Let’s assume you have booked a trip through Peru, from the marvelous ruins of Machu Picchu to the astonishing shores of Titicaca Lake. You can’t wait to admire the fantastic Rainbow Mountain and observe caimans and tropical birds in the Peruvian Amazon. You have everything planned and now it’s time to pack your bags. It might seem a simple task, but it requires careful thinking to make sure you are ready to face all the different climates you will encounter in Peru.
Andean Adventures is ready to help with a list of essential items you cannot forget when packing your bags for this wonderful trip.
What to wear in Peru?
The secret to facing an ever-changing climate is this: layers. Whether you are planning a tour in Cusco, a visit to Machu Picchu or an exploration of the Tambopata National Reserve, make sure you are dressed “like an onion”. Short and long-sleeved t-shirts are a must, as much as warm jumpers and a good wind jacket.
2- Waterproof jacket or poncho
Did you know that umbrellas are not allowed in Machu Picchu? Depending on the region and the season, you might encounter quite a lot of rain in Peru. In Cusco, for example, you can expect storms and heavy rains especially during the “rain season”, from November to April. In the Peruvian Amazon, instead, you are likely to find rain at any time of the year. Regardless, it is always a good idea to bring a good waterproof jacket or poncho so that a few drops of rain won’t stop you!
3- Thermal t-shirts
A warm, thermal t-shirt is extremely useful if you have decided to explore the Peruvian Andes. Some of the most popular and interesting sites, such as the city of Cusco or the Rainbow Mountain, are located at high altitudes, where the temperature drops considerably at night, especially in winter. Don’t let the cold surprise you!
4- Comfortable hiking boots and walking sandals
Be ready to walk! To spot animals in the Amazon or explore ancient Inca Ruins you need comfortable footwear. For cold and rainy climates, opt for waterproof hiking boots to keep your feet warm and protected. Instead, if you are visiting the Amazon or the coastal regions, you might prefer walking sandals.
Accessories you need in Peru
1- Hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen
The sun shines bright and strong in Peru, especially at high altitudes where sun rays are particularly intense. That is why, regardless of your skin color, you cannot forget all of the necessary accessories to protect your eyes and skin.
2- A (thermal) water bottle
Staying hydrated is always important, especially if you are dealing with the heat of the Peruvian Amazon, or the high altitudes of the Andes. So bring a reusable water bottle that you can refill with bottled or filtered water. If you want, you can also opt for a thermal water bottle that keeps your drinks fresh in the heat and your tea or coffee warm in the cold Andean nights.
3- Scarf, winter hat, and gloves
If you are visiting the Andes, especially in winter, you must prepare yourself for some chilly nights. It is, therefore, recommendable to bring winter accessories (scarf, hat, gloves) to keep warm even on high-altitude treks or tours, such as the one to the Rainbow Mountain.
4- Bathing Suit
Bring a swimming suit with you! Of course, if you go to the Pacific beaches, you will need one. But also when visiting the Amazon, it is very common to swim or go kayaking in rivers and lakes. What might sound unexpected is that you need a bathing suit even if you visit the Andes! In fact, there are several hot springs (some of them very close to Machu Picchu) where you can relax your sore muscles and warm up.
Other things to bring to Peru
1- A good camera with zoom and binoculars
This is especially for bird-watchers and animal lovers. Don’t forget either of these items if you wish to observe the local fauna (especially in the Amazon) and take non-fading memories back home.
2- Insect repellent
From Machu Picchu to the heart of the Amazon, you will need insect repellent to protect your skin from the bites of mosquitoes and other little animals. If that is not enough, make sure you use long sleeves and long pants, and avoid leggings, which are often too thin to keep “biters” away.
3- Portable chargers
On multiple day tours and long journeys, your phone or camera are likely to go low on battery. If you don’t want this to happen, pack a portable charger.
If you are planning to camp during your vacations in Peru, or to go on the Inca Trail, or to explore the Manu National Park, don’t forget to bring a flashlight. Headtorches are especially handy, especially while camping.
5- Ziploc bags
They are great if you need to cover your electronics under the rain, or while doing activities in the water, such as kayaking. Also, it is always a good idea to pack your toiletries in Ziploc bags before traveling from sea level to higher altitudes: in fact, the pressure difference might cause some of your bottles to explode or leak!