Peru Rail | Travel Recommendations

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Terms & Conditions
Visas and Passports

Peru can be visited freely by almost everyone. Citizens from the majority of countries in the Americas and Western Europe do not need a tourist visa to enter Peru. The maximum stay granted by authorities is 183 days (non-extendable). To stay for a longer time for other purposes (business, studies, or work) visitors must first request the corresponding visa at their closest Peruvian consulate.

In order to enter Peru, it is required to present a valid passport. Citizens of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Chile may enter using their national identity document. To find out whether you need a visa, click here.

Transportation

How to reach Cusco

By air:

  • Domestic flights from Lima (1 hour approx.)
  • Domestic flights from Arequipa (30 minutes approx.)

By land:

  • Lima – Arequipa – Cusco: 1,650 km (26 hours by car approx.)
  • Lima – Nazca – Puquio – Abancay – Cusco: 1,131 km (20 hours by car approx.)
  • Puno – Cusco: 389 km (7 hours by car approx.)

By rail:

  • Puno – Cusco: 384 km (10:30 hours approx.)

 

Taxis in Cusco

There are a large number of taxis in Cusco, available at any time of day or night. The fare in the city center ranges from PEN 2 to PEN 5 (until 10 pm) and PEN 3 to PEN 5 (after 10 pm) depending on the destination. To or from the airport: PEN 15.

For more information, we recommend viewing the benchmark prices provided by the offices of Iperú before negotiating with taxi drivers.

How to reach Puno

By air:

  • Domestic flights from Lima (90 minutes approx.)
  • Domestic flights from Arequipa (approximately 45 minutes approx.)

By land:

  • Lima – Arequipa – Juliaca – Puno: 1,315 km (20 hours by car approx.)
  • Cusco – Puno: 389 km (6 hours approx.)
  • Arequipa – Puno: 285 km (5 hours approx.)
  • Tacna – Puno: 376 km (6 hours approx.)

By rail:

  • Cusco – Puno: 384 Km (10:30 hours approx.)

Information Center:

IPERÚ Cusco
Velasco Astete Airport (arrivals hall and main lobby)
iperucuscoapto@promperu.gob.pe

IPERÚ Machu Picchu
Av. Pachacútec, Cuadra 1 s/n, Of. 4 (DRC Building)
iperumachupicchu@promperu.gob.pe

IPERÚ Puno – Plaza de Armas
Corner of Jr. Deustua and Jr. Lima – Plaza de Armas (Main Square)
iperupuno@promperu.gob.pe

IPERÚ Puno Airport
Inca Manco Cápac Airport, Juliaca (arrivals hall)
iperupunoapto@promperu.gob.pe


Health

 

Health conditions in Peru are in keeping with international standards, especially in the cities. In recent years, the number of modern healthcare services being offered has increased. Both public hospitals and private clinics provide adequate care. Nevertheless, it is always a good idea to take out a health insurance policy for your trip.

There are no mandatory vaccines in order to enter Peru. If you are planning on visiting the country’s Amazon region, the Ministry of Health recommends getting vaccinated for yellow fever. For more information on vaccines, click here.

The yellow fever vaccine must be administered at least 10 days before your trip in order to be effective.

For more information for travelers, click here.

Altitude Sickness

The city of Cusco is located at 3,400 meters above sea level. Visitors may feel slightly ill or dizzy due to altitude sickness, known in Peru as “soroche.” It is recommended that travelers take a pill for dizziness 30 minutes before arriving in the city.

The first thing visitors should do upon reaching Cusco or Puno is rest at least a couple of hours so their bodies can get used to the altitude. Take advantage of this time to visit sites in the city center first, and avoid engaging in activities that require physical exertion. It is suggested that visitors eat light meals for the first few days. Coca tea is your best friend when it comes to beating altitude sickness.

The city of Puno is located at 3,827 meters above sea level. Visitors may feel slightly ill or dizzy due to altitude sickness, known in Peru as “soroche.” It is recommended that travelers take a pill for the dizziness thirty minutes before arriving in the city.

To help fight off altitude sickness, make sure to rest for the first few days and avoid particularly strenuous physical activity. You can also drink coca tea or take pills. Make sure to stay hydrated, especially in very high areas, drinking bottled or properly purified water.


Climate

Cusco Climate

June and October are the perfect months for a visit to Cusco, when the sun comes out early and shines all day.

The rainy season begins in November and lasts until March. During this time of year, we suggest always carrying a raincoat or umbrella with you.

When traveling to Cusco (Machu Picchu) we recommend taking the necessary precautions against mosquito bites and overexposure to the sun. Make sure to bring sunblock, insect repellent, hats, and sunglasses.

Puno Climate

In the region of Puno, the climate in most places is cold and semiarid, with rainfall in the summer and a high relative humidity.

The climate in the city of Puno itself is cold and dry. Since the city is located on the shores of Titicaca, however, the temperature rarely drops below 32 ºF (0 ºC)”. In zones located further from the lake and higher up, the cold is quite intense, especially at night.


Currency

Currency: Sol (S/ or PEN) is the official currency in Peru. Bills come in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 Soles. There are 10-, 20-, and 50-céntimo coins, as well as coins worth 1, 2, and 5 Soles (PEN). US Dollars (USD) are accepted at countless stores, restaurants, hotels, and gas stations. Money can be exchanged at banks and exchange houses. Typical business hours for currency exchange agencies run from Monday through Friday from 9 am to 6 pm and Saturdays until noon. ATMs can be found in nearly all cities in the country, and the majority are affiliated with Plus (Visa) and Cirrus (MasterCard/Maestro), American Express, and other networks. ATMs can be used to withdraw cash in Soles (PEN) or US Dollars (USD) although the exchange rate is usually less favorable than at exchange establishments.


Machu Picchu

Tourist Ticket

The Cusco tourist ticket is one of the most important tourism development initiatives in Cusco. This ticket allows tourists to make a one-time payment, gaining access to nearly all of the city’s varied tourist attractions.
It can be purchased at the following address:

Turistic Galleries

Av. El Sol 103 Of. 101, Cusco
For more information on the tourist ticket, visit the COSITUC website.

 

Bus to Machu Picchu

After arriving in Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Station) you have two options available for the ascent to the citadel of Machu Picchu: on foot or by bus.

For those who prefer to go on foot, the six-kilometer walk will take you no more than an hour.

You can also take one of the 20 buses that travel the winding road, departing from town every 15 minutes. The first bus leaves at 5:30 am, and the last one leaves the citadel for town at 5:30 pm.

The bus ticket costs approximately USD 24 (round trip) and may be purchased at the ticket offices in Aguas Calientes: Av. Hermanos Ayar S/N, or at the CONSETUR offices located at Av. Infancia 433, Wanchaq, Cusco.

Ticket to Machu Picchu

If you wish to purchase only the ticket to the citadel, visit www.machupicchu.gob.pe

You can also buy your ticket at our point of sale located on the Plaza de Armas (Main Square) of Cusco or at the ticket windows in the Wanchaq, Poroy, and Ollantaytambo Stations, providing that you are also purchasing a train ticket.

Ministry of Culture – Cusco
Calle San Bernardo s/n

Business Hours
The citadel opens its gates at 6 am and closes for the day at 5 pm.

Ticket Cost
Tour
Foreigner Citizens
Adult
Student
Andean Community Residents Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, and Ecuador
Adult
Student
Machu Picchu Only
PEN 128
PEN 32
PEN 64
PEN 32
Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu
PEN 152
PEN 45
PEN 90
PEN 45
Machu Picchu + Mountain
PEN 142
PEN 40
PEN 80
PEN 40
Machu Picchu Only (afternoon ticket)*
PEN 45
PEN 22
PEN 45
PEN 22

*New ticket prices for the citadel of Machu Picchu during afternoon hours (entry starting at 1 pm). Valid for Peruvian citizens and foreigners residing in the country with an alien registration card (carné de extranjería); valid for the six -month period between December 12, 2014 and May 12, 2015. Purchase your e-ticket in advance. Consult availability at www.machupicchu.gob.pe

Tours

Huayna Picchu

Huayna Picchu, the eternal guardian of the Inca citadel, is the highest peak that can be seen in typical photographs of Machu Picchu, and scaling its summit is a truly unforgettable experience. The strenuous ascent takes approximately two hours, and begins at the Main Plaza of Machu Picchu, along a trail built by the Incas themselves, currently well-marked and in excellent condition.

If you would like to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime experience, we recommend getting to the citadel early and heading straight to Huayna Picchu to reserve your spot, because only 400 tourists are allowed up each day (since 2009) and all adventurous hikers must set out for the peak by 1 pm.

Please note that in order to undertake this hike, it is first necessary to fill out a record form with your name and identity document information, stating that you have entered of your own free will. We recommend leaving behind any heavy backpacks, but make sure to take lots of water with you.

This hike is not recommended for the elderly, expectant mothers, persons with heart conditions, or those afraid of heights.

 

Inca Trail

Machu Picchu is inarguably the most important undertaking left behind by the extraordinary Inca civilization. In order for pilgrims and authorized officials of the Empire to reach the citadel, they first had to travel the Royal Road through the rugged geography of the Andes. Today, this path is known as the Inca Trail.

Surrounded on all sides by breathtaking natural beauty and unforgettable vistas that will remain etched in your mind, this trail once stretched nearly 23,000 km, joining together the whole of the Tahuantinsuyo empire, which included present-day southern Colombia, western Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, reaching as far south as central Chile and northern Argentina.

At present, you can undertake this remarkable journey through valleys and tunnels, across rivers and bridges, on one of the six hike options offered (up to 39 km). If you are interested, make sure to contact your travel agency and reserve your place well ahead of time.

What precautions should I take if I will be reaching Machu Picchu on foot?

  • If you are thinking about hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, the most important recommendation is to reserve your trip at least one month ahead of time, since it will take at least this long for the permits to be issued
  • Make sure to go with a qualified guide backed by a specialized agency
  • Take insect repellent
  • Take the most comfortable shoes you can find
  • Take the bare minimum of camping equipment, including a first aid kit, as well as:
    • Cold food that will keep for a long time
    • Warm and cool clothing
    • A rain poncho or coat
    • A hat and sunblock
    • A flashlight and replacement batteries
    • Chocolate and food to give you energy
    • Water purification tablets
    • A bathing suit

Titicaca Lake

The famous Lake Titicaca in Puno is one of the most beautiful and important world natural heritages. Located at an altitude of 3810 meters above sea level, this lake is the highest and most navigable of the world. The lake has held significance for Peru since ancient times. According to legend, Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo, children of the Sun God, emerged from the depths of Lake Titicaca to later found the powerful Inca Empire.

Location

It is located on the Collao plateau in the Central Andes, an area shared by Bolivia (La Paz) and Peru (Puno).

 

 

Tourist activities

Trekking

Lake Titicaca and its surroundings are perfect for long walks, since you can move about beautiful Andean landscapes and always with a fantastic view of the lake.

Community-based rural tourism

On the shores of Lake Titicaca lies the famous Uros Islands, a group of islands made by hand, where you can interact with the natives, sailing and fishing.

Inca Trail:

Puno is an excellent starting point to go to the imperial city; from there you can take 10 of the 14 routes of the Inca trail, a road system known as Qhapaq Ñam.

Important data

  • Lake Titicaca is the second largest lake in South America.
  • In 2002, Peruvian Navy divers found remains under the waters of the lake, of which could be a lost city.
  • The waters of Lake Titicaca bathe and preserve an indigenous population that still keep their Inca traditions.
  • Weather in Puno is cold and dry, temperatures can reach a low of 3° C and a high of 14° C
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