How to pack for Peru

Infographic: The Ultimate Guide to Packing for Peru

by Claudia Looi

August 20, 2018

5 minute read

I spent almost a year traveling in South America, and without a doubt, one of my favorite countries is Peru. Peru offers plenty of opportunities for exploration and adventure, regardless of your travel style.

Its varying terrain ranges from coastal plains, steep oceanside cliffs, the Amazon Basin in the eastern lowland jungle to the magnificent and rugged mountain ranges known as the Andes. And not to mention white sandy beaches at the northern shores and the sand dunes in southern Peru.

Packing for a trip to Peru will depend on where and when you're traveling, your travel style and the types of activities you plan to join. But when it comes to the essentials, I have a list for all seasons and all travel styles.

I travel light. There's nothing wrong if you prefer having more things. If you do, consider getting a bag that you can easily carry from airports to hotels and train stations.

For Peru, I'd bring the Tom Bihn Aeronaut 45. It's versatile and can function as a backpack, shoulder bag or duffel. It's lightweight and easy to carry around from the airplane to car, bus, and train. It does not take up too much space and is a bag that has lots of compartments, and the side pockets can accommodate a pair of walking shoes and small items like undergarments and gadgets.

Inside my bag are the following essential things:

1. Light and medium weight jacket

Weather in the Peruvian highlands can be unpredictable. Have a light jacket with you at all times because it may be sunny when you head out, but temperatures may dip later in the day. The temperature can even drop to below freezing during the winter months (June and July).

2. Money belt for travel

A money belt may not be comfortable for me, but I use it to have peace of mind. It's a hidden waist wallet to store extra cash, credit cards, and passport.

3. Hiking shoes

Even if you're not going on the Inca Trail, it's essential to invest in comfortable hiking shoes. It's suitable for walking on cobblestone streets, ancient Incan settlement villages and visiting Machu Picchu. I use Columbia's Redmond Waterproof low hiking shoes.

4. First aid kit including medicine for high altitude travel

I'd pack Diamox to ward off high altitude sickness. Also, OTC pain relief medication. Check with your doctor before getting medicine. These items should be stored in your bag in a small pouch along with peppermint and lavender essential oils.

5. Socks

My socks collection includes merino wool socks for the highlands.

6. Water bottle

I always carry an insulated stainless steel water bottle wherever I go. Stay hydrated always when traveling. Loss of fluid happens when in high altitude. Our body needs at least 96 -120 fluid ounces (12 to 16 cups) while we acclimatize to high altitudes.

7. Sunscreen lotion

Higher elevations mean the atmosphere is thinner, which allows more harmful UV rays to penetrate the skin. Use sunscreen lotion every day when you visit Peru, particularly the Andes. Don't let the cold weather in the highlands fool you from thinking it's unnecessary to use sunscreen.

8. Sunglasses

Likewise, you need to protect your eyes from the UV rays and intense sunshine.

9. Portable charger/power bank

I carry an ultra-high capacity portable charger by Anker that can charge an iPhone about 5 times and weighs over one pound.

10. eBooks and music

I like reading and listening to music. Before leaving for a trip, I download books from my local library to my iPhone and add music to my playlist on Spotify. For those who prefer reading physical books, pack at least one book before you leave.

11. Universal travel adapter

I use a Skross travel adapter with retractable prongs. This adapter does not convert voltage, but it does the job when I need to charge my power bank, MacBook, and iPhone.

12. Fruit and nut bars and other snacks

I travel with small packs of dried nuts and fruits and protein bars. These are for the just in case I'm hungry moments, though with all the delicious food to try, this usually never happens in Peru.

13. An extra pair of glasses or contact lenses

I wear glasses. So I have an extra pair of glasses. If you wear contact lenses, remember to bring at least two additional pairs for a 10-day trip.

15. Scarf

A scarf is essential to protect the neck from intense sunlight and when it's cold. It makes an excellent coverup for visiting sacred places and churches and as an accessory to brighten up your monochrome outfits.

16. Hand sanitizer

I carry a hand sanitizer for my South America trip. It's essential to have clean hands before you eat.

17. Camera and memory cards

And batteries too.

18. Shirts and pants

For 10 days my list of shirts and pants include:

  • 2 pairs of pants including a pair of jeans and convertible pants
  • 3 t-shirts, 3 blouses, and 2 sweaters
  • A business casual dress or pants/blouse A pair of casual shoes
  • Underwear for 7 days including 2 bras
  • One set of activewear that can be used for sleeping too

For additional information on packing and Peru tours, read 20 essential items you must have in your carry-on and Peru: Ancient Land of Mysteries.


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