17 Must-Know Peru Travel Tips for Digital Nomads

Want to visit Peru as a digital nomad? Here are 17 Peru travel tips to work remotely as you enjoy its must-see destinations, world-class dishes, and outdoor adventures.

Flavio Amiel

Flavio Amiel

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Published in Travel on 1/8/2024
17 Must-Know Peru Travel Tips for Digital Nomads

Looking for a new remote work environment with a rich culture, dazzling nature, and non-stop adventures? Why not explore the land of the iconic Machu Picchu and Incan heritage—Peru?

Digital nomads will surely love exploring Peru. Aside from its stunning tourist attractions, this South American country has an affordable cost of living, safe cities, and hospitable communities. There are also great co-working spaces in Lima and other cities where you can enjoy a productive and hassle-free work-travel experience.

In this article, I‘ll share 17 useful Peru travel tips for an enjoyable, safe, and budget-friendly Peru escapade. You'll also discover some of Peru's must-see destinations, delectable local cuisine, and exciting outdoor activities.

Top 17 Travel Tips for a Great Stay in Peru

1. Plan Your Trip in Advance

If the only thing you know right now about Peru is its iconic Inca ruins, maybe it's wise to pause and learn more about it before making any plans.

Peru is a South American country, so expect its culture to be different from that of North America or Asia. Its art, architecture, cuisine, music, and festivals have been strongly influenced by Spanish colonization as well as by its indigenous communities.

With this, more than 84% speak Spanish, while the remaining 26% mostly speak indigenous languages such as Quechua and Aymara. Only a few (around 11%) can speak English as their second language.

But language is not just the stuff you must know about Peru. Just like any foreign country you’ll visit for the first time, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with its government, laws, holidays, currency, food, transportation modes, and more. Don’t fret that your research will spoil the element of surprise, as Peru has endless surprises to offer.

Once you get an idea of the Peruvian culture, you can now delve into the specifics of your travel plan.

For instance, you must decide whether to travel independently or through an all-inclusive package. Independent travel offers flexibility and freedom but can be stressful because you have to plan everything. On the contrary, an all-inclusive package is more convenient, but you have less control over your trip (more about this later).

After that, start preparing your passport, visa, and other documentary travel requirements. Of course, you also need to mindfully plan your travel logistics: work equipment, cameras, clothes, and toiletries. It’s also important to exchange some of your USD for soles (Peruvian currency), as most establishments here only accept their local currency.

2. Consider the Cost of Traveling to Peru

Why do most tourists love visiting Peru? Simple: it’s cheap. Well, its marvelous nature and culture are other compelling reasons, of course, but being an affordable destination attracts a lot of people across countries.

You don’t have to splurge just to enjoy Peru. In fact, a traveler can have decent accommodation, satisfying meals, and shared transportation for as low as $27 (S/100) per day.

Here are some budget-friendly Peru travel tips to enjoy your stay in this country:

Accommodations: Since you also have to work remotely, you can take a private hostel room for $31 to $46 per night. There are also budget rooms that you can afford for $23 to $28 per night. These rooms offer a peaceful environment with basic amenities like free Wi-Fi, breakfast, and toiletries.

But if you really want to save more, you can opt for shared rooms (with privacy curtains) in some dorms for only $13 per night.

Food: Peru’s food is surprisingly inexpensive. For instance, a Peruvian meal served in small restaurants averages $2.70 to $3 per meal. There are also parillas or grills serving street foods that start at $1.5 per serving.

Some hostels in Peru have shared kitchens so you can cook your own food. A week of groceries (rice, meat, pasta, ingredients, etc.) might cost you around $16 to $20.

Transportation: Public transportation is the cheapest way to go around in Peru. A trip with its microbuses or colectivos costs only $0.54 to $2.70 per trip (depending on distance). The only catch is that they’re a bit of a hassle for foreigners who are not yet familiar with the route, but you can ask the door person to know if the bus will proceed to your destination.

Car rental is not advisable for tourists due to heavy traffic and limited parking spaces.

3. Choose the Best Time to Visit Peru

You can’t just go to Peru whenever you want, as some months might be too dry or rainy and may not align with your itinerary plan.

If you’re planning to hike the Peruvian mountains or trek to Machu Picchu, the best time to visit is between June and September, as it's the driest season.

The months of January to April are typically rainy, and hiking trails are unavailable. It’s also not advisable to visit during April and October as the weather in Peru can be unpredictable during these months.

Tourism is usually low during May and September, so you can try visiting during these months if you want to save some money on accommodations or entrance fees to some attractions.

4. Explore the Must-Visit Destinations in Peru

Since it’s not so costly to explore Peru, it’s great to go around its most-visited destinations, showcasing its Incan heritage, Spanish colonial influences, natural wonders, and vibrant nightlife.

Here are Peru’s best tourist destinations for pilgrimage, relaxation, and adventure:

  • Machu Picchu: Known as the famous “lost city of Incas, you’ll travel back in time as you witness the wondrous ruins of the Incan citadel up in the Peruvian Andes. Many are amazed by its well-preserved walls, temples, and ceremonial platforms, reflecting the brilliance of 15th-century Incan architecture.

If you feel extra adventurous, you can reach Machu Picchu by following in the footsteps of the ancient Incans through a 4-5 day trek along the Inca Trail. A sweet view awaits as you reach the citadel, with a breathtaking view of the majestic valleys of the Urubamba River under a glorious sunrise.

  • Paracas National Reserve: Located in Ica, Peru, this rich marine ecosystem features wild animals and beautiful beaches where you can relax and unwind. There are also over 60 Paracas archaeological sites in this destination.
  • Cordillera Blanca: If you love trekking or hiking, it’s worth visiting this snow-capped mountain range with thirty-three peaks standing above 18,000 feet. One of the best trekking circuits here is the Santa Cruz Trek, where you can traverse over the marvelous landscapes of the Peruvian mountains and valleys, as well as some crystal-clear lakes and rivers.
  • Batán Grande: This 55-square-kilometer archaeological site is home to over 50 pyramids and temples built around the 8th to 12th centuries AD. History buffs will surely love visiting this place where most pre-Columbian artifacts were extracted and are now displayed in museums.
  • Lima: This bustling capital city is the perfect spot to enjoy Peru’s nightlife, with lots of bars and clubs around. There are also museums, palaces, and colonial buildings where you can see the rich Spanish influences on Peruvian culture. On top of that, you can find adventure spots here where you can zipline, paraglide, or swim.

  • Lake Titicaca: Located between Peru and Bolivia, Lake Titicaca is the second-largest lake in South America. You’ll surely love a boat excursion over its crystal-clear blue water reflecting the stunning mountains. It also features the rich culture of the Uros people, who lived on floating, man-made islands made of dried totora reeds.

5. Pack Appropriately for Peru

Now that you have a well-thought-out travel plan, it’s time to pack the essential items to make your Peru escapade enjoyable and stress-free. Here are some of them:

  • Documents: This is a no-brainer. You can’t even ride the plane without your passport and visa, so these must be the first things you put in your bag. Moreover, don’t forget your plane tickets and hotel reservation receipts if you ever have one.
  • Shoes: A pair of good-quality shoes is a must to navigate around the varied terrain of Peru. For cities and towns, a pair of walking or athletic shoes will suffice. But for hiking and other outdoor adventures, hiking boots with ankle support are highly recommended. You can also bring some closed-toe camp shoes (like Crocs) once you reach your destination after hours of trekking or hiking.
  • Lightweight clothes: Breathable tops and pants are essential, especially when you’re walking around the city. Peru can be humid and hot at times, so it's great to have comfortable clothes to wear.
  • Warm Clothing: Some locations, such as Machu Picchu or Cusco, can be a little chilly at times. So it's nice to bring some sweaters, jackets, or beanies as extra layers.
  • Rain jacket: Yup, this tropical country has unpredictable weather; sometimes it's scorching hot, and then rains madly in the afternoon. Hence, a waterproof hooded rain jacket is a must-have in your travel bag.
  • Sun Protection: As a tropical country, the sun’s rays will surely mess up your skin once you walk along the Peruvian streets. So don’t forget to bring sunscreen, a wide-brim hat, sunglasses, and long-sleeve shirts.
  • Bug Spray: Whether you’re traveling to Machu Picchu or the Amazon jungle, an all-natural, DEET-free bug spray will save you from the bites of whimsy insects.
  • Insulated water bottle: Most of Peru’s tap water is not safe to drink, so it’s advisable to bring your own reusable bottle.
  • Daypack: A small backpack with shoulder straps is great for bringing only your essential items when leaving your hostels or hotels.
  • Electronic devices: As a digital nomad, your laptop and its charger must always be by your side. But make sure to also bring a portable phone charger (power bank), Wi-Fi router, and travel adaptor (most outlets in Peru are rounded).

6. Stay Safe in Peru

Fortunately, violent crimes are uncommon in Peru. Its days of political unrest and indiscriminate terrorism are long gone, and tourists can now walk in the streets safely and worry-free.

Your only worry here is those pickpockets, especially in Lima and other bigger cities. To keep your valuables safe, make sure to wear casual clothing. Avoid flaunting expensive jewelry or electronics in public. You can also use reinforced bag straps so no one can just grab your stuff and run.

In case of an emergency, you can dial the toll-free hotline 105 (or 911) for the Peruvian National Police.

7. Learn the Visa Requirements for Peru

If you’re from a country that’s not exempt from the Peru Tourist Visa requirement, you must get a tourist or temporary visa for a $30 fee.

As a digital nomad, you can stay here for a maximum of 183 days with a temporary visa. As of this writing, the Peruvian government is still working on a digital nomad visa that will allow remote workers to stay for up to a year.

Meanwhile, some Indian nationals may not need to prepare for Peru Visa requirements as they can enter this country visa-free if they have a US, Canada, Australia, Schengen, or UK visa valid for a minimum of 6 months.

Here are the requirements for a Peru tourist visa:

  • Valid passport with readable barcode
  • Completed Visa application form.
  • Passport-size photo
  • Return ticket or reservation indicating dates of arrival and departure to and from Peru
  • Tourism package confirmation in Peru (if applicable)
  • Personal Income Tax Return (if applicable)
  • Latest bank statements

Your visa will be processed for up to 30 days.

8. Consider All-Inclusive Vacation Packages

Solo travel to Peru is definitely exciting, but believe me, it can be a pain in the ass. Imagine the hassle of preparing your own Peru travel itinerary, accommodation, and transportation while working on the side. You’ll surely end up more exhausted than relaxed!

So why not try an all-inclusive package from a Peruvian tour company? They might be more expensive than solo travel, but they’ll certainly save you a headache traveling to a diverse, non-English foreign country.

For instance, a $2,000-worth classic Peru travel package from Intrepid Travel lets you explore the Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, and Lake Titicaca. A cheaper option is the standard four-day hike from Colca Tours, where you can explore the Colca Canyon for only $140.

9. Make the Most of Peru Itinerary

Peru is rich in culture, history, and adventure, and the only way to immerse yourself in an unforgettable Peruvian trip is by making a well-thought-out itinerary of your destinations.

For starters, a Peru itinerary is focused on the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu, but these locations only feature a snippet of the country’s striking natural sights and ancient heritage.

Here’s an example of an itinerary I made for this Peru travel blog: After landing in Lima, you can head to the charming city of Cusco to explore some Incan relics. You can then proceed to the small town of Ollantaytambo to enjoy some dazzling views of the sacred valley and the ruins of Incan temples, walls, and houses.

The following day, you can enter Machu Picchu and take some epic pictures of the Incan citadel with its breathtaking nature as its backdrop. You can then explore other destinations, such as the Maras Salt Mines and the Pisac Market.

10. Experience the Local Cuisine

Peruvian gastronomy is a melting pot of traditional, Spanish, Italian, and Asian flavors. It’s diverse yet distinct due to its unique blend of acidic and starchy flavors, as well as mild and robust tastes balancing each other.

Peru’s cuisine is not only a gateway to South America’s culinary tradition; it’s also your bridge to get you closer to the locals and experience their warm hospitality. From street food stands to high-end restaurants, the Peruvians are welcoming to foreigners trying to uncover their appetizing cuisine.

In this portion of our Peru travel tips, we share some of the country’s must-eat dishes:

  • Aji de Gallina: A spicy chicken stew with cream, cheese, local aji amarillo chili, and walnuts. This is usually served with white rice, hard-boiled eggs, or boiled potatoes. It looks like a curry because of the yellow stew, but it doesn’t taste like one—it’s less spicy and more creamy.
  • Ceviche: Known as Peru’s national dish, ceviche is a fresh fish (or an octopus, scallops, or shrimp) marinated in lime juice, salt, onion, and aji amarillo chili. You might expect that this dish tastes extremely sour (due to lime juice), but it’s actually richer, contrasting the freshness and texture of the seafood, the acidic flavor of lime, and the spiciness of the chili.

There are many variations of ceviche. For instance, the Tiradito slices the fish into thin strips (like sushi) and then flavors it with the same marination ingredients of the Ceviche (lime, aji amarillo, onion, etc.).

  • Cuy: This is not for the faint-hearted, as this is literally guinea pig meat baked or barbecued on a spit. The meat is usually served whole or as a snack.
  • Lomo Saltado: Around the late 19th century, many Chinese from Guangdong immigrated to Peru to work in agriculture. Decades of their stay gave birth to dishes fusing Chinese culinary techniques and Peruvian cuisine, one of which is Lomo Saltado. This is a stir-fry made of striped steak, onions, tomatoes, soy sauce, and spices that is usually served with white rice and wine.
  • Picarones: Sweet pumpkin and potato fritters, a donut-like Peruvian dessert that is usually served with sweet chancaca (unrefined sugar) syrup.

11. Engage in Sustainable Tourism Practices

Peru is a magnificent country endowed with rich natural marvels. Unfortunately, the threat of irreversible environmental damage becomes more imminent due to annual overtourism.

For instance, the massive number of travelers visiting Machu Picchu daily (beyond its capacity of 2,500 people) and the intense commercial activity worsen its ecosystem due to pollution, erosion, and deforestation.

Here are the best travel tips for Peru to protect its natural environment:

  • Leave no trace behind. Whether you’re hiking a mountain or walking along Peru’s lush jungle, avoid littering food, containers, waste, or any other object. Leave the place in the same condition as when you entered it.
  • Stay on marked trails. Deviating from an established trail may disturb the natural habitat of fauna and flora in the place or trample some fragile soil in the location.
  • Support Peru’s local businesses and NGOs. Purchasing food or souvenirs from local businesses and NGOs will help them in their cause of supporting sustainable tourism.

12. Stay Connected

Most hotels and cafes across Peru have Wi-Fi hotspots available for guests. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that the connection here is stable. Well, you might have no trouble checking your social media or email with these hotspots, but they're unreliable when you have to make video calls or access data-heavy software.

If you really want a more reliable Internet connection, it’s advisable to buy a local SIM card (or “chip”). The most dominant network providers in Lima and most cities are Movistar and Claro, so I highly suggest their SIM cards for national calls and Internet browsing. Make sure to bring your passport and ID when you purchase one.

A SIM card in Peru costs around $0.30 to $4.50. Another option is to bring a portable Wi-Fi router that works without a SIM card. However, make sure that the router works in Peru and has at least 4G connectivity speed.

13. Learn Basic Spanish

Spanish is Peru’s official language. So, if you want to hang around with locals and immerse yourself in its rich traditions, you can purchase an English-Spanish dictionary. Alternatively, you can download a language learning app (like Duolingo or Wlingua) to gain some basic Spanish proficiency.

Here are some common Spanish phrases that can help you during your Peru trip.

  • Hola (hello)
  • Gracias (thank you)
  • Buenos días (good morning)
  • Buenas tardes (good afternoon),
  • Buenas noches (good evening)
  • Me llamo…(my name is…)
  • Por favor = Please
  • Mucho gusto (nice to meet you)
  • Hable Ingles? (do you speak English?)
  • ¿Dónde? = Where?
  • ¿Aceptan dolares? (Do you accept dollars?)
  • ¿Cuanto vale? (How much is it?)
  • ¿Por qué? = Why?
  • Me gustaría pedir… (I would like to order)
  • Disculpe (Excuse me)

14. Be Prepared for Outdoor Adventures

From its deepest canyons to its pristine beaches, Peru’s alluring nature never runs out of activities that will keep your blood flowing. Here are some of Peru’s thrilling adventures that you should try:

  • Hiking: Aside from the Inca Trail, you can also conquer the magnificent landscapes of Cusco, such as the Lares Valley. There’s also the 15,000-foot-high Salkantay Trek, which offers a satisfying view of the mountains of Cordillera Vilcabamba. Make sure to follow your guide and stay on the trail throughout the journey.
  • Surfing: With the beautiful waves of the Pacific, it’s such a shame to miss Peru’s surfing sites during your travels. You don’t have to go far from Lima just to find some surf spots. For instance, you can visit Playa Makaha, Ala Moana, and La Herradura to play with some groovy Peruvian waves!
  • Paragliding: Touch the sky as you admire the breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean through paragliding. Peru’s capital, Lima, has lots of paragliding destinations if you’re into adrenaline-inducing experiences.
  • Swimming: Many include Peru on their bucket list because of its gorgeous beaches and shores, which are perfect tropical escapades for avid swimmers. Punta Sal in the Tumbes region and Playa de la Mina in the Ica region are some of Peru’s swimming destinations.
  • Zip-lining: Fly over the stunning view of the sacred valley by zip-lining. People of all ages can enjoy this activity as long as they can finish a short hike toward the cables.
  • Sandboarding: Peru’s desserts are so massive (almost half of Japan’s size!), so it’s definitely a perfect spot to run down a dune with a board. Popular sandboarding sites include Paracas, Moron Oasis, and Huacachina.

For every outdoor activity, follow the instructions from the staff in the area. If you’re uncomfortable with the gear you’re using, inform the staff beforehand so they can address your concerns.

You must also respect Peru’s biodiversity and refrain from plucking its fauna and flora. Also, keep your voice low when walking in forests to avoid disturbing their wildlife habitats.

15. Capture the Moment

Whether it’s a fascinating relic, a stunning sight of nature, or exotic wildlife, grab your camera and take the shot.

It’s not bad to take photos with your phone’s camera. In fact, they’re actually a little more intimate and personal than the ones taken with an actual camera. But if you really want a “stock photo quality” image, a DSLR is enough to capture the moment.

You can also bring photography accessories such as a tripod, polarizer, or lens cloth if you think they can help you capture images better.

16. Protect Against the Sun

UV rays in Peru are quite strong because of its proximity to the equator. Even a brief exposure to the sun can quickly harm your skin, especially when you’re traveling in high-altitude areas (such as La Rinconada and Cerro de Pasco) at peak hours of 9 AM, 12 PM, and 4 PM.

Always apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with high SPF and wear a lightweight long-sleeve shirt to protect your skin.

17. Embrace the Peruvian Lifestyle

Finally, try to spend your days in Peru like a local. Immerse yourself in its diverse culture, converse with other Peruvians, and relish your trips to its top attractions.

Don’t let minor inconveniences like traffic and limited infrastructure ruin your mood. Instead, live in the present moment and maintain a burning spirit to discover more about this tropical paradise.

Make the Most of Peru

After exploring the wonders of Peru, you’ll surely be itching to visit this charming country again. For a worry-free Peruvian escapade, follow our Peru travel tips and get travel insurance from Nomad Insurance to protect yourself against any untoward incident.

People Also Ask Questions

What I wish I knew before traveling to Peru?

You must learn Peru’s culture, laws, language, currency, food, and transportation modes before visiting it. As a digital nomad, you should also check out some conducive working spaces available so you can work and travel stress-free.

What do you need before traveling to Peru?

You need a travel visa before traveling to Peru. But if your country is exempt from the requirement, you don’t need to get one.

What are some things tourists should be careful about in Peru?

Pickpockets and scammers are some of the things tourists should be careful about in Peru. But generally, tourists should feel safe exploring Peru’s streets.

Do I need malaria pills for Peru?

No, Peru has little to no risk of malaria, so there’s no need to take malaria pills.