Weather changes throughout the year and ranges from extremely rainy to dry from season to season. Peru’s rainy season begins the last week of September and reaches Its highest levels by January and February, finishing completely by the second week of March. During our summer, we get temperatures ranging from 50 – 54 to 68 – 72 degrees Fahrenheit. During the winter, the low temperatures are 45 – 49 degrees Fahrenheit through the day, but in the early morning and nights it can be even cooler, reaching as low as 41 – 44 degrees Fahrenheit and a high of around 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Yearly rainfall is about 23 – 24 inches in Cusco, but this figure can easy double at Machu Picchu which is an entirely different ecosystem. Wind is only of importance at Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley, and it’s usually stronger in the afternoon than in the morning.
Peru is a casual country as far as clothing is concerned, although you should keep in mind that inside churches long pants instead of shorts are preferred and hats are not welcome. For dining in most restaurants casual clothing is accepted, but if you want to stand out and make an impression, it is always ok to wear those beautiful Alpaca garments you might buy on your trip. It’s always best to wear layers on tour, especially early in the morning when it’s colder.
Peru is a country with a pretty steady economy; our currency is Nuevos Soles, which are about 3.35 to 1 USD. Most locals will make a very quick “3 to 1” conversion from “Soles” to Dollars. At some hotels and restaurants, you might come across the “house exchange rate”. You can easily exchange US dollars into Peruvian Soles, and most ATM machines will allow you to withdraw either Soles or American dollars. In Cusco, most vendors will accept both currencies. Some exceptions are taxi drivers who prefer soles, as well as vendors at some local food markets. Regular supermarkets and hotels will usually accept US dollars and credit cards. In Peru, banks won’t accept torn paper bills, so be sure to get the crispest dollar bills, especially if they are a high denomination like $50 or $100; otherwise it’ll be hard for you to use them while touring in Peru.
Peru is an incredibly diverse country; we have 85% of the micro-climates that exist in the world, giving us a wide range of ecosystems than not only offers an amazing quantity of flora and fauna species, but also many different physical environments to prepare for when visiting. If you join us for an Amazon experience, it will be highly recommended (and encouraged by law) to have your yellow fever vaccination. There aren’t reports of malaria or Zika in the region we’re touring, but this can change from season to season (Please contact us for more information). For the day at Machu Picchu, it’s recommended to have mosquito repellent because insects can be annoying and quite itchy once they bite you.
High altitude sickness is always an issue in Cusco, and that’s the reason on why most of our itineraries take us to the Sacred Valley first instead of staying overnight in Cusco on the first day. Your MD at home might prescribe you a special medication to fight high altitude sickness. We recommend you to keep yourself hydrated starting the day before you flight to Cusco, so your body will have an easier transition to the higher altitude. You’ll see that Cusco is also very dry, which is more of a reason to drink extra water while you’re here.
The Sun is more intense here than at lower altitudes, so it’s important to bring an effective, high SPF sunblock to prevent skin damage and sun burns than can turn painful at the end of the day.
Most airlines fly first into Lima, and from there to other destinations within the country. For international arrivals, you’ll need to pass through customs. You’ll be given a paper card which will need to stay with your passport during your time in the country. You don’t need a visa to travel to Peru. Domestic flights are simple; you just need to show your passport as your only ID and then proceed through security. Currently, the only international airline flying directly to Cusco skipping Lima as the first destination in Peru is “Avianca”. The train to Machu Picchu regulates the size of luggage you can carry on board, similar to standard aircraft carry-on regulations. The regulations mainly dictate size rather than weight because there’s limited space for luggage on board the train.