Peru Travel Information
When is the best time to go?
Peru has several different climatic zones, however only the coast experiences large swings in temperature. The seasons are reversed from those of the northern hemisphere. As a general rule, the best overall time to visit the country would be during Peru's winter (May to October).
Along the dry coastline including Lima, summers are hot and dry. The temperature drops from May to October, however the ocean currents bring in the garúa or fog.
In the highlands (Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu), mid-April through October is considered the dry season where you will find warm dry days and cold nights, particularly in June and July. The wet season runs November through March, with the wettest time around January and February. During this time, some of the hiking trails may close due to flooding.
In the Amazon basin, the water level drops considerably during the dry season, bringing the animals much closer into view, however in the wet season, the water level increases and you can penetrate much further into the jungle by boat. In both seasons, you're likely to have showers as well as hot humid sun.
What will I see?
Today, with INCA, you can explore archeological remnants of that vast empire and learn about pre-Incan native cultures from the impressive museum collections in Lima, Chiclayo and Ica.
You'll travel in comfort along portions of the coastal desert to see archeological ruins at Sipán, Túcume, Chan Chan, Paracas and Pachacamac. You'll learn about civilizations like the Chimú, Wari, Sipán, Paracas, and Nazca that flourished there hundreds, even thousands, of years ago. You'll experience an intriguing overflight of the enigmatic Nazca Lines. We'll try to sort out their true meaning later at a winery near Ica.
You'll never forget the stunningly brilliant, snow-capped peaks that rise into the infinite, blue Andean sky like Volcan El Misti near Arequipa. Or seeing the farmers working fields so steep that "falling off the farm" is a major occupational hazard.
Little in life is as moving as sitting quietly, alone, watching the warm curtain of morning light pushing clouds away from two venerable Picchus—Machu and Huaynu. As the outlines of ancient structures loom in and out of the mist, you can slowly discern the silent ruins of a "lost city"—Machu Picchu.
In the poet Pablo Neruda's words, this place is the "high reef of the human dawn." Perched in a saddle between the peaks, structures of magnificently fitted stone bear silent witness to the rushing Rio Vilcanota's cascade into the jungle far below. Discovered only in 1911, this mysterious site's true purpose will never be known. On your three-day exploration you'll have time to absorb and integrate these powerful images—then Machu Picchu will inhabit your soul forever.
With our expert guide, you'll learn about the Incan history as you stroll by walls of their fabled stonework in Cusco. One night you will dine on typical dishes like ricotto relleño as you listen to indigenous musicians and watch Andean folk dances. And you can bargain for folklorico in our favorite Indian market in Chinchero.
Lima - City of Kings
INCA's Peruvian adventures begin in Lima. Founded by Francisco Pizarro in 1535, this Ciudad de los Reyes - City of Kings - was the capital of Spain's realm in South America. As such, it bestowed so much wealth on the Spanish Crown that for more than two centuries Peru was the most powerful Spanish vice-royalty in the Americas.
Now, in the old colonial city, you'll visit some of Lima's fine old churches and public buildings. You'll see remnants of the great wealth and early arts of the Americas displayed in the museum collections of gold and silver artifacts, exotic pottery and exquisite weaving at Museo de Nación, the private collection of Enrico Poli and others.
The cultural fusion that is Perú is fertile ground for some of the most innovative cuisine in the world and Lima has become a gastronomical destination for serious food lovers. No visit to Perú would be complete without experiencing Lima's dynamic culinary scene.
Is this the right trip for me?
Perú trips offer a perfect balance of activity, education, phenomenal cuisine and pure luxury.
We recommend a moderate level of fitness, particularly for Cusco and Machu Picchu as walks and hikes are at elevation and have uphill and sometimes steep portions. Good balance, health and proper footwear are essential for the most enjoyable adventure.
To ensure your enjoyment at altitude, we can arrange to have oxygen available in your Cusco hotel room. Just let us know when confirming your arrangements.
If you have the time and wish to venture farther afield, we're happy to make custom arrangements to visit pre-Columbian sites along the northern and southern coasts, arrange jungle visits in the northern or southern Amazon basin, visits to Lake Titicaca and Colca Canyon.