Peru is one of the most scenic and beautiful countries in the world with the quintessential Incan ruins of Machu Picchu as the source of many travellers’ interest in the country. But Peru has much more variety to offer. The breathtaking landscapes of natural beauty, colonial architecture, pristinely preserved archaeological sites, and exquisite local culinary scene will leave you awestruck and wanting more.
Ensure that your itinerary is well-rounded when travelling through Peru. Try including a multi-day trek through Incan valleys, a visit to the rainbow-colored mountains of Vinicunca, the dramatic cliffs of Lima, and the colorful neighborhood of Barranco. No trip is complete without fresh ceviche and multiple Pisco sours to have you feeling like a local in no time. We have compiled a list of travel essentials for your trip to Peru, particularly if you are planning treks, side travels from Machu Picchu, or any adventure throughout this varied country. Come prepared to this beautiful country by following this packing list for Peru.
1. Hiking boots
Peru is actually divided into three zones by the Andes Mountain range. A solid pair of hiking boots (that should have been worn in before you get to Peru) will be essential for you to enjoy the tall mountain peaks, plateaus, deep valleys, and general arid landscapes of Peru. Protecting your feet and ensuring you have a steady grip throughout the hike will mean you get to enjoy the views of your travels, injury-free. In addition to Machu Picchu (are you attempting the Salkantay Trek?), some of the most beautiful hikes in the world can be found in Peru, including the Colca Canyon, trails through Lake 69, and Vinicunca.
2. Thermal wear
Peruvian weather is known for its unpredictability. Even if you are planning to travel to Peru during the dry season, come prepared for cooler evenings as the temperature can drop quickly and without warning. The higher altitudes can get very cold and in some parts, you might even end up in a snowy landscape. Enjoy the starry night skies and outdoor evening activities with light layers and thermal wear to keep you insulated and comfortable.
3. Windbreaker jacket
Another essential for any hiking trail is a windbreaker jacket–additional points if yours has a hood. Not only protecting you from the winds at the top of mountain peaks, your jacket should enable you to stay protected from fast temperatures changes and sporadic tropical showers which are common in Peru’s hot and wet climate.
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4. Waterproof bags
The simplest recommendations can often be the most useful. Waterproof ‘dry’ bags are essential for keeping your passport, cash, phone, and camera protected from sudden rainstorms. Most backpacks are not waterproof so carrying a waterproof bag, which now comes in all shapes and sizes, should keep your belongings dry.
Ensure that you have a first aid kit with you, with band aids stocked in plentiful supply. Cuts and grazes can be very common when walking along stony pathways or through thick forest areas. Shoe cuts are often the cause of many uncomfortable hours, particularly on multi-day treks. Be sure to have enough band aids with you (preferably of the waterproof variety) to get you through your travels.
6. Throat lozenges
Throat lozenges can be a lifesaver when travelling with a cold or sore throat. Peru’s cold temperatures at the higher altitudes can often exacerbate illnesses, especially if you are feeling run-down after a few days of hiking. Add throat lozenges to your first aid pack as they can act to prevent colds and coughs from developing further. They will also be helpful on any air travel you might be doing.
Investing in a quality pair of binoculars will be indispensable for your travels to Peru, particularly if you are venturing towards the Amazon. Birding is a big part of travelling through Peru as it is home to 10 percent of the world’s total avian species, amounting to 1000 different species in the country. During your treks or even river cruises, there will be ample opportunities that will require extra magnification in order to fully appreciate the birds of Peru, at which point you will not be sorry you spent some of your time and money investing in this great tool.
8. US dollar bills newer than 2006
US dollars are widely accepted in Peru, but there are a few things to note before you travel. Always carry small denominations rather than large bills, as some businesses wont have change for big amounts. Many times you will receive your change in Peruvian sol rather than US dollars. Bills that are old (2006 is the oldest you may be able to get away with!) will not be accepted. As a general rule, any torn, worn, written on, or damaged bills are unlikely to be accepted either. Remember that for day-to-day use, it’s better to carry Peruvian soles rather than relying on US dollars.
9. Water purification tablets
If you are trekking through Peru, it is always safe to have water purification tablets with you. Although some trekking companies will boil water for you daily, which is usually enough to kill all the bacteria and make the water safe for consumption, it is always best to be prepared. There are several brands of water purification tablets on the market these days and it is recommended to test your preference beforehand so that you are familiar with any aftertaste that these tablets may leave behind.
Carrying a flashlight in your day pack whilst trekking is highly recommended and will be a necessity for any walking at night, as a matter of safety. If you are a slow hiker, you may reach campsites after sunsets in the early evenings. Flashlights or headlamps are essential at such times.
Pack your essentials
In addition to our list of recommended items, sun protection, snacks and a good camera will be very useful during your time in Peru. Regardless of if you are visiting the desert oasis or the mystical mountain ranges of Peru, you will need to pack smart and ensure you have the essentials with you.
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