Few images evoke the awe and admiration than that of the bustling green hills of Machu Picchu and the ancient ruins of the Incans that define the vast terrain.
Yet beyond the famed peaks of the new Wonder of the World lies a country with so much more. Food enthusiasts will delight at the culinary scene of bustling Lima while adventurists will be drawn to the grueling hikes of Salktanay and Ausangante or the vertical sand skiing at Huacachina. Nature lovers will flock to the Peruvian Amazon River and Rainforest, or the captivating sceneries of Puno and Lake Titicaca.
Peru is a destination that combines the natural splendor of its various ecosystems with fascinating and culture and arguably one of the world’s most celebrated cuisines. Peru is a destination for thrill seekers, history buffs and foodies, and just quite possibly everyone else too.
Continue to Planning Your Trip to Peru →
PLANNING YOUR TRIP TO PERU
WHAT’S THE BEST TIME TO VISIT PERU?
From soaring mountains and sweeping highland plains to lowland valleys, steamy jungles and arid beaches, Peru presents a cornucopia of climates. You'll find temperate dry weather along the coast, cool climes in the elevated Andes and tropical heat in the lowlands and the Amazon Basin. However, there are two seasons: "wet" from November to April and "dry" from May to October.
The greatest number of visitors travel to Peru during the dry season, with tourism peaks in July and August when Europeans and North Americans enjoy summer breaks. Just before the start and after the end of the dry season are excellent times to visit, so plan to arrive in May or September if you're seeking the sunniest skies. But the wet season has its advantages. You won't see constant downpours, the landscape is greener and fewer visitors means you'll have more-exclusive access to many of the country's vast opportunities for exotic escapes.
LIMA’S WEATHER AND CULTURAL WAYS
Set along Pacific shores, the capital of Lima has year-long moderate temperatures, sparse rainfall and high humidity. In the cooler months from May to October, expect daytime temperatures in the mid-60s, nighttime lows in the high-50s and overcast skies as a sea mist locally known as “garúa” lingers above the city. An optimal time to visit is from April to December when temperatures can hit 80 degrees in the day and fall to a comfortable mid-60s at night.
On the 18th of January, a parade known as "pasacalles" rolls through town to celebrate Lima's founding with dance performances and live music in the streets. Cuisine from across the country descends on the capital for a weeklong celebration in October. From food trucks to gourmet dining, "Mistura" welcomes thousands of foodies to savor delicacies at one of Latin America’s most eclectic gastronomic festivals. Since no trip to Peru would be complete without sampling the national drink why not imbibe on National Pisco Sour Day? On the first Saturday of February, the famed fruit-infused brandy cocktail is celebrated with concerts, folkloric dances and tastings across town. February is also carnival season and you'll find festivities throughout the city all month.
SAVOR THE PERUVIAN FOOD SCENE
Lima's culinary culture is outstanding no matter the month, earning the “City of the Kings” a reputation as one of the world’s most-desired foodie destinations. The oceanfront district of Miraflores offers an abundance of inviting eateries, from cozy cafés serving daily seafood catches to upscale venues drawing on influences from across the globe. Two must-try dishes lie at the center of Peruvian cuisine. From street vendors to fine-dining establishments you’ll encounter ceviche, fresh fish cured in a spicy mix of lime juice, red onion and cilantro. With a nod to Peru’s Japanese immigrants, tiradito is a delectable raw-fish dish that echoes sashimi.
THE BEST TIME TO GO TO MACHU PICCHU, CUSCO AND LAKE TITICACA?
Precipitation is more predictable in the Andes mountain range compared to other regions. Expect strong rains from December to March, when temperatures are in the mid-60s during the day and fall to the high-50s at night. You'll usually see clear skies in the mornings and some afternoon showers, with the heaviest downpours in January and February. The Inca Trail is closed in February and visits to Machu Picchu are more challenging during this soggier period.
It's unlikely you'll see rain from May to October when temperatures in the day to range from the high-60s to the high-70s. At night, temperatures can drop to the 40s, or even lower in June and July. Clear sunny skies grace the highland areas from June to September, especially at higher elevations, making it a good time to visit the Sacred Valley and city of Cusco.
During Cusco’s peak tourism season from June to September you’ll find the most visitors strolling its historical sites. Marking the winter solstice, the Incan Festival of the Sun, Inti Raymi, is celebrated in the city with a week's worth of revelry in late June. Enjoy traditional music, folkloric dance and indigenous rituals against the backdrop of colonial buildings at the Plaza de Armas and among the ruins of the ancient Incan fortress of Sacsayhuamá. Cusco is also a great place to be for the Holy Week events around Easter, with grand processions in the time-honored streets.
Due to its high altitude, Lake Titicaca has cool, dry weather all year long. While daytime temperatures are consistently in the mid-60s, nighttime temperatures vary. They drop to the mid-20s and low teens from May to September and hover in the mid-30s during overnights the rest of the year. A good time to visit is from May to October when rain is rare and crisp skies are sunny. One of the country's liveliest festivals takes place in the lakeside town of Puno. In late January and early February, the two-week-long Virgin of Candelaria celebration features traditional music, folkloric dance and colorful costumed parades.
EXPLORING PERU’S AMAZON RAINFOREST
The Amazon jungle is hot and humid at all times of the year, with moderate variations in temperature and rainfall between the wet and dry seasons. Heavier rains fall during the wet season from November to April, when daytime temperatures rise to the upper-80s. During the dry season from May to October, temperatures in the day range from the mid-80s to 100 degrees. Even with the heat, visiting during this time is optimal if you’re looking to do some treks on land. You'll encounter fewer mosquitos and more wildlife along the riverbanks. As it is a rainforest, it rains during the dry season, but without the downpours and flooding you'll encounter during the wet season.
But who says flooding is always a bad thing? During the wet season, the waters of the Amazon Basin rise considerably - over twenty feet in some spots! This creates a dramatic increase in the navigability of each river, lake and tributary, bringing you closer to the wildlife that's sustained by the waters. While jungle creatures are prevalent all year long, during the high-water months you're more likely to get up-close looks at caimans, turtles and monkeys on your float through the tropical terrain.
HOW LONG SHOULD I SPEND IN PERU?
Almost double the size of Texas, Peru is a massive place with considerable distances between its must-see destinations. A three-day getaway might suffice if you're only hitting one locale, but you'll likely wish to explore farther to make the venture more rewarding. For most two-location trips you'll want to give yourself about a week. For example, a seven-day span gives you the freedom to enjoy the cosmopolitan offerings of Lima before strapping on your all-weather gear to explore the jungle. A four-day Amazon River cruise is best paired with a few nights in the Andean city of Cusco, or a multi-day nature break in the verdant Sacred Valley. As Machu Picchu is on almost every visitor's itinerary, the ancient Incan site goes well with almost every location across the country. Understanding that each traveler is as unique as the getaway they seek, we custom fit your itinerary at no extra cost. Here are a few ideas to consider:
Explora Valle Sagrado: Machu Picchu's Ultimate All-Inclusive Luxury Adventure: 6 nights (2 in Lima, 4 in the Sacred Valley)
Romance on the Amazon: Peru’s Most Deluxe River Cruise: 6 nights (2 in Lima, 4 on an Amazon cruise)
Taste of Peru: 6 nights (2 in Lima, 3 in Cusco, 1 in the Sacred Valley)
Peru Adrenaline: 8 nights (1 in Lima, 2 in Cusco, 2 in the Sacred Valley, 1 in Machu Picchu, 2 in Puno)
Adventure Peru: 8 nights (3 in Cusco, 1 in the Sacred Valley, 1 in Machu Picchu, 2 in the Amazon, 1 in Lima)
Lares Adventure: 6 nights (1 in Cusco, 1 in Lamay, 1 in Huacawasi, 1 in the Sacred Valley, 1 in Aguas Calientes, 1 in Cusco)
Delfin Amazon River Cruise & Machu Picchu: 7 nights (1 in Lima, 2 in the Sacred Valley 1 in Cusco, 3 on an Amazon cruise)
Delfin Amazon River Cruise: 3 to 6 nights (on an Amazon cruise)
WHAT OTHER COUNTRIES IN SOUTH AMERICA CAN I COMBINE WITH PERU?
Peru shares borders with Brazil and Ecuador. The former is South America’s largest country, while the latter is one of its smallest. Both offer opportunities to discover lush jungles, sandy beaches and charming colonial towns.
A TRIP TO BRAZIL FOR NATURE, CULTURE AND REVELRY IN RIO
The fifth-largest country on Earth has attractions that are almost too numerable to ponder. A trip to Brazil often begins in Rio. Nestled between shimmering South Atlantic waters and towering forest-capped mountains, Rio de Janeiro is a dynamic cityscape that gives way to some of the world's most famous beaches. Next, delve deep into the jungle to traverse the world's most vast tropical rainforest, where the Amazon River snakes through a landscape teeming with rich flora and fauna. Load up your Instagram account with incredible images from Pantanal, the planet's most extensive tropical wetland. Feel the raw energy of thundering Iguassu Falls. Climb to the sandy crests of glorious dunes in Lençóis Maranhenses National Park. A unique mix of Portuguese and African influences, the culture of Bahia calls you to stroll the cobblestone streets of the state's colonial sites and bask on its palm-fringed beaches.
VISIT ECUADOR’S ANDEAN HIGHLANDS, GALAPAGOS ISLANDS AND COLONIAL QUITO
Small in size but big on inspiring spots to explore, Ecuador packs a myriad of diverse destinations into a compact geographical area. Wonder at the most bio-diverse tropical archipelago on the planet with a trip to the Galápagos Islands. Experience the sense of awe that once filled Charles Darwin as you snorkel in turquoise waters among playful sea lions while flocks of seabirds swoop overhead and giant tortoises lumber onshore. Centuries-old architecture awaits, from the colonial district of Cuenca to the historic center of Quito - also one of the world's top culinary scenes. Nature getaways are near with sprawling highland haciendas and transcendent cloud forests just on the capital's outskirts. Roam farther to discover dense Amazon jungles and sandy beaches that beckon you to laze away the day.