Updated: Jun 19, 2020
Although my trip to Peru was incredible, upon my return I realized that it would have been useful for me to know several things before planning my trip to get the most out of everything, especially on budget. That is why this post aim is to give you tips to keep in mind before planning your next adventure to Peru.
1. If your time is short and limited for the trip, plan at least the main activities for each day, so that you can make the most of the time and do more things.
2. Trek tours such as the Rainbow Mountain and Lake 69 are better scheduled in Peru, since most of them have the possibility of being scheduled the day before and also you will have more offers than those found on the internet.
3. If you scheduled tours with time and from the comfort of your home, it is good that you confirm the pick-up time a couple of days before, because the information they send by email is not always up-to-date.
4. In souvenir shops and some markets as well as in taxis there is the possibility of negotiating rates, so take the risk and ask for discounts! Especially in taxis, since drivers notice that you are a foreigner and tend to charge more than they normally do.
5. If you are going to do any of the mountains of Machupicchu (Huayna Picchu, Machu Picchu and even go up to the archaeological site on foot) take with you an extra T-shirt or “Dry Fit” clothing, as the weather is humid and your photos may not look like you thought because of the clothes
6. If you are going to take the train to or from Aguas Calientes at any time, I recommend that you leave the large suitcase at the Hostel / Hotel in Cusco or Ollantaytambo and pack in a smaller backpack the necessary for those couple of days that you will be in the Sacred Valley including Machupicchu. This is because they do not always allow these bags to be carried on the trains, since they do not have a trunk and even if they allow you to carry them, you will have to accommodate them in your sit space and it will be a very uncomfortable couple of hours traveling.
7. On tours it is normal to tip which will depend on what you want and can give, but it is good for you to know that the custom is between 10 and 15 soles per person.
8. If you are going to do a trek where you can reach more than 2,500 meters above sea level, such as the Inka Trail, the Rainbow Mountain or one of the Lakes in Huaraz and you do not come from a city that is on similar height, I recommend buying coca candy or coca leaves and bring plenty of water for the walk. This way you will prevent altitude sickness and the adventure will be not damaged in the middle of the day.
BONUS: In all Peru, except for Lima, is safe at all times and almost everywhere, so you can walk at night and take your cell phone and camera out.
9. The "Free" Walking Tours are the best option if you are on a budget and tight time since it only costs what you tip the guide and additionally you will receive recommendations of places to eat and buy souvenirs as well as the best curious information (in my humble opinion) of the places you visit. Also, if your tour was scheduled by the hostel, you will most likely be welcomed back with a free pisco sour !!
10. While in Lima ALWAYS use sunscreen all the time. Even though it's cold and that white cape is in the sky all day, it's like it is sunny and you'll only notice it at night when your nose and cheeks are red from heat stroke.
11. If you want to have the best photos of the places you go and with less people in them, try to choose the tour that starts earlier. I know, getting ready at 3am on vacation isn't easy, but it's worth it.
12. If the travel time is enough, try to have at least 1 free day per city you visit, not only to recharge, but to be able to visit what you did not reach or to repeat something you liked.
13. The best way to stay connected in Peru is buying a sim for your cell phone and activating a plan for the number of days you are staying. Not only it is very inexpensive, but it helps you stay connected and find what you are looking for faster and without asking anyone for help. The one I bought was great because it included unlimited Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook and Spotify as well as about 200 GB to surf the internet for only 25 soles !!
14. Only in Lima is Uber a good option for transportation, because in Cuzco it is more expensive than the taxi and in other cities there is not much coverage or there is not at all.
15. Try Peruvian food whenever you have a chance. From the ají de gallina, lomo salteado, causa limeña, ceviche, InkaCola, Cusqueña, to picarones; McDonalds can wait, I promise.
I hope this will serve you a lot for your plans <3
Let me know how it goes and if you have more tips to add! Meanwhile, enjoy a little galery from my trip.