Planning Your Trip to Peru

Does Peru have any visa requirements or is there anything I need to do ahead of time to get into or out of the country?

North Americans do not need a prearranged visa and do not have to pay a fee to enter Peru. All travelers must have passports valid for at least 6 months beyond dates of travel.

What immunizations and shots do I need to travel to Peru?

No immunizations are currently required for travel to Peru. For any international travel, the Centers for Disease Control recommend being up to date on routine vaccinations, and Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccinations are also recommended.

If traveling to the Peruvian Amazon, a yellow fever vaccine is recommended. This vaccination, which is valid for life, must be administered at least 10 days before your arrival to be effective. It is recommended that travelers bring along their International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) as proof of vaccination.

The mosquito-transmitted Zika and dengue viruses are found in the Amazon region of Peru, and as such the CDC recommends travelers take extra precautions to avoid being bit by mosquitos. Use insect repellents with 25-30% Deet or 20% Picaridin, and wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks and shoes to protect against mosquito bites. Malaria preventatives are also recommended if visiting Iquitos or Puerto Maldonado and surrounding areas in the Amazon region (usually by river cruise). In accordance with the CDC, Knowmad Adventures does not advise travel to the Peruvian Amazon if you are pregnant.

If you have a history of altitude sickness or have an easily upset stomach, we recommend consulting your medical professional regarding preventative medications.

It is a good idea to visit a travel clinic 4-8 weeks prior to any international travel. For more information, you can also check out the Centers for Disease Control website.

For specifics on Covid-19 vaccination requirements, please visit our Current South America Covid Regulations & Info page.

What can I do to prepare for the altitude?

Although we plan trips with time to acclimatize, travelers may experience some symptoms of altitude sickness due to the elevation. To mitigate the effects of altitude, make sure you sip water regularly to maintain a steady amount of hydration and try to avoid alcohol and strenuous activity for the first day or two at altitude. Many people also recommend coca tea and other coca products as an aid in relieving symptoms of altitude sickness, and these are readily available throughout the highlands and can be found at most hotels and restaurants.

Many visitors to the highlands report mild common altitude symptoms such as fatigue, headache, trouble sleeping, or lightheadedness during their first day or two at elevation. Many hotels have oxygen available for travelers feeling these effects. Prior to your trip, you may want to ask your medical professional about Diamox or other medications for altitude sickness. For trekking itineraries and high-altitude hikes, guides carry an oxygen tank.

Severe altitude sickness is extremely rare and can be the result of a pre-existing condition. If you have a heart or lung condition (such as high blood pressure, asthma, angina, etc.) it is important to consult your medical professional whether or not travel to high altitudes is advised.

How do I get money and pay for things while in Peru?

Peru’s official currency is the Nuevo Sol. When paying with cash, Nuevo Soles are preferred, though USD are also accepted at many businesses.

ATMs are the easiest way of getting cash in Peru. They distribute local Nuevo Soles and use the most current exchange rate, though many ATMs do charge a small fee for foreign cards. Your bank may also charge an international ATM fee (usually $5 USD or under), so we recommend checking with your bank before you travel. Some ATMs also have transaction withdrawal limits, so if you will need a large sum plan ahead (you are able to make multiple transactions, however any transaction fees will be assessed each time). If you prefer to arrive with Nuevo Soles in hand, many banks and credit unions offer foreign currency ordering services for their account holders for a fee.

There are several ATMs at the Lima and Cusco airports, as well as one at the Lima airport hotel where many travelers spend their first night. We suggest bringing $100 USD in small denominations as backup funds in case there are any issues with your cards. Keep small change for bathroom entry fees at historical sites, including Machu Picchu. We also recommend obtaining cash before flying out to more remote areas where there are few or no ATMs, such as the Amazon. If you need help locating an ATM, please ask your guide.

Bring two cash cards if you can. Credit cards are often accepted at nice restaurants and shops, and can usually be used at hotels for any discretionary costs. To avoid your cards being flagged it is important that you notify your bank and credit card company about your dates of travel. Additionally, take note of your credit card emergency numbers and daily withdrawal limit. Traveler’s checks should be an emergency option only, as they are rarely used in Peru and can only be cashed at large banks.

How much should I tip while on my trip?

Tipping in Peru is seen as a bonus, and it is Knowmad’s hope that you use these guidelines simply as a framework and tip according to the quality of service you feel you receive. We recommend between $10-20 USD per person, per full day, for private guiding, and $3-5 USD per person, per full day for a private driver. For large groups (5+) it is appropriate to tip guides closer to $10 USD per person or less. Please note that for activities such as kayaking, biking, horseback riding, etc. you will have two guides, and it is appropriate to tip each of them separately. For transfer agents (the person who will accompany you to and from airports), a small tip of $5-10 in total for the group is common.

If doing a trek or overnight hike, you will also have a cook, porters and camp crew. From your full group, we recommend around $15 per day for the cook and $7-10 per day for each porter and crew member. If hiking the full Inca Trail, please see the “Hiking the Inca Trail” section below for more details.

In restaurants, many bills include a 10% gratuity, and it is customary to add an additional 10% for very good service. For cab drivers and porters at hotels, spare change or small sums are customary. Tipping recommendations are in U.S. dollars as exchange rates fluctuate frequently, however in Peru the local currency (Nuevo Soles) is preferred when tipping.

Is trip insurance included or should I purchase trip insurance?

Trip insurance is not included in your trip cost. Knowmad highly recommends insuring your trip, as the unforeseeable is just that, unforeseeable. Shortly after receiving this document you will receive an email from our recommended travel insurance provider, Travel Guard, with a pre-built quote. The policy will be built corresponding with your trip dates, total cost including estimated international and regional airfare, and your personal information. Should you choose to purchase this recommended policy, simply click the blue “Review my travel insurance quote” link, review the coverage, and enter payment information.

Additionally, some countries are requiring specific coverage due to Covid-19. Please see visit our Current South America Covid Regulations & Info page for details.

Do I need a converter/adapter for the electricity in Peru?

Most electrical outlets in Peru accept the 2-pronged plugs with flat blades found in the U.S. (Type A), though some facilities have been noted to accept plugs with 2 rounded prongs instead (Type C). Knowmad recommends bringing an adapter just in case if you have electronics that require daily charging. 220 is the accepted voltage in Peru. Many higher-end electronics like cameras and phone chargers will accept this voltage, while hairdryers and curlers of 110 volts will likely fry. If your electronics do not accept 220 volts, you will need a converter. We recommend checking the labels on your electronic devices to see which ones will be compatible before you travel.

Can I drink the water in Peru?

Tap water in Peru is not safe to drink. We recommend using only bottled water while in Peru for drinking water and brushing your teeth. It is also important to request your beverages without ice (“sin hielo”) while at restaurants, as the ice may not be made with purified water. Many establishments will have bottled water available, and your guide will be able to help you if there is ever a question. Also, it is best to avoid eating the skin of raw fruits or vegetables (apples, salads, etc.) and any dairy products that have been sitting out.

Please bring a reusable water bottle with you, as we bring a large container of water in the van that you can use to refill your bottle throughout the day. In the evening, your hotel’s front desk can also refill your bottle.

How far in advance should I make dinner reservations?

Restaurants in Peru have gotten really popular, especially in Lima and Cusco. Central, Maido, Chicholina, Map Café, and Astrid y Gaston in particular can fill up far in advance (up to four months ahead for Central, depending on the season). If you would like to dine at a specific restaurant, we suggest making reservations two months or more in advance. Many restaurants allow you to make reservations online, or please feel free to contact your Operations Specialist at least two and a half months in advance for assistance with lining up reservations.

Is it safe to travel in Peru?

Peru is considered a safe country. In recent years tourism has increased and the government has made a concerted effort to keep travelers and their valuables safe. Travelers should take the same precautions that they would in any unfamiliar city. Be aware of your surroundings, travel with a companion (especially at night), and stay in populated and well-lit areas. Non-violent demonstrations are common in Peru and travelers are advised to avoid them.

To help reduce the chance of petty theft, keep a close eye on your belongings especially in airports, crowded tourist sites, and busy markets. Do not use loosely hanging bags or purses (bags that zip are recommended), avoid wearing flashy or expensive jewelry, and when in crowds move backpacks and purses to the front of your body. Carry only the money you’ll need each day, and keep the rest in the safety deposit box in your hotel room along with your passport and other valuables.

Check out the U.S. State Department travel advisories for the latest information.

What can I do to prepare for the Inca Trail hike?

In the time leading up to your trip, it is a good idea to do as much hiking as possible. Along with day hikes, try and fit in a few multi-days hikes if possible, and at as high of an altitude as your surroundings allow. Hikes that involve significant uphill hiking are ideal.

Aside from hiking, build up your overall fitness. Create a weekly fitness plan, doing aerobic exercise several times a week. The earlier you start preparing for your trek, the better prepared your heart and lungs will be. It is also a good idea to build up your leg and core muscles, as these are what you use most while hiking. You will be walking up a lot of stairs during the trek, so using stairs or a step machine as part of your training routine is also beneficial. The treadmill on the highest setting for steepness is also a good exercise.

During this time, we also recommend ensuring that the hiking shoes or boots you plan to use on the Inca Trail have been broken in and are comfortable enough for longer treks.

How much hiking will I do each day? How difficult is hiking the Inca Trail?

The Inca Trail involves 4 full days of hiking with the average distance being 6.5 miles per day. The full trek is 26 miles. For most people in moderate to good physical condition it could take an average 6 to 7 hours of hiking per day with one day often stretching to 8 or 10 hours. There are significant ups and downs and the highest point of elevation on the hike is 13,778 feet. You are often hiking on uneven terrain, including Incan stairs and stones, which involve a lot of focused concentration to continue climbing for long periods of time. The third day of the trek is the most difficult for most, stretching to 10 or even more hours of hiking for some travelers. The first day is the easiest, but it is very important to still pace yourself to conserve your energy for the days to come. Even for those accustomed to long, multi-day hikes the altitude can make the Inca Trail a difficult trek. It’s important to go into the trek prepared to be challenged not only physically, but mentally as well. Below is a map showing each day of the trek.

What are the accommodations like?

Knowmad is one of the few permitted to camp in remote sites away from the crowds. Night one we camp near the archaeological sites of Wayna Q’ente and Llaqtapata in a nearly private campsite. The following night we camp at Llulluchapampa outside the high-altitude indigenous Andean village of Huayllabamba with a breathtaking view of Mount Huayanay. The third night we camp in a beautiful clearing in the vicinity of Phyupatamarca (translates to the village on the edge of the clouds), where there are likely to be a few other groups camping. This combination of sites ensures remoteness, sweeping views, and visits to lesser-known archaeological sites.

All of your campsites will have a toilet tent set up for your use. It will be just outside the camping tents, about 3 meters away. Only your first campsite will have access to a shower. While you are hiking during the day, there are several national park bathrooms along the way for your use. Unfortunately, these bathrooms are not very well maintained by the park. Most travelers prefer to use the toilet tent that will be set up for you at each campsite and also at lunch time.

What is a typical meal, and how do I get water during the trek?

Your breakfast, lunch and dinner are very filling, scrumptious meals. You will be given snacks each morning and be able to eat them through the day as you like. Here is a sample day’s menu while on the trail:

  • Breakfast (around 7 a.m.): Yogurt, granola, bread, cheese, and tea or coffee.
  • Morning snack (11 a.m.): Two pieces of fruit, chocolate, and nuts.
  • Lunch (1 p.m.): Soup and grilled chicken with potatoes.
  • Afternoon tea and snack (6 p.m.): Cake, popcorn, and tea or coffee.
  • Dinner (7 p.m.): Soup, beef stew with quinoa, and dessert.

Our Inca Trail cooks work magic preparing filling, nutritious and delicious meals throughout the trek. However, if you have specific nutrition bars or items you’ve found work well for you to keep your energy up you can also bring those, but just keep in mind packing weight restrictions. If you have any dietary restrictions, please make sure to let your Operations Specialist know before your trip.

While you are hiking on the Inca Trail and camping our team will be filtering water for the group along the way, so you do not need to pack any water filtration supplies. Bring along a reusable water bottle or two, as then you will be able to refill these bottles in the morning, at lunchtime and at camp in the evening. You should be drinking 2 to 4 liters of water each day to stay hydrated.

How much money should I carry and how much should I tip while on the Inca Trail?

While on the Inca Trail you will have a head guide, porters, camp crew, and a head cook all working together to ensure a safe and wonderful experience for you. If you are doing a group Inca Trail departure, you will likely have a different guide for the Inca Trail than for the rest of your trip. Please always keep in mind that any tipping is considered as a bonus in Peru, and you should always tip what you are comfortable with and according to the service you feel you receive. Your guide will also provide envelopes and guidance for any tips you would like to leave for the crew on your last night of the trek. To help you with this, we recommend the following guidelines:

  • Guide: $10 to $25 USD per person, per day is our recommendation, depending on your group size and the service you feel you received.
  • Assistant Guide: If your trek has more than 8 travelers you will also have an assistant guide. $8 to $15 per person, per day is our recommendation.
  • Head Cook: $60 to $80 USD per group for the full trek. (Tipping suggestion based on a group of 8 or fewer travelers. If your group is more than 8 travelers, most tip closer to $75 to $100 from the full group for the full trek.)
  • Porters: $40 to $70 USD per porter, per group for the full trek. (For smaller groups less than 8 travelers it’s common to be towards the lower end of that spectrum, and larger groups towards the higher end.)
  • Assistant Cook & Toilet Porter: These porters have additional responsibilities along the trail and once arriving at camp. We suggest tipping each of them $50 to $80 per group for the full trek. (For smaller groups less than 8 travelers it’s common to be towards the lower end of that spectrum, and larger groups towards the higher end.)

Tipping in Nuevo Soles is preferred, especially for the porters who have fewer opportunities to exchange dollars. However, if it is easier, you can always tip in dollars too.

Highlands (Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca)

In the highlands there is less temperature fluctuation throughout the year, but nights and early mornings can be significantly colder than throughout the day. Year-round high temperatures average 60-70 ˚F, with temperatures dipping to the 30s and 40s ˚F at night. May to October is dry season, with warm daytime temperatures and chilly nights in the low 30s ˚F. Rainy season lasts from November to mid-April, with the heaviest rainfalls occurring in January and February.

Coast (Lima, Arequipa, Nazca)

Seasons are opposite of the U.S. and Europe, with the average temperatures between 70-80 ˚F during the warmer months (November-May). During the cooler months (June-October), temperatures generally remain in the low 60s ˚F at night and the high 60s ˚F during the day. Average temperatures fluctuate more throughout the year along the coast than in the highlands. Lima doesn’t have a great deal of precipitation but is often cloudy and overcast in the morning due to a coastal fog.

Amazon Rainforest

The rainforest has year-round high temperatures of 85-95 ˚F, and rain. Rainfall is heaviest from November to May, and during this time the weather is hot and humid. From May to September, temperatures are milder, usually in the 70s-80s ˚F, and cold air masses can move in from Bolivia and Argentina, cooling further.

Packing for the Inca Trail

The weight limit for personal items brought on the Inca Trail is 18 lbs, which includes your sleeping bag. (Sleeping bags provided by Knowmad weigh approximately 4.5 lbs.) Knowmad will provide a 30 cm x 60 cm duffle bag for you to pack in for the Inca Trail. You will receive the duffle the night before your trek. Your main luggage will be taken to your Cusco hotel for when you arrive after the trek and after Machu Picchu. While the porters will carry this duffle bag, you will be responsible for carrying your personal daypack. In that daypack we recommend packing your layers you will need access to while hiking, such as a raincoat, plus your water bottle, camera, sunblock, your small personal first aid kit, sunglasses and/or a hat for sun, and a bit of toilet paper.

Clothing should be multi-purpose, layerable, and quick-drying. Please see below for a detailed list.

  • Short-sleeved shirts or t-shirts (non-cotton recommended)
  • Light-colored long-sleeved shirts
  • Fleece or wool sweater
  • Lightweight hiking pants (2 pairs suggested, the hiking pants that zip off to become shorts are ideal)
  • Regular and long underwear
  • Medium weight jacket (synthetic is better but down will suffice)
  • Hat for sun
  • Hat for warmth
  • Rain jacket and/or rain poncho (light poncho is helpful to cover your daypack too)
  • Rain pants
  • Light gloves
  • Medium-weight hiking socks & optional sock liners
  • Comfortable waterproof hiking shoes (see below)
  • A change of shoes for around camp
  • Trekking poles (optional; see below)
  • Camp pillow (optional; your stuffed duffle bag can work great as a pillow)
  • Sleeping bag (see below)
  • Small daypack
  • Daypack rain cover if not bringing a poncho
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunblock, lip balm and insect repellent (small sizes for minimum weight)
  • Headlamp or flashlight
  • Quick-drying pack towel
  • Swimsuit (for Aguas Calientes hot springs)
  • Water bottle (we suggest 2 bottles totaling 1.5 to 2 liters)
  • Electrolyte powder packets (Pedialyte or Emergen-C Replenisher) for dehydration
  • Toiletries (biodegradable soap will be provided)
  • Toilet paper (toilet paper is provided at camps, but this can be handy to have in your daypack while hiking)
  • Hand sanitizer and wet wipes (wet wipes are great to use to freshen up at camp)
  • Large plastic garbage bags (great to put your clothing in in your duffle; in case of any rain it adds an extra layer of protection)
  • Personal first-aid kit – Guides carry a medical kit, but we suggest this for bruises and blisters. This could include: Ibuprofen or similar, Imodium, Pepto Bismol, and/or Ciprofloxacin if prescribed. Knee or ankle braces are useful if you suffer from weakness or previous injury. Include any special medications you take.


HIKING BOOTS OR SHOES Large hiking boots are not a requirement. Comfortable hiking shoes with good ankle support are sufficient for most people and are less bulky to pack. If you already have a pair of hiking boots that you feel more comfortable using you are welcome to bring them, however we do not recommend that you bring a new pair of boots that are not already broken-in. Best rule of thumb is comfortable shoes you can hike all day in, for four days (and a fifth day at Machu Picchu), with good ankle support.

SLEEPING BAGS You may bring your own sleeping bag (0 to 15-degree ˚F rated), or, with prior notice, a sleeping bag can be provided at no cost through your Operations Specialist. Sleeping bags are dry-cleaned between each use. Thermarest sleeping pads are provided to all travelers at no cost.

TREKKING POLES Trekking poles are optional but recommended. You can bring your own, or our team can provide them at no extra cost. If you would like us to provide them, please let your Operations Specialist know prior to departure. Please note that if you decide to bring your own trekking poles with you, they are not allowed to have exposed metal tips on the Inca Trail, and therefore you must use rubber-based poles or cover the metal tips with secured rubber tip protectors.

Duffel Bag Specifics

If you are visiting Machu Picchu (either via the Inca Trail, Inca Trail Express, or by train), we will provide you with a 30 cm x 60 cm duffel bag the night before you take the train or begin your trek. During your time at Machu Picchu, you will be separated from your main luggage and will not see it again until arriving at your hotel in Cusco. In your duffle bag, you must pack only what you need for your days at Machu Picchu and until your return to Cusco. If hiking the Inca Trail Express or taking the train to Aguas Calientes, we suggest the duffel bag as the train has a 20-lb weight and 62-linear inch restriction on baggage. If hiking the Inca Trail Express, your duffle bag will continue on the train to Aguas Calientes where it will be retrieved by your hotel, while you hike with just your day pack. Depending on the size of your main baggage, your guide may use his or her discretion and suggest you do not need a duffel bag. Please follow your guide’s instructions.

For travelers visiting the Amazon, please note that many lodges have a 22-lb limit on baggage entering the reserve and they ask that you bring only what is necessary for the dates of your stay. If you plan on traveling to Peru with a large suitcase, we suggest also bringing a duffel bag for the Amazon portion of your trip and packing into the duffel bag before you fly to Puerto Maldonado. Your remaining baggage will be stored safely in the lodge’s Puerto Maldonado office.

Highlands (Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca)

In the highlands, nights and early mornings can by significantly colder than throughout the day. Comfortable, layerable clothing is definitely the rule of thumb for this region, including a warm fleece and sweater, as it can be surprisingly cold. If visiting this region, a rain layer is an especially good idea. Additionally, you may want to bring altitude sickness preventatives such as Diamox (check with your medical professional for recommendations).

Amazon Rainforest

Due to the heat and humidity, lightweight and moisture-wicking clothing will be most comfortable for your time in the Amazon region. Long-sleeved shirts and pants are handy to ward off insects, and lightweight pants are comfortable to wear with rubber boots. We also recommend light-colored clothing overall as it helps to not attract the heat of the sun. Other suggested items include lightweight full rain gear (jacket and pants), lightweight wicking or quick-dry t-shirts or long-sleeved shirts, lightweight athletic pants (not jeans), unscented toiletries, and walking poles if you have difficulty walking on uneven terrain. There can be a cold wind that blows through Peru’s southern Amazon basin, so we also suggest a light hat and a light jacket or sweater. You may also want to bring your own binoculars and a headlamp or flashlight (useful for nighttime wildlife excursions). Rubber boots are provided by most lodges, including Reserva Amazonica.


Required gear such as lifejackets will be provided. For this activity, we recommend wearing a long-sleeved non-cotton shirt, lightweight, quick-drying pants, and a swimsuit underneath if you would like to jump in. If it’s a cool day don’t forget a windbreaker, and if you like having gloves for paddling you should pack your own.


Required gear such as helmets, lifejackets, and wetsuits will be provided. You should bring a swimsuit to wear under your wetsuit, a pair of strapped sandals or tennis shoes, a small towel, and a complete set of dry clothes to change into when you finish.


Required gear such as helmets will be provided. For this activity, we recommend wearing tighter fitting pants or shorts, a warmer layer on top such as a fleece with a cooler layer underneath, your raincoat just in case, sunglasses, and of course sunscreen!

Horseback Riding

For this activity, wear jeans or thicker pants and comfortable athletic shoes. It’s also nice to bring a full-zip or button-down fleece or sweater, as it can be difficult to pull a sweater over your head while on a horse! We also recommend bringing a hat for the sun, sunscreen, lip balm, and a water bottle.

Taquile Homestay

If you are participating in the overnight homestay opportunity, you will need a daypack packed with a change of warm clothes, pajamas, toiletries, and anything else you will need for one overnight.

Sleeping Bags

For treks like the Huchuy Qosqo overnight hike, you may bring your own sleeping bag (0-15˚F rated), or, with prior notice, a sleeping bag can be provided at no cost through your Operations Specialist. Sleeping bags are dry-cleaned between each use. Thermarest sleeping pads are provided to all travelers at no cost.


Comfortable walking shoes or hiking shoes with good ankle support are sufficient for most people and are less bulky than hiking boots, therefore we recommend them for most itineraries. For hiking-intensive itineraries, hiking boots are great but not a necessity. We do not recommend buying a new pair of hiking boots or hiking shoes immediately prior to your trip, as they will not be broken in and can result in painful blisters.

Trekking Poles

Trekking poles are optional but recommended for the full Inca Trail, Inca Trail Express, and other full-day hikes and treks. You can bring your own, or our team can provide them at no cost. If you would like us to provide them, please let your Operations Specialist know prior to departure. Please note that if you decide to bring your own trekking poles with you, they are not allowed to have exposed metal tips on the Inca Trail, and therefore you must use rubber-based poles or cover the metal tips with secured rubber tip protectors.

Airline Baggage Policy

Please check with your carrier and refer to your ticket booking details for information on baggage restrictions and fees. Most regional and intra-South American flights will be on LATAM airlines. Based on your ticketed fare you may be allowed one personal item and one carry-on piece of baggage in the main cabin, and one checked piece of baggage not exceeding 50 lbs. Overweight and additional baggage may be subject to additional fees. Please check your flight confirmation for more details.

Knowing a lot about a country before you travel there can enrich your travels and help you meet and relate to more local people. To learn more about Peru’s history, culture, and people we recommend consulting travel guide books, online websites, and travel blogs.

Recommended Restaurants

Meals at restaurants in Peru are meant to be enjoyed and expected to be unrushed. You will have to ask for the check, as it’s considered rude to provide a check without the patron having requested it. In many upscale restaurants a 10% gratuity will be automatically added to your bill, though it is still customary to add an additional 5-10% tip on top of this.

Price guide for the approximate cost of a main dish at each restaurant (please note that prices and restaurant hours are subject to change without notice): $ = Under 10 $$ = 10-25 $$$ = 25-50 $$$$ = Over 50

Covid-19 has affected restaurants’ hours of operation in South America as in the United States. Please refer to their websites for additional information and to make a reservation, as doing so may require you to enter payment information to confirm the reservation. We recommend making reservations at least 2 months in advance for the Christmas, New Year’s, and Easter holiday dates; and further in advance if looking to dine at a particular restaurant. If calling or making reservations from outside of Peru dial +51 before the complete phone number.



  • ASTRID Y GASTÓN – Price: $$$$ A hybrid Criollo restaurant with French roots, expect creativity and execution at one of the top-ranked, world- renowned gourmet restaurants. Reservations are recommended.
  • HUACA PUCLLANA – Price: $$$ Located in a breathtaking setting within the ruins of the Huaca Pucllana archaeological compound, expect nouveau Peruvian served gourmet style. For something local with a twist, try humitas verdes (tamales) and causitas pucllana (balls of mashed potatoes with shrimp and avocado). Reservations are recommended.
  • MAIDO – Price: $$$$ One of the top restaurants in Latin America, Maido is an excellent example of Nikkei cuisine (the fusion of Japanese techniques with Peruvian ingredients) and also offers an incredible 15-course tasting menu. Reservations required.
  • LA MAR CEBICHERÍA – Price: $$ Specializing in ceviche, this Gastón Acurio restaurant offers an ever-changing menu based on the fresh catch of the day. No reservations accepted. We suggest arriving at 12:00 p.m. in order to get seated.
  • RAFAEL – Price: $$$ – $$$$ Owned by Rafael Osterling, this beautiful townhouse in the Miraflores area celebrates Peru’s diverse food culture taking from its many different culinary roots such as Italian and Asian influences.
  • EL MERCADO – Price: $$-$$$ Rafael Osterling’s cevercheria takes a modern look at Peruvian cuisine while still considering its origins.


  • CENTRAL – Price: $$$ Chef Virgilio Martínez’s top-rated restaurant artistically presents Peru’s ingredients, and the tasting menus are based on the altitudes at which ingredients are found. Reservations required and can fill up 4 months in advance.
  • DAMA JUANA – Price: $$-$$$ Offers buffet and dinner with a show, featuring traditional style dances.
  • ISOLINA – Price: $$ Chef José del Castillo serves traditional, seafood based Peruvian food in the artsy Barranco district.


  • PICANTERIA – Price: $$ – $$$ Enjoy the unique experience of a traditional picanteria, a tradition started in Arequipa, eating family style while sharing two large tables.


  • LARCO MUSEUM CAFÉ – Price: $$ Located in the terrace of the Larco Museum with a view of the pre-Columbian pyramid and the collection in the museum, this restaurant celebrates the culture of Peruvian cuisine from the different regions within Peru.


  • CICCIOLINA – Price: $$-$$$ Inhabiting a lofty colonial courtyard mansion, Cicciolina has long held its position as Cusco’s best restaurant. The eclectic, sophisticated food is divine and the service exemplary. Reservations are recommended.
  • MAP CAFÉ – Price: $$$-$$$$ Nouveau Andean and international cuisine is served up in the Pre-Columbian Museum in a smart atmosphere, however you may run into large tour groups from time to time slowing service. Reservations are recommended.
  • A MI MANERA – Price: $$ One block from Cusco’s main square on the second floor of a colonial-era mansion, this family business takes a modern look at traditional Peruvian food.
  • INCANTO – Price: $$ A great place for well executed Italian at reasonable prices and centrally located near Plaza de Armas.
  • LOS TOLDOS – Price: $$ A down-home place with lip-smacking South American spit-roasted chicken, this is a good spot for those looking to get off the beaten path and eat where the locals do.
  • CICCIOLINA CAFE – Price: $$ The sister restaurant to Cicciolina, Baco is a warm bistro with a relaxed atmosphere offering a large variety of South American wines with Peruvian and European fare.
  • CALLE DEL MEDIO – Price: $$ With a great view of the main square, Calle del Medio has gourmet Peruvian and Andean food with great service.
  • PAPACHO’S – Price: $$-$$$ Gastón Acurio’s gourmet burger joint serves up classic fast-food dishes with an upscale, Peruvian twist. Vegetarian options available.
  • CHICHA – Price: $$$ Enjoy an Andean fusion meal at one of Gastón Acurio’s lovely properties, overlooking Plaza Regocijo. Reservations are recommended.
  • KION – Price: $$-$$$ This innovative spot blends Chinese and Peruvian cuisine for a bold twist on your meal.


  • EL HUACATAY – Price: $$ On a side street, Huacatay is an unexpected culinary experience. You’ll want to take your time at this creative, intimate restaurant serving Peruvian-Mediterranean fusion cuisine. Note: Visa credit cards not accepted.
  • MIL – Price: $$$$ Thrill your taste buds at Mil, a unique restaurant owned by renowned chef, Virgilio Martinez. Not only will you learn about his research taking place here, but enjoy a gourmet, Peruvian tasting menu while taking in the views of the surrounding mountains. Only available for lunch and by reservation.
  • KAIA SHENAI – Price: $-$$ Kaia has excellent healthy options (including vegan and gluten-free) and a relaxed, eco-friendly vibe.
  • TAWA – Price: $$ Located inside the Amak Hotel, Tawa has fantastic risottos and quinottos with many options in a candlelit setting.
  • EL ALBERGUE – Price: $$-$$$ Conveniently located next to the train platform in the El Albergue Hotel, enjoy classic Peruvian dishes prepared using fresh, organic ingredients from the restaurant’s farm.
  • LA ESQUINA CAFÉ – Price: $-$$ La Esquina is a colorful café located close to the famous ruins, on the main plaza. Stop in for a quick bite, and definitely save room for the desserts!
  • ALHAMBRA – Price: $$-$$$ This traditional hacienda offers a nice location for a delicious lunch buffet.


  • CAFÉ INKATERRA – Price: $$$ An elegant atmosphere overlooking the river and the train station, this is a great place to try Peruvian fusion – the slow-roasted cuy (guinea pig) is to die for!
  • INDIO FELIZ – Price: $$-$$$ Award-winning international cuisine with French and Peruvian influences, this eclectically decorated place is centrally located and has a warm atmosphere that will likely have you lingering.
  • QUNUQ – Price: $$$ In the Sumaq hotel, this is not your standard hotel restaurant. Nouveau Peruvian and international fare done to perfection.
  • JULIAN RESTAURANT – Price: $$ Formerly known as Mapi Carnes Grill, Julian has great meat options and good-sized portions.
  • TREE HOUSE – Price: $$-$$$ Contemporary Peruvian and international fusion served in a lovely, secluded setting, the food is worth the climb up the steps! The Tree House also has great vegan options.
  • TOTO’S HOUSE – Price: $$ Located in the heart of Aguas Calientes, this restaurant is well known for its large lunch buffet but also offers pizza and traditional Peruvian cuisine.


  • CHICHA – Price: $$$ Another gem by world-renowned chef Gastón Acurio. He’s at his best highlighting regional delights such as the rocotto relleno, a non-spicy pepper variety stuffed with pure deliciousness.
  • CEVICHERÍA MANTA – Price: $$ This restaurant is known for its Peruvian and seafood dishes.
  • LA NUEVA PALOMINO – Price: $$ This local joint shouldn’t be missed. Famous for its rocotto relleno, La Nueva Palomino’s menu features large portions of down-home Peruvian cooking.
  • TÍO DARIO – Price: $$ Relax while enjoying traditional plates on the patio surrounded by the beautiful garden and fountain for natural decoration.


  • MOJSA – Price: $$ Mojsa stands out in Puno for having a wide range of dishes. The grilled lamb is also delicious!
  • ALMA COCINA VIVA – Price: $$$ Located in the Casa Andina Private Collection Hotel and offering lake views, the mostly nouveau-Peruvian dishes are well executed. This is a great choice for an enjoyable meal in a more elegant setting than most restaurants in town.

Further Reading

  • CONVERSATION IN THE CATHEDRAL by Mario Vargas Llosa is a portrayal of Peru under the dictatorship of Manuel A. Odría in the 1950s, with characters from different social strata. Many of Vargas Llosa’s other fictional novels take place in or are commentaries on Peru.
  • TURN RIGHT AT MACHU PICCHU by Mark Adams is a humorous travelogue that follows the travels of an unadventurous man who decides to retrace the path that Hiram Bingham took to ‘discover’ the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu.
  • INCA LAND: EXPLORATIONS IN THE HIGHLANDS OF PERU by Hiram Bingham is the classic traveler’s tale. The book was first published in 1922, a little more than a decade after the American author ‘discovered’ the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.
  • AT PLAY IN THE FIELDS OF THE LORD by Peter Matthiessen is a classic, superb and true-to-life novel about the conflicts between the forces of ‘development’ and indigenous peoples in the Amazon jungle.
  • CUT STONES AND CROSSROADS: A JOURNEY IN THE TWO WORLDS OF PERU by Ronald Wright is a comprehensive journey through some of Peru’s ancient cities and archaeological sites, and it comes with helpful guides to Quechua terminology and traditional Andean music.
  • THE RIVER OF DOUBT by Candice Miller is at once an incredible adventure narrative and a penetrating biographical portrait. It is the true story of Theodore Roosevelt’s harrowing exploration of one of the most dangerous rivers on earth: the Amazon.
  • THE LOST CITY OF Z: A TALE OF DEADLY OBSESSION IN THE AMAZON by David Grann tells the story of the adventurer Percy Fawcett, “the last of the great Victorian explorers who ventured into uncharted realms with little more than a machete, a compass and an almost divine sense of purpose.”


Helpful Spanish


  • Buenos Dias (BWEH-nohs DEE-ahs) – Good morning, Good day
  • Buenas Tardes (BWEH-nahs TAR-dehs) – Good afternoon
  • Buenas Noches (BWEH-nahs NOH-chehs) – Good evening
  • Por favor (POHR fah-VOHR) – Please
  • Gracias (GRAH-syahs) – Thanks
  • ¿Cuánto cuesta esta? (KWAHN-toh KWEHS-tah EHSS-tah) – How much does this cost?
  • ¿Dónde está ____? (DOHN-deh ehss-TAH ___) – Where is ____?
  • ¿Habla inglés? (AH-blahs een-GLEHS) – Do you speak English?
  • ¿Qué recomienda? (KEH reh-coh-mee-EHN-dah) – What do you recommend?
  • Soy alérgico/a a ____ (soy ah-LEHR-hee-coh/-cah ah ____) – I’m allergic to ____



  • la carta (lah KAHR-tah) – the menu
  • la cuenta (lah KWEHN-tah) – the check
  • agua (AH-gwa) – water
  • café (kah-FEH) – coffee
  • cerveza (sehr-VAY-sah) – beer
  • vino (VEE-noh) – wine
  • pescado y marisco (pehs-KAH-doh ee mah-REES-kohs) – fish and seafood
  • pollo (POH-yoh) – chicken
  • carne (KAHR-nay) – meat
  • vegetariano/a (veh-heh-tah-RYAH-noh/-nah) – vegetarian
  • sin gluten (seen GLOO-tehn) – gluten-free

Have a question that you can’t find an answer to on our site? Or if you’d simply like to ask a real, live person your questions instead of browsing through these FAQ sections, we are more than happy to help. Just give us a call at 612-315-2894 or email [email protected].