Machu Picchu

Travel Advice Ultimate Guide to Peru

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Ultimate Peru Travel Guide

Peru is one of the most popular countries in South America, mostly thanks to Machu Picchu, an icon of the New Seven Wonders of the World. But while the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu attract the majority of the country’s tourism, there is much more to see and do in Peru.

As the third largest country on the continent of South America after Brazil and Argentina, Peru has much to offer its’ visitors. From the famous Lake Titicaca to Cusco, the historic capital of the Incan Empire and UNESCO World Heritage Site, Peru is bursting with fascinating sites to discover.

This ultimate Peru travel guide will provide you with essential information on travel requirements, travel advice and answer our most common FAQs, hopefully giving you the confidence you need to book your next trip to Peru with Kandoo Adventures.

Read on if you want to find out more about the incredible country that is Peru!

Machu Picchu

Where is Peru?

Peru is located on the west coast of South America. Peru borders with Ecuador and Colombia to the north, Chile to the south and Brazil and Bolivia to the east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west.

Peru sits in the Southern Hemisphere, close to the equator and the seasons run accordingly. The country is also one of the most biodiverse in the world.

What is the population of Peru?

The current population of Peru is over 34 million (2024).

What’s the capital city of Peru?

Lima is the capital city of Peru. Located on the central coast of Peru, Lima is home to almost 9 million inhabitants.

This metropolis was founded by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro in 1535, who chose it as the capital city because of its strategic location and its main port, Callao, which was a focal point of the Peruvian and South American coast.

During colonial times, Lima was considered the most important metropolis in Latin America. Today, Lima is the economic and political centre of the country and houses almost 30% of the total population of Peru.

The city is brimming with culture, history and must-visit architectural examples such as the Plaza de Armas, Lima Cathedral, Government Palace, the Archbishops palace and the Casa del Oidor.

What is the language of Peru?

Peru is a large country, and it has 3 official languages. Spanish is the most widely spoken, followed by Quechua and Aymara.

What is the currency of Peru?

The currency of Peru is the nuevo sol (PEN).

There are notes, or bills, with denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 soles. There are also coins of 10, 20 and 50 cents, as well as 1, 2 and 5 soles.

The Peruvian sol can be purchased in advance, although US Dollars are also widely accepted in larger establishments. When changing money, we recommend requesting small denominations (10’s, 20’s and 50’s) as the larger notes are more difficult to spend.

Peru is generally still a cash society, particularly when travelling through smaller villages and towns so it is worth having enough cash with you for personal expenses. If you’re relying on a credit or debit card for emergency funds, make sure you tell your card issuer that you will be using it abroad.

What time is it in Peru?

Peru only has one time zone across the whole country.

The United Kingdom is 5 hours ahead of Peru.

The centre of the United States (America/Denver time zone) is 2 hours behind Peru, although this will vary depending on the nine different time zones that span across the US.

Is Peru safe to travel to?

If you’re contemplating visiting South America in 2024, you will be pleased to know that Peru has returned to general safety levels following a period political unrest between 2022-2023 in which the Peruvian government took the unprecedented decision to close Machu Picchu. Despite this, Peru is now ready to welcome visitors with open arms.
Trekkers look over Lake Humantay, Peru

When is the best time to go to Peru?

Peru is a massive country and deciding when to visit depends on what you want to see and do…

If you’re considering walking the famous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, the best time to visit is from June to August. The winter (May to September) is the driest and warmest season and is therefore the best time to embark on this bucket list adventure. It’s only possible to trek the Inca Trail with an agency and you should book your pass well in advance during the hot season, since the daily number of hikers and porters on the trail is regulated and capped.

For trips to the Amazon, the best time to go to Peru is between June to November. There’s less rainfall which means you won’t have to worry about trails closing and you will avoid the cold, wet season temperatures from December to March. However, if you’re travelling to Peru on a budget, the wet season is the least expensive time to travel and by braving the rainstorms you will benefit from exploring the country’s top sights with fewer crowds. It is worth mentioning here that the Inca trail is closed every February for maintenance, conservation and cleaning in the area.

What vaccinations do you need to travel to Peru?

There are no certificate requirements for entering Peru under International Health Regulations, but all travellers should be up to date with routine vaccination courses and boosters such as measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccines and diphtheria-tetanus-polio vaccine as recommended in the UK. Additionally, vaccines recommended for ‘most travellers’ include Hepatitis A, Tetanus and Typhoid.

Those who may be at increased risk of an infectious disease due to their work, lifestyle choice, or certain underlying health problem should be up to date with additional recommended vaccines:

  • Hepatitis B: vaccination could be considered for all travellers and is recommended for those who may have unprotected sex, health workers who may be exposed to blood or bodily fluids, long stay travellers and those who are participating in contact sports.
  • Rabies: vaccinations are recommended for travellers who are at risk due to their work (e.g. laboratory staff working with the virus, those working with animals or health workers who may be caring for infected patients), those travelling to areas where access to post-exposure treatment and medical care is limited and long-stay travellers.
  • Tuberculosis: vaccine is recommended for unvaccinated children under the age of 16 who are going to live for more than 3 months in Peru and unvaccinated, tuberculin skin test-negative individuals at risk due to their work such as healthcare or laboratory workers.
  • Yellow Fever: vaccination is recommended for those aged 9 months and older travelling to the following areas at altitude below 2,300m: the regions of Amazonas, Cuzco (for Cuzco city, Machu Pichu and the Inca trail see below), Huánuco, Junín, Loreto, Madre de Dios, Pasco, Puno (for Puno city see below), San Martin, Ucayali and designated areas of the following regions: far-north-eastern Ancash; far-north of Apurimac; northern and north-eastern Ayacucho; northern and eastern Cajamarca; far northern Huancavelica; eastern La Libertad, and eastern Piura. Vaccination is not recommended for travellers aged 60 years or older and whose itineraries are limited to the following areas: all areas above 2,300m altitude, areas west of the Andes not listed above, the cities of Cuzco, Puno and the capital city of Lima, Machu Picchu, and the Inca Trail.

What are the best places to visit in Peru?

Cusco, Peru
Machu Picchu

For anyone travelling Peru, Machu Picchu should be on the top of their bucket list. Standing 2,430m above sea-level, in the middle of a tropical mountain forest, Machu Picchu was probably the most spectacular urban creation of the Inca Empire.

Built in the 15th century Machu Picchu was abandoned when the Inca Empire was conquered by Spaniards in the 16th century, but it was not made known to the outside world until 1911. Nowadays, Machu Picchu has over 1.5 million visitors per year, and it is the country’s most-visited site.

The Inca Trail

The most well-known of all the trekking routes to Machu Picchu, the Inca Trail is the original pilgrimage route to this sacred temple, and it is by far the most popular route. If you’re planning a once in a lifetime trip to Peru, make sure you consider the Inca Trail.

Starting at the Kilometre 82 gate (so called because it is 82km from Cuzco by train) the trek to Machu Picchu on this 4-day route provides the ultimate combination of beautiful mountain scenery and archaeological sites. Trekking through diverse environments including jungle and alpine tundra, and visiting many Inca ruins, are just some of the many highlights of this incredible journey.

Lake Titicaca

Sitting at 3,810m above sea level between Peru to the west and Bolivia to the east, Lake Titicaca is the largest freshwater lake in South America and the highest of the world’s large lakes. Lake Titicaca is also one of less than twenty ancient lakes on Earth and is thought to be 3 million years old.

Visitors can explore the floating islands of Uros, where the indigenous people live on islands made of reeds, or the scenic islands of Taquile and Amantani, which are known for their traditional communities and vibrant festivals. This destination is not one to miss on any trip to Peru.


Lima is the capital city of Peru and it is a popular destination among tourists for its unique blend of history, culture and culinary delights. When in Lima, make sure you go to the must-see locations, such as Plaza de Armas (the main square), Lima Cathedral, Government Palace (Palacio del Gobierno), the Archbishop's Palace, and the Casa del Oidor. Don't forget about the historic Iglesia de La Merced and Jiron de la Union, a pedestrian street with shops and restaurants.


Once the capital of the Incan Empire, Cusco is the archaeological capital of the Americas. Located in the Southern Sierras, it offers easy access to Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley, which is why it's one of Peru’s most-visited destinations.

If you’re considering a trip to Peru with Kandoo Adventures, you will most likely fly to Cusco Airport (CUZ). Only our ‘Ultimate Peru’ trip flies to the alternative Juliaca Airport (JUL). At an altitude of 3400m, Cusco is a great place to acclimatise before you set out on your journey to the ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu.

Whilst in Cusco, travellers can explore the city’s historic centre and enjoy the colonial architecture, art galleries, craft markets, and museums. Here you can visit colourful restaurants and timeless churches, get closer to the Quechua culture, and buy Quechua handicrafts on lively local markets.

The Sacred Valley

Located less than an hour’s drive from Cusco, the Sacred Valley is considered the heart of the Inca empire as it is the gateway to Machu Picchu. The valley offers amazing views of nature, terraced fields and Inca ruins, as well as an experience of authentic local culture.

The towns of the Sacred Valley, such as Pisac and Chinchero, are famous for their traditional markets. These markets offer a vibrant display of colourful textiles, handicrafts and local produce, making it a unmissable destination when visiting Peru.

Peru is a country that captivates the hearts of travellers with its diverse landscapes, rich history and vibrant culture. Whether you’re seeking breathtaking natural wonders like the spectacular Lake Titicaca or want to immerse yourself in the fascinating history of the Inca civilisation, Peru offers a wide range of experiences for every type of adventurer. When you plan your trip to Peru, make sure to include these must-visit destinations in your travel itinerary for memories that will last a lifetime.