25 Top Tips for Backpacking in Peru
So you are planning a backpacking adventure? Thinking about your next destination?
South America is such an alluring continent with so many amazing cities, islands and beaches. If you are keen to explore this vast region, Peru should be near the top of the list of countires you want to visit.
There are so many popular things to do in Peru, from trekking to see ancient ruins, exploring the lush Amazon jungle to going surfing!
If you do want to visit Peru we have put together a list of top tips from past travellers including ideas for where to go, alternative and off the beaten track activities, and some more recommendations so you can maximise your trip here.
Important Things to Know Before Backpacking Peru
These simple tips will help you plan the ultimate trip:
Getting to Peru
Book flights inadvance from international destinations, or from other destinations in South America it is not recommdended to cross from Ecuador to Peru via Zumba.
When to Go
Visit Peru in June, it's Inti Raymi celebration - one of the most vibrant festivals on the yearly calendar! June and July are also the best months of year to hit Peru's beaches: Mancora, Punta Sal, Zorritos, Santa Barbara. Go surfing and kitesurfing.
It will really help to know some Spanish travel phrases as outside of accommodation most people don't speak English. If you want to take a gap year in Peru there are lots of companies who can arrange Spanish language courses in Peru and sightseeing activities.
Try Cuy (guinea Pig) & Alpaca - lovely local cuisine. Drink coca tea to avoid the 'sorocho' in the Andes.
Where to Stay in Lima
If you viist Lima stay at Cocopelli or Pirawana Hostels. This is popular with backpackers and also people teaching English in Peru.
Where to Stay in Cusco
The Cusco Wild Rover Hostel is the best place for a massive social party.
Best Amazon Eco Lodge
In the Amazon, stay at Explorer's Inn Eco Lodge. To get here fly into Puerto Maldonado and canoe to the lodge - what an adventure. Take the walk to Gocta waterfall if you get the chance.
Add Huacachina to Your Itinerary
Go to huacachina stay at the Banana Republic Hostel. Most hostels can arrange sandboarding, buggy tours and Pisco tours which are a lot of fun.
Where to Stay in Mancora
In Mancora stay at the Loki Hostel. This is if you want a totally awesome party hostel.
Essential Places to See
Visit Lima, Cusco and the whole of the South, it's a dream destination.
Don't just pass through on the way to Machu Picchu. Stay a few days to see colonial architecture and wander the back streets of this amazing destination. This is one of the cities in South America you need to visit.
Go Surfing in Mancora
Most people don't think of Peru as a surfing destination, but its a great place to learn.
Seek out Adventure Sports in Arequipa
There are so many options including going on a buggy tour,
See the Floating Islands
The Floating Islands are really spectacular and different to the other tourist attraction in Peru.
Peru has lots of great travel opportunities but sometimes is nice just to relax and enjoy the night life and atmosphere in a place like Lima.
Book Your Inca Trek Early
The Inca Trail Trek in Peru is one of the travel highlights of the world, make sure you book in advance as spots fill up quick.
Wake Up For Sunrise Over Machu Picchu
If visiting Machu Picchu, try to take first bus up from Aguas Calientes in the morning to see the sun rise over the Machu Picchu ruins. This is one of the most amazing things to do in South America.
Alternative to Inca Trail
The Lorenzo expedition is a recommended adventure tour to Machu Pichu. You can mountain bike, raft, zipline and hike your way to the ancient ruins and it is much cheaper than the Inca Trail.
Get Away from the Crowds in Ayacucho
Ayacucho, Peru is a quiet little mountain town in the Andes. Very few "tourists" visit, mostly you get serious backpackers and also people who are volunteering in Peru.
See the Colca Canyon
In Arequipa do the Colca Canyon trek. This is the second deepest canyon in the world!
In Baños cycle the Ruta de la Cascadas and go zip lining here.
If you are lucky you'lll see Tungurahua errupt on night tour.
Go to lesser known Montanita for awesome party and surf town.
Iquitos is a destination that is compelling. October/ November is the best time to visit.
Villa de Leyva
Definitely visit Villa de Leyva, its beautiful. If you have a private chopper visit Kuelap (its on the death wish road
To see as much as possible check online reviews of top rated Peru group tours. Or if you have more time and want a proper adventure search South America tours and go see other countries in the region like Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile and Colombia.
Peru Backpacking Tips
Have you travelled to Peru? If you have any advice let us know in the comments section.