Find the answers to some of the most Peru frequently asked questions. We attempt to cover most popular questions here, however if you don’t find what you’re looking for feel free to contact us for travel advice from our locally based expert travel team.
Aracari Travel is the pioneer high-end specialist in sustainable travel to Peru, Bolivia and the Galapagos. Aracari's team of local travel experts specialize in crafting bespoke, private multi-day journeys that include transfers, guides, hotels, activities, cruises, train tickets and entrance tickets. All trips are tailormade, specially designed to suit your interests, budget and time available to travel. Aracari draws on its prvileged network of specialists in their field to offer exclusive access to private collections and insider experiences. Read more about Aracari.
Peru is a year-round travel destination. Due to dramatic geographical diversity - with jungle, desert and mountains - the weather in Peru will vary from region to region at any given time of year. The Andes and Machu Picchu sees a dry and rainy season, with the months either side of this forming a shoulder season when weather will vary. It is dry season from May to October with daytime temperatures of 18-25º C / 65-77º F. Rainy season runs from December to March, with daytime temperatures of 20-26º C / 68-79º F. The highest chance of rain is usually in late January and February. The shoulder season months at the start and end of the rainy season - April and November - see less chance of rainfall.
In Lima and along the desert coast - including the beaches of Mancora and Moche Route - there is little to no precipitation. Lima is humid and can be more overcast between May and October. Average daytime temperatures are 23-28º C / 74-82ºF In the Rainforest, the dry and rainy seasons are the same as the mountains but the temperature is higher and fluctuates relatively little year-round, with an average temperature of 21-30º C / 70-86º F.
There are also many colofrul, traditional festivals that take place across Peru, especially in Cusco, which can be great to catch when traveling here. Key festivals include Candelaria (Lake Titicaca, February), Easter Week (nationwide), Señor de los Temblores (Cusco, March), Corpus Christi (Cusco, May) and Señor de los Milagros (Lima, October).
Read more about the best time to travel to Peru.
There are a range of options depending on where you're starting from. Almost all international flights arrive into Peru's capital, Lima. From the US there are direct flights from many major US cities, like New York, Miami, Dallas, Atlanta and LA across a range of airlines like America, United, Continental, Delta, JetBlue and LATAM. If traveling from Europe, there are similarly direct flights from hubs like Madrid (e.g. with Iberia) and London (British Airways). There are good connections with other South American countries like Colombia (Avianca) and Chile (LATAM). There are very limited international flights to Cusco from Colombia, with Avianca.
We arrange trips to Peru, Bolivia, and the Galapagos Islands and can arrange domestic flights within these countries, or international flights between them. We specialize in ground arrangements (drivers, transfers, trains, boats etc in our region) as opposed to flights, so are unable to offer international flights to or from your departure country.
This depends on your passport. Citizens of most Western European nations and the USA and Canada who are entering Peru as tourists do not require visas in advance and receive visas on arrival. Anyone traveling with a US passport does, however, need a visa for Bolivia, though not Ecuador.
Travelers who require visas in advance can normally obtain them from embassies or consulates in their countries of residence. For specific and timely information please contact your nearest Consulate. For citizens requiring visas, Aracari is able to provide documentation to support the intended purpose of visit (e.g. visa letter).
Since all of our itineraries are tailormade, we're happy to design trips for solo travelers, whether you plan to travel alone for part of the journey or all of it.
At Aracari we only arrange private tours. We do not offer group tours on a join-in basis with a set departure date. We occasionally offer one-off special departure group trips which we will announce on our website. Past trips have included a special lecture cruise in the Amazon or founder-led trip to Uyuni. If you've already formed your own group then we would be delighted to assist. We have designed tailormade trips for many groups, from multi-generational families to specialist interest groups and socities visiting Peru.
All of the itineraries on our website are examples, as we always tailormake every trip to suit each traveler. Just contact us to let us know what you're interested in doing and we'll design a tailormade itinerary for you. You can pay either by bank transfer, or online with Visa, Mastercard or Amex. Depending on how soon your trip is, we may ask for a deposit payment first.
We strongly recommend that you visit your health care provider for professional clinical advice and the most up-to-date requirements, in accordance with your personal health and medical history.
Vaccinations and malaria pills:
No specific vaccination is required to enter Peru. Nevertheless, for those travelling to the rainforest, the yellow fever vaccination is recommended by the CDC and WHO. Travel in Peru’s rainforest regions previously required a yellow fever vaccination, and although rules are less strict, it is not unheard of for certification to be requested. The vaccination is normally required or recommended for all rainforest regions around the world and must be administered at least 15 days before arrival. If you are continuing your travels directly from Peru, please check to verify whether a valid certificate of vaccination is required for entry to your next destination. Additionally, for certain areas of the rainforest, malaria pills are recommended but not required. It is best to consult with your health care provider before you travel.
There are a few different ways to alleviate the potential side-effects of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), also known as Soroche, during your trip. Diamox can help when it is taken a couple of days prior to ascending and a couple of days once at altitude. Once you are in Peru, a natural remedy is coca tea, which is helpful during your stay at high altitude. You should also drink plenty of water before your flight to high altitude and during your stay. Eating lightly before and upon arrival and resting also minimize the effects of altitude, which can include headaches, shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea or loss of appetite. Arriving a few days before the start of a trek at high altitude will help your body naturally acclimatize. Aracari deliberately arranges itineraries to spend time in the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu before Cusco (at higher elevation), to adjust to the altitude more easily.
Personal medical kit:
Our guides are equipped with basic medical kits, but you may want to bring some of your own medication, especially for treks or adventure activities e.g. antidiarrhetics (Imodium), Pepto Bismol for stomach pain, antihistamines (both capsules and balm), analgesics, band aids and blister plasters and insect repellent. There are pharmacies in all cities and towns in Peru, but if you have specific medical needs bring your medication with you.
Travel insurance is not usually a requirement, but we strongly recommend you do have insurance. We will request proof of medical insurance for some specific activities (e.g. lodge-to-lodge treks) that includes evacutation coverage if you're in a remote location. We strongly recommend you travel with insurance whatever your activities, to cover you for flight cancellations, theft, lost luggage and general cancellation by you in the event that you are unable to carry out your trip due to illness or unforeseen circumstances. It should also cover you for potential medical expenses incurred during travel in case of illness or accident.
Renting a car in Peru is possible on a tourist visa. However, our tailormade trips include a dedicated driver. There are certain disadvantages to hiring a car in Peru, including the fact that more rural areas (including the Sacred Valley) do not have signage (or mapper properly on googlemaps etc). Some roads are of poor quality, depending on the regions you visit, and generally speaking driving standards are less rigorous in Peru than more developed countries, so you need to be a very experienced and confident driver.
Peruvian Sol is the currency of Peru. Although US Dollars are often accepted in larger hotels, shops and restaurants in larger cities and tourist destinations like Cusco, they are not always accepted. As such, we recommend you always travel with local currency especially for smaller purchases in shops, markets and local restaurants.
Exchanging US Dollars and Euros into Peruvian Sol is possible in banks, by official moneychangers on the street (who you can recognize as by their vests and official IDs), in the airport, hotels, money exchange houses and in some shops (in small towns). The exchange rate is generally the same with the exception of hotels where it tends to be set at a slightly less advantageous rate. Please bear in mind that $100 bills can be difficult to change so it is better to have smaller bills. Dollars are easier to change than Euros. Any ripped US dollar bills (even with slight tears) are usually not accepted.
Visa, Mastercard and American Express are also generally accepted in Peru, although Visa is more widely accepted. When making purchases with a credit card, you may have to pay a 5-6% surcharge and may have to present your passport to make the purchase.
If using traveler cheques, we recommend changing these at banks. Traveler’s cheques are often only cashed in local currency (Soles). For security reasons we highly recommend you use ATM machines in airports and hotels rather than on the street.
Unfortunately, forged notes (both dollars and local currency) abound in some countries in the region, so be sure to examine your notes by feeling their texture and looking for watermarks.
Given Peru's diverse geography, you're likely to experience different climates whatever time of year you travel. We strongly recommend brining layers which makes it easier to deal with changing temperatures, especially in the Andes. We provide detailed packing lists if you book with us, with general suggestions alongside recommendations for specific activities or destination, like hiking or visiting the Amazon. Outside of Lima, in the main tourist destinations travelers tend to dress quite casually, including at hotels. We recommend you bring proper footwear for walking around cities, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu.
• Comfortable sneakers or hiking boots
• Short and long-sleeved t-shirts
• Rain gear
• A fleece jacket
• Jeans or casual trousers
• Insect repellent, lip balm and sun block
Tips are entirely at your discretion. All of our guides and drivers are paid fairly so tipping is not a requirement, though always welcomed. It is best to leave a tip in cash.
Tipping in Restaurants:
You may tip 10%, but it is totally discretionary. Credit cards and traveler’s cheques are widely accepted in smarter restaurants. Tips are already included in the price if the meal is part of your program.
Tipping for guided excursions:
Tip for a guide per day for a group of 2 passengers: $20
Tip for a driver per day for a group of 2 passengers: $10
Tip for a guide per day for a group of 4+ passengers: $20-$40
Tip for a driver per day for a group of 4+ passengers: $10-$20
Tipping for camping treks:
Tip for a guide per day for a group of 2 passengers: $20
Tip for cook per day for a group of 2 passengers: $5-$8
Tip per day for each member of support staff (porters) for a group of 2 passengers: $3-$5
Tip for a guide per day for a group of 4+ passengers: $20-$40
Tip for cook per day for a group of 4+passengers: $8-$12
Tip per day for each member of support staff (porters) for a group of 4+ passengers: $5-$8
Phone and internet coverage is quite good in cities and even some rural areas, including Machu Picchu - though there is no phone coverage on the train ride to Machu Picchu. Most foreign smartphones work in the region if you have an international calling and data plan. If your phone is unlocked you can buy a local SIM card that will work for use while traveling.
Aracari provides a free phone and sim card for local calls for the duration of your stay. We can also purchase SIM cards with data plans on your behalf so you can be connected on arrival.
Aracaris belong to the Ramphastidae family, together with toucans and toucanets. Aracaris inhabit the tropical forests and forest edges of South America from eastern Colombia and Ecuador south to Bolivia and northeast Argentina. There are several Aracari species, some of which are beautifully depicted in these prints by John Gould (1804-1881) the English ornithologist and bird illustrator.