The country lies almost entirely in the tropics and experiences a wide variety of climates. Peru can be divided into three distinct geographical regions:Peru covers a total area of 1.2 million sq-km, and is the third largest country in South America. It is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west, Ecuador and Brazil in the north, Chile in the south, and Bolivia to the south and east.
- The first is a narrow coastal belt separated from the Amazon rainforest by the Andes mountain range. Most of this area is desert.
- The second region is within the Andes, the second highest mountain range in the world. These ascend rapidly from the coast, reaching heights of 6,000m just 60 miles from the Pacific. The area is very rugged and dramatically beautiful, featuring jagged cliffs and deep canyons.
- The third region is the Amazon basin or rainforest, which mainly borders Ecuador and Brazil.
Lima is the capital and the largest city of Peru.
The weather in Peru varies according to area – the changes in altitude are so extreme that the climate goes from freezing snow in the mountains, to boiling sun on the coast. Likewise, the coast covers such a large stretch of longitude that the temperature changes dramatically as you head further south.
On the coast, winter lasts from June to September. The weather tends to be overcast and slightly damp at this time, but rarely very cold. In summertime from December to April, the ocean will still be cold so it’s nice to go into the water. It hardly ever rains in Lima or most of the coast, except for Tumbes and Piura, which have tropical climates.
From June to September, the mountainous areas are often sunny during the day but cold at night. This is the high tourist season and the best time to visit most regions. Rainy season in the Andes starts in September and peaks between January and March. This can be a difficult time to be hiking.
Heavy rain in the mountains and jungle last from December to April. It remains rainy and hot for most of the year but between March and September, there are occasional cold surges which might require more layers. The dry season from April to October is the best time to visit this region, since mosquitoes are not so abundant and the rivers are low, exposing the beaches.
During hiking season (May to September), it’s typically warm and dry in the morning, and cold at night. Temperatures range from an average of 10°C to a high of 24°C.
May to September are the dry months and the best time to visit – perfect for trekking and experiencing the Andean Summer with clear skies and lots of sunshine.
While October to end-April is considered the rainy season, showers usually occur only in the afternoon, leaving the rest of the day clear and cool. More and more trekkers prefer such conditions as the presence of rain is more than made up for by the luscious greenery and quieter environment.
The climate is temperate and spring-like during the day all year round, but in the winter period from May to August, temperatures can dip to a freezing 0°C at night. It rarely rains during winter in Cusco – rainfall starts in September, although they are initially rare and brief. Summer from November to March is the wettest period, although night temperatures are milder at 7-8°C.
The best time to visit Cusco is from May to October – the driest and sunniest months respectively. Since it’s winter, bundle up from the cold at night and be ready to dress lighter during the day when the sun is out and the air is mild. In April and September, there are some showers but they’re generally light and don’t last long. Our favourite month is May, right after the rainy season, when the temperatures are mild and the mountains are still green.
Given the high altitude of Huaraz (3,052m) and Cusco (3,399m), it’s essential that you spend 2-3 days in Huaraz and/or Cusco to acclimatise your body properly before commencing any multi-day treks, as the journey often involves ascending to higher altitudes.
Altitude sickness is often felt in many upland destinations in continental South America. So much of the continent is at such a high altitude that it’s hard to tell if you’re experiencing any symptoms when you arrive, but you’ll quickly be able to tell the signs.
For instance, you’ll likely find yourself waking up very early for the first few days, and the slightest exertion can leave you breathless, which will come as a surprise. Due to the lack of oxygen in the atmosphere, you’ll breathe less in and may be unlucky with headaches, fatigue, nausea and a lack of appetite. That said, the body is a marvellous self-corrector and you’ll adjust fairly quickly to your new surroundings — likely within a matter of days.
Some recommended tips for proper acclimatisation:
- Avoid strenuous activity in the first 2-3 days. We offer acclimatisation day hikes to help you get used to the environment and terrain. You’ll be exposed to higher altitudes during these day hikes and return to your accommodations back at Huaraz and/or Cusco to spend the nights. This practice of “climb high, sleep low” will enable you to acclimatise better.
- Keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
- Avoid consuming alcohol and caffeine.
Medication for altitude sickness can prevent or treat the symptoms. A common medicine is Acetazolamide, otherwise known as Diamox.
The currency in Peru is the Sol (PEN). The Sol is subdivided into 100 cents, called céntimos in Spanish. Sol notes are in denominations of S/.200, 100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins are in denominations of S/.5, 2 and 1, and 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1 céntimos.
The current rate of exchange versus the US Dollar is estimated at US$1 to 3.23 Soles. Make sure that the notes in US$ that you bring or accept are in excellent condition. Even the slightest rip will make exchange almost impossible. Only a few money changers in Lima and Cusco will exchange currencies other than US Dollars. Outside Lima, it is virtually impossible. It is not recommended to exchange money at the airport due to a lower exchange rate or on the streets as counterfeit currency is rampant.
It is best to use local currency wherever possible, and it is always good for you to have some local currency in small denominations. We also advise you to carry cash, an ATM card, as well as a credit card that can be used for cash advances in case of emergency. Avoid carrying large quantities of cash with you. We encourage you to make use of the ATM machines available throughout the country, where you will be able to obtain cash withdrawals in local currency as well as in US$. In smaller villages and rural areas, make sure you have local currency.
There are no restrictions on the import or export of local or foreign currency, but amounts exceeding US$10,000 must be declared.
Visa is the most widely accepted credit card.
There are no direct international flights to Huaraz. Visitors must first get to Peru and international flights which fly to Peru arrive in the city of Lima. From here, visitors can fly or take a bus to Huaraz.
Likewise, for our Singapore visitors, there are no direct flights from Singapore to Huaraz. The most common way to get to Huaraz is via Lima from Singapore, which takes approximately 29 hours. Most visitors will then transit at Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM) and catch a connecting flight to Anta-Comandante FAP German Arias Graziani Airport (ATA).
The airport is located in the village of Anta, approximately 20km northwest of Huaraz. Taxis and Combis (small minibuses) operate from the airport to the city centre.
While a more expensive option, many travellers choose this option for convenience. It’s about an hour’s flight from Lima, with magnificent views of the Cordillera Blanca.
LC Peru is the only airline that operates a triweekly scheduled service between Lima and Huaraz. It offers daily morning flights between the two cities and costs about US$100/person each way.
Do note the weight restrictions for luggage: 5kg for hand-carry and 15kg for check-in. To get around this limitation, travellers often ask us to arrange for their luggage to be picked up in Lima and delivered to Huaraz (and vice-versa) by private transport, while they make the journey via air.
Bus travel in South America is quite an experience, and many parts of the continent are linked by long-distance buses. These aren’t your hop-on-hop-off affairs – they’re often equipped with catering and you can travel for days on them.
It takes about 7-8 hours to reach Huaraz from Lima by bus and tickets are reasonably priced too, typically costing about US$25-30/person each way.
There are no direct international flights to Cusco. Visitors must first get to Peru and international flights which fly to Peru arrive in the city of Lima. From here, visitors can fly or take a bus to Cusco.
Correspondingly, for our Singapore visitors, there are no direct flights from Singapore to Cusco. Like Huaraz, the most common way to get to Cusco is via Lima and it takes approximately 29 hours to reach Lima from Singapore (inclusive of one stopover). Most visitors will then transit at Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM) and catch a connecting flight to Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (CUZ) to Cusco.
The airport is located approximately 15 minutes outside the city centre. Taxis and Combis (small minibuses) operate from the airport to the city centre.
Alternatively, visitors can opt to fly from Singapore to Cusco with two stopovers via Sydney International Airport (SYD) and Santiago Arturo Merino Benitez (SCL). The average flight time is 29 hours.
It is about an hour’s flight from Lima to Cusco. LAN, TACA, StarPerú and Peruvian Airlines offer regular flights between the two cities and costs about US$90-170/per person one way.
It takes about 18-27 hours to reach Cusco from Lima by bus and tickets typically cost US$65-100/per person each way. There are two routes available:
- Lima-Nazca-Abancay-Cusco: This is the quickest route (about 18-21 hours) but it’s a rough ride and you might be delayed due to landslides (especially in the rainy season) and other potential nature hazards. As for human hazards, the route did – and to a certain extent still does – have a reputation for bus hijackings and robberies. In general, however, there are few reasons to avoid this route unless you hear a recent and reliable report to the contrary.
- Lima-Nazca-Arequipa-Cusco: Rather than cutting inland from Nazca, this route takes you further south to Arequipa before swinging back up north to Cusco. It’s long (24-27 hours), but the ride is smoother and you’re less likely to get stuck behind a mudslide.
Please let us know if you require any assistance with your transport or accommodation arrangements. We are more than happy to help with any organisation and/or bookings to ensure that your journeys in and out of Huaraz and Cusco are safe and smooth.
Passport holders of 97 jurisdictions can visit Peru for tourism purposes without a visa for up to 183 days (per year). Currently, visas are not required by Australian, British, Canadian and US nationals, as well as all other EU citizens travelling as tourists.
Nationals not referred to above are advised to contact their embassy to check visa requirements. For Singaporeans, please check this link.
To enter and depart Peru, please make sure your passport is valid for more than six months from the date of arrival. Tourists may also have to provide evidence of return or onward travel.
Travellers to Peru will receive a stamp from Peruvian Immigration upon arrival stating the length of approved stay (usually 90 days). Extensions are not available and overstays will result in fines. Keep a copy of your passport details in the event you lose your passport.
It is imperative that all travellers entering Peru – especially those crossing at a land border – obtain an entry stamp from Peruvian immigration authorities at the time and place of entry. Travellers without an entry stamp will not be allowed to exit the country. Immigration authorities often insist that travellers must return to the point of entry in order to obtain the stamp.
Non-Peruvian and non-resident passengers do not have to pay general taxes of 18% at hotels and restaurants located inside the hotels. To qualify for this, you must have an arrival stamp in your passport and your virtual Andean Migration Card must be available to all hotels via the Peru Immigration website.
In case you require a copy of your Andean Migration Card, please advise the Immigration officer of your e-mail address upon arrival so an electronic copy can be sent to you by the Immigrations department. Alternatively, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Please note that it is imperative that a scanned copy or clear picture of your passport and arrival stamp is presented to our representative upon arrival in Peru. The copy must be clearly legible as this is an official document that enables us to exempt you from local IGV taxes (18%).
Please fill in the customs declaration form and scan your luggage. Custom officers’ may check inside your luggage to verify the information you have filled in.
You must complete a customs declaration form upon arrival, which must be retained until departure. This allows the free import and export of articles for personal use during your stay. The contents of checked-in baggage must be declared on arrival if the total value of its contents exceeds US$5000 in value. The contents of checked-in baggage must be declared upon departure if the total value of its goods exceeds US$500.
Please ensure that you do not purchase any illegal piece of art, archaeology or others, which may be forbidden by law to be taken with you back home.
Peru does not require any immunisations for entry, although it recommends vaccination against yellow fever. Check with your airline or embassy in case you have connecting flights overseas as part of your journey to and from Peru. It may be the case that countries you pass through en route to your destination may require a separate transit visa or a yellow fever vaccination certificate.
If you’re planning to venture into the Jungle (Tambopata, Manu), we strongly recommend getting a yellow fever vaccine. You may do so at the following places in Peru:
- 121 Independencia Street (next to the Hospital del Niño) in Lima. Open Monday to Saturday from 8:00-12:30pm
- Jorge Chavez International Airport, 2nd floor. Open 24 hours
- International Vaccination Center-Dos de Mayo National Hospital, Grau Avenue 13th block, Lima. Open Monday to Saturday from 7:30-1:30pm
For our Singapore visitors, yellow fever vaccination is available at more than 100 GP clinics, as well as travel health clinics at public and private hospitals. Click here to view the list of clinics that provide the vaccination.
Inca TrailA permit is required to trek the Inca Trail. There are 500 permits available for each day, of which around 200 are allocated to tourists, and the remaining 300 to the support staff of guides, cooks and porters. With such high demand, permits are often sold out at least three to four months in advance, so plan ahead as far as possible.
Visit the Ministry of Culture’s official website to check on the availability of permits for the Inca Trail for the desired date:
- Click on “Consultas”
- Select “Camino Inka” under “Centro Arqueológico”
- Select your desired month and year
We’re also happy to check on the availability of permits for your requested date at the time of booking your trip with us. Permits will only be guaranteed and issued upon the provision of all client details and payment of all applicable fees.
Note that each permit is tied to each client’s exact passport information and is non-transferrable. Any changes to the information provided will need to be conveyed to us as soon as possible. You might be refused entry if your information doesn’t accurately reflect in your permit.
The trail is open all-year round, with the exception of the month of February (Machu Picchu is still open as per normal).
No permit is required for this route. The trail is open all-year round, though we recommend going from May to November when there’s less rainfall. Temperatures range from 5°C to as high as 20°C in the day, depending on the weather and level of cloud cover. At lower altitudes (Lucmabamba, Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu etc), temperatures are generally warmer.
Lares/Sacred Valley Trails
No permit is required to wander here nor will you bump into as many people as you would on the Inca Trail. It’s also not as technical as compared to the aforementioned trek but it’s still wise to pace yourself as the highest pass en route is 4,400m.
The best time to come here is April to November to avoid the wet season. Temperatures can drop to below 0°C at night but as warm as the high twenties in the day, so we’d recommend that you wear layered clothing.