Peru: Holidays

Mountainous terrain, vast coastal deserts and steamy, tropical rainforests

Backpacking in Peru

The relatively low cost of living in Peru means that a backpacking holiday is a great adventure and an wonderful way of exploring the country's varied scenery and unspoilt beauty. Peru is also a wonderful starting point for exploring the rest of South America, as it borders Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, Colombia and Ecuador. There are frequent buses in Peru to all of these countries from most major Peruvian towns.

Although there are very few Youth Hostels currently in Peru, there are numerous low cost hopidajes, pensiones and hostales (guest houses) and many hotels that are in the price range for backpackers. Affordable accommodation for backpackers can be found all over Peru, even in the most popular tourist locations. The average rate per person per night in Peru ranges from £6 in Lima up to £30 and may include a modest Peruvian breakfast.

Beach in Peru

Although Peru has 1,509 miles (2,414 kilometres) of coastline bordering the Pacific Ocean, it is not as popular among visitors who are looking for a beach holiday as you might think. Having said this, there are plenty of opportunities for beach holidays in Peru. The best Peruvian beaches are on the country’s northern coast and they stretch south as far as Lima. These beaches are usually very popular during the hot months of January, February and March.

In coastal cities such as Lima, the locals flock to the beaches during the South American summer, especially at weekends. Various water sports can be enjoyed in Peru, with surfing being amongst the most popular. You will find some of the best Peruvian beaches in, or within easy reach of, cities such as: Piura, Tumbes, Trujillo and Lima. During the hot months of the year, you will find these beaches excellent places for enjoying the waves or simply soaking up some of the sun's rays. You will find more and more options these days if you are looking for a beach resort in Peru and new accommodation is springing up along the country’s coast. Peru is an excellent location for a beach holiday.

Camping in Peru

Most camping in Peru takes place in the Cusco region. This is because hiking Peru's Inca Trail and the nearby Sacred Valley provide visitors with many possibilities for camping. Walks and hikes in this region of Peru are usually organised through tour companies in Cusco, where you can also hire camping equipment. There are also opportunities for camping along the coast of Peru, where are camping may provide an alternative to hotel accommodation. If you plan to go camping there, you will need to make sure you set up your tent in a safe place and that (ideally) the camp-ground has somewhere to lock up valuables. People have been known to camp on the beach in Peru, but ask around before to make sure it's safe.

City Breaks in Peru

Peru's distance from the UK means that it is not really suitable for a city break holiday, even though cities such as Cusco in Peru would be a great destination for a short break.

Cruises in Peru

There are some opportunities for cruise holidays in Peru along its Pacific coastline. For example, several Cruise companies have cruises that visit Peru as well as neighbouring countries, especially Ecuador. These cruises will usually offer stop-overs in Lima and the Ecuadorian capital Quito, as well as trips to Machu Picchu, Cusco and the Galapagos Islands off the Ecuadorian coast. If river cruising is your thing, then why not try a trip along one of the Peruvian tributaries of the Amazon? Nothing is more atmospheric than spending a few days in a banana boat, taking in the sights, sounds and smells of Peru's tropical rainforest. You can also take a cruise on Lake Titicaca, perhaps to visit one of the Lake's islands, such as the Uros Islands. There are some opportunities for a cruise holiday in Peru.

Culture and Arts in Peru

The culture and arts of Peru reflect the many centuries of rich and varied influences and styles. You may want to visit the mysterious and fascinating Inca ruins, such as Machu Picchu near Cusco, or perhaps marvel at the layers of architecture and culture you will find in Cusco itself. You can also explore the relics of older Per-Columbian cultures, such as the Chimu in adobe city of Chan Chan, near Trujillo, or the mummified bodies in the southern desert cemeteries of the Nazca culture.

Alternatively, you might enjoy the baroque churches, pantiled roofs and colonial architecture of Cusco, Trujillo or Arequipa in Peru that are so reminiscent of old Spain. However, the many layers of Peruvian culture are still very much alive, as you will see when you visit its traditional craft markets bristling with multi-coloured textiles,distinctive silverware and ceramics. Peru is a wonderful destination for a cultural holiday.

Cycling Activity Holiday in Peru

Cycling holidays are becoming ever more popular in Peru. There are increasing numbers of organised cycle tours available in Peru, which are a safer, but more expensive option than cycling alone or with another person. Such organised cycle tours in Peru usually involve mountain biking through the Andes and possibly deep jungle biking. Several tours combine cycling with other activities, such as hiking, kayaking, or visiting archaeological sites. A thirteen night guided cycle tour of Peru, including hotel, hostal and camping accommodation is likely to cost upwards of £935.

If you decide on an independent cycle holiday in Peru you will need to rent a bike from a cycle rental shop. You will be expected to stay in the area and not want to use the cycle for long-distance travel. Cycling in Peru can be hazardous, especially if you decide to use the major routes, such as the Pan American Highway. You will not find Peruvian lorry drivers sympathetic and may be liable to being knocked off your cycle. You will also find cycling on the Pan American dirty and rather boring. Cycling in the Andes will be a much more enjoyable affair, but you will need to use a mountain bike there, because the roads are generally in a very poor condition. Renting a mountain bike in Huaraz or Cusco would cost you about £18 per day.

Disabled Needs in Peru

Peru will present a number of challenges for disabled people wishing to take a holiday there. Peru is a relatively poor country, which means that its infrastructure is not highly developed. Bus travel for disabled people in Peru is difficult, because there are no wheelchair-adapted buses in the country.

Many pavements in Peru, where they exist at all, are poorly maintained and there are few ramps at the entrances to buildings. You will also find relatively few lifts in hotels and other buildings with more than one storey in Peru. Having said this, in recent years the Posadas del Inca luxury hotel chain has developed some facilities in in its hotels in Lima, Cusco, Yacay and Puno for wheelchair access. There is also at least one adventure tour company, Apumayo Expeditions, that can cater for the particular needs disabled people. Peru is however not the best location for disabled travellers, especially if they are on a limited budget.

Family Holiday in Peru

Peru is a wonderful family destination in that there are many different things to do what will entertain and engage everyone in the family, including the children. Most children will love Peru's rich and varied wildlife, so at least one visit to a nature park is a must! For those who enjoy the active life, there are opportunities for snorkelling, swimming and fishing on Peru's coast. However, some children may find too many visits to Peru's many archaeological sites a little boring, so it may be a good idea to think about the different activities you want to do as a family before you go. Foreigners travelling with children are likely to be seen as a curiosity by Peruvian people, but you are sure to be welcomed all the same! You will find that children will be charged the full fare on Peruvian buses, if they occupy a seat. A similar policy prevails on Peru's internal flights.

If you are staying in a hotel, you might want to bargain for a reduction in the room rate for your child, or children. One idea for a family holiday in Peru is to book a family adventure holiday package. Such packages consist entirely of families, who travel in a group of approximately 16 people. These trips can be great value and a wonderful way for you and your children to meet new people!

The itineraries are usually pre-planned, but there is usually some flexibility and and your family will have plenty of time to yourselves. The best ages for children on these adventure holidays is between 7 and 15, but some can be younger (the minimum age is usually 5) and some even older if they are travelling as part of a larger family group. A typical holiday of this kind would cost from £2149 - £2749 for a 15 day holiday per adult and from £1899 - £2499 per child, including flights from the UK.

Gay and Lesbian in Peru

Like most other parts of Latin America, Peru is still steeped in macho culture, so overtly gay and lesbian culture is often frowned upon. As a consequence there are very few places to stay that explicitly cater for gay and lesbian people in Peru. Although there are no laws prohibiting sexual activity between civilians of the same sex in Peru, the authorities frequently invoke vague laws aiming to uphold "public morality" as a tool to repress sexual "deviance." The Lima Homosexual Movement (Movimiento Homosexual de Lima, MHOL) was founded in 1983. But Peru’s first gay pride parade was not held until 2002, when a scant few hundred marchers braved Lima’s unwelcoming atmosphere.

The opportunities in Peru for socialising and night life are also severely limited for gay and lesbian people. There is a limited gay scene in Lima, but it is anything but out in the open, the Gitanos Club being one place that is gay-friendly. There is at least one US company that runs adventure tours to Peru aimed at gay men and lesbians.

Honeymoon in Peru

Peru's exotic setting is a wonderful location for an unforgettable honeymoon. The Andean highlands, the vast sweep of its desert regions, its mysterious ancient ruins and the vibrant colours of the Amazon rainforest bring honeymooners to a dimension of much needed relaxation far away from a period of hectic wedding preparations.

The rich overlays of Inca and Spanish colonial cultural influences make a honeymoon in Peru an intriguing experience. There are many activities for honeymoon couples in Peru, from adrenaline rush activities such as white-water rafting, caving, horse riding and mountain biking to visiting ancient Inca cities to watching one of the many colourful cultural and religious festivals. With so many hospidajes, apart-hoteles and relatively inexpensive luxury hotels in Peru, honeymoon couples are bound to find accommodation to suit a range of budgets. Peru is a wonderful honeymoon location.

Naturism in Peru

Naturist or nudist activities are virtually unknown in Peru. The natural modesty and shyness of local Peruvian people mean that such activities would be frowned upon. There is very little, if any, naturism practised by Peruvian people and there are no naturist resorts in Peru. A naturist holiday in Peru is therefore not recommended.

Party Holiday - Singles Life in Peru

Peru may not seem the obvious choice for a singles holiday, given the limited night-life, but in fact there are lots of opportunities for single people who want to do some partying, but would like other activities too. Singles can book on a group tour with a number of tour operators that provide group holidays in Peru.

This is an excellent way of meeting other single people who share a sense of adventure and who like to explore the many different environments and cultures that Peru has to offer. Most of the people in these groups are aged between 25 and 35 and, whilst partying may not be officially included in the package, there are always plenty of opportunities for wining and dining with other people in your tour group. Peru is a good location for a party and/or singles holiday.

Couples Holiday in Peru

If you are thinking of having weekend break or a short holiday for you and your partner, Peru is not the best of destinations, simply because it is too far from the UK for a short break. Peru would however, provide a wonderful location for a longer holiday. In fact, there are many activities suitable for couples in Peru, from adrenaline rush activities such as, white-water rafting, caving, horse riding and cycling to visiting ancient Inca cities to watching one of the many colourful cultural and religious festivals. Its exotic location and beautiful scenery make Peru an ideal romantic location.

Safari Activity Holiday in Peru

Peru's rich and varied wildlife make it an ideal place to watch nature. You can wander in the of the Amazon basin, listening to the sounds of the rainforest. Perhaps you would like to see macaws flitting through the trees, or you could watch giant Amazonian snails slither across your jungle trail? There is no shortage of National Parks and nature reserves in Peru, with over 24 protected areas covering about a tenth of the country, so the only problem you will have is choosing which ones you want to visit.

Most of the nature reserves, however are privately owned and some do not have information points or other facilities for tourists. Many of the nature reserves in Peru are in very remote areas, but even if you do not want to travel into the wild, there are some that are within reach of towns and cities. Peru is an excellent location for a safari holiday.

Golf Activity Holiday in Peru

Perhaps surprisingly, Peru is a golfer's paradise even though there are no public golf courses. Hence, if you are a visitor, you must get a member to invite you, but this is always possible especially in the smaller towns. If you are fortunate enough to be a guest at one of Peru's golf clubs, you very seldom have to request a tee time and can usually go off immediately. In Lima, it hardly ever rains and the weather is always perfect for golf with no wind.

The capital city and its surrounding area has several clubs including Lima Golf Club, Los Inkas, La Planicie Country Club, and Club Villa on the Pacific ocean. Elsewhere in Peru, you will find golf courses that are interesting, intriguing and challenging. The highest 18 hole golf course in the world is in Peru, situated in La Oroya, at 12,375 feet (3,750 metres), in the central Andes and it is open to the public. With the thin air at this altitude, you would be able to exceed Tiger Woods' best drives!

In January, a new 9 hole course was inaugurated in the heart of the Amazon outside of the port city of Iquitos. It is also open to the public, and boasts young, attractive female caddies. Near the southern coast, the mega copper mine of Toquepala, has a unique 9 hole course. This one has no grass, since it lies in the barren hills near the copper ore deposits. You can even even play at night using luminous balls that bounce off the hills. Peru has excellent, if different, opportunities for a golf holiday.

Skiing - Snow Boarding in Peru

Whilst there is no shortage of mountains in Peru that might be suitable for skiing and snowboarding, Peru's proximity to the equator means that there are virtually no opportunities for these activities.

Sailing Activity Holiday in Peru

Peru has few opportunities for a sailing holiday. There is one Peruvian boating club, called Club Regatta the branch that has the most sailing is at Cantolao beach in Callao. There are usually several reasonably-sized boats moored there and the Club owns over 100 boats. It may be possible to hire a yacht from this club. If not do not and you are interested in club racing, or just cruising Peruvian the coast, there may be someone there who could help.

Shopping Holiday in Peru

Peru offers limited opportunities for shopping, except perhaps for people who have a special interest in ethnic clothing and textiles and South American handicrafts. There is very limited scope in Peru for buying the kinds of goods that are common in UK shops, although if you do find something you want, it will be a lot cheaper there. If you are interested in handicrafts and you would enjoy shopping in some of Peru's vibrant and colourful street markets, then this is the place for you!

Another advantage of shopping in Peru is that the relatively low prices there will mean that you will never be short of a bargain, especially at market stalls, or in smaller shops. You may find that the larger shops have fixed prices. Some of Peru's best, and cheapest, craft markets and shops are in Lima, which has craft gods from all over Peru. Other good areas for craft goods are Cusco, Juliaca, Puno and Huayancayo. Peru has distinctive, but limited, opportunities for a shopping holiday.

Scuba Diving Activity Holiday in Peru

There are relatively few opportunities for scuba diving in Peru. Peru's Pacific coast has very cold waters for most of the year, except from December to March. Unfortunately, this also happens to be the time of year when the waters are at their murkiest, because the snow from the western Andean slopes melts and runs into the sea. The best diving areas are in the north, close to the Ecuadorian border and off the Peninsula de Paracas. There is one diving club in Lima. Peru has limited opportunities for a scuba diving holiday.

Hiking Activity Holiday

Hiking Activity Holiday in Peru

Peru's Andean highlands offer breathtaking views of mountain scenery and superb lakes. You can join one of the many organised tours in Peru and hike the ancient Inca Trail, over mountain passes. You will feel as if you are walking into a region that has been sealed off from time. Starting at the sentry post of Runkuraqay, you will pass through fascinating ruins, while you are surrounded all the time by ice-capped mountains and forests. The trail ends at the astonishingly well-preserved city of Machu Picchu. Of course there are many other hiking trips you can take too.

Many tour companies that provide walking holidays in Peru will combine hill walking with visits to archaeological sites. Some will even allow you to customise their walking tours of Peru to suit your own interests. It is always better either to join an organised group hike, or if you are an independent traveller, employ a reputable local guide. Peru is an excellent location for a walking holiday, provided you can cope with walking at high altitudes.

Well-being and Spa in Peru

Peru is becoming increasingly popular for spa and well being holidays, especially in the Andean regions, where the volcanic springs and the clean air provide a wonderful way to relax and detoxify your system. For example, in the northern region of Cajamarca where the weather is always sunny and dry, the Hotel Laguna Seca has a spa built around thermal springs. All of the rooms have baths of thermal water and there are various treatments available, such as massages, jacuzzi sessions and a sauna.

Another popular location for spa hotels is in the Cusco region, on the Urumbamba River. Wherever you go in the Andes, you can pamper yourself with a total package of healthy and rejuvenating treatments in a number of purpose-built resorts at much less in Peru than you would pay in the UK. Peru is a good location for a well being or spa holiday.

Touring - Driving holiday in Peru

Peru's exceptional mountain and jungle scenery and its exotic locations provide an excellent location for a touring or driving holiday. However, you need to be able to cope with the road conditions in Peru, which are far from ideal. Peruvian drivers can be very aggressive, the road surfaces are often poor, there are many unmarked hazards.

For this, and for reasons of personal safety in some areas, it is really not a good idea to drive at night. Many Peruvian drivers, and especially of larger lorries, do not obey the rules of the road. You should also be aware of the fact that many of the major Peruvian towns are situated a long way from Lima, meaning that you will be spending a lot of time driving. Hiring a car in Peru will usually cost upwards of £14 per day. There are both Peruvian and international car hire companies that visitors can use to hire saloon cars and four-wheel drive vehicles. Peru is not the best destination for a driving and touring holiday.

Wine Tasting Holiday in Peru

Peru may not be as popular a location with wine buffs as its neighbour Chile, but it does have its own traditions of viticulture, even if they are a little more humble. If you are thinking of a wine tasting holiday in Peru, then a visit to Peru's viticultural capital of Ica is a must. Ica, and its surrounding province, have many vineyards and wine cellars (bodegas), the fruits of which can be sampled at its annual harvest festival, the Festival Internacional de la Vendimia Iqueña, which takes place in early March. You will find plenty of other activities to keep you occupied at the Wine Festival too, such as: fairs, competitions, processions with floats through the streets, live music and parties where guests dance the festejo, which has its origins in Africa. Although it may not produce the best wines in South America, Peru is a fun location for a wine tasting holiday.

Winter Sun in Peru

If you desire a quiet and relaxing winter sun holiday you will find that Peru can provide both relaxation and warmth. Peru is located near the equator and in the southern hemisphere. This means that Britain's coldest and wettest months are the best for visiting Peru. At least, that is the best time for visiting Peru's coastal plane, because the sunniest time of the year there is between late December and March. Realistically, this is the only part of Peru where you could take a winter sun holiday. The climate in the Amazon basin is wet all of the year round and the dry season in the Andes is between June and August. Peru has some opportunities for a winter sun holiday.