ though we are happy to work with you to design a trip that meets your expectations and preferences.

Trips must be a minimum of a week in length and for the same kinds of comprehensive services we offer in our regular programs including local air, accommodations, and guided excursions. We cannot, however, do piecemeal arrangements. After we have reviewed itinerary options and made some recommendations, we then charge a $100 custom trip planning in order to check availability and quote a custom itinerary. Back to Top

Do you recommend traveling to the Peruvian Amazon?

We certainly do, and many of our trips already incorporate several days in one of Peru’s rainforest regions into the overall itinerary. The Peruvian Amazon is a wild place; relatively untouched until recently (and still undisturbed in vast areas), it offers visitors some of the best jungle wildlife viewing on the planet. There are three major rainforest regions within Peru that we recommend for travelers: Manu and Tambopata in the South, both of which are lodge-based explorations, and the northern Amazon basin, a river boat journey on the Delfin I or Delfin II (link to the itinerary page) that begins and ends in Iquitos. Where you go and how much time you spend depends on your interests. As a rule, the more remote jungle lodges such as the Heath River Wildlife Center, the Tambopata Research Center, the Amazon Rainforest Conservation Center and Manu Wildlife Center offer guests a better chance of viewing large mammals such as tapirs, peccaries, many species of monkey and even jaguars or pumas though at least a ½ day of boat or overland travel is needed to access these locations. Reserva Amazonica, outside of Puerto Maldonado, is our top recommendation for travelers who want to view some jungle wildlife, but also want to be very comfortable and not travel far by river boat. This lodge is just 45 minutes by boat from Puerto Maldonado though excursions are offered everyday to deeper jungle locations with opportunities to see red howler monkeys, caiman and giant river otters.

The Delfin I and II offer perhaps the best of both worlds – a deep jungle immersion from the comfort of your own floating lodge! Unique to the northern Amazon are sloths and the famous pink river dolphins, both of which are frequently spotted on our Headwaters of the Amazon Voyage. Daily excursions are offered via zodiac and on foot and there are plentiful opportunities to hike and even swim in the river. Back to Top