How to Plan Your Perfect Trip from the USA to Peru

Written by: Sam Travel | 8 July, 2024
travel o peru from usa

Peru is one of the most biodiverse countries on the planet. A trip to the Andean nation is on most people list of places to visit. The country features some of the most beautiful landscapes and ancient cultures of anywhere. The people are most welcoming and the food is some of the best in the world. Peru has 3 distinct regions, the coast, the mountains and the jungle, all with different attractions, all worth a visit.

How to get to Peru.

From the USA the only viable way to get to Peru is by air. From any city in the US, you can fly to Lima, the capital of Peru, most with connections in the US and South America. The cost will depend on the route and the airline that you choose. From Lima you can connect to many different Peruvian cities including, Arequipa, Cusco and Puno.

Money in Peru

The currency in Peru is the Peruvian Nuevo Sol, which is at time of writing is $1 is soles 3.70. In larger establishments US$ are widely accepted. There are ATM machines all over Peru which you can use your card, for a fee. Credit Cards are accepted in most larger shops. It is always a great idea to have local currency to buy in local shops and markets, in small denominations.

Climate in Peru, when to come

Depending on what region of Peru you travel the weather will be different. The coastal region for example, in Lima, Summer is from December to end of March, winter which expands from May to September the coastal skies are grey. If you want to spend time in the mountain areas in Peru, these regions have 2 seasons, wet and dry. The Dry season which ranges from April to September, is the most popular time to visit. The temperatures are warm during the day and cold during the night. But you should expect little rainfall. The wet season on the other hand, is from November to March and the temperatures are warm during the day and cold at night. It will rain mostly during the day.

The weather in the jungle has 2 season the wet season and the dry season. The dry season lasts from May to October, the wet season from November to April. Despite it being called the wet season it only receives 65 per cent of the rainfall. The dry season is hot and the wet season can be fresher. The time to travel to Peru depends on your preferences and your vacation time. Remember that if you plan to hike the Inca Trail, the trail is closed in the month of February for maintenance.

How to get around

Flights in Peru

This is the quickest way to get around Peru, the best if you are short on time and like your comforts. Most major Peruvian cities have airports. The cost of flights is relatively inexpensive and you can get around easily. Be careful sometimes the cheaper airlines cancel flights without much notice, with not much recourse. The most reliable airline is LATAM and they have most flights per day to most destinations.

Buses in Peru

It may be surprising to know that there is an extensive bus network in Peru, with buses leaving from Lima to all the major cities and beyond with abundant frequency. There are luxury companies that offer first class services, some even feature reclining seats, food, tv and internet. You will pay a little more for these services but they are worth the money. Cheaper services are available but be careful as the security in not up to par. If you plan to take long distance buses, be prepared with warm blankets and some food and water.


Peru has some of the best train journeys on the planet. Travel over the high Andean plans on a luxury train from Cusco to Puno. One of the most famous is the train from Cusco to Machu Picchu, an extraordinary trip through the Sacred Valley of the Inca to Machu Picchu. Luxury trains or budget trains are available. Another train not to miss is the Andean Explorer that travels from Cusco to Arequipa to Puno with overnight stay on the train, one for the train enthusiasts. These trains are not cheap but the experience is worth the dollars.

Entry Requirements

Citizens of the USA at the time of writing do not require a VISA to enter Peru. Upon entry you will receive a stay of 90 days. If you plan to stay longer you will need to get an extension from any of the many immigration offices in most of the large cities. If you overstay your VISA, it will be harder to get an extension. The government of Peru does however require that you have at least 6 months remaining on your passport before entering Peru, if not you may not be allowed entry.

Is Peru safe?

This is a great question, like any other country there are safe areas and there are places that you would never go. If you stick to the tourist areas and stay within the well-lit streets at night you should not have problems. Petty crimes and pickpocketing are a problem in high volume areas. Be aware of your surroundings and it is always a good idea to leave most of your belongings at the hotel. Don’t go flashing around expensive phones, jewelry or camera around where ever you go.

Peru has a section of the Police called the Tourism Police, which has a presence in most of the tourist areas, especially Cusco.

The US Embassy in Lima offers assistance to US citizens who are victims of crime. You will need to contact the local police and file a report before contacting the embassy.

Tips for Travelers to Peru

Spanish Words

As with any country you travel you should always try and learn a few different necessary words just in case. It is important to note that most people who work in tourism speak some English. But if you want to get directions or order food, a few important phrases in Spanish will be very helpful.

Insurance for your trip

It is always a great idea to buy an insurance policy before you travel. This will cover you for any mishap that you may experience while traveling. Make sure you get a policy that covers all the essentials. Get a policy that covers, trip and flight cancelation, hospitalization, accidents, loss of luggage and any adventure sports that you may be partaking.

Altitude in the highlands

When planning the travel to the high altitudes of the Andes, you must take extra precautions to lower the affects of altitude sickness. Cusco for example is located at 11483 ft above sea level, so if you arrive directly from Lima which is at sea level, it is most likely you will feel the affects. It is a great idea to arrive into Cusco a few days before to give your body time to adjust. Here are some proven methods to help reduce the affects of altitude.

  • Spend 2 days at altitude to acclimatize.
  • Rest and don’t do anything strenuous while adjusting.
  • Eat light meals and avoid alcohol.
  • Drink coca tea, which will be provided at your hotel.
  • Stay hydrated, drink plenty of water.
  • Bring altitude medicine from home.
  • Licensed Travel Agent

To save so much time and stress, it is a great idea to book your Peruvian tours with a reputable licensed travel agent. Go to trip Advisor and look at the agencies in the area that you would like to visit. Read the reviews on the agencies before making any decisions on who to book with. Booking before you travel guarantees your tours are booked and paid for before you land. Waiting to book when you arrive does not guarantee you entrances on the places that you want to visit. Especially Machu Picchu with entrances booking out months in advance.

Take a trip to Peru, not far to travel for the best experience. See all the magic of the Inca and the pre-Inca cultures. Marvel at the genius of the Inca and hear tales of different South American cultures.

Join the Thousands of Satisfied Customers who Rate us #1 on TripAdvisor

Bernie s 2023/03/02

Had a great trip with our guide Ray Herrera and driver Alfredo. Lots of good experiences in a short period of time 4 days. Learnt a lot not just about the main tourist destinations but Peru in general by Ray. Ray has a passion for Inca history and local produce. Ray knows all the good photo spots and we managed the sun out every day .. Good culture and if you want to get on a tour ask for Ray at Sams Travel = amazing

Tanya H 2023/03/02

Ray was our Tour Guide and Alfredo was our driver for a 4 day tour we did with SAM Travel Peru. Ray's knowledge of the history of Cusco and Machu Picchu was outstanding. Ray was very accommodating with all our needs. He stayed alongside us when trekking and helped where he could. His sense of humour was pleasant to be around. Ray spoke very good English. He is such a nice guy. I would strongly recommend Ray to be your tour guide to visit Machu Picchu. Ray explained everyday what the plans were for the next day, which was reassuring what we needed to take etc

Captanjack 2023/01/012

Our 1 day tour thru the Sacred Vally with Danny was wonderful. He was very knowledgeable and able to answer all our questions in detail. I would recommend asking for him personally if you are able.

Sherry 2022/12/26

We booked the Classic Cusco to Machu Picchu tour with SAM travel which we really had a good experience. SAM travel is very responsive during the communication and cater to our changes needed. Our guide is Ray who is also an very awesome guide. He is knowledgeable, patient, humorous as well reliable, he help us take many good photos and also go extra mile to help with our request. Thanks Ray! Thanks SAM travel that gave us good memories in Peru! Highly recommend if you consider booking any tour in Cusco.

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C Clark 2023/01/20

Wow. We had such an incredible experience in Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. Our guide, Dayvit, is the most knowledgeable guide we have ever had. He has such an extensive knowledge of the history and is very friendly and helpful. If you are planning a trip to Peru, I highly recommend SAM travel and be sure to request Dayvit!

Emma Dinzebach Clark 2023/01/10

2 day tour sacred valley / Machu Picchu highly recommend! David was the best tour guide. He knows an incredible amount about Incan culture and is personable and funny. He also kept us up to date on a political situation happening when we were there and was informative. Overall, this tour checks all the boxes. Thank you!

Nupur Joshi 2023/01/02

We used SAM Travel for a 2D/1N trip from Cusco to Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu on Dec 25-26, 2022. The team was good with communication from the start - both Saul and Junior were very helpful and professional with answering any questions and clearing up any misunderstandings. Our guide, Miguel, was prompt, pleasant, and quite knowledgeable. We enjoyed his company and insight over the 2 day trip and recommend him to anyone booking with SAM Travel.

Xueying Chen 2022/12/20

We booked the Classic Cusco to Machu Picchu tour with SAM travel which we really had a good experience. SAM travel is very responsive during the communication and cater to our changes needed. Our guide is Ray who is also an very awesome guide. He is knowledgeable, patient, humorous as well reliable, he help us take many good photos and also go extra mile to help with our request. Thanks Ray! Thanks SAM travel that gave us good memories in Peru! Highly recommend if you consider booking any tour in Cusco.

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Cheri Buccino April 21, 2024
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Powerful! This journey tests your humanity and leaves you in awe of yourself and the beauty that Pachamama provides. April 2024 We conquered the Inca trail and it was only made possible with the help and guidance from our expert guides Jean Pierre (JP) and Jimmy. The knowledge these gentlemen shared was admired by all of our group and the envy of other trail hikers who stopped to listen. The hike has many layers of challenges including language barriers, altitude sensitivities and food specifications. The team at Sam travel exceeded the needs and went above to ensure our comforts were met. A special mention must be made to Mario, the Chef who somehow performed magic with nutritious flavourful meals to satisfy even the pickiest consumers and Francesco who was our lead porter who orchestrated the harmony that happened behind the scenes to get everything done. Nothing less than marvellous from this team. Thank you to each of the group who made our trek a remarkable experience.

Bhavana Lalwani April 18, 2024
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Jose and Henry were great guides for our first time exploring machu pichu! They were very attentive and kept everything on a smooth schedule. Highly recommend!

Ryan April 9, 2024
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The whole experience was amazing. Ray, our guide answered all of our questions and definitely had our best interest in mind the whole time. Timothy the cook made fantastic food and somehow found a way to prepare a birthday cake with no notice! Boni our head porter and his whole crew were kind, accommodating, and had such upbeat attitudes which really made the experience great!

Isabel Batteria April 17, 2024
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I spent two days with Sam Travel’s guide Raymier, who guided us through the one-day 12-km stretch of the Inca trail and then took us to Machu Picchu the next day. In my group, I was always the last one on the trail because I come from the coast and I’m not used to altitudes, and honestly I could also have prepared physically a little better. Raymier respected my pace, never rushed me, and supported me throughout the ardous trail. He had much knowledge to share. I speak Spanish, but ended up in an English tour, and Ray’s English was very good. He was funny, respectful, and versatile. He knew where to take all the best photos and patiently took photos of all of us. I would trust Sam Travel again especially if I was lucky enough to have Ray as a guide again.

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