With so many daily flights from destinations all around the United States and Europe, it has never been easier to access Peru.
The country sits on the western coast of South America, bordered by Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile and the Pacific Ocean. The main port of entry into Peru is the capital of Lima, where you will fly into the Jorge Chavez International Airport.
- The main American airlines that serve Lima are American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, and United. Also regional airlines such as LATAM, AVIANCA and Copa.
- From the U.S. travelers can get non-stop flights to Lima from Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Newark, New York, Houston and Orlando. Washington DC will be added to the network during mid-2016.
- There are also non-stop flights from Toronto with Air Canada Rouge.
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It is not necessary for tourists from North America to obtain a visa to travel to Peru. Only a valid passport is required. You will also receive a departure ticket which you must keep until you leave Peru. Before leaving the country visit the emigration office for an exit stamp.
Depending on where you want to travel in Peru, getting around is quite easy. A variety of domestic airlines, as well as a rail system make it possible to experience all the different corners and climates that this diverse country has to offer.
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Domestic carriers that operate in Peru are LATAM Airlines and AVIANCA, among others. And air travel is the most comfortable and reliable form of transportation within Peru.
Travelers can also access certain destinations by rail. Peru Rail and Inca Rail operate between Cusco, Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu, as well as Urubamba to Ollantaytambo. Peru Rail operates the Andean Explorer from Cusco to Puno. For a truly spectacular, but long, trip consider the Ferrocarril Central Andino, the line joining Lima to Huancayo. This is the second highest railway in the world and takes travelers into Peru’s core. The 11-hour trip climbs to 15,681 feet and passes through 69 tunnels and over 58 bridges. It is a truly luxurious experience and a must for any railroad lovers.
While there is a bus system in Peru that operates between cities, it is not always the most comfortable or convenient.
Once at your destination, there is no problem to get around by buses or taxis, although the latter ones are more recommended. Taxis can be used as long as they are hailed from a station or hotel. It is not necessary to tip taxi drivers in Peru.
With so many types of accommodations in Peru, staying in your style has never been easier. From five-star luxury to boutique chic to budget backpacker, Peru has the perfect place to rest your head.
A-list luxury is at your fingertips in Peru. Well-heeled travelers will recognize familiar names like Belmond, Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Starwood’s Luxury Collection and Preferred Hotels, all of which have properties of distinction across the country, whether you want to be in the heart of Lima or immersed deep into Peru’s natural environment. Many of these luxury hotels are built into existing historic properties, combining old world charm with modern day amenities.
- Hotels to highlight include Belmond Hotel Monasterio and Palacio Nazarenas in Cusco, as well as Palacio del Inka, a Luxury Collection Resort and Inkaterra’s La Casona.
If your vibe swings more trendy, Peru has plenty of properties to fit the bill. Cities like Lima, Arequipa and Cusco are popping with boutique, lifestyle hotels that are sure to please youthful-minded travelers. Consider brands like JW Marriott, Hilton and Novotel. On the shores of Lake Titicaca you can find hotel Titilaka, a design-focused, lifestyle hotel with a modern-chic vibe. Peru’s trendy beach bums will love the feel at Arennas in Mancora, that of barefooted elegance, or DCO Suite Lounge & Spa, an exclusive and boutique hotel on Peru’s oceanfront.
Budget travelers will also find plenty to work with without breaking the bank. Many smaller, boutique hotels will offer room rates for as little as $50 per night. It is possible to go even cheaper than that, as well, if travelers are looking for hostels or serious backpacker hotels and lodges.
But no matter if you’re looking to stretch your dollar or are looking to indulge in the lap of luxury, Peru’s hotel scene has something to fit the bill.
Peru is a treasure trove of authentic handicrafts and a paradise for souvenir shopping. With so many markets, shops and street vendors it might be overwhelming to determine where to start for the best quality products. Take a look at these suggestions to help guide your clients to the best deals and hidden finds.
One of the most famous spots for souvenir shopping is Pisac’s Crafts Market, which is open every day but is best seen on Sunday mornings in the town of Pisac, 20 miles from Cusco in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The market is a frenzy of buyers and sellers that buzz through the central plaza. Many of the sellers sport the local dress from their villages, making the market a feast for the eyes and the ears, as well. If you’re in the market for textiles like rugs, alpaca sweaters and ponchos, Pisac is the place to beat.
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Cusco is the spot to score wool, alpaca textiles and silver. On your visit to Cusco pass through the Barrio de San Blas near the Plaza de Armas for all of your souvenir shopping. You can also pick up ceramics and art from local artists near here.
While visiting Lima, the first stop for shoppers should be the Miraflores neighborhood, with many shops selling local handicrafts. Explore the mini malls in the neighborhood to find authentic ceramics and textiles and silver jewelry.
If you are looking for more upscale shopping, visit Lima’s LarcoMar, an upscale outdoor mall packed with luxury brand names, hopping nightlife and a wide range of restaurants.
Dining & Nightlife
By day you will be busy soaking up Peru’s ancient and indigenous past, but by night Peru’s streets come alive with the 21st century. Modern restaurants, bars and clubs keep Peru’s cities thriving after the sun goes down.
While visiting Peru local ceviche is a must, which can be eaten at a casual seaside cevicheria, where the fresh food is only matched by the beach views and frosty beers, or at a more designer-style restaurant like La Mar Cebicheria or El Mercado in Lima. For a taste of the local Amazonian cuisine, consider visiting Amaz for foods like patarascha, a steamed river fish wrapped in banana leaves, or timbuche, which is a thick soup made with local fish. Or try Peruvian chicken barbecue, which is most popular everywhere.
For more modern fare, consider Central in Lima, as well as Astrid y Gaston and Maido. In Cusco pop by Cicciolina, which serves Novoandino cuisine. Sleek, contemporary dining is new to Cusco and Cicciolina is leading the pack. If you enjoyed Astrid y Gaston in Lima, consider ChiCha, a sister restaurant in Cusco bringing regional cuisine to a sophisticated space. Also not to miss are MAP Cafe and Limo. In Arequipa visit La Trattoria del Monasterio for fantastic Italian cuisine in a romantic setting. The menu was designed by one of Peru’s rising stars and the restaurant itself lives inside the Santa Catalina monastery.
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After dinner is when the real party starts, and you will want to start yours with a fresh Pisco Sour. This national drink is made from the white grape brandy known as pisco. The drink combines egg whites, lemon juice, sugar and bitters and its potency is only outweighed by its tastiness. Another popular drink is Chilcano, made with pisco, ginger ale, lemon and drops of angostura.
After a few Pisco Sours, or your beverage of choice, hit the after-hours streets. In Lima the best nightlife can be found in the Miraflores or Barranco neighborhoods where you can find high-octane clubs next to authentic criollo music clubs. In Cusco the backpackers know how to party around the Plaza de Armas. Discover the underground scene, see live music, late night theater, take salsa classes or do a pub crawl. And in Arequipa’s old quarter, discover bars, restaurants and discos where locals and tourists come together over good drinks and music.
In Peru, there is always a reason to celebrate with around 3,000 annual festivals and celebrations. When planning your trip to Peru, here are some of the major events worth seeing.
Puno is widely considered the folklore capital of Peru, mostly because of Puno Week. This full week in November involves a huge procession from Lake Titicaca into the town and commemorates the legend of the first Inca emperor. After the parade the event explodes into nights of dancing and music.
Also in Puno, travelers should experience Virgen de la Candelaria, a two-week folk religious festival that bursts with music, dance and costume pageantry. It begins every February.
All across Peru locals will celebrate Fiesta de la Cruz, but the best examples can be found in Lima, Cusco and Ica. Electric with folk music and dance, the highlight of the festival are the scissors dancers, who are known for having once performed on top of churches. Each year it is celebrated on May 3.
Schedule your trip to Cusco around the Inti Raymi, or the Festival of the Sun, which is considered to be one of the best in South America and one of Peru’s most important festivals. This tribute to the winter solstice celebrates the Inca sun god with parades, music and dance, transforming Cusco into a magical scene for celebrating indigenous Peru. It is held June 24.
Experience pops of purple across Lima during the El Señor de los Milagros. This highly religious procession brings thousands of participants to the streets of Lima, all dressed in vibrant purple. This procession lasts a full 24 hours and reveres a storied painting of Jesus Christ, which was one of the only relics to survive the 1746 earthquake.
For something a little rowdier, travelers can experience Carnaval, which is always held the first few days before Lent. The celebrations vary slightly from city to city, but the underlying theme at all is parades, colors, parties and letting loose. Cajamarca is a great place to experience Carnival.