Our Peru Info will provide general details to ensure your experience in Peru meets your expectation. You’ll find information on currency, security, altitude awareness, and a number of other important details to prepare for a memorable experience.
If additional questions arise make sure to reach out to our experienced travel advisors for help.
The official currency in Peru is the “Nuevo sol” and its symbol is S/. We currently have in circulation the following: Bills of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 nuevos soles Coins of 1, 2 and 5 nuevos soles and of 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents of Nuevo sol The US dollar is the easiest foreign currency to exchange. The average exchange rate between US dollars and Peruvian soles is $1.00 to S/.2.20 -2.25 It is best to carry small denomination bills or coins as vendors, shops and taxis often do not have change.
Be careful with USD bills and make sure they are not old or broken as vendors, banks and secure exchange houses, do not accept damaged bills.
Suggestions for your trip
The sun, both on the north coast of Peru, in the highlands and jungle can be very dangerous without a sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat. Upon reaching a high Andean city is good to take a coca tea or some candy that normally sell at airports to prevent mountain sickness. To the Highlands is important to bring moisturizers and lipstick for the lips. Take medicines, your documents and other papers of importance in your hand luggage, never in the bag. Before a journey, it is important that you send to your email account all the data you consider aid in case you lose your documents. You can point the more important phones, airline ticket codes, credit card, insurance policy, etc.
Suggestions to keep your money in a secure place
When travel, bring the money with you every time. The airports, terminals and ports are not safe areas. Save your money on clothes you wear or the handbag. Choose a place where the money is safe without having to watch 24 hours, clinging to a garment or a backpack. Ideally, use a kangaroo. If you travel with more than one person, divides the money. This will allow that if any of your companions have been robbed, you will have the money carried by your relative or friend.
If the hotel has a box safe service, you can keep their valuables without any problem. Safes are usually found in the hotel reception or in the interior of the rooms.
Time: GMT – 5. Five hours less than Greenwich Time.
Electricity: 220 volts AC, 60 Hz. Two pin sockets, both flat and round pins are the most widely used.
Citizens from the United States, Canada, South America, and the European Union do not require a visa to visit Peru. However, all travelers are required to hold a passport valid at least 6 months after their expected visit. The maximum stay in Peru on a tourist visa is 183 days (per year)! You can’t extent your tourist visa once you entered Peru!
Peru has three main climatic zones: the tropical Amazon jungle to the east; the arid coastal desert to the west; and the Andean mountains and highlands in the middle of the country. In the Andes, which have altitudes over 3500m, average daily temperatures fall below 10°C (50°F) and overnight temperatures can dip well below freezing. Travelers flying straight into Cuzco (3326m) should allow time to acclimatize.
From June to August is the dry season in the mountains and altiplano; the wettest months are from December to March. It rains all the time in the hot and humid rainforest, but the driest months there are from June to September. However, even during the wettest months from December to May, it rarely rains for more than a few hours at a time. Along the arid coastal strip, the hot months are from December through March. Some parts of the coastal strip see rain rarely, if at all. From April to November, Lima and other areas by the Pacific Ocean are enclosed in garúa (coastal fog, mist or drizzle) as warmer air masses off the desert drift over the ocean where the cold Humboldt Current hits.
Peru’s climate has two main seasons – wet and dry – though the weather varies greatly depending on the geographical region. Temperature is mostly influenced by elevation: the higher you climb, the cooler it becomes.
The peak tourist season is from June to August, which coincides with the cooler dry season in the Andean highlands and summer vacation in North America and Europe. This is the best (and busiest) time to go trekking on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, or climbing, hiking and mountain biking elsewhere.
People can and do visit the highlands year-round, though the wettest months of December to March make it a wet and muddy proposition. Many of the major fiestas, such as La Virgen de la Candelaria, Carnaval and Semana Santa, occur in the wettest months and continue undiminished even during heavy rainstorms.
Cusco city is located in the Huatanay valley in southeastern Peru. Alluvial soils deposited by highland rivers have made the site conducive to settlement by agricultural societies dating back 3,000 years.
The city is located in a basin with an average elevation of 3,400 meters (11,120 ft). Around the city, mountains peaks rise to 4,000 meters and offer some protection from the harsh highland climate. Elevations in the nearby Sacred Valley are much lower, averaging 2,870 m (9,420 ft), while Machu Picchu is even lower at 2,430 meters (7,972 feet).
Cusco city has a highland climate. Days are warm and nights are cold. Temperatures stay fairly constant throughout the year. See Weather for details.
Altitude sickness is a concern for travelers arriving directly from lower elevations. Minor symptoms include headache, fatigue, insomnia, and loss of appetite. Acclimation varies widely by individual. Most people are able to adjust within a day or two. Severe reactions) to the altitude are rare and hard to predict. Before you travel, ask your doctor about medications to prevent altitude sickness. During your visit to Cusco, keep hydrated, avoid heavy meals, and try the local remedy, coca leaf tea.
Cusco City Weather
Cusco’s highland climate means temperatures are fairly constant throughout the year.
Daytime: 19-20°C Nighttime: 1-8°C
*Note that nighttime temperatures are warmer in the rainy season, colder in the dry season. Snowfall in Cusco city is extremely rare.
Cusco city experiences two seasons.
* Dry season is from May to August. Strong daytime sunshine warms the city’s Inca walls, but temperatures plummet to freezing at night. Wear sunscreen and light clothing (pants and long-sleeve shirts) to protect from UV rays. At night, bundle up with thermal base layers, fleece and a windbreaker or a warm coat.
* Rainy season is from December to March. It rarely rains all day. You’ll experience anything from drizzle to moderate rain during the day, while thunderstorms are most common in the evening. Carry an umbrella during the day and pack a water resistant jacket.
What to pack: Rainy season or dry, you want to be prepared for all weather conditions on a trip to Cusco. This doesn’t mean you have to pack your entire closet! Instead, plan to dress in layers that you can add and remove as the temperature changes throughout the day.
Peak Travel Season
Peak travel season in Cusco coincides with the dry season: June, July, and August. December and the beginning of January are also popular times to visit.
Low season coincides with the rainy season. One of the benefits of travel during these months is that sites are less crowded. However, greater flexibility is required because heavy rains can cause flight delays going in and out of Cusco city. Road closures due to landslides are also possible.
February sees the lowest number of tourists. The Inca Trail is closed for maintenance during this month. Alternative treks such as Salkantay and Lares remain in operation, but snow and heavy rain in the high mountains means the experience will be wet, muddy and sometimes dangerous.
Best Time to Visit Cusco
For good weather and fewer crowds, visit Cusco in the shoulder months of April, May, September or October.
To experience the vibrancy of Cusco’s cultural traditions, plan your trip to coincide with these festival dates:
* March/April (moveable date) – Semana Santa, Señor de los Temblores
* June – Corpus Christi and Inti Raymi
* July – anniversary of Machu Picchu, Peruvian independence
* December 24 – Santurantikuy (Christmas Eve handicrafts fair)
* December 31 – New Year’s Eve party on Plaza de Armas (popular destination for Peruvian tourists)
*Note that travel during peak times and holidays requires advance reservations for the best choice of hotels, trains, treks and other services.
Plaza de Armas
The geographic and cultural heart of a magical city, the Plaza de Armas is a must see for any traveler who wishes to experience the color and character of Cusco.
The geographic and cultural heart of a magical city, the Plaza de Armas is a must see for any traveler who wishes to experience the color and character of Cusco. In Inca times, the square was called Huacaypata, and it was twice as big as it is today. The plaza was the main stage for the empire’s most important rituals and it was surrounded by royal palaces and temples to principal deities. After the conquest in 1535, Spaniards destroyed most of these constructions and built European-style churches and mansions in their place. Today, the Plaza de Armas exemplifies Cusco’s hybrid architecture where pre-Columbian, colonial, and modern histories are layered one on top of the other
Cusco’s Plaza de Armas was the stage for major historical events in Peru’s history, including the execution of the colonial rebel leader Tupac Amaru II in 1781 and the declaration of Peru’s independence from Spain in 1814 during the Cusco rebellion. In the present-day, the Plaza is the stage for cultural festivals throughout the year, including Inti Raymi, Semana Santa, and Santurantikuy (Christmas Eve handicrafts market). For unbeatable people-watching, go to the Plaza at any time of day or night and you’ll be treated to a feast of sights and sounds.
Plazoleta San Blas
The picturesque Plazoleta San Blas is home to San Blas Church and a quaint collection of whitewashed adobe buildings embellished with cobalt blue balconies and red tiled roofs. This is the heart of Barrio San Blas, which has existed as a zone for artisanry since the time of the Inca Empire. Today, it remains the preferred residence of artists from Cusco and across Peru who open their studios and workshop to visitors eager to see examples of embroidery, sculpture, ceramics, metalwork (gold and silver), woodwork and stonework.
San Blas also hosts a concentration of accommodation ranging from 5 star hotels to backpacker hostels and every category in between, alongside an endless number of cafes, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. Pick any of the narrow streets that branch off from the plaza and start exploring! On Saturday, the plaza is the site of the Artisan’s Market where you can buy handmade crafts directly from local artists.
Fountain & Inca Statue
The photogenic centerpiece of Cusco’s Plaza de Armas is a cast-iron ornamental fountain designed by a French sculptor, manufactured in New York, and installed on the Plaza in 1872. From 1913-1969, the fountain was topped with a statue of an “Apache,” wearing buckskin clothing, a feathered headdress and carrying a bow and arrow typical of native (North) Americans. There are many theories to explain how and why this statue, which had no direct relation to the history of the Andes and its people, ended up in Cusco, but the most likely explanation is that it was purchased by Albert Giesecke, a professor from Philadelphia, U.S. who served as rector of UNSAAC and later mayor of Cusco in the early and mid-1900s.
The current statue of the Inca was placed on the fountain in 2011 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Machu Picchu’s discovery. Not without controversy
that the statue was installed without asking for input from Cusco’s citizens and that it further violates resolutions set by UNESCO and the Peruvian government that prohibit alterations to cultural patrimony sites. As of 2016, the statue remains in place. In the weeks leading up to Inti Raymi, the fountain is covered with a faux-stone platform that includes a stairway which tourists can climb to take photos beside the Inc
Twelve Angle Stone (Hatunrumiyoc)
Hidden away in a narrow pedestrian alley called Hatunrumiyoc (Stone Street) is a truly impressive example of Inca stone architecture. The alley has high walls on either side. One of these belongs to the Archbishop’s Palace and is sculpted from smoothly polished granite rocks that look like giant puzzle pieces. Stone is fitted to stone so perfectly that not even a razor blade can be squeezed in between. In the middle of the wall is the Twelve Angle Stone, known in Spanish as the “piedra de 12 angulos.” It is a rare and extraordinary sight to see, certainly among the “musts” in Cusco.
How to find it: From the Cathedral, walk up Calle Triunfo to the Archbishop’s Palace, enter the alley (Hatunrumiyoc) and look on the right side. From San Blas, walk down Cuesta San Blas, enter the alley, continue past the shops. Look for a man dressed in the costumed of an Inca king. He usually stands near the rock and occasionally shoos away anyone who tries to touch the rock.
Cuesta San Blas
You’ll be huffing and puffing by the time you reach the top of the steep cobblestoned lane called Cuesta San Blas, but you’ll arrive at the scenic Plazoleta San Blas, where exploration of the bohemian heart of Cusco awaits. Art galleries, small restaurants, and a few hotels line either side of the street. Don’t forget to look behind you for beautiful views of the historic center.
How to get there: From the Plaza de Armas, take Triunfo Street to Hatun Rumiyoc. At the intersection with Choquechaka Street, start going up.
Inca Pachacuteq Monument
Located on a roundabout on the edge of the Wanchaq neighborhood in Cusco, a tall stone tower topped with a bronze sculpture designed by the Cusqueño sculptor Fausto Espinoza pays homage to the Inca Pachacutec. The tower is actually a museum with 6 floors of exhibits that trace the life and legend of the Inca Empire’s most accomplished king. Sources include infographics and drawings taken from works of Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, Guaman Poma de Ayala, Bernabe Cobo and other colonial-era chroniclers as well as more recent ethnographic and anthropological studies and existing oral traditions. A terrace at the very top of the tower provides excellent views over the city and the mountains that surround it.
Location: Óvalo Pachacutec Admission: S/.2 included in Cusco Tourist Ticket Hours: daily, 09:00 to 19:00 hrs
The white Christ statue atop a hill overlooking Cusco is visible from almost any point in the historic center. From its base, you can get stunning panoramic views of the Cusco valley. On clear days you can spot the 6,384-meter snow-capped peak of Ausangate more than 100 kilometers away. The statue is 8 meters (26 feet) tall and looks like a scaled-down version of Rio de Janeiro’s art deco Christ the Redeemer statue. It’s been in place since 1945, when a community of expatriate Palestinians donated funds to make the statue as a symbol of thanks for the hospitality shown to
them by Cusqueños. Local artist Francisco Olazo Allende sculpted the statue in his San Blas workshop before it was moved to its current position.
If you’re visiting Sacsayhuaman, the statue is a short 10 minute walk from the ruins. Otherwise you can get there by taxi from the historic center or by foot (about 30 minutes from the Plaza de Armas).
Cusco Cathedral (Plaza de Armas)
The history of colonial Cusco goes hand-in-hand with its churches and none is more iconic than the Cusco Cathedral. Also known as the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of the Virgin, it was built on the site of the palace of Viracocha Inca using stones from that palace and from Sacsayhuaman. Construction for the church began in 1560 and was completed nearly 100 years later in 1656.
The church ground plan covers an area of 1 acre in the shape of a cross. Two smaller churches, Iglesia del Triunfo (Cusco’s first Catholic church built in 1539) and the Iglesia de la Sagrada Familia, sit on either side of the Cathedral and connect to it via the transept.
The church exterior is an example of Cusco’s gorgeous colonial stonework, while the interior houses a treasure trove of paintings from the famed Escuela Cuzqueña (school of religious art) as well as magnificent altars made from carved granite and gilded wood. Of particular note is the painting of the Last Supper, attributed to the native Cusqueñan artist Marcos Zapata, which features a plate of cuy (guinea pig) on the table.
Note that the Cathedral is open to the public with payment of admission, except during masses and on special dates such as Corpus Christi. Camera-toting tourists who are obviously not there for worship may be turned away at the door.
Location: Plaza de Armas Fee: 25 Soles, or boleto religioso Visiting Hours: Daily, 10:00 – 17:45 hrs Mass: Daily, 06:00, 07:00, 08:00 & 09:00 hrs
Church of the Society of Jesus (Iglesia de La Compañía de Jesús)
Iglesia de La Compañía de Jesús is the second church on the Plaza de Armas. The beauty of its andesite stone facade rivals that of the Cathedral. The site was originally the palace of Huayna Capac, awarded to Hernando Pizarro as part of the spoils of conquest, and then bought by an elite Cusco family who donated it to the Jesuit order.
The church is considered a fine example of colonial baroque architecture. Construction began in 1571, but the church was demolished in the 1650 earthquake, and finally completed again in 1668. Inside, you’ll see a magnificent main altar carved from cedar wood and covered in gold leaf as well as an excellent collection of Cusco school paintings. Look for the portraits depicting marriages between elite Spanish men and indigenous Quechua women descended from noble lineages. Climb to the choir on the second floor for stunning views over the Plaza.
Location: Plaza de Armas Fee: S/15 or with boleto religioso Hours: 09:00-11:30 hrs & 13:00-17:30 hrs
Santa Catalina Church and Monastery (Iglesia y Monasterio de Santa Catalina)
Built between 1601 and 1610 on the former site of the Acllahuasi (House of the Chosen Women or Virgins of the Sun, where the empire’s most beautiful women were kept in seclusion), the Santa Catalina monastery boasts beautiful stone architecture and one of the most complete collections of colonial religious art in the city, including 4 paintings of the Señor de los Temblores, the patron saint of Cusco.
The convent was established by 24 nuns from the original Santa Catalina monastery in Arequipa. A major volcanic eruption in 1600 destroyed the Arequipa convent and so the nuns moved to Cusco. Today, the church is a must see for its beautiful Roman arches, wall murals, and for a collection of artifacts that paint a vivid portrait of religious life in the colonial era.
Address: Santa Catalina Angosta 401 Admission: 8 soles Hours: Monday to Saturday: 08:30 to 17:30 hrs. – Sunday: 14:00 to 17:00 hrs.
San Blas Church
Cusco’s oldest parish church, built on the ruins of a temple to Illapa (god of thunder and lightning), displays a modest stucco facade and a limestone belfry. A wooden door painted cobalt-blue gives entrance to the church’s interior and its star attraction: a magnificent altar carved from a single piece of cedar wood and covered in gold leaf. The altar is regarded as the city’s most remarkable example of Andean baroque woodwork. Other notable treasures include paintings and sculptures from the Cusco school of religious art.
Address: Plazoleta San Blas Admission: boleto turístico; S/15 adults, S/7.50 students; Hours: Mon-Sat 14:00-17:30
San Francisco Church (Iglesia San Francisco)
In contrast to the ornate facades of many Cusco churches, Iglesia San Francisco has plain stone walls. Built on property belonging to Hernando Pizarro, the church’s construction began in 1645, was damaged in 1650, but was completed one year later, in 1651. A single square-shaped tower contains six bells of different sizes. Unfortunately many of the original altarpieces were replaced over the years, but the church interior remains impressive with its high vaulted ceilings and a 17th century carved wood choir. The attached museum in the church sacristy has a massive canvas painting (12 meters high by 9 meters long) depicting the genealogy of the Franciscan order.
Recommended for fans of religious art and architecture.
Location: Plaza San Francisco Admission: museum S / 5.00; (admission to the church is free) Hours: museum weekdays 09:00 to 12:00 hrs and 15:00 to 17:00 hrs; church: Monday to Saturday from 06:30 to 08:00 hrs and from 17:30 to 19:30 hrs; Sundays from 6:30 to 12:00 hrs and 17:00 to 20:00 hrs
La Merced Temple & Monastery – Templo y Convento de La Merced
Until 1700, elegant La Merced church was the mother church (principal church) of the Mercedarian order for all of South America and today it is a treasure for its architecture and interior furnishing. The original church building was severely damaged in the 1650 earthquake and most of the current building dates from the 17th and 18th centuries. La Merced is particularly notable for its stunning white stone cloisters, the only ones in Cusco made entirely of stone and regarded as a masterpiece of the Cusco baroque style. The convent museum displays a gold monstrance (a cup that holds the host) measuring 1.2 meters tall and weighing 22.2 kilograms, alongside other pieces of fantastically intricate liturgical jewelry. Inside the church under the main altar, a crypt contains the remains of Diego de Almagro, Gonzalo Pizarro and other conquistadors.
Location: Calle Mantas in front of Plazoleta Espinar Admission: S/.2 Hours: cloisters Monday to Saturday 09:00 to 12:00 hrs and 14:30 to 17:00 hrs; church worship daily 07:00 to 09:00 hrs and 17:00 to 19:30 hrs
Santo Domingo Church / Qorikancha
Iglesia Santo Domingo encloses one of Cusco’s most impressive Inca ruins, the Qorikancha or Temple of the Sun. According to chronicles written after the Spanish conquest, it was the largest and richest temple in all of South America, filled with gold, silver, and precious jewels. Inca oral traditions indicate that the temple, dedicated to worship of the sun God Inti, was built during the reign of Manco Capac in the 12th century atop a pre-existing temple. During that time it was known by the name Intiwasi or Inticancha. Pachacutec ordered the temple rebuilt during his rule and gave it the name Qorikancha. In the Quechua language, “qori” means gold and “kancha” means place.
Beginning in 1536, Santo Domingo church was built upon the ruins of the Qorikancha, but tantalizing vestiges of the former Inca temple were kept intact. The most intriguing feature is a exceptionally well-crafted semicircular wall that can be seen from Avenida El Sol. Within the church, smaller structures include temples to Andean deities, Killa (Moon), Chasqa (Venus star), Illapa (thunder and lightning), and K’uychi (Rainbow). Each temple displays the incredible precision of Inca stonemasonry, with seismically resistant trapezoidal walls made from finely cut stones joined without mortar. The exceptional stonework of the Inca, combined with the layers of construction from colonial times to the present, make this one of the must-sees on a Cusco tour.
Address: Santo Domingo Church Admission: S/.10.00 (Not included in the Cusco Tourist Ticket) Hours: Monday to Saturday 08:30 to 17:30 and Sunday 14:00 to 17:00 hrs.
Santa Clara Church and Monastery – Iglesia y Convento de Santa Clara
Established in 1549 as the city’s first convent, Santa Clara monastery housed the daughters born of unions between conquistadors and Andean women. (The book Colonial Habits by historian Kathryn Burns details the central roles played by Clarist nuns in the economic affairs of the city including managing properties and negotiating business loans.) The solid construction of the church and convent ensured that it was one of the few buildings not destroyed in the massive earthquake of 1650. Inside the church, the altarpieces (called retablos in Spanish) are covered in mirrors, producing a stunning visual effect.
Location: Santa Clara s/n Admission: free Hours: Daily 09:00 to 12:00 hrs and 15:00-1700 hrs; church open during morning services
San Cristobal Church – Iglesia San Cristobal
Located on Calle Resbalosa (Slippery Street) and accessible from the Plaza de Armas via a series of steeply inclined lanes, Iglesia San Cristobal is one of Cusco’s oldest. In Inca times, the site was part Qollqampata palace, belonging to the lineage of Manco Inca. Remnants of Inca buildings are still visible around the church. According to oral tradition, Cristobal Paulla, indigenous lord of Qollqampata in the years after the Conquest, sponsored construction of the church to show his devotion to Christianity. The church has a wide terrace with views over the city where people like to hang out. Inside the church, you can see a statue of the patron saint San Cristobal, who is taken out every year as part of the Corpus Christi procession.
Location: Plazoleta San Cristobal Admission: S/.10 or boleto religioso Hours: daily 10:00 to 18:00hrs
Museum Casa Concha (Museo Casa Concha)
Opened in 2011, Casa Concha holds the largest collection of Machu Picchu artifacts in the world. The objects on exhibit were found by Hiram Bingham during his excavations at Machu Picchu from 1911-1915, sent to the Peabody Museum at Yale University, and returned to Peru nearly 100 years after their removal.
The museum comprises 10 exhibition rooms divided between two floors. The 360 pieces on display include skeletal remains, ceramics and stone objects. A collection of Bingham’s original photographs and a scale model of the ruins add more detail to the story of the ruins. Be sure to watch the short video by researcher Richard Burger which summarizes the facts and mysteries of Machu Picchu.
Address: 320 Santa Catalina Ancha Admission: Foreigners S/20; Nationals S/10 Hours: Mon-Sat 09:00 to 17:00 hrs; Closed on Sunday http://www.museomachupicchu.com/
Pre-Columbian Art Museum – Museo de Arte Precolombino, MAP
MAP displays 450 pieces borrowed from the extensive repository of the Larco Museum in Lima, considered one of the finest museums of pre-Columbian culture in the world.
The museum in Cusco occupies a colonial house that was once the residence of conquistador Alfonso Diaz. The mansion suffered decades of disrepair and was finally restored in 2003. The collection includes artifacts spanning nearly 3 millennia of Peruvian history (1250 BC to AD 1532) and from diverse pre-Columbian cultures including the Nasca, Mochica, Huari, Chancay, and Inca.
Visit the MAP cafe, located in the courtyard, to enjoy a gourmet lunch or dinner in an elegant setting.
Location: Plaza Nazarenas 231 Admission: S/20 Hours: daily 9:00 to 20:00 hrs http://map.museolarco.org/
Inka Museum – Museo Inka
As its name suggests, the Museo Inka is dedicated to comprehensive exploration of the Inca past via displays of ceramics, textiles, mummies, jewelry, qeros (drinking vessels), and more. Visitors to the museum learn about the mythical origins of the Incas, the history of pre-Inca and Inca settlement in and around Cusco, and the different ecological zones from the jungle to the high altitude plains that were connected by ancient trade networks.
The museum occupies one of Cusco’s oldest colonial homes, which was previously the palace of Huascar. Artisans sell wares and textiles in the interior courtyard.
Location: Cuesta del Almirante 103 Admission: S/.10 Hours: Monday to Friday 08:00-18:00 hrs; Saturday 09:00-16:00 hrs http://museoinka.unsaac.edu.pe/#_=_ (Spanish)
Museum of Religious Art – Museo de Arte Religioso
Founded in 1969, this museum is housed in the Archbishop’s Palace, formerly the palace of Inca Roca. The exterior of the building provides a stunning example of hybrid architecture, with finely sculpted Inca stone walls on the lower sections gradually giving way to whitewashed adobe walls and a red-tiled roof. Other details are representative of the colonial period, including a portal entrance with Moorish style doors and a cloistered patio with tiled walls and a central fountain. The museum’s collection includes paintings as well as colonial-era furnishings that transport visitors to a bygone era of colonial grandeur.
Location: corner of Herrajes and Hatun Rumiyoq streets Admission: S/15 or boleto religioso Hours: Monday to Saturday from 08:00 to 11:30 hrs and from 15:00 to 17:30 hrs; Sunday from 14:00 to 17:30 hrs
Coca Museum (Museo de la Coca)
In Andean cultures past and present, the coca leaf has always been revered as a sacred plant. You can learn more about the cultural significance of the coca plant as well as its modern uses and abuses with a visit to the Museo de la Coca in Cusco. Exhibits detail how the plant is cultivated, its botanical and medicinal properties, and recent issues with drug trafficking and cocaine addiction. The attached Coca Store sells chocolates, candies, and soft drinks and other products that use coca as an ingredient.
Location: Palacio 122 Admission: S/. 10 (admission to the store is free) Hours: Monday to Sunday 09:00 to 20:00 hrs
Museo Hilario Mendivil
Cusco has been a gathering place for artists since before the colonial era, but the 20th century artist Hilario Mendivil has earned a spot among the best with his trademark long-necked archangels decked out in elegant costumes. Mendivil’s children have also adopted the style, and today, members of the family have their studios scattered throughout San Blas. Señor Hilario died in 1977, but his original studio is open to the public as the Hilario Mendivil Museum.
Location: Plazoleta San Blas 634 Admission: free Hours: Monday to Saturday 09:00 to 13:00 hrs and 14:00 to 18:00 hrs
Historic Regional Museum (Museo Histórico Regional)
Formerly known as the Museo Virreinal, the Museo Histórico Regional was moved to its current location and given a new name after the INC (Peru’s National Culture Institute) acquired the childhood home of the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega. Born in 1539, Garcilaso was the mestizo son of a Spanish colonial administrator and an Inca princess. Garcilaso is famous as the author of “Los Comentarios Reales,” which described Inca traditions and customs before the Conquest based on oral traditions that he learned from his mother’s family.
Also known as Casa Garcilaso, the museum opened in 2010 and has exhibition rooms with archeological objects as well as material artifacts from Cusco’s viceregal, republican, and contemporary periods. Other displays delve into specific themes, such as the life and legend of the rebel leader Tupac Amaru II.
Location: Corner of Calle Garcilaso and Calle Heladeros s/n Admission: Cusco Tourist Ticket, Foreigners General: S/. 130 Hours: Daily 08:00 to 17:00 hrs; closed on holidays
Choco Museum Cusco (Choco Museo Cusco)
According to theworlds50best.com, Cusco is the only city in Peru that both produces and consumes its own cacao. (Most cacao is exported to chocolate makers abroad.) Among the local chocolate makers, the ChocoMuseo in Cusco is a place where visitor can learn more about the process from bean to bar by participating in one of the museum’s workshops. With or without a workshop, the cafe is open to visitors seeking to enjoy edible and drinkable treats from a balcony overlooking Plaza Regocijo. After a long days of sightseeing, what could be better than chocolate?
Location: Calle Garcilaso 210, 2nd floor Hours: Museum open daily 09:00 to 19:00 hrs; Cafe open daily from 08:00 to 20:00 hrs http://www.chocomuseo.com/english/our-locations/cusco-per/
Irk’i Yachay Museum – Museo Irk’i Yachay
Open since 1999, this small museum, whose name Irk’i Yachay means “Wisdom of the Children,” displays arts and crafts produced by Quechua children from rural Andean communities around Cusco. The museum is a project of Ayllu Yupaychay, a non-profit organization that works to improve primary education for Quechua children using arts-based methodologies. As of this writing (July 2015), the museum is undergoing renovation and is open by appointment only.
Location: Calle Teatro 344 Admission: free
Hours: with prior appointment; call 084- 241416 http://www.aylluyupaychay.org/ (Spanish)
Museum of Popular Art (Museo de Arte)
The underrated Museo de Arte Popular is home to paintings, sculptures and masks by masters of popular art in Cusco as well as historical photographs of the city. The museum was founded in 1937 by the Instituto Americano de Arte, the members of which were responsible for resurrecting the annual Santurantikuy festival on Christmas Eve. Representative works by notable 20th century Cusco artisans include the elongated-neck figures of Hilario and Georgina Mendivil, clay grotesque art sculptures by Edilberto Merida, and the “niños Manuelitos” (infant Jesus statues for nativity scenes) of Antonio Olave. Note that the museum is rather dusty and not very well-labelled, making this an ideal stop only for true fanatics of popular art.
Location: Av El Sol 103, basement of Galerias Turisticas de la Municipalidad Admission: Cusco Tourist Ticket Hours: Lunes a sábado de 09:00 a 13:00 y de 15:00 a 18:00 hrs
Qorikancha Site Museum (Museo de Qorikanch)
Located underneath the gardens of Santo Domingo church, this small museum has 5 rooms displaying artifacts found during excavations at Qorikancha from 1992-1995, as well as pre-Inca, Inca and colonial artifacts from Cusco, including pottery, textiles, sculptures, ceramics, musical instruments, mummies and examples of trepanned skulls (evidence of pre-Columbian brain surgery). Be sure to check out the scale model of the Qorikancha.
Location: Av. El Sol s/n (3rd block from Plaza de Armas)
Center of Traditional Textiles of Cusco (Centro de Textiles Tradicionales)
Andean textile weaving is a living tradition whose techniques, styles and designs must be actively preserved and maintained. Founded in 1996, the Centro de Textiles Tradicionales seeks to provide a space where weavers from Andean communities near Cusco can learn, share and document their knowledge of weaving in order to guarantee its preservation for future generations.
The center operates a store and a textile museum. The permanent exhibit “Weaving Lives” explores the diverse functions of textiles at different stages of weavers’ lives.
Location: Av El Sol 603 Admission: free Hours: Monday to Saturday 07:30 to 20:30 hours; Sunday 08:30 to 20:30 hours http://www.textilescusco.org/eng/
Center of Qosqo Native Art (Centro Qosqo de Arte Nativo)
The best place to experience Cusco’s brilliantly inspiring music and dance traditions is on the streets during one of the city’s countless processions. However, if your travel dates happen to not coincide with any festivals, a performance at the Centro Qosqo de Arte Nativo provides a worthy substitute. Founded in 1924 by the first folk music and dance group in all of Peru, the center is a
living repository of music and dance traditions from different districts and communities of Cusco. The nightly performances feature dancers in typical costumes and a sample of the region’s musical instruments including the Andean flute.
Location: Av. El Sol 604 Admission: $5 or included in Cusco tourist ticket Hours: daily, 19.00 to 20.30 hrs
San Pedro Market (Mercado San Pedro)
Among the sights you’ll see at Mercado San Pedro: towers of fruits and vegetables, piles of herbs, stacks of fresh flowers, every imaginable animal cut in the butcher section, wheels of cheese, barrels of nuts and dried fruits, textiles, tailors, incense, love potions, amulets, and ladies who’ll blend your favorite juice from fresh ingredients. Not to mention a whole section of food stalls serving breakfast and lunch. A set meal, called a menu, includes starter, main and dessert. Stop by to feast your eyes on local life, just remember to be courteous with your camera and ask permission before snapping a photo.
Hours: daily, until 5pm
The Cusco Planetarium is a family-run project located about 15 minutes from the historic center in a small Andean-style house with adobe walls, terraced gardens and a llama corral. For astrology lovers, a visit here is an opportunity to learn about the universe and how the Inca civilization understood it. Note that advance reservations are required and the number of participants per day is limited. Groups are picked up in Cusco and transferred by car to the private observatory not far from Sacsayhuaman.
Location: Llaullipata Ecological Reserve, carretera Sacsayhuaman
Visitors traveling from sea level to Cusco at 3,400 meters or 11,150 feet above sea level, should be aware of the possibility of altitude sickness. Most visitors to Cusco experience only minor symptoms (headache, lethargy, nausea) which usually ease within 1-2 days. If you’re planning to hike to higher elevations, plan to spend 2-3 days acclimating in Cusco before beginning the trek. If possible, try to schedule an intermediate stop at Arequipa elevation 2,328 meters (7,638 feet), to ease into the altitude.
Drinks lots of water to prevent dehydration and take it easy as your body adjusts to the altitude. Drink bottled water only and avoid drinking water from questionable sources. Agua sin gas is mineral water; agua con gas is carbonated water — both are available for sell at kiosks and small markets all over Cusco city. Ice is typically made from filtered water and safe to consume.
Cusco is considered one of the safest cities in Peru. Standard travel precautions apply: don’t leave your bags and belongings unattended and take extra care in crowded places. Leave jewelry and excess cash in the safety box at your hotel.
How to Get Around
Walking is the best way to get around the historic center of Cusco. You can walk from one side of the historic center to the other within 15-20 minutes. Around the Plaza de Armas you’ll find Cusco’s top attractions, restaurants, and nightlife options. The area around the main plaza is mostly flat, but the streets become steeply inclined when you walk toward the San Blas, San Cristobal, or Santa Ana neighborhoods.
Be sure to carry local currency (Peruvian Nuevo Sol, or Soles for short) to pay for taxis, tips for guides and porters, small purchases, and meals at cafes and restaurants. Vendors are always reluctant to make change for large bills. For small purchases, it’s best to have low denomination bills and coins. Larger balances at shops, restaurants, hotels, and some tour agencies can be paid with credit card. As of August 2015, $10 USD is roughly 30 Soles.
You can find money exchange offices and ATMs throughout the historic center and on Av. El Sol. (Ask your bank about international banking fees.) For payments in USD or to exchange USD or Euros to Soles, you’ll need crisp bills with no blemishes of any kind. Bills with tiny rips, marks, and other defects will likely be rejected.
Cusco city is generally warm during the day and cold at night. Bring sunblock and sunglasses for day tours, and don’t forget your warm clothes for the evenings. A thermal undershirt paired with a fleece, windproof jacket, and long pants is usually sufficient for Cusco’s 5C/40F nights.
For the rainy season, packing the right clothes to stay (relatively) dry can make the difference between an enjoyable experience and a wet, miserable one. Pack long pants made of synthetic quick drying fabric (not jeans), a rain poncho to go over your head and your backpack, and an umbrella to use during day tours.
Some legs of your Cusco trip may require you to leave your heavy luggage behind, for example to take the train to Machu Picchu (passengers are limited to 1 bag or backpack weighing 5kg/11lbs) or for a multi-day trek. This is generally not a problem as most hotels provide luggage storage for guests at no additional charge.
Traveling to Peru in the peak season (June, July, August) requires lots of planning several months in advance. This includes booking hotels in Cusco and Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu), flights to/from Cusco, train tickets to/from Machu Picchu, Huayna Picchu tickets (limited to 400 and sell out weeks in advance) and Inca Trail permits if applicable.
Best Time to Visit Cusco
To avoid the crowds and the worst of the rains, plan your trip to Cusco for April, May, September or October.
7.1 Travel Requirements
Do I need a visa to travel to Peru?
With some exceptions, visitors do not need a visa to travel to Peru. However, all travelers need a passport with a minimum validity of 6 months and one blank passport page for an entry stamp. Upon arrival at any port of entry, travelers are issued a tourist card (tarjeta de migracion) good for a maximum of 183 days. Keep this card in a safe place (with your passport) as you will need it to register at hotels and to exit Peru.
Do I need vaccinations for travel to Peru?
No vaccines are required for entry, but yellow fever immunization is recommended especially for travel to the Amazon region.
Do I need to carry my passport with me in Cusco?
You will need to present your passport to check in at hotels, to board the train to Machu Picchu, to enter Machu Picchu, and to pass through Inca Trail checkpoints. For day tours, you can leave your passport in your safety deposit box at your hotel. You may carry a photocopy of your passport information page just in case.
7.2 Getting in/around/out of Cusco
What airlines fly to Cusco?
Several daily flights connect Cusco to major destinations across Peru. From Lima to Cusco and vice versa, major airlines are LATAM (previously known as LAN), Star Peru, Peruvian Airlines, and Taca. Of these carriers, LATAM provides the highest number of options and the most reliable service, but also the most expensive fares.
Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (airport code: CUZ) in Cusco is located 5 kilometers (10-15 minutes) southeast of the historic center and the Plaza de Armas.
How can I get a taxi in Cusco?
Note that it is possible to walk from one side of the historic center of Cusco to the other within 10-15 minutes. One-way streets and occasional closures due to processions sometimes make it faster to go by foot than by car.
However you might need a taxi to get to the airport or bus terminal, or to visit to Sacsayhuaman or Cristo Blanco if you prefer not to hike. You can either hail a taxi from the street or arrange transport through your hotel concierge. Check for a placard or other indication that the vehicle is an official taxi. Taxis are not metered. Negotiate the fare before getting into the car. Payment is given when you reach your destination.
Few taxi drivers speak English. If your Spanish is limited, try to have as much information about your destination written down in Spanish or ask your hotel concierge to help you.
How can I get to Machu Picchu from Cusco?
Train travel is easiest and fastest way to get from Cusco or the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu. From Poroy station (15 minutes from Cusco), the trip is 4 hours. Trains depart more frequently from Ollantaytambo (1 hour by car from Cusco) and arrive at Aguas Calientes in 2 hours.
Travelers in search of adventure can opt to hike the Inca Trail, which enters Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate.
Where can I go after/in addition to Cusco and Machu Picchu?
o Venture south to Puno and sail across the jaw-droppingly gorgeous Lake Titicaca.
o Go to Arequipa to get your fill of colonial architecture and delicious Peruvian cuisine; then head to the Colca Canyon to spot the Andean condor in flight.
o Immerse yourself in the rainforest wonders of Peru’s Amazon. From Cusco, a 45 minute flight gets you to Puerto Maldonado and a range
of eco-lodges located 30-60 minutes downriver on the edge of Tambopata Reserve.
What’s the weather like?
Cusco has two seasons: wet and dry. During the dry season, days can get warm under the sun, but temperatures drop drastically in the evening. In the rainy season, it rarely rains all day, but storms are unpredictable and range from heavy rains to light drizzle. It’s best to carry an umbrella or a rain poncho.
7.3 Health and Safety
Can I drink tap water?
For visitors just arrived to Cusco, Peru and South America, drinking tap water is not advisable. Bottled water is available for sale at kiosks, markets, cafes, and restaurants throughout the city of Cusco.
Is it safe to drink coca leaf tea?
Mate de coca (coca leaf tea) is a popular folk remedy in Cusco and throughout the Andes; many hotels provide complimentary cups to guests on check-in. Packaged tea bags are also available at Peruvian supermarkets. Note however that possession of coca leaf tea is illegal in the U.S.
What happens if I get sick?
In case of serious illness, contact your tour operator or hotel concierge. They will be able to refer you to a clinic staffed by English-speaking doctors.
Is it safe to eat street food?
As tempting as Cusco’s street food offerings may appear, it’s best to resist the impulse to indulge. Especially if you’re in Peru for a short time, the last thing you want is to spend a day confined to your room. Avoid open containers of ketchup and other condiments (small packets are fine). Eat boiled vegetables and fruits with peels only. Use your judgement when ordering salads and ceviche (raw fish). More expensive restaurants are
careful to wash with purified water and prepare food with only the freshest ingredients.
Is Cusco safe?
Cusco is fairly safe as a city, but petty theft does occur. You can take simple precautions to avoid becoming a target.
o Don’t carry excessive amounts of money with you during the day. Carry only what you’ll need for the day and leave cash and personal documents in your hotel room’s safety deposit box.
o Don’t wear expensive or flashy jewelry.
o Keep electronic devices tucked away in a purse or backpack or in your hand at all times.
o Don’t hang bags on chair backs and take your bag with you when you go to the bathroom.
o Use common sense, be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts.
The trail is accompanied by stunning vistas, unique flora and fauna, and several ancient Inca architectural remains. Walking throught the Sun Gate into Machu Picchu is your final reward.
Dead Woman’s Pass: Climb out of the Sacred Valley towards Warmiwanusca, or Dead Woman’s Pass, on the second day of the classic Inca Trail 4-day. This highest point of the trek at 4,215 m (3,828 ft) with stunning views at the summit.
Natural Diversity: The Inca Trail passes through several landscapes, from high-altitude Andean peaks to lush cloud-forest and subtropical jungle. Unique ecosystems prosper in each of these environments. Spot various Andean hummingbirds, among hundred of species of orchids, and the Andean spectacled bear is known to make rare appearances!
There are many impressive archaeological sites, including Inca ruins, stone steps, and tunnels, along the trail en route to Machu Picchu. Among the highlights;
* Runkurakay are ancient Inca lodges of unique circular structures and precise stone masonry have withstood the feats of time.
* Situated at the confluence of the rivers Kusichaca and Willkanuta, the highland terraces of Patallacta were likely used for crop production for Tambos, or resting places for travelers, that accommodated people on pilgrimage to Machu Picchu during Incan times. It’s only accessible from a single narrow stone staircase.
The challenging, yet incredibly rewarding multi-day trek builds up to the Machu Picchu arrival on the last day. Walk through Inti Punku, or the Sun Gate, into the lost city of the Incas at sunrise.
The weather in the Andes and the Sacred Valley is characterized by warm sunny days and very cold nights. Cloudy conditions can cause daytime temperatures to drop and it’s best to dress in layers that you can easily add or remove as necessary.
The wet season runs from November to March. Drizzle is likely, the nights are warmer, and the trail can get muddy. However, the rainy season is the perfect time to appreciate breathtaking views of mist-covered mountains and enjoy the region’s diverse flora in full bloom.
The dry season between June and August sees much less cloud cover and the panoramic views of surrounding snow- and glacier-capped mountains are simply spectacular. Vegetation is much less abundant but the trail is drier and easier to hike. During this season, nights are significantly colder and dressing in multiple layers is essential.
Acclimatize: Altitude sickness is unpredictable. We recommend spending 2-3 days in Cusco before your trek begins to give your body plenty of time to adjust.
Tipping: Tipping is at your discretion, but always highly recommended and a great way to show your appreciation to your guide, cooks, and camp team. Your trekking group should agree and gather a tip for the guide. A suggested $5-9 per day, per camp assistant is a good rule of thumb.
What to do in Machu Picchu: The magic of Machu Picchu is most enjoyable at a leisurely pace. After entering the Sun Gate on the last day of the Inca Trail, you can take a tour. Then spend the night in Aguas Calientes and visit Machu Picchu for a second day to really soak in the local beauty. Hiking Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain are great add-ons for your second day exploring Machu Picchu. Both hikes provide stunning views over Machu Picchu and down into the valley below. Only a certain number of people can hike these trails each day and tickets should be bought far in advance along with your Machu Picchu entrance ticket.
Inca Trail Rules & Regulations
At a glance:
* Only 500 daily Inca Trail permits
* Booking Inca Trail tickets in advance is a must
* Inca Trail is closed for the month of February
* Pack animals are not allowed, so porters carry all the equipment
To protect this historic trail, only 500 people are permitted to hike on it each day. This total includes hikers on the 2-day, 4-day, 5-day, and 6-day routes as well as the trekking guides, porters and cooks. Available permits for the Inca Trail sell out quickly, sometimes 5 months in advance for dates during the dry season (May-September). Booking far in advance is a must.
Permits to hike the Inca Trail are available March through January. The Peruvian government closes the trail in February for annual maintenance, conservation and clean-up.
Access to the Inca Trail is strictly controlled and your trek must be organized through a tour operator. It is not possible to hike the trail independently. Only specific licensed companies are permitted to lead groups on the Inca Trail.
Pack animals, including mules, horses, and llamas are banned from the trail. Porters are instead responsible for carrying the tents, cooking supplies, food and additional camping equipment along the trail. Many trekkers also choose to hire a porter to carry their personal backpacks.
For private porters hired, we know that they can either carry 8 or 15 kg. One thing to keep in mind is that a weight of 2.5 kg has to be taken out from this total weight as it’s meant for the weight of both pad and sleeping bag.
Classic Inca Trail
Classic 4-day Inca Trail Inside
The Classic Inca Trail 4-day is a 45 km (28 mi) journey that begins in the Sacred Valley and meanders stone roads and up to terrific Andean heights to the Sun Gate into Machu Picchu. The 4-day Inca Trail route is ranked moderate and can be completed by anyone in decent physical condition. Because it’s a high-altitude trek, we recommend arriving in Cusco a few days earlier to acclimate before doing the trek.
Day 1: Cusco – Ollantaytambo – Wayllabamba
From your hotel in Cusco, you’ll be driven to the town of Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley. Meet your trek team and then continue by bus to Piscacucho located at Km 82 of the railway where a checkpoint marks the beginning of the trail. Officials will cross-check passports against trail permits and then allow you and your group to cross a bridge that spans the Urubamba River. Everything carried by porters needs to be weighed at
the control checkpoint. This process usually takes between 30-45 minutes, during which time your guide will provide additional information about the trail.
The trail continues along nearly flat terrain until the town of Miskay. After a quick rest, climb up on steeper terrain to Patallacta, the first of many impressive archaeological sites along the trail. After replenishing your energy over a warm lunch, it’s a 2 hour hike to the first campsite at Wayllabamba. The day culminates with a spectacular view of the Vilnacota Ridge and its paramount peak, Mt. Veronica.
Hike Distance: 12 km (7.5 mi) Hike Time: 4 to 6 hrs Maximum Altitude: 3,000 m (9,842 ft) Gradient: Moderate
Day 2: Inca Trail – Wayllabamba to Pacaymayo
Day two of the trek is the most challenging. You’ll make the rigorous ascent to Warmiwañusca, or Dead Woman’s Pass, located at an amazing height of 4,215 m (3,828 ft). The challenging ascent requires focus. Also be observant of the surroundings because impressive wildlife call this mountainous cloud forest home
Right before the pass, a campsite called Llulluchapampa sits on a small plain bordered by two streams of crystal clear water. There is a public bathroom here, and this is also a great resting place before the last stretch over the pass. Soak up the great view at the top after the long steep climb!
Continue to the summit and then descend on an undulating path to your campsite for dinner and well deserved sleep.
Hike Distance: 16 km (10 mi) Hike Time: 7 to 8 hrs Maximum Altitude: 4,215 m (13,828 ft) Gradient: Challenging
Day 3: Inca Trail – Pacaymayo to Wiñayhuayna
After breakfast, the hike continues along a path rich with archaeological treasures. Don’t underestimate the steep descent into the valley whose path is laid out by seemingly endless Inca stone stairs. The Runkurakay pass 3,900 m (12,467 ft) constitutes over 1,000 m (~3,300 ft) of descent. Halfway along the trail, you will encounter the ruins of Runkurakay, an Incatambo, or lodge, of semi-circular design with a view of the Valley of Pacaymayo, or “Hidden River” Valley below. Another steep climb up Incan steps leads to the next pass, which offers spectacular views of the mountain ranges of Vilcabamba and Pumasillo.
Along the trail, there will be breathtaking views of the Vilcabamba range and Nevado Pumasillo (Pumasillo peak). You’ll also encounter the ruins of Sayacmarca which resemble a lithic labyrinthine hanging garden. You’ll continue to the Conchamarca archeological complex and then descend the stone staircase leading to the final mountain pass of Phuyupatamarca.
As the day ends, you will head toward the ruins of Wiñay Wayna or “Forever Young,” where you will camp for your final night. The ruins consist of Inca agricultural terraces and are believed to have been a sacred place to pay homage to water. The campsite has hot showers and a simple restaurant where you’ll say goodbye to your trekking team. Keep in mind that it is the norm to create a tip-pool for the guide, cooks and porters that have assisted the hike.
Hike Distance: 16 km (10 mi) Hike Time: 8 to 10 hrs Maximum Altitude: 3,900 m (12,467 ft) Gradient: Moderate
Day 4: Wiñayhuayna – Machu Picchu
Rise before the sun, eat breakfast and begin the final leg of the trail by 5 a.m. to Machu Picchu. Follow a wide, flat path for about three hours to reach Inti Punku, the Sun Gate entrance to the famous Inca ruins for sunrise. From here, descend to the citadel for a guided tour of Machu Picchu through the 3 zones of this once grand city: the urban, agricultural, and adjacent zones. After the guided tour visitors are free to explore the archeological park on their own. If your trek left you craving for even more, you have the option of climbing to the peak of Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, and view Machu Picchu from another angle. Tickets for each of these hikes must be purchased in advance.
In the afternoon, you will take a comfortable train back to Cusco. If you would like to spend more time at Machu Picchu, this package can be customized to include an overnight stay in Aguas Calientes, the town at the base of Machu Picchu, allowing for a second visit to the ruins on the following day.
Hike Distance (to Machu Picchu): 5 km (3 mi) Hike Time: 1-2.5 hrs Maximum Altitude: 2,650 m (8,694 ft) Gradient: Moderate
Alternative Inca Trail Routes
The classic 4-day trek to Machu Picchu is by far the most popular. But other itineraries are also available to meet different travel preferences.
Inca Trail 2-day is ideal for travelers who have limited time or may not be in the best shape. This less strenuous hike starts along the train tracks from Cusco at km 104. Surrounded by the beauty of the Andes, walk past Chachabamba, an archaeological complex believed to have once been the guard house to Machu Picchu, and past Wiñay Wayna. Enter the Sun Gate for a first encounter with the “Lost City of the Incas.” Spend the night in Aguas Calientes and then wake up on day two for a Machu Picchu Tour.
Longer 5-day and 6-day Inca Trail routes to Machu Picchu are also available for travelers with a bit more time. Ask your travel advisor for more details.
How to book your Inca Trail
It is very important to buy tickets for the Inca Trail early. Early planning does not guarantee a spot, but greatly increases securing the dates you want. Daily Inca Trail permits are limited and can be booked up to 6 months in advance!
High season (April-October) – Book at least 2 to 6 months in advance Low season (November-March) – Book at least 1 to 3 months in advance
To book the Inca Trail you must have a valid passport.
What to Pack
All the camping equipment, daily meals and water will be provided by your trekking team. You can either bring your own sleeping bag, or rent one for an additional fee.
Our essential packing list for the Inca Trail:
* Bring your original passport. It’s required to enter Machu Picchu when you enter through the Sun Gate.
* Bring a comfortable daypack with snug straps to wear while you hike. Unless you hire a private porter, you’re expected to carry both pads and sleeping bags along the trek. Learn more about porter welfare on the Inca Trail.
* Carry a reusable water bottle in your daypack.
* You’ll pass through many different climates along the trail anddressing in layers is important. Pack lightweight pants, short- and long-sleeve shirts, a warm fleece jackets, underwear, and socks.
* Temperatures really drop at altitude when the sun goes down. To stay warm, thermal undergarments, a warm hat, and gloves are recommended.
* Comfortable hiking boots or walking shoes are a must. Also pack shower sandals.
* Be prepared with a rain jacket and pants or poncho. Rainy conditions aren’t to be expected during the dry season, but it’s better to be prepared.
* Pack a hat, strong sunblock, and glasses for protection against the sun.
* Headlamp (with extra batteries) or small flashlight to use at night while camping.
* Light-weight travel towel to shower with and small travel pillow for your sleeping comfort.
* Tissues pack, toilet paper and wet wipes
* You may want to bring extra (or diet specific) high energy snacks, such as some cookies, protein bars, chocolates, or nuts.
* Some trekkers may prefer to bring walking sticks.
* Don’t forget toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.) and anypersonal medications.
* Insect repellant (with Deet) for protection against mosquitos and other blood-sucking critters. Malaria and yellow fever are not a risk in this area.
* Bring local Peruvian currency (Soles) in your wallet so that you can tip your trekking team.
* Of course, don’t forget your camera, with extra battery packs and memory cards.
Our Inca Trail packages include:
Transportation and tickets
* Transport from your Cusco hotel to the start of the Inca Trail
* Round-trip bus tickets from Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu (20-minute ride each way)
* Entrance ticket to the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu (Huayna Picchu and/or Machu Picchu Mountain tickets are Not Included)
* Transfer from Cusco train station (Poroy) back to your Cusco hotel
* Spacious, waterproof igloo tents for high mountain use. Each tent has a 3-person capacity, but it’s shared by only 2 people on the trek.)
* Foam mattresses, tables, and seat for each tent
* Food and drink utensils
* Dinner tent and kitchen tent for the group
* Bathroom tent
* First aid kit and emergency oxygen bottle
* Professional, knowledgeable bilingual guide
* A cook to prepare your meals
* Porters to carry provided equipment and food (Additional porters can be hired to carry your personal belongings)
Professional guides possess an excellent knowledge of the Inca Trail, including the archaeological sites along the way, historical details, and know-how about ancient Andean traditions. Guides are highly qualified in tour group management and in first aid.
* Three hearty daily meals to fuel your trekking adventure. Vegetarian options are also available, upon request.
* Snacks are also provided while hiking between meals.
* Bottled or filtered water to fill your reusable bottle. Hot tea and coffee is also served.
Train ticket from Aguas Calientes to Cusco
* Hotels in Cusco or Aguas Calientes
* Meals after arrival to Machu Picchu
How difficult is the Inca Trail? Trekkers of all ages complete the trek every day, but we recommend that trekkers have good physical health and a taste for adventure. The level of enjoyment that clients get out of these treks depends on numerous factors, such as the amount of time you have had to properly acclimatize to high altitude before departing, your age, your general fitness level, and your previous trekking experience. Make sure you take some time to acclimatize to the altitude before you start your trek. Most people choose to arrive to Cusco two to three days in advance to prepare their body to the high altitude.
How far in advance should we reserve our space on the Inca Trail? We recommend that you make a reservation for the Inca Trail as far in advance as possible. For trips from November to March, we suggest booking 1 to 3 months in advance. In the high season from May to October tickets should be bought 2 to 6 months in advance. Government restrictions, designed to protect the route, limit the number of trekkers to 500 per day, including guides, porters, and cooks. Therefore, the trail usually gets fully booked far in advance. If there are no slots left for the Inca Trail, there are many alternative Inca trails that follow other Inca roads systems, which can also include an optional visit to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes.
What documentation do we need? You will need to carry with you the documents you used to book your Inca Trail trek, including personal IDs, such as passports and drivers’ licenses.
How will I get drinking water during the Inca Trail? Your drinking water for the trek is collected from local streams as needed and boiled. This water is safe to drink. You can buy mineral water in Cusco and bring it with you (but that will make your pack significantly heavier), or buy mineral water at stops along the Inca Trail. Water purchased along the trail will be more expensive than water in Cusco. Although not necessary, you may bring water purification tablets.
Is there a tent for the bathroom and washing up? There is a toilet tent. Some campsites have public toilets you can use. All campsites also have cold showers for public use; only the last campsite at Wiñaywayna has warm
showers that can be used for an additional cost. During the day hikes, you will pass a number of sites where you will find toilet facilities available.
How much luggage can I bring on the Inca Trail? For the Inca Trail you should take only the items you are willing to carry during the hike. Other belongings can be left in storage in your hotel in Cusco. The porters will carry provided equipment, such as the tent, while you are responsible for your sleeping bag, clothing, and other personal items. If desired, you can hire a personal porter to carry your personal belongings. Personal porters on the Inca Trail may carry a maximum of 33 pounds (15 kg), with 11 pounds (5 kg) allotted for their personal items. Specialty luxury services are also available for those who like a slower pace on the trail (inquire to your Travel Advisor). For the train between Cusco, Ollantaytambo, and Machu Picchu, 11 pounds (5 kg) of luggage is permitted with dimensions of 62 inches total of length x height x width (157cm). If your luggage exceeds this allowance, the train company might collect a surcharge.
How many other people will travel on the trial with us? The maximum number of people in a group on the Inca Trail is 16. As you hike along the trail, you are likely to meet other groups of trekkers, depending on your pace. There is one guide and one cook for every 8 people. Each person can have a personal porter. The majority of people on the Inca Trail are support staff, consisting of guides, porters, and cooks.
Is it customary to tip the guides and porters? On the last night of your trek, there is a tipping custom: all the hikers put their tips together and give them to the guide. The guide will then distribute that money between all the Inca Trail personnel. We advise anything from $10 to $40 USD per hiker.
How much does it cost to rent equipment? There are two types of sleeping bags for rent (a feathered or a synthetic type) for the whole trek. You can also hire a personal porter to carry your bag for the whole trip. Your bag cannot weigh more than 33 pounds (15 kg). Rental and porters can be arranged by your travel advisor. Other equipment such as boots, flashlights, and coats can also be rented in Cusco.
Is it possible to walk from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes instead of taking the bus? Yes it is possible. You can follow the same road as the bus. Expect the journey to take about 40 minutes from Machu Picchu down to the town of Aguas Calientes.
What are the restrictions on access to Huayna Picchu? Huayna Picchu is the mountain that overlooks Machu Picchu, offering spectacular views of the ruins. At the time of purchase, you will have to decide if you want to hike the Huayna Picchu trail at 7:00 a.m. or 10:00 a.m. Two hundred people are allowed to enter during each time slot, for a total of 400 visitors per day.
Are there any ATMs? There are no ATMS along the Inca Trail. There are, however, ATMs in Aguas Calientes, the town next to Machu Picchu where you will be able to get cash after your trek. We recommend that you bring money with you from Cusco.
What sort of food can I expect on the trail? Each tour is accompanied by a chef who will prepare all your meals for you. The food is hearty, plentiful, and
filling to keep you energized for the journey. Please notify us if you have any special requirements or diet restrictions, such as requiring vegetarian meals. You will enjoy breakfast, as well as a hot lunch and dinner every day. You will also be served snacks in the morning and afternoon, including hot drinks in the afternoon.
River. The Pacific ocean is to the west and the foothills of the Andes to the east. Sandy 70-meter-tall cliffs separate the Pacific shore from the westernmost edge of Lima city.
The port of Callao provides a natural harbor which for many centuries provided the main connection to trading ports in Europe and Spain. Today, Callao continues to operate as one of the busiest ports in the Americas and a port of call for many South American cruise ships.
The elevation of Lima city gradually increases in proportion to distance from the Pacific shore. Average elevations for key districts and places:
* Miraflores – 79 m
* Barranco – 65 m
* Lima Centro – 161 m
* Jorge Chavez Airport – 34 m
* Callao – 7 m
Peru is quite close to the equator, but the cold water Humboldt Current flows up from Antarctica and interacts with air temperatures to keep things cool.
The Andes Mountains are a second factor affecting the climate. The tall peaks, which begin to rise not too far from the coast create a rain shadow effect that prevents rain clouds from forming. This is why much of Peru’s coast is desert. In Lima, the result is a temperate climate with high humidity around the year.
During the winter months, the city of Lima is covered by constant gray fog called garúa. Travel some kilometers north or south of the city or up into the foothills and you’ll experience the sunny skies that typify the rest of coastal Peru.
Officially named the Jorge Chavez International Airport (code: LIM), the Lima airport is the central transit hub for many travelers at the start or end of a trip to Peru. The airport is located in the Callao district, about 20 km from the popular Miraflores district. For travelers with an early morning or late night flight out of Lima, the Wyndham Costa del Sol Airport Hotel provides maximum comfort while in transit. Lima airport website: https://www.lima-airport.com/eng
Historic Center of Lima
Alongside Arequipa and Cusco, the historic Lima center presents the best preserved example of Peruvian colonial architecture and urban planning. Officially founded in 1535, and supplied by gold and silver from the Andean highlands, Lima quickly grew to become the wealthiest city in the Americas. Today, the historic core forms just a small section of a sprawling, sometimes chaotic city, but it remains the best place to trace the evolution of Peru’s biggest city back to its beginnings.
If the Lima historic center represents the city’s past, Miraflores embodies its vibrant present and ever-evolving future. Home to the must-sees Parque Kennedy and the coastal Malecon, as well as an endless number and variety of cafes, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and hotels for all budgets, it’s no surprise that Miraflores is a favorite place for visitors to Lima.
Bohemian is usually the first word used to describe this Lima district. With its tree-shaded streets, colorful wall murals, graceful colonial homes, and a few galleries, Barranco presents yet another side of Lima you won’t want to miss. Spend a relaxing afternoon at a cafe or restaurant by the Puente de los Suspiros, walk down the Bajada de Baños to check out the beach, or dance the night away with Lima locals at a live music bar.
Whatever you do, don’t miss out on Lima’s many excellent museums. Among the best: the Larco Museum, the Lima Museum of Art (MALI), and the National Museum. Scattered throughout Lima’s different districts, you can museum hop and see the city’s many faces at the same time.
Lima Parks and Plazas
In South America, parks and plazas are social spaces where people gather to rest, chat, read, snack, and spend time with family and friends. Throughout Peru, parks and plazas are also often the stages for cultural entertainment and political events. Whatever Lima district you find yourself in, make time to see the main park or plaza and get a glimpse local life.
Lima is not just the political capital and economic headquarters of Peru, it is also a cultural mecca. Art galleries, historical buildings, museums and even markets all add different threads to the story of Peru’s creative and artistic development over the course of centuries.
Peru has a long history of migration from other parts of the world including Asia, Europe, and Africa. Add to that recent internal migration from the Andes, Amazon and coastal regions to the capital city. The result is a true melting pot of backgrounds and cultures, which you’ll see gathered in Lima. The majority of Peruvians are mestizos, descendants of couplings between European and indigenous ancestors going back to the conquest of Peru.
Peruvians can be exceptionally polite and make it a point to acknowledge people when joining or leaving a group. Learning some simple phrases can help you show respect for the culture.
Hello/Good day = Buenos dias
* Good afternoon / night = Buenas tardes / noches
* Nice to meet you = Mucho gusto
* See you later / Goodbye = Hasta luego / Adios
When hospitality workers and tour guides make an extra effort to make sure your trip is great, tipping is a great way to show appreciation.
Dine like royalty in the “City of Kings”
If you travel for the food, you’ll be delighted with Lima’s exceptional dining scene. Peru is in the midst of a gastronomic boom and the capital city is its epicenter, filled with an endless variety of delectable treats for your tastebuds.
Visit ancient temples
Peru’s most modern and dynamic city is also home to some of South America’s oldest civilizational remnants. Witness this contrast with a visit to Huaca Pucllana, the 4th century adobe temple surrounded by the high-rises. Yet more temple ruins are scattered through Pueblo Libre and San Miguel districts. Thirty kilometers outside of Lima, Pachacamac temple has been an important temple complex for millennia.
Stroll the seaside promenade
El Malecon provides one of Lima’s most scenic landscapes. Stretching about 10 km along the clifftops that separates the Pacific Ocean from the city, this promenade is the place to go for sunsets, to get some exercise, or to try your hand at paragliding.
Shop ’til you drop
The best souvenirs from a trip to Peru include exquisite handwoven textiles, soft alpaca wool sweaters, artful ceramics, colorful chullos (Andean hats) and knitted scarves. Stock up in Lima’s markets at the end of your trip. But if Lima is your first stop, you can just browse the shops and get an idea of what you’ll see later on; you’ll be better prepared to spot a unique item during your travels.
Where to eat
Peruvian and fusion cuisine
Amaz Av. La Paz 1079, Miraflores Tel: 221-9393 | http://amaz.com.pe/ ($-$$) Menu choices range between US$10-30 Amazonian cuisine is the focus of this popular restaurant. Specialties are a mix of typical Peruvian food and Amazonian dishes. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Reservations recommended.
Astrid & Gaston Calle Cantuarias 175, Miraflores Tel: 444-1496 | http://www.astridygaston.cl/index.htm (Spanish) ($$-$$$) Prices vary US$ 25-100, depending on meal and drink selections Consistently voted among the best restaurants in South America, Acurio’s flagship restaurant provides an emblematic dining experience in Lima. Sophisticated and chic best describe both the restaurant and its clientele. Reservations recommended.
Brujas de Cachiche Calle Bolognesi 472, Miraflores Tel: 447-1133 | http://www.brujasdecachiche.com.pe/en (English) ($$) Starters and main courses US$ 15-45; desserts US$ 7; cocktail US$8-10 This classy restaurant serves delicious Peruvian regional cuisine. Choose from a
range of starters, entrees, and desserts and pair it with wine or a drink from the bar. Recommended dishes include lomo saltado (the best!), sancochado and rocoto relleno. Reservations recommended.
Central Calle Santa Isabel 376, Miraflores Tel: 242-8515 | http://centralrestaurante.com.pe/en/index.php(English) ($$-$$$) Pricing varies by meal and drink selections, US$ 35-140 Gourmet dining that showcases Peru’s exceptional diversity in regional products from the mountains, rainforest, and sea. Recommended dishes include tuna tataki and chocolate moelleux. Reservations recommended.
Embarcadero 41 Fusion Calle San Martin 533, Miraflores Tel: 255-8552 | http://www.embarcadero41.com/ ($) Main course options between US$12-16 Casual with great service, this chain restaurant serves Peruvian classics with a fusion twist. Popular midday dining option. Open daily from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Reservations recommended.
Mama Panchita Calle 2 de Mayo 298, Miraflores Tel: 242-5957 | https://es-la.facebook.com/RestaurantePanchitaLima ($$) Meal prices range between US$ 20-25 Panchita presents traditional criollo (creole) cuisine with a modern twist. Enjoy generous portions of classics such as anticuchos, pastel de choclo and cochinillo. Open daily for brunch, lunch, and dinner. Bank cards accepted. Reservations recommended.
Rosa Nautica Espigon 4 beach circuit, Miraflores Tel: 445-0149 | http://www.larosanautica.com/ (English) ($$) Spend US$ 25-35 Enjoy a cozy dining experience with spectacular views at this restaurant built at the end of a pier on the Lima coast. Recommended dishes include nikkei (Peruvian-Japanese fusion) and funghi crayfish risotto. The classic chicken florentine is also great. Reservations recommended.
Costa Verde Circuito de Playas (Playa Barranquito), Barranco Tel: 247-1244 |http://www.restaurantecostaverde.com/costaverde_portada.php?lan=en ($$) Main courses US$15-35 An upscale seafood restaurant located just south of Miraflores. Expansive lunch and dinner buffets are a chance to indulge in just about any seafood craving; or make a selection from the regular menu. Reservations recommended.
Malabar Camino Real 101, San Isidro Tel: 440-5200 | http://malabar.com.pe/ (Spanish) ($$-$$$) Pricing varies US$ 25-100, depending on meal and drink selections Malabar’s unique culinary style features Peruvian dishes made with ingredients native to the Andes and Amazon. Voted among the top restaurants in the world by international publications. Reservations recommended.
Ceviche (pronounced “seh-BEE-chay”) – raw fish marinated in onions and lime juice and seasoned with salt and hot peppers – is one of Peru’s trademark dishes, and in the coastal city of Lima, you’re guaranteed to get it fresh.
La Mar Cevicheria Avenida La Mar 770, Miraflores Tel: 421-3365 | http://www.lamarcebicheria.com/lima/ (Spanish) ($$) Meals range between US$ 20-25 Yet another Acurio enterprise, this upscale cevicheria with stylish design and moderate pricing is an ideal spot to sample ceviche and other seafood dishes made in the traditional Limeño style with the trademark Acurio edge. Arrive early or fashionably late; otherwise be prepared to wait a while for seats, as reservations are not taken.
Punto Azul Calle San Martin 595, Miraflores Tel: 225-8078 | http://puntoazulrestaurante.com/local-sanmartin.php (Spanish) ($) Ceviche options start at US$ 10 This casual, brightly decorated cevichería is popular for lunch and dinner. Order
the classic ceviche with chicha morada to drink, or select another seafood option from the menu. Cash only; open daily. Reservations recommended.
Chifa is the name of Chinese-inspired Asian dishes prepared with Peruvian ingredients. With origins in the in the late 19th century, chifa restaurants were serving fusion cuisine before the term existed! Ask your waiter for recommendations.
Chifa Hou Wha Calle Carlos Tenaud 490, Miraflores Tel: 440-0442 | http://www.chifahouwha.com.pe/ (Spanish) Visit the website for menu listing and pictures. This chifa has great service and better food. Open for lunch and dinner. Walk-ins and reservations accepted.
Chifa Internacional Avenida República de Panama 5915, Miraflores Tel: 445-3997 | www.chifainternacional.com (English) Located opposite the Via Expresa in Miraflores, this gem serves up classic chifa favorites for a moderate price. Enjoy your arroz chaufa (Chinese-Peruvian fried rice) with an ice cold Inca Kola. Visit the website for photos of food options. Reservations, walk-ins, and delivery available. Open daily and bank cards accepted.
Wa Lok Restaurant Oriental Avenida Angamos Oeste, 700, Miraflores Tel: 447-1329 | http://www.walok.com.pe/?lang=en (English) Situated next door to a lively casino, this place has all the favorites, including duck, seafood, and dumpling dishes. Open daily. Check out the website for a complete menu and pricing details.
Snack like the locals at any of the casual eateries listed below.
La Lucha Sandwich & Cafe Mariscal Oscar R. Benavides 308, Miraflores Tel: 241-5953 | http://www.lalucha.com.pe/ (Spanish) ($) Sandwiches (US$4-7); drinks (US$ 3-4) A favorite for sandwiches with piles of ingredients stuffed into freshly baked bread. Complement your meal with a freshly squeezed juice and some crisp fries while enjoying the view of Parque Kennedy across the street. Cash only.
La Mora Pasteleria Av. La Encalada Monterrico 715, Miraflores Tel: 436-2713 | http://www.lamorapasteleria.com/ (Spanish) ($) Order a sandwich or pastry and beverage for US$ 5-10 Pick from a variety of sandwiches, empanadas, and delicious desserts at this European style cafe. Open daily; bank cards accepted.
La Gran Fruta Av. Reducto 1350, Miraflores Tel: 241-0949 | http://www.lagranfruta.com.pe/ (Spanish) ($) Order a meal and beverage for between US $10-15 This chain serves a number of sandwiches, juice blends and healthy snacks. Casual environment, walk-ins welcome, and bank cards accepted.
Mangos Cafe Larcomar, Miraflores Tel: 242-8110 or 242-6779 | http://www.mangosperu.com/ (Spanish) ($-$$) Order a meal and beverage for US$ 10-30 Fantastic meals with an ocean view. Choose from a diverse menu that includes
upscale versions of typical Peruvian dishes; or enjoy the well-assorted lunch buffet. Open daily; walk-ins and reservations welcome; bank cards accepted.
San Antonio Cafe Av. Vasco Nunez de Balboa 770, Miraflores Tel: 241-3001 | http://www.pasteleriasanantonio.com/ (Spanish) ($) Order a sandwich and cappuccino for US$ 8-12 This popular bakery and cafe serves a variety of sandwiches, beverages, and desserts. Eat-in or place your order to-go. Open daily and bank cards accepted.
El AlmaZen Recavarren 298 Miraflores Tel: 243-0474 ($$) Order a drink, starter and main course for about US$ 20 This is a certified organic restaurant that serves seasonal and vegetarian food, tofu, and whole-grain muffins baked with natural sugar substitutes. Comfortable and contemporary set-up with a small coffee shop at the entrance. Open Monday – Saturday, closed Sunday.
Madre Natura Jr. Chiclayo 815, Miraflores Tel: 445-2522 | http://www.madrenaturaperu.com/ ($) Main courses between US$ 5-10 This vegan-friendly bakery, cafe and health food store surrounds a nice courtyard. Try one of many delicious juices. Closed on Sunday.
Raw Cafe Calle Independencia 587, Miraflores Tel: 511-446-9456 ($) Main courses between US$ 5-10 Restaurant and organic food store. Raw and vegan food is served from midday to
late afternoon in a relaxed, quiet environment. Open Monday – Saturday, closed Sunday.
Sabor y Vida Recavarren 156, Miraflores (just south of Av. Pardo) Tel. 445-1447 | https://www.facebook.com/SaboryVida/info ($) S/.10 menu (less than US$4) Breakfast and lunch are the focus, with sandwiches, salads, fresh fruit, and juices on the menu. Cash only and open daily.
Café Gianfranco Av. Angamos Oeste 598, Miraflores Desserts; also an Italian restaurant
Dolce Capriccio Calle 2 de Mayo, 701, Miraflores http://www.capriccio.com.pe/pasteleria/ Desserts: assortment of pies (crispy apple, strawberry, lemon, mango, etc.) and pastries
Maga – Mis Suspiros Av. Benavides 1113, Miraflores http://www.magamissuspiros.com/ Desserts: suspiros (mousse), alfajores, flan, arroz con leche (rice pudding), pie
Parque D’Onofrio Calle Lima 401, Miraflores (in front of Parque Kennedy) http://www.parquedonofrio.com/ (Spanish) Desserts: ice cream
Bar & Lounge
Ayahuasca Restobar Av. San Martin 130, Barranco Tel: 104-4745 | http://www.ayahuascarestobar.com/ Bar and lounge, late night dance club
Bar Huaringas Calle Bolognesi 472, Miraflores (a part of Brujas de Cachiche restaurant) Tel: 447-1133 | http://www.brujasdecachiche.com.pe/en (English, click “Bar” tab for drink pricing) Lounge and cocktail bar
CALA Circuito de Playas, Barranco Tel: 252-9187 | http://calarestaurante.com/ (Select English or Spanish) Restaurant, bar, lounge overlooking the sea
Lima has two clearly marked seasons, summer and winter, with transitional periods in between.
* January to March
* warm, humid days and spectacular sunsets
* Temperatures: 28-29 C during the day, 19-21 C at night
* June to October
* damp, cool days with light drizzle
* Temperatures: 17-18 C during the day, 12-15 C at night
Best time to visit the city of Lima
Lima is a year round destination. Summer (December to March) is the best time to enjoy the outdoors or one of Lima’s famous sunsets. It’s also an ideal season if you wish to travel further down the coast to Ica and Paracas. Winter (June to September) is overcast and humid, but this doesn’t interfere with visits to the city’s top historical and cultural attractions.
Even if you’re not spending a lot of time in the city, you’ll probably transit through Peru’s principal gateway, the Lima Jorge Chavez International Airport. Taxis are the easiest way to get into the city. Taxi kiosks are to the right as you exit customs. You can also arrange an airport pickup/dropoff in advance through your Lima hotel.
Guided tours of Lima usually include transportation between sites. For sightseeing without a guide, the Mirabus and Turibus offer convenient tour bus service to the city’s top attractions.
If you prefer to explore on you own, the Lima Metropolitano provides the easiest and fastest way to move around the city while avoiding getting stuck in traffic.
Taxis are yet another option for cheap transportation; the only problem is that taxis in Lima are not metered and you must negotiate a fare before getting into the taxi. If you don’t speak Spanish, your hotel concierge can help do this for you.
Like in any big city, you should take standard precautions to stay safe while exploring Lima. Some areas of Lima city are safer than others, but the most highly touristed areas are fairly safe, especially in daylight hours. In the evening hours, stick to well-lit major streets for extra safety.
Carry local currency (Peruvian Nuevo Sol, or Soles for short) in small denominations to pay for taxis, tips for guides, small purchases, and meals at cafes and restaurants. Vendors rarely have change for larger bills, so it’s best to have small change. Larger balances at shops, restaurants, hotels, and some tour agencies can be paid with credit card. As of August 2015, $10 USD is roughly 30 Soles.
You can find money exchange offices and ATMs throughout Lima. Ask your bank about international banking fees.
What is the population of Lima?
According to UNData, the population of Lima in 2007 was 8.473 million, almost 30% of the total population of Peru. The INEI (Peru’s National Statistics Institute) the population of Lima in 2015 is estimated to be 9.752 million.
When is Mistura?
First celebrated in 2008, Mistura is now renowned as South America’s biggest food festival and it takes place annually in September. It a must-see event for anyone who loves food. Even if you miss Mistura, the city of Lima is the best place to be to sample widely of Peru’s best dishes.
How far is the Lima Airport from ___ ?
The Lima airport is located in the province of Callao. Approximate distances (and drive times) are as follows:
to/from historic city center: 12 km (20-25 minutes) to/from Miraflores: 19 km (30-40 minutes) to/from Barranco: 22 km (40-45 minutes) *Drive times may vary depending on traffic conditions.
What can I expect at the Lima airport?
The Lima airport is fairly easy to navigate. First step after landing is to go through immigration. Your passport and Andean Migration Card (TAM) will be stamped with a maximum permitted stay, usually 90 or 183 days. Keep the TAM with you
passport because you will have to return when you leave the country. Pick up any luggage at baggage claim and continue through a final luggage check at customs.
When you exit the baggage area, you will see an area of certified taxis, such as the Green Taxi service. The drivers will have identification badges and set fares to key destinations should be listed.
Departure tax: As of 2011, the departure tax is included in most international flights. If it’s not, the airline agent will tell you to pay an additional tax and will direct you to the teller window. In Cusco and Lima, departure taxes range from $5 for domestic flights to $31 for international flights.