Peru & Machu Picchu Adventure
Know Before You Go
For an epic trip with zero stress and infinite holy s#!t moments, get familiar with the information below. Seeing the world should be fun, not stressful, which is why we’ve written this guide for you and are available 24/7 so all you have to do is travel. Now, it’s time to do a happy dance and make this trip ULTIMATE.
Complete Your Checklist
Before heading to the airport, complete the tasks below and check them off in your Online Account Checklist. If you have any questions, give us a call at 617-619-1411. We’re available 24/7 to make sure you have the Best. Trip. Ever.
- Passport: Your passport must be valid for 6 months after the tour return date.
- Visa: U.S. citizens do not need a visa for a tourist or business stay of 90 days or less.
- Travel Insurance: While travel insurance is not required, we strongly encourage all travelers to obtain coverage before departure. Check out cost-effective Travel Protection, designed to meet the needs of EF travelers here.
- Talk with your doctor: It is highly recommended that you talk with your doctor about your travel plans. If you are taking any medications, be certain to bring enough to last throughout your trip.
- Traveling with allergies? Let your Trip Consultant and Tour Director know of any dietary restrictions/allergies and we will do what we can to accommodate for any included meals.
- Request a roommate: Double-check with us and your Tour Director that they have your rooming status on file. We will assign a roommate for you if you do not submit a specific request.
- Get an international data plan: We recommend getting an international data plan for your mobile device so you can stay connected while on the road. Free Please talk with your phone provider for your best options.
- Wi-Fi will be in some hotels, restaurants, and bars, though charges may apply and it may be slower than in the U.S.
- Wi-Fi is not available on the bus.
- Get the EF Ultimate Break app: Your trip's group will be able to connect on the app before you meet IRL. Don't miss out! Meet other travelers, get updates from your Tour Director, see flights and accommodations, and more. If you're having trouble, give us a call at 617-619-1411.
When preparing for your international flight to Peru, check your online account 30 days prior to departure for your flight itinerary and confirmation number. With this information, you can check in to your flight 24 hours prior to departure. If you prefer to check in at the airport, plan to arrive 2.5 – 3 hours before departure.
- If your flight is cancelled or delayed: Don’t worry! We design the first day of tour as an arrival day in case of flight delays or cancellations. Work with the airline to get re-booked on the next available flight, then let your Tour Director know your new arrival time.
- If you slept in and missed your flight: You should still talk to the airline and see if they can get you on the next available option. Tears may help in this case.
- Internal flights: Travel between Lima and Cuzco takes places on smaller commercial flights, and you’ll receive information for your internal flights from your Tour Director on tour.
Arriving in Lima
If you booked flights with EF Ultimate Break, your transfers to and from the hotel when you arrive in and depart from Lima are included. When you land in Lima, an EF representative will meet you in the airport.
Note: The Jorge Chávez International Airport is the main international and domestic airport of Peru, located just a few kilometers from Lima! If you have difficulty finding your group or representative to bring you to the hotel, call our team at 617-619-1411.
Getting from A to B
On this trip, you’ll take a private bus, train, and internal flights between cities which can take anywhere between 2-8 hours depending on distance, local traffic, and bathroom or photo-stop breaks. The beauty of travel is that you get to explore a new place, but note that it takes time and energy to see everything worth seeing!
- Prepare to walk between 4-6 miles per day, especially when sightseeing. We’ve packed a lot into this trip, so be ready for a fast-paced adventure!
- Internal flights are more volatile than large international routes, so remain patient in the event of delays or cancellations. We’ll work with your Tour Director to rearrange accordingly in the event of a delay or cancellation on tour!
- Bring motion-sickness medicine with you if you’re prone to getting carsick. Some roads in Peru are in more run-down conditions than you may be used to. You may also notice less regulation when it comes to speed limits, road signs, and traffic patterns.
Note: It’s a good idea to bring a great book with you, or download your favorite Spotify playlist with you for transfer days!
Fact: Travel is exhilarating. And FOMO is real. So, we understand why you don’t want to miss a second of the action. But there’s a difference between maximizing your time and spreading yourself too thin. Here are some tips to stay healthy and happy on tour:
- Sleep: Flying across the globe, changing time zones, and being constantly on the move can take a toll on your body. Make sure you get the rest your body needs. If that means missing a night out for some well-earned rest, or having a little afternoon nap, so be it. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
- Be Prepared: We recommend bringing a small first aid kit including antacids, anti-diarrhea medication, motion sickness medication, and any prescription medications in your carry-on bag.
- Take time for yourself: Group travel is an amazing experience, and there’s nothing quite like exploring a foreign country with a group of like-minded people. That said, it’s okay to take time for yourself to relax and reflect on your experience. Here are a few mindfulness apps you can take with you on the road:
- Insight Timer: Meditation apps are very in right now. This one is especially amazing because there are 80,000 free daily meditations to help with sleep, anxiety, and stress.
- What’s Up: If you’re feeling anxious, depressed, or stressed, What’s Up can help you manage these feelings with interactive games, forums, and a thought tracking diary.
- Talkspace: No need to make appointments or commute to a therapist’s office. Talkspace gives you 24/7 access to real, licensed therapists. You can talk, text, or video chat with them right from your phone.
There are no major health risks associated with traveling to Peru, however, we recommend you consult your physician or local travel clinic, and the CDC (Center for Disease Control) at lease 60 days prior to departure for the latest updates and vaccine / entry requirements.
- Consult your doctor or healthcare provider at least 60 days prior to departure for the latest updates and entry / vaccine requirements, or visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at cdc.gov.
- Drink bottled water only. Avoid tap water even when brushing your teeth or showering. We try to provide water bottles each day, but to prepare for limited opportunities to purchase water throughout the tour, we recommend travelers purchase bottled water when given the chance. DO NOT refill your water bottle with tap water.
- Altitude sickness, also known as soroche in Peru, is very likely to happen when you first travel up to Cuzco. You may experience headaches and fatigue when you first arrive, so try to drink plenty of water and ease into the first 24 hours of the trip!
- Hydration boosters such as Liquid IV can be helpful for acclimating.
- Avoid fresh fruits and vegetables UNLESS they’re cooked or washed in clean water and peeled.
- Take proper care with sun exposure, the sun is very strong in some of the areas you are visiting.
- Public restrooms in Peru can be quite bare. We suggest carrying bathroom tissue and hand sanitizer with you.
With a global presence of more than 46,000 people in over 115 countries and regions, we’re fully committed to your safety. From your first flight all the way through to your farewell dinner, don’t hesitate to reach out to your Tour Director or your Trip Consultant if you need a helping hand. Keep these extra tips in mind so you can #travelsmart:
- Keep your bag/purse in front of you and your phone zipped inside when you’re not using it. Leave your laptop at home, store valuables at the hotel in locked luggage or the safe deposit box. Refrain from carrying large sums of money or wearing valuable jewelry.
- Use the buddy system. Stay in groups and watch out for each other, especially at night—no one gets left behind!
- Pick-pocketing is fairly common in bigger cities like Lima and Cuzco. Always watch your belongings and keep an eye out for one another.
- Be smart about alcohol consumption. Watch your drinks and don’t accept drinks from people you don’t know. Don’t leave the bar alone with someone you just met.
- Before you go out, grab a business card at your hotel so that you always have the address handy for getting back later.
- At the end of a night out, use trusted transportation like a licensed taxi or Uber, and always have cash on hand.
- Legally, taxis are required to have cameras, panic buttons, and orange number plates. We also recommend you ask the driver to use their taximetro (meter). If they refuse, you should get out and find another taxi.
- Save our 24/7 number in your phone: +1–617–619–1411
Female travelers should be prepared for some degree of cat-calling and harassment in Peru. EF Ultimate Break and the Tour Director will do everything in our power to prevent and preempt this kind of behavior. We understand it’s easier said than done, but ignoring most verbal harassment is usually the best policy. Act confidently and keep walking forward, but always exercise caution and stay with a buddy or group.
For weight and size restrictions please refer to your airline’s website. Flight information will be available 30 days prior to departure in your online account. Below you'll find some critical packing information and suggestions.
- The most important piece of advice we can give you: Pack light! Your international airline ticket does include a checked bag, but years of customer feedback tells us a carry-on is the way to go. You may need to carry your suitcase where buses and elevators cannot, so make sure you are comfortable carrying everything you bring yourself.
- You've probably heard the hacks about rolling clothes and using packing cubes a million times, but there's a reason for that! It really does help.
- If you choose to pack all of your toiletries, don't bring your regular-sized bottles from home. Offload some of that into travel-sized containers.
- Choose your luggage wisely. We recommend a roller carry-on bag and a backpack as your personal item.
- Choose shoes carefully as well. They're some of the bulkiest items you can pack, so we recommend a good pair of walking shoes and a pair of climate-appropriate shoes (boots or sandals depending on the destination and time of year). We also recommend a pair of closed-toe water shoes if your itinerary has any water activities.
- Make a packing list of must-haves and stick to it. If you have a little extra space in your bags once all your must-haves are packed, then consider adding in a few nice extras.
- Unfortunately, luggage can get lost. It’s a painful situation no matter what, but here are tips to ease some of the hassle:
- DO NOT put important medications in a checked bag. If your luggage is lost, this could become a dangerous issue.
- Even if you put most of your clothes in a checked bag, put a couple outfits in your carry-on along with your toiletries.
- If you are forced to check you carry-on at the gate, be sure to remove essentials and valuables before handing it over.
- Carefully review TSA restrictions when packing. There are a number of items not allowed in your carry-on and liquids have certain restrictions.
- Check out the local weather; we haven't figured out how to control the weather yet so best to be prepared and plan accordingly.
- Hydration boosters, such as Liquid IV, can be helpful for acclimating to the high altitude in Peru.
- Don't forget: Outlets overseas can differ from the US, so be sure to pack the right power adapters/converters!
We at EF will help facilitate any testing requirements while on tour, however it is the travelers responsibility to pay for these tests and it is our recommendation that you budget roughly 150 USD total. Please note that non-boosted travelers may be required to do additional testing to enter places such as restaurants, and/or major attractions.
Budget around $50-$60 per day for meals, drinks, souvenirs, and tips or extra activities.
Remember that you know your spending habits best and not everyone’s spending habits are the same. These recommendations are based on a traveler who says yes to any and all activities while on tour.
The official currency of Peru is the Nuevo sol (S), though U.S. dollars are accepted by some businesses. However, you’ll need nuevos soles for many restaurants, local shops / markets, and more, so we strongly recommend exchanging your cash into the local currency. Some restaurants and stores also accept major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard), but again, cash is preferred. See more money tips below:
- We strongly recommend exchanging your cash into the local currency before you arrive in Lima. Once you’re on the tour, ATMs are available in most major cities, such as Lima and Cuzco, and they’re the easiest way to get cash while abroad.
- Cash is king in Peru, especially small bills!
- Take debit and credit cards with you to withdraw cash at local banks or ATMs as a backup option.
- Bargaining at outdoor markets is very common practice in Peru. If shops or stands have marked prices, bargaining is not the norm. Prices for taxis can also be negotiable, if done politely!
- We recommend tipping your Tour Director $60 at the end of the trip, plus additional tips for local guides.
- Tipping at restaurants is common. We recommend leaving 10% tip if it’s not already added to the bill.
- Tipping for taxis is not common or required.
Note: Let your bank and credit card companies know your travel plans ahead of time to avoid potential complications while abroad.
It’s fun and helpful to try your hand at the local language, Spanish! Try out some of these popular words and phrases:
- Hello: Hola
- How are you? ¿Cómo estás?
- Goodbye: Adiós
- Thank you: Gracias
- Please: Por favor
- I’m (your name): Soy (your name)
- I’m from (your country of residence): Soy de (your country of residence)
- How much does this cost? Cuánto cuesta?
- Where is the...?: Dónde está...
- bathroom: el baño
- pharmacy: la farmacia
Locals in Peru are typically laid-back, but well-mannered. If you show common courtesy and try your hand at local customs, it can go a long way with the locals! As you prepare to spend time in a new country, here are some expert tips to help you live like a true Peruvian:
- Common greetings in Peru are a handshake and a buenos días or buenas tardes (depending on time of day).
- Be considerate when taking photos of locals, and know that some people might not want their photo taken at all, or will ask for a payment in return for the photo. When in doubt, just ask the person if you can take a photo of them.
- Nightlife in Peru, especially Lima or Cuzco doesn’t typically begin until 10 or 11pm. You’ll find lots of locals and tourists in the same places, dancing to reggaeton, electronic, and more!
You’ll sample a variety of other local dishes on your trip, but read on for all the tips, tricks, and delicacies you must try.
- Anticuchos: These look like shish kebabs, and are a popular street food! Be brave and try the specialties: cow heart.
- Arroz Con Pato: Rice with duck. But get this, it’s cooked with a mix of beer and herbs giving it some zest.
- Ceviche: Raw seafood ‘cooked’ in lime and chili - trust us, try it!
- Jungle Fruit: The best fruits to try are lucuma, maracuya, and camu.
- Chicha: Corn is a staple of Peru, and comes in many forms in Peru. Chicha is actually an alcoholic drink that resembles a corn ale with flavors of cinnamon, clove, lemon, and more. It tastes like a fruit punch!
- Pisco Sour: Peru’s national drink! Pisco is a brandy distilled from local grapes, and this cocktail combines the brandy with egg white, simple syrup, lemon juice, and bitters.
- Cuy: This is a specialty in Peru - roast guinea pig!
- Quinoa: The same healthy grain you see at Whole Foods… but better.
- Plantains: A savory cousin of the banana, typically served on street corners!
If you did not purchase EF Ultimate Break Optional Excursions before the trip began, you can log into your Online Account and do so on tour. You can also talk to your Tour Director on tour and they can help you get enrolled. If you’d like to plan something else during your free time, connect with your Tour Director before doing so; they sometimes arrange extra activities for the group during free time. Prices for these optional excursions will increase on tour, so please check your online account for available add-ons.
We’re so glad you chose to travel with us and are now part of the EF Ultimate Break family! We'll look for your post-card in the mail, and your #thisisultimate tags on Instagram. Cheers to the Best. Trip. Ever.