Peru Travel Guide – transportation, safety, travel tips + itineraries for 8, 12 and 16 days

  • 24.05.2024 18:31
  • Bruno Arcos

A complete Peru travel guide with all the information you need regarding hotels, restaurants, transportation, safety and the best travel tips for those visiting the country. We’ve also included three different itineraries with everything you should see and do in Peru in 8, 12 or 16 days.

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Visited by millions of tourists every year, Peru stands as one of South America’s most iconic destinations. A land of rugged mountain peaks, deserts, lakes, beaches and forests, Peru’s geography and topographic features help make it a must for outdoor enthusiasts and adrenaline junkies alike. However, thinking of Peru as an exclusively alluring destination for nature-lovers couldn’t be further away from the truth.

With its charming, colorful colonial towns and unparalleled collection of pre-Columbian ruins – including the legendary Machu Picchu, one of the Seven Wonders of the World – Peru also appeals to those with a love for culture, history and archaeology. Deep down, the country caters to a wide range of interests, making it a destination with something for everyone.

So, if you’re planning a trip to this stunning destination, our ultimate Peru travel guide is here to help. In addition to practical information about hotels, restaurants, transportation and local experiences, we’ve also put together three comprehensive itineraries, including all the places you must see and visit in Peru in 8, 12 or 16 days.

Peru Travel Guide

How to get to Peru – Flights from the UK

Although there are 5 international airports scattered around the country, there’s a big chance you’ll be landing in the capital of Lima if you’re flying all the way from Europe. Naturally, the city is served by the biggest air hub in Peru: the Jorge Chavéz International Airport.

Unfortunately, there are no direct flights between the UK and Peru, so the only way to fly to Lima is by having a layover in one of several European or American cities. Iberia, British Airways, Air Europa and Air France usually have the best deals for flights departing from London, offering deals to Lima starting from €700,00 (return), with a layover in either Madrid or Paris (and sometimes in the US as well).

How many days do I need to visit Peru?

Actually, Peru is one of those destinations where you could easily spend months without running out of things to do or places to explore. Plus, given the huge distances and less than stellar roads (especially in the Andes), transportation can take quite a big chunk of your itinerary. As such, one can easily apply the motto of “the more, the merrier”!

However, for those with limited time and/or budget, a full week would be the bare minimum to experience the essentials in Lima, Cusco and Arequipa (and that’s if you’re willing to take a couple internal flights). Nonetheless, we highly recommend extending your stay for as long as possible, ideally setting aside enough time and money for a two-week vacation in the “Land of the Incas”.

Peru Travel Guide – Best time to visit the country

Considering the country’s sheer size, there isn’t a definitive answer to this question. On the one hand, Peru’s coastal region enjoys warmer and more pleasant weather between the months of November and March, the period of Summer in the Southern Hemisphere. You may even go for a dip if visiting Peru in this period. However, these months also correspond to the rainy season in the Andes, meaning it will be rainy and cloudy in some of the country’s most popular tourist destinations, like Cusco, Lake Titicaca and even Arequipa.

That said, and given that most visitors are way more interested in exploring Machu Picchu than soaking on the beaches of Máncora or Paracas, we recommend visiting Peru between May and October, the dry season in the mountains. During these months, you’re much more likely to find clear skies in the Andes, making it ideal for completing hiking trails and exploring the countless Incan archaeological sites. Moreover, due to Peru’s proximity to the Equator, temperatures remain relatively stable throughout the year, so even if you visit during the winter, the weather won’t be much colder than usual, both on the coast or in the mountains.

Peru Travel Guide – Documents needed for your trip

In order to enter Peru, British and Irish travelers need to show their passport. The document should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into the country.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that passport holders from the UK/Ireland can stay in Peru without a visa for a period of 180 days.

Peru Travel Guide – Internet and SIM Cards

Since there is no special agreement in place between the UK and Peru regarding international communications and roaming fees, using your regular phone plan is a big no-no!

Therefore, our recommendation is that you get a SIM Card when traveling to Peru. However, and this is important – don’t buy your SIM card at the Jorge Chavéz Airport in Lima, as all the options are absurdly overpriced. Just wait until you’re in the city center and pay a visit to one of the many official stores. Currently, there are 4 big companies that pretty much run the mobile data market: EnTel, BiTe, Claro and Movistar. However, keep in mind the first two have rather limited coverage throughout the country when compared the alternatives, which is why we recommend sticking to either Claro or Movistar.

Peru travel guide – Movistar SIM Card

  • Preplan 4GB
    • Mobile Data: 4 GB
    • Local text messages: Unlimited
    • Local calls: Unlimited
    • Validity: 15 days
    • Unlimited Use Apps: Whatsapp, Facebook, Messenger, Instagram + TikTok, YouTube and Spotify (the latter two for just 3 days)
    • Price: S/ 15 (+ S/ 5 for the card)
  • Preplan 2.5GB
    • Mobile Data: 2.5 GB
    • Local text messages: Unlimited
    • Local calls: Unlimited
    • Validity: 10 days
    • Unlimited Use Apps: Whatsapp, Facebook, Messenger, Instagram + TikTok, YouTube and Spotify (the latter two for just 3 days)
    • Price: S/ 10 (+ S/ 5 for the card)

NOTE: Alternatively, if you only care about mobile data and will make no use of calls nor text messages, you may simply go for a “recarga” (“top up”). There are “recargas” with all kinds of benefits, but the one with the code A85 includes unlimited internet for a day for just S/ 5. When you visit a physical shop, clerks can help you set up your very first “recarga”. Just make sure to ask them how you can do it yourself through the Mi Movistar app, so that you can repeat the process on the following days.

Peru travel guide – Claro SIM Card

  • Preplan 20GB
    • Mobile Data: 20 GB
    • Validity: 30 days
    • Price: S/ 120 (+ S/ 5 for the card)
  • Preplan 4GB
    • Mobile Data: 4 GB
    • Validity: 20 days
    • Price: S/ 20 (+ S/ 5 for the card)
  • Preplan Ilimitado
    • Mobile Data: Unlimited
    • Validity: 1 day (you need to resubscribe to the plan every day through the app Mi Claro)
    • Price: S/ 6 (+ S/ 5 for the card)

Peru Travel Guide – Withdrawals, banking fees and travel budget

With the Peruvian Nuevo Sol (S/) as the country’s official currency, any withdrawal using a UK bank card might incur in the payment of several different fees. Besides the percentual fee referring to the currency conversion, some UK banks may also charge a flat commission for withdrawals made outside the UK. In some instances, you may well end up paying 5%-6% of your original withdrawal in banking fees.

On the other hand, exchanging money before your trip is not a viable solution either. Besides not being any cheaper, it’s also not safe or wise to carry so much money on you during your trip. As such, we recommend using the services of online banking fintech companies such as Revolut, N26 or Monzo.

Although each have their own limitations and fees, they allow you to withdraw a certain amount in foreign currency without any fees involved. And even after that threshold is reached, costs are much smaller when compared to traditional banks. Keep in mind, though, this does not apply to fees issued by local banks for withdrawals made with foreign cards. Unfortunately, pretty much every single bank in Peru charges these fees, with the lowest starting at S/ 25 per withdrawal. For now, the only exception seems to be Banco de la Nación, represented through the MultiRed ATM’s. Be that as it may, a message will always pop up every time there is a fee per withdrawal, so you will never be caught unaware. Sign up for Revolut for free >> to get 3 months of Premium.

Regarding payments, Peru is still a cash-based society, so it’s better to always have some money on you. If you prefer to take cash and exchange your money in Peru (which can be an issue due to safety concerns), here are 4 exchange offices with great reviews in Lima:

We must also add that exchanging money in banks is quite common in Peru, especially in the upscale Lima district of Miraflores. In this case, you are guaranteed to be offered the official exchange rate for the day. On a final note, due to the recent instability and turmoil surrounding Peru over the last couple of years, many businesses currently also take USD alongside the Nuevo Sol. In this case, you can choose to exchange your money to USD back home and take all the cash with you for your daily payments, or, for a less risky option (safety wise), exchange and store your money in USD on your Revolut account and set up an account with Western Union. This way, you just need to send yourself a USD money order through Western Union and collect the cash at one of the country’s countless offices. Not only will you avoid unnecessary withdrawal fees but you also add another layer of security by not having to carry all the money with you throughout your trip.

Peru Travel Guide – Crime, altitude sickness and social unrest

There’s no sugarcoating it. Unfortunately, traveling in South America is always riskier than visiting Europe, North America or most parts of Asia. However, that doesn’t mean bad experiences are inevitable – just ask the 99.99% of the nearly 6 million tourists who visit Peru every single year and bring home nothing but good memories! Nevertheless, and in the specific case of Peru, recent years have been particularly rough, following an administrative “coup” that removed Pedro Castillo from power, followed by rampant inflation and high unemployment rates. Naturally, this dangerous concoction created the perfect storm that saw hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets, especially protesters hailing from rural and indigenous communities, with recurring episodes of roadblocks and traffic disruptions. Occasionally, back in 2022 and 2023, traveling in Peru could lead to a nagging stand-still, as tourists could easily find themselves stuck on the road for days until the situation was cleared. Thankfully, it seems the worst is behind us, and the past few months have been relatively stable.

That said, both the government and the population recognize tourism as a key element in the Peruvian economy, so no one seems particularly interested in negatively affecting a sector that supports so many families. That’s precisely why security presence is usually higher in major tourist hubs like Cusco and Arequipa, to prevent visitors from becoming vulnerable targets of theft or violence. Nonetheless, it’s important to remain vigilant, avoid isolated areas and refrain from venturing out at night through unfamiliar areas and from unnecessary displays of wealth while traveling in Peru. This means only taking out your camera near major tourist attractions, avoiding carrying large sums of cash and being mindful of your surroundings when using your phone (especially if it’s recent model). Unlike some neighboring countries, violent robberies are quite uncommon in Peru, as local criminals typically resort to pickpocketing. Therefore, always pay attention to your surroundings and never take your eyes off your backpack, especially in crowded areas and near transportation hubs, or during long bus journeys across the country. Regarding the latter, it’s better to keep your luggage with you throughout the journey, even if the driver offers to store it in the proper compartment. If it makes you feel more comfortable, you may also buy a money belt to take with you on your holiday. You can safely strap it under your clothes and use it to store your bank card, passport and most of your cash. On the other hand, it is also advisable to carry a secondary wallet where you should only keep a small amount in cash. In case you get robbed, having nothing to give away is always a terrible idea, as it may end up escalating the situation.

Regarding health safety, altitude sickness is a primary concern, especially upon arriving in Cusco, located 3400 meters above sea level. Without proper acclimatization, it’s quite common for travelers to experience headaches, nausea, shortness of breath and/or extreme fatigue. To mitigate these symptoms and get ready to explore as quickly as possible, it’s crucial to stay hydrated, drink coca tea (a local tip), and, above all, avoid strenuous activities over the first 2 days – which is why our itineraries in Cusco always start off lightly.

Finally, only use taxis with running meters (if you rely on Uber or Cabify, even better), never exchange money with strangers who approach you on the street and do not drink tap water. Additionally, since Peru is located in an area with high seismic activity, adhere to authorities’ instructions in the event of a natural disaster – after all, they’re the experts!

Where to sleep in Peru – Hotels and Accommodation

If you’re looking out for a place to stay on our Peru travel guide, then we got you covered!

Although flying into Peru is pretty expensive, everything else in the country (aside from all things Machu Picchu) is quite affordable. Whether its transportation, restaurant menus, supermarkets and even guided tours, once you make it to Peru you can easily go on your way without breaking the bank! Fortunately, accommodation is no different, as tourists can easily find hotel rooms and apartments suited to every taste and every budget… even the tighter ones!

That being said, here are some options based on the cities we recommend you to stay at:

Peru travel guide – Hotels in Lima

As the country’s capital and biggest city, Lima is usually the place where tourists are slightly more vulnerable to thefts and scams, as the presence of tourist police isn’t as noticeable as in Cusco or Arequipa. Therefore, choosing the right location for your accommodation is even more important here, as you’ll want to make sure you’re staying somewhere safe. That said, there’s no better choice than Miraflores, the city’s most exclusive district. Besides being one of the safest areas in the city, this coastal neighborhood also boasts several parks, trendy restaurants and plenty of bars. Similarly, you may also consider Barranco (a bit cheaper) or San Isidro (a pricier area, where the elite lives). For something entirely different, you can go for the obvious choice and base yourself around Centro Histórico. While accesses and amenities are quite good, you’ll need to be a bit more cautious, especially after dark.

Peru travel guide – Hotels in Cusco

Recognized as the country’s most historic and popular city, Cusco stands out as one of Peru’s safest destinations, given how dependent the local economy is on tourism. Therefore, you’ll be better of by staying right in the heart of the Centro Historico, whether you go for the iconic Plaza de Armas, the trendy quarter of San Blas or the quieter streets of Lucrepata. Very close to the historic center but with a more local and family-oriented flair, Santa Ana and San Cristobal are actually great alternative options, though you’ll have to face a steep climb at the end of each day!

Peru travel guide – Hotels in Puno

Puno is, by quite the margin, the smallest among the towns we’ll mention here. However, although it isn´t quite as developed as some other destinations in Peru, its popularity among tourists is certainly a driving force. Therefore, it’s best to stay near Plaza Mayor, considered the heart of the city, or close to the Port of Puno Molle, where the boats to the Uros Floating Islands depart. Alternatively, you may also choose a 2-day tour that includes accommodation and spend the night in islands themselves.

Peru travel guide – Hotels in Arequipa

Despite its charming colonial looks and quaint vibes, Arequipa is actually the second most populous city in Peru, boasting over 1 million inhabitants (though far away from Lima’s 9 million). Therefore, we suggest sticking to Centro Histórico, where most tourist attractions are located, and in walking to distance to pretty much everywhere else in the city. On the other side of the river, the district of Yanahuara is a pretty cool alternative. On the other hand, if you’re looking out for the cheapest room rates, then you might want to consider Cayma, an historic neighborhood slightly to the north, or the area around the Train Station a bit further south.

Peru Travel Guide – Transportation between the airports and the city center

From Jorge Chávez Airport to Lima city center

Located just 10 km away from the city center, the best way to travel between Jorge Chávez International Airport and Lima’s Centro Histórico is to take a licensed taxi. Just head to one of the official stands inside the arrivals’ terminal (Taxi Green, Taxi Direct and Taxi 365) and ask for a car to your place of accommodation. However, expect to pay around S/ 70-80 for the trip. Although ride-sharing apps such as Uber are available in Peru, they’re not allowed to operate inside the airport. This means you’ll have to venture outside the terminal building and access the main road so that the car can pick you up.

Finally, you may also choose to take a local van (or “combis”, as they call them in Peru), a sort of informal service that is actually part of Lima’s public transportation system. While there are pre-established routes, vans leave once they’re full, so there are no scheduled times. Tickets cost a meager S/ 3. However, much like you would if you wanted to catch an Uber, you’ll have the leave the airport grounds to get to the combis. The main problem? The area of Callao, where the airport is located, is considered one of the most dangerous in Lima, so you may feel unsafe or uneasy, especially when carrying around all your luggage fresh off the plane (and it’s even worse if you don’t speak Spanish or look Peruvian). Be that as it may, if you want to take the plunge, there are several routes that link the airport to the city center (CR58, CR57, IO32A – just to name a few). To check real-time information about routes, schedules and bus stops, we recommend using the app TuRuta Peru.

On the other hand, if your hotel is located in Miraflores or San Isidro, then it’s much easier to use one of the airport’s shuttle services: Airport Express Lima and Quick Llama. The former operates between 07h00 and 22h00, with a new bus leaving every hour, while the latter runs from 04h20 to 00h20, with a similar frequency of departures. In both cases, the final destination takes place at Kennedy Park and tickets cost S/ 20. However, for groups of at least 2 people, Airport Express Lima applies a discount of 25% (the price of each ticket goes down to S/ 15).

From Cusco Airport to the city center

As for the airport in Cusco, distances are way more manageable, as the Centro Historico is located just 5 km away. That said, you’ll be better off by simply using a ride-sharing app such as Uber or Cabify – simple, cheap and convenient. Although there are plenty of ordinary taxis outside, it’s quite common for drivers to agree on a fare, only to try to charge you more later on. At least with the apps, what you see is what you get! The fare for the journey might hover around S/ 12. Alternatively, if you really want to save as much as possible and “go local”, you can get on a van/combi heading to the city center. Just walk outside the airport and head to this gas station, a place where pretty much all collective services stop to pick-up/drop off passengers. Just double-check that the van is heading to the city center and you’re good to go! The 30-minute trip will only set you back S/ 1.

Peru Travel Guide – Transportation and how to move around between cities

Due to the country’s massive size (especially for us, Europeans) and the Andes’ mountainous terrain, all overland trips around Peru will be pretty long and consume a significant part of your itinerary. As such, and unless you’re willing to fly everywhere (an option we will also cover), you might as well get comfy with the idea of spending long, uncomfortable hours crammed inside a bus.

Nonetheless, and given all the factors against it, the truth is that Peru actually boasts a pretty extensive and well-organized intercity transportation network, allowing you to easily get everywhere where there is tourism!

Buses in Peru

Unsurprisingly, buses are the most popular mode of transportation across the country, allowing passengers to travel all around Peru, from the picturesque coastal highways to the slower, dustier paths of the Andes and the Amazon Forest. To put it bluntly, buses are the essential link when it comes to connecting the people in such a vast and diverse nation. Still, this is no miraculous task, meaning long-haul journeys can prove truly taxing as they often span over 20 hours. Besides, depending on the roads and terrain, some stretches can be pretty scary (especially in the mountains). For this reason, it’s generally not advisable to take overnight buses in Peru, except maybe along coastal routes where visibility is better. During daytime, though, it’s perfectly fine.

There are dozens of bus companies operating in Peru, with Cruz del Sur, Civa and Transzela standing out as the most reputable. Still, if you want to make sure you get the best prices across all platforms, consider using the RedBus aggregator, which also features offers from smaller operators. With that in mind, here’s some basic information about the country’s most popular routes:

  • Lima – Cusco: from S/ 75; 22h30
  • Cusco – Puno: from S/ 50; 7h00
  • Puno – Arequipa: from S/ 30; 6h00
  • Arequipa – Lima: from S/ 70; 16h30
  • Arequipa – Nazca: from S/ 100; 10h00
  • Nazca – Ica (Huacachina): from S/ 30; 2h30
  • Ica (Huacachina) – Paracas: from S/ 15; 1h10
  • Ica (Huacachina) – Lima: from S/ 35; 4h30

Peru Hop

Although this is also a bus service, we felt it would be fair to segregate Peru Hop because it offers a service directly tailored to tourists, operating in a much different way from traditional providers. While there are several daily departures linking the nation’s most popular tourist cities, passengers don’t buy tickets for individual trips but rather passes covering specific pre-established routes. While Peru Hop offers over 20 different passes, we’ll make it simple by choosing one of them to outline how the company works. Because it’s the one closest to our longer 16-day itinerary, let’s go with the “Full South to Lima” pass.

Priced at 189 USD (approximately S/700), this pass allows you to travel between Cusco and Lima, with stops in Puno, Arequipa, Nazca, Huacachina and Paracas. After buying your pass online, all travel logistics are managed through the Peru Hop app. This platform allows you to reserve your seat on a designated bus and specify your pick-up location (the buses will always pick you up at a provided address). Additionally, each bus includes a guide who provides information on the attractions and history of the regions you’ll be driving through. For this specific pass, here are the daily departure times. Keep in mind that, despite having purchased the pass already, you must still use the app to reserve a seat for free on your chosen journey.

  • Cusco – Puno: Departs at 21h30; Arrives at 05h00
  • Puno – Arequipa: Departs at 21h30; Arrives at 5h30
  • Arequipa – Nazca – Ica (Huacachina): Departs at 05h45; Arrives at 19h45 (including a stop at the Nazca Lines Observation Tower at 17h00)
  • Ica (Huacachina) – Paracas: Departs at 18h30; Arrives at 20h00
  • Paracas – Lima: Departs at 16h00; Arrives at 22h30 (with a stop at the Secret Slave Tunnels of Hacienda San José)

It’s important to note that this isn’t a guided tour of the country but rather a personalized transportation service. Therefore, you’re still responsible for planning your itinerary, booking hotel rooms and deciding what activities to partake (aside from the specified stops already included in the bus trips at no extra fee). Besides bus travel, the pass also offers a few additional benefits, such as access to the Nazca Lines Observation Tower, a guided tour of the Paracas Natural Reserve and a visit to a Pisco vineyard, Peru’s national drink.

Let’s do the math. If we factor in every single bus trip needed to complete our 16-day itinerary and consider the lowest market prices for every single one of them, the total comes to approximately S/335, roughly half the price of the Peru Hop pass. Besides, you won’t have any contact with locals throughout the journeys, given that all bus travel takes place within an environment created by tourists (the company is Irish) and for tourists. On the other hand, the vehicles are notably comfortable and modern, safety levels are much higher than those you’d find on regular bus services – both when it comes to luggage theft and road safety (taking an overnight bus is not an issue) – and your time will be optimized so that you can see more of Peru in less time.

Ultimately, the choice depends on your priorities!

Trains in Peru

Due to the rugged Andean landscape and the country’s geographical challenges, it’s surprising that Peru boasts a railway system that, although expensive and pretty limited in extension, at least allows travelers to access some of its key tourist destinations! The network is almost entirely owned by private enterprises, with the exception of the lesser-known route between Huancayo and Huancavelica.

By far the biggest and most prominent operator in the nation, Peru Rail offers routes throughout the Andes, sharing access to Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley with Inca Rail, and monopolizing rail connections between Cusco, Puno and Arequipa. Regarding prices, it’s much more expensive to board the train than to take the bus, although safety and comfort levels are naturally quite different. Besides, crossing the Andes by train is an experience in itself, with the breathtaking landscapes and retro styling taking you straight back to the golden age of rail travel in the “New World”. Whether this justifies paying a much higher price (when there is a road alternative), is a question to be answered by each individual traveler.

Here are the prices and durations for some of the most popular routes:

  • Cusco – Machu Picchu: from S/ 450 for a round-trip; 4h00 (direct train or bus to Ollantaytambo + train)
  • Cusco – Puno: from S/ 1000; 10h30
  • Tacna – Arica (Chile): S/ 20; 1h30

Additionally, Peru Rail also operates the exquisite Andean Explorer, a luxurious 3-day/2-night service between Cusco and Arequipa, with stops at the Raqch’i archaeological site, Lake Titicaca (Puno) and Lake Saracocha. Accommodation and meals are included. However, the price may deter even the most enthusiastic rail travelers, with the most basic cabin for two starting from S/ 24.000!

Internal flights in Peru

Lastly, if you’re traveling with limited time or if the idea of enduring a long bus journey sounds hellish, rest assured you can always take a domestic flight between the main cities in Peru. After all, the country is served by around twenty domestic and international airports, with airlines such as LATAM Peru, Sky Airline or JetSMART operating hundreds of daily internal flights. Furthermore, similar to many other South American countries, some of these flights are partially subsidized from local authorities, ensuring consistently stable and affordable fares, especially when booked in advance.

Among the countless domestic air routes in Peru, the following are particularly popular among tourists:

  • Lima – Cusco: €40-€55; 1h25
  • Cusco – Arequipa: €30-€60; 1h05
  • Arequipa – Lima: €40-€65; 1h30
  • Lima – Iquitos: €30-€55; 1h50

Peru Travel Guide – Local food and traditional dishes

Although still relatively unknown on this side of the Atlantic, Peruvian cuisine stands out as one of the most diverse and best-appreciated in all of Latin America, with strong influences hailing from Incan, Asian, and, of course, Spanish cuisines. Additionally, the country’s culinary scene has a pretty unique feature that is deceivingly hard to come by: it has a distinct familiarity so our taste buds don’t immediately find it strange, yet it’s different enough it feels exotic. With that said, perhaps no other Peruvian dish is as internationally recognized as Ceviche, a dish of white fish (usually corvina) marinated in lime juice, onions, salt and chili peppers, served raw alongside roasted corn kernels, boiled choclo (an Andean corn variety) and sweet potatoes. This is considered the national dish and can be found virtually everywhere!

For something a bit more familiar, you can always indulge in Pollo a la Brasa, grilled chicken served with french fries and a creamy sauce made from mint, cilantro, aji chilies peppers and mayonnaise called Aji Verde; or Lomo Saltado, an Asian-inspired stir-fry with strips of beef, onions, tomatoes and aji chilies. Back to the recipes with a more exotic flair, you’ll want to try Aji de Gallina, shredded chicken cooked in a thick sauce of cream, walnuts, cheese and aji chilies; Papas a la Huancaina, a potato salad with boiled eggs, topped with a sauce/puree made of fresh cheese, garlic, milk, aji chili peppers, lime juice and (the secret ingredient) saltine crackers; and Causa, a sort of Quechuan potato casserole with a base of potato and aji chilies pure topped with mayonnaise mixed with tuna, salmon or shredded chicken. Between them, there’s always a mash layer made of boiled egg, avocado and olives. Finally, and in a category of its own (too exotic for some, I must say), the bravest foodies must save some room for Cuy, which is what locals call roasted or fried guinea pig – a delicacy among Peruvians! They say it tastes like chicken.

As for sweets and desserts, you’ll want to try Picarones, fried doughnuts made from sweet potato flour; Suspiro de Limeña, a base of dulce de leche with a topping of merengue and cinnamon dusting; Crema Volteada, the Peruvian version of flan pudding; or Lucuma Ice Cream, a fruit native to the Andean valleys of Peru. For a drink, you can’t go without Pisco Sour, the country’s most popular beverage!

Peru Travel Guide – Free walking tours in Lima and Cusco

These tours, led by local guides or tour companies, offer guided visits to the historic center, sharing intriguing stories about each place and providing valuable cultural context. Even though these tours are technically free, it’s customary to show appreciation for the guide’s efforts by leaving a tip at the end. In Lima and Cusco, a reasonable minimum tip would be around S/ 15.

Free walking tours in Lima

Free walking tours in Cusco

Peru Travel Guide – Full itineraries for 8, 12 and 16 days

So that this blog post doesn’t turn into an encyclopedia, we’ve decided to create separate articles for each itinerary.

You can check them through the following links:


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