(Last Updated On: July 30, 2022)

Check latest Covid information and travel restrictions here first before planning any Backpacking Thailand trip: International travel Covid information 

Backpacking Peru Overview - Forever Roaming the World - pic 1

Peru is a country known far and wide for its jewel in the crown – Machu Picchu but that’s not all this country has to offer!

This isn’t your usual type of guide to budget backpacking Peru. This overview doesn’t tell you how to plan your itinerary, cover ‘top 10 things to see and do’, what to pack, or offer a dollar by dollar account on what to spend.

However, in this post we do cover and provide you some useful tips, and advice, things to be wary of while backpacking Peru, and practical information for everyday life while backpacking Peru.

Backpacking Peru takes you into the land of the ancient Inca’s on a journey through history, mystique from feeling like you’re on the edge of the world in Lima, via the desert and mysterious Nazca lines, through the snow capped mountains of the Andes into high altitude to the sleepy Aguascalientes at the foot of Machu Picchu.

Peru has always had an air of mystery and intrigue about it. For years tourists have poured in to visit Machu Picchu, the mysterious Nazca lines, the rainbow mountains and all it’s wonders, making it one of the most heavily visited countries in the world.

However, with that comes a down a downside; locals are well adverse to tourists and want to make money from them. Attractions around the country are crammed with souvenir sellers, scam artists line every street, and petty thieves have a field day with unsuspecting tourists.

That’s not to say you should stay away from backpacking Peru, on the contrary, Peru is a country for me that can’t be missed. While Machu Picchu will inevitably be on top of every backpacker’s list, this country from the coast to the Andes will blow your mind.

Backpacking Peru Overview - Forever Roaming the World - pic 2
Backpacking Peru Overview - Forever Roaming the World - pic 3

Budget backpacking Peru

In this country overview we are going to dive into and cover things you will need to know for everyday backpacking life: 

  1. Basic information for backpacking Peru 
  2. Visa options for backpacking Peru
  3. Practical tips 
  4. Things to be wary about 
  5. Budgeting information for backpacking Peru
  6. Local and national transport information
  7. Accommodation options 
  8. My personal experience of backpacking Peru
  9. Interactive map of Peru

Basic things to know before backpacking Peru

  • Language spoken: Spanish
  • Is English Spoken: Basic
  • Currency: Peruvian Sole
  • Cost of Backpacking Peru is: Fair
  • To check live exchange rate click here XE.com

Visa options for backpacking Peru

  • British Tourists don’t need a Visa, however, we do get issued with Tourist cards at airports with a rough idea of the length of stay which can be up to 6 months
  • Keep hold of these cards as you will need them when leaving the country. If you lose the card you will get fined when leaving the country (It’s a big dent in your budget when you have to pay a fine)

To check your nationalities Visa requirements check here CIBTVisas

Backpacking Peru Overview - Forever Roaming the World - pic 4

Practical tips for backpacking Peru

  • Don’t buy tours and trips from people who approach you on the street
  • Learning some basic Spanish will help you
  • Try not to look like a wide-eyed tourist
  • Don’t book tours for Machu Picchu from Lima, it will cost a lot more
  • If you don’t want to travel independently, you can use Peru-hop and travel in a group with other solo travelers
  • Lima is surprisingly a very modern city and can turn out to be quite expensive. 
  • Lima has an amazing nightlife, lots of bars restaurants and clubs to choose from.
  • Watching a sunset in Miraflores feels like being at the edge of the world and never gets boring
  • Paracas is a great place to do nothing
  • Try ceviche in Paracas
  • Haggle and shop around for best prices to see the Nazca lines
  • Some tour companies in Nazca will not give you value for money, some will try to take you to the skies only for 20 minutes and only show you the bare minimum. (I met a lot of unsatisfied travelers who thought it was a waste of money.)
  • Do try dune buggy and sand-boarding in Nazca
  • If you’re not used to altitude it will start affecting you in Cusco, chew of coca leaves to help with altitude sickness
  • Try Guinea pig in Cusco, it’s a local delicacy
  • If you’re looking to do the full Inca trail, check the best time of year to visit and book well in advance
  • As a budget backpacker, you will find a lack of information on getting to Aguascalientes from Cusco if you don’t want to travel by train
  • The best way for a budget backpacker to get to Aguascalientes is to get a minivan with other backpackers from Cusco to the Hydro-plant. Then to hike the rest of the way (You won’t be alone, hundreds of backpackers do this trip every day). 
  • Hiking from the Hydro-plant to Aguascalientes through the Andes is only a 2-hour walk but an amazing experience
Backpacking Peru Overview - Forever Roaming the World - pic 5

Things to be wary of when backpacking Peru

  • With Peru being heavily visited by tourist there are lots of scam artists that will try signing you up for fake tours
  • Peru is not dangerous but as in all countries don’t flaunt that you are a tourist or you will be targeted especially in touristy areas
  • Peru is actually more expensive than what you first think, have a grip on your budget and watch what you spend
  • With Peru’s diverse landscape be prepared for all weather conditions. (One day you’ll be in the desert the next high up in the Andes.)
  • Journeys can be long and arduous
  • Peru is where people go to do Ayahuasca, also known as Iowaska, A very powerful hallucinogenic if you don’t know what it is or its effects DON’T TOUCH IT. Also even if you do know what it is, be careful because some people who say they are shamans are not – make sure you do your research
  • Cocaine and other drugs will be offered to you on the streets even if you’re not looking for it
  • If you do any form of narcotics do not carry in public or get caught. Possession of drugs is illegal and the police will either make you pay a bribe or you’ll be arrested
  • Be wary of tour touts and people offering a guide services, if you want a guide get an official one when you book your tickets
  • If you go to Puno, Lake Titicaca tours are not worth it. Do them from Copacabana. The Bolivian side of the lake is so much better and cleaner
  • The floating village tour is just a tourist trap, unlike with floating villages in Asia, nobody lives on them here, they merely go to work on them through the day and pretend to live there. The harsh truth is it’s just another tourist trap

If you feel like you need Travel insurance for Backpacking Peru, get a quote from World Nomads one of the worlds best travel insurance companies for backpackers.

Backpacking Peru Overview - Forever Roaming the World - pic 6

Budget information for backpacking Peru

Peru is a funny country when it comes to working out your budget, as the prices fluctuate depending on where you are. There will be some places like up in the north, or in Nazca where it will be very cheap but then places like Lima and Aguascalientes where it will be ridiculously expensive.

So, you will have to be conscious of your spending and it will be a constant juggling act.

Food and drinks are also so varied in prices, the touristy places will charge the moon for a decent meal and in other places, food and drinks will be cheap but poor quality. To save money it’s a good idea to find local eats and eat from the set local menu, normally a lunchtime special. (Usually includes a salad, meat with rice with veg and a drink) Or to cook for yourself in your hostel.

Enjoying the post so far?





connect with me


There are plenty of activities and tours to keep you busy while backpacking Peru and there is something for everybody; It doesn’t matter if you’re a beach dweller, an adventurist, a history buff, culture king, conspiracy theorist, or if you believe in Aliens – Peru has it all for you!

The costs of activities and tours will vary and in some cases can be quite extreme swings depending on how and where you book.

If you are looking to get out to Nazca and take to the skies to see the mysterious Nazca lines, then you will need to shop around. There are companies who will try and over price you and show you the minimum amount, some will literally take to the sky point out one line and take you back down. Obviously, if you are in Nazca for the lines, you know what they are meant to be and will want value for your money, so do your homework on trusted tour companies.

Backpacking Peru Overview - Forever Roaming the World - pic 7

I was actually so disappointed with the Nazca experience. All my life I wanted to see these mysterious lines, and was as excited to experience them with my own eyes as I was to experience Machu Picchu. However when I was finally in Nazca and saw the reality it put me right off. I didn’t even bother going up in a plane it would have just been a waste of time with my tight budget. You need a lot of money to get a full experience of it.

If you’re dead set on doing organised tours but feel haggling is too daunting for you with local operators. You can get an idea of prices or pre booked tours and excursions through reputable companies like Contiki and Intrepid travel – Or find specific trips through Get your guide. The banners below will take you directly to their sites.

Machu Picchu

Your biggest expense while backpacking Peru will probably be Machu Picchu – This world wonder is why most people to travel to Peru in the first place and for budget backpackers, the issue will be how to do it on the cheap.

There are different options, you can do the full Inca trail but do your research into when the trail is open, what tours are available and if you can afford it. The full Inca trail availability is available here.

A second option and most popular for tourists not wanting to do the full trail is to take the train from Cusco to Aguascalientes, then in-turn a bus up to Machu Picchu itself. However again this option is quite costly for budget travelers.

The third option and most common for backpackers on a tight budget is to buy your entrance ticket into Machu Picchu in Cusco, book a minivan from your hostel, which will take you halfway to the hydro-plant. From there along with other budget travelers you will take a scenic and easy 2-hour hike along the train tracks, through the Andes until you reach Aquas Calientes. – One one the best decisions I’ve ever made and you will feel like Indiana Jones!

Backpacking Peru Overview - Forever Roaming the World - pic 8
Backpacking Peru Overview - Forever Roaming the World - pic 9

With prices changing all the time, it would be unfair to try and give you specific prices or tell you how much you should budget for. However if you want to check out some live prices these two sites will give you a better idea: numbeo and expatisan.

Also, this is a good site to get a kind of idea of prices and budget in Peru: How to Peru.

Backpacking Peru Overview - Forever Roaming the World - pic 10
Backpacking Peru Overview - Forever Roaming the World - pic 11

Transport options for backpacking Peru

There is a lot of distance to cover in Peru, traveling from one place to another is long, and with that comes a lot of travel costs. A large chunk of your budget will go on buses even though taking overnight buses will save on a night’s rent the costs still pile up.

You will not be short of options though, as a country used to tourism, there are plenty of options to get around when backpacking Peru. However, due to its diverse terrain, even if there doesn’t seem to be much distance between places it will be!

Getting around locally

  • Public buses – All cities have a good network of public buses.
  • Metro – Runs throughout Lima.
  • Tuk-tuks – Available in smaller towns and villages.
  • Taxi – Quite expensive especially for budget travelers.
  • Uber – Cheaper option than a taxi and quicker to get to your destination.
  • Collectivo’s – Mini-vans that wait until they are filled up and run certain routes.
Backpacking Peru Overview - Forever Roaming the World - pic 12

Getting around nationally

  • Private buses – Main options Cruz del Sur and Ormeno (2nd class, 1st class and VIP available.
  • Trains – Two main lines run through Peru, central and southern railways. Trains are available from Cusco to Aguascalientes for Machu Picchu (but very expensive for backpackers)
  • Flights – Domestic flights are available.

Accommodation options for backpacking Peru

Whilst you’re more than likely to spend a lot of money of transport, accommodation is relatively cheap but you will have to look around. There will be lots of hostels and rooms available on booking sites but it’s the ones that don’t advertise that will work out cheaper. I always find cheaper and better quality hostels by just walking around.

If Hostels are not your thing, try looking at booking.com for other cheap alternatives

NOTE: If you’re planning on visiting Machu Picchu, It’s the only time I recommend to book a hostel or hotel in Aguascalientes in advance as rooms get booked up. It’s a nightmare arriving and then trying to find a place to sleep without paying over the odds. I had to pay so much even though it was low season.

  • Hostels – Range from grotty basic rooms to larger more sociable and clean ones.
  • Guesthouses or hospedajes  – smaller than hostels run by families.
  • Budget hotels – Great to have some privacy.
  • Air BnB – Available in Peru.
  • Couchsurfing – Stay with locals.
  • Camping – There are safe spots dotted around Peru to camp.

Looking for hostels while backpacking Peru? Use the Hostelworld form below to find your best options

Backpacking Peru: Step into the intrigue 2

My overview of peru

Backpacking Peru was such an incredible experience from the sunsets in Lima to being in awe of Machu Picchu. There is so much beauty in Peru but something unforeseeable started to happen to me while in Peru.

As I was having a great time backpacking Peru, but I was starting to get worn out. Warn out from 6 years of constant backpacking and working around the world. Days were starting to becoming a constant mental battle. It’s hard to explain but I loved what was in front of me but at the same time, I wanted it to be over.

The longer I was backpacking Peru, traveling started to become a chore, it was only when I walked through the Andes to get to Aguascalientes and Machu Picchu that I was recovered some of that traveling buzz. 

Don’t get me wrong, backpacking Peru did not put me in this mood, It’s a great country and one I would go back to, I just became mentally drained at the time. For that reason I started to rush my journey, wanting it to be over and in turn missed out on the rainbow mountains and a few other spots.

Backpacking Peru Overview - Forever Roaming the World - pic 13

An interactive map of backpacking Peru

If you’re looking to go backpacking Peru but not sure of the route to take, this map below shows my route, places I stopped, and will hopefully give you an idea of the best route for yourself.



Amit's books

Weather you would like to get informed on long-term solo travel or love reading travel stories of adventure, discovery & despair Amit has you covered. Check out his latest books




connect with me


This backpacking Peru overview, gives you an insight into practical tips for everyday backpacking life, visas options, things to be wary of, transport and accommodation options, an interactive map and more #solotravel #backpacking #backpacker #travelblog #budgettravel #solobackpacker #peru #backpackingperu #travelperu #solotravelperu #perutips #peruguide
This backpacking Peru overview, gives you an insight into practical tips for everyday backpacking life, visas options, things to be wary of, transport and accommodation options, an interactive map and more #solotravel #backpacking #backpacker #travelblog #budgettravel #solobackpacker #peru #backpackingperu #travelperu #solotravelperu #perutips #peruguide
This backpacking Peru overview, gives you an insight into practical tips for everyday backpacking life, visas options, things to be wary of, transport and accommodation options, an interactive map and more #solotravel #backpacking #backpacker #travelblog #budgettravel #solobackpacker #peru #backpackingperu #travelperu #solotravelperu #perutips #peruguide
This backpacking Peru overview, gives you an insight into practical tips for everyday backpacking life, visas options, things to be wary of, transport and accommodation options, an interactive map and more #solotravel #backpacking #backpacker #travelblog #budgettravel #solobackpacker #peru #backpackingperu #travelperu #solotravelperu #perutips #peruguide
This backpacking Peru overview, gives you an insight into practical tips for everyday backpacking life, visas options, things to be wary of, transport and accommodation options, an interactive map and more #solotravel #backpacking #backpacker #travelblog #budgettravel #solobackpacker #peru #backpackingperu #travelperu #solotravelperu #perutips #peruguide
This backpacking Peru overview, gives you an insight into practical tips for everyday backpacking life, visas options, things to be wary of, transport and accommodation options, an interactive map and more #solotravel #backpacking #backpacker #travelblog #budgettravel #solobackpacker #peru #backpackingperu #travelperu #solotravelperu #perutips #peruguide
This backpacking Peru overview, gives you an insight into practical tips for everyday backpacking life, visas options, things to be wary of, transport and accommodation options, an interactive map and more #solotravel #backpacking #backpacker #travelblog #budgettravel #solobackpacker #peru #backpackingperu #travelperu #solotravelperu #perutips #peruguide
This backpacking Bolivia overview, gives you an insight into practical tips for everyday backpacking life, visas options, things to be wary of, transport and accommodation options, an interactive map and more #solotravel #backpacking #backpacker #travelblog #budgettravel #solobackpacker #bolivia #backpackingbolivia #travelbolivia #solotravelbolivia #boliviatips #boliviaguide
Backpacking Peru: Step into the intrigue 4


Leave a comment below or email me directly

Need traveling advice: amit@foreverroamingtheworld.com

Work with me: partnerships@foreverroamingtheworld

General: hello@foreverormaingtheworld


Rosemary · September 18, 2017 at 10:33 pm

Great tips about how to navigating your way through Peru. I loved both Cusco and Lima and really enjoyed exploring the country. From my experience, I found the local food to be really inexpensive. We would eat the local food pay less than 5 soles. The price range you give is expensive. Is it for local food or Western food?
You’re right Machu Picchu was our most expensive trip, but it cannot be missed. Truly spectacular!! We missed Puno and hope to make it on our next trip to the country.

    foreverroamingtheworld · September 19, 2017 at 11:11 pm

    Thanks for your comment 😀 If Aguascalientes wasn’t as expensive as it was that would be my fave place haha. I think there is some confusion there, the price range I give wasn’t just for food, it was for what I would spend on average through a typical day. I can see why it looks like I’m talking about food, I’ll rectify that 😀

Pia · September 18, 2017 at 6:35 pm

great post with a lot of helpful and detailed information. The pics are also cool. I´d love to go there one day. South and Middle America are still a blank space in my collection which needs to be filled ?

Followingtherivera · September 18, 2017 at 10:13 am

This is so cool you backpacked around Peru. I’m a flashpacker than backpacker, but I would have loved to stay with the locals, and speak Spanish with them! Such a beautiful country, and the sound of the train journeys sound like bliss to me!

John · September 18, 2017 at 8:57 am

Nice place and all the pictures are so beautiful. I will visit this place someday,

Andi · September 18, 2017 at 1:12 am

This is an extensive guide to Peru! I’ve bookmarked it. If I ever plan a trip, this will be the resource I use! I love the tip about the floating villages being a scam, makes me giggle to think they are totally faking it and yet tourists eat it up!

Christina · September 18, 2017 at 12:51 am

This is a very thorough article! Though we are not backpackers, there are still some great tips that I can use for our future trip to Machu Picchu. Even though I love trying different cuisines and traditntal food, I already know I will not be eating guinea pigs. I will be picturing my moms class pets haha.

Ali Dunnell · September 17, 2017 at 7:31 pm

You’ve really included a lot of helpful information and advice into your guide here – well done. I went to Peru about 15 years ago. I did lots of touristy things, but also stayed a while with friend who was teaching in Lima at the time.. Staying with a friend allowed me to get more of a feel for the city – but I still really enjoyed my time there. Your piece brought back some great memories.

Hania · September 17, 2017 at 7:09 pm

I’ve been to Peru earlier in the summer and your post brought back lovely memories. Just one correction – to deal with altitude sickness in Cuzco you should chew coca leaves, not cocoa leaves. I’ve got a feeling there is a big difference between them ?

Bri - Wondering & Wandering · September 17, 2017 at 5:57 pm

I wish that there were harsher laws for scammers, they also tend to be an annoyance to an otherwise great experience. On a better note, your photos were amazing! I’d love to visit Peru someday.

Dinh-Long · September 17, 2017 at 5:30 pm

I love your tips part, very useful and operational tips! I really want to travel to Peru, I’ll come back to this once I backpack in the region! I can speak Spanish fluently so I guess it will definitely help; just need to learn the local slang haha. I don’t know much about the country except the Machu Pichu (and the famous picture!) and the Inca Cola! Do you think that all what you disliked would also be apparent in the Northern part of the country?

    foreverroamingtheworld · September 17, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    No I think it’s less like that that up north, it’s much more laid back ?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.