Peru is a land of mystery, magic and enchantment. Long a highly coveted destination for seasoned and amateur travellers alike, Peru leaves all in awe of its beauty. Peru is undoubtedly the most backpacker-friendly country on the continent and its bus network makes it super easy to get around. The historical wonders of Machu Picchu, the beautiful beaches of Mancora and the jungle wildlife of Iquitos are merely a small taste of what’s on offer.
UK citizens do not require a visa to visit Peru. So long as your passport is valid for 6 months you may stay for up to 183 days.
Entry fee: N/A
Exit fee: N/A
From Ecuador (Aguas Verdes) - Both immigration booths are in the same building. There are 4 lines - entry and exit for Peru and entry and exit for Ecuador. Neither we nor anyone else there had their bags searched, x-rayed or faced any form of questioning from the border agents, we were in and out in less than 30 mins. Piece of cake.
To read more about other border crossings in South America and tips on how to cross like a pro click here
WHAT TO SEE & DO
Peru is the country where most backpackers (us included) will spend the most amount of time. The main attraction of Peru is the infamous Machu Picchu. Find out everything you need to know about good ol' MP and Salkantay Trek right here.
As for the rest of Peru, that's been neatly summarised for you in this guide here.
BUDGET & MONEY
Much like Bolivia Peru is a favourite for budget backpackers as it is very easy to make your money stretch a long way here. However, when you factor in the cost of tours and excursions and the fact that you'll encounter a very sociable and beer-thirsty crowd here, costs can very quickly add up. That being said, on average, for the 2 of us we were spending 217 PEN (£48.20) per day. That figure includes accommodation, transport, activities, food and, of course, beers. Peru's currency is the Sole (PEN) and its exchange rate to GBP is currently around £1=4.5.
A private double room in a hostel or cheap hotel will run you around 50-60 PEN (£11.10-13.35) and dorm beds from as little as 20 PEN (£4.45).
Food in Peru is some of the best in South America in terms of value and variety. You can pick up meals from street vendors for as little as 5 PEN (£1.10). A set menu meal in a local restaurant will cost around 10 PEN (£2.20) and for a meal in a tourist-targeted restaurant you can expect to pay a minimum of 20 PEN (£5.50).
We found land travel very easy and accessible in Peru. Buses are very comfortable and you are often provided with food and blankets. You can book online with most bus companies and the ones which aren’t online are probably best avoided. Roads in Peru are pretty good and overnight travel is fairly safe.
Bus travel in Peru is cheap with the average price per hour of bus travel being only 5.30 PEN (£1.20).
- Lima to Cusco - 21 hours - 140 PEN (£31.10)
- Cusco to Arequipa - 11 hours - 35 PEN (£7.80)
- Arequipa to Ica - 11 hours - 68 PEN (£15)
- Ica to Paracas - 1 hour - 12 PEN (£2.70)
- Pisco to Lima - 4.5 hours - 15 PEN (£3.30)
- Lima to Trujillo - 11 hours - 45 PEN (£10)
- Trujillo to Mancora - 11 hours - 70 PEN (£15.60)
- Mancora to Quayaquil - 8.5 hours - 65 PEN (£14.40)
Top tip - Cruz del Sur is the best and most comfortable bus company in Peru by far but not cheap.We discovered that very cheap Cruz del Sur tickets can be found on busbud.com if you are able to book a few days in advance. You may want to consider doing this especially if you’re planning on doing long overnight bus journeys and need some extra comfort.
Even with Peru's popularity amongst travellers, large portions of the population still live in poverty. This coupled with the country's roaring drug trade means safety is not to be taken lightly in Peru. Petty and violent crime towards tourists is fairly common with bank fraud, fake taxis and express kidnappings also potential dangers. The best thing you can do is to not make yourself a target or put yourself in risky situations in the first place. Don't be flashy with cash, jewellery or electronics, avoid being out alone after dark and only use registered taxis which staff in most bars, clubs and restaurants will call for you.
As with any destination on the backpacker trail you need to keep a sharp eye on your belongings on buses and in and around stations, cities and major attractions as petty crime and bag theft is always a concern.
Final thing; make sure to have these numbers saved in your phone -
- Police: 105
- Ambulance/Fire: 117/116
- Tourist Police: +51 1 225 8698
- Your Embassy (UK): +51 1 617 3000