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I’ve made two separate journeys to Peru and the mystical world wonder Machu Picchu: first in July 2008 as part of the Peru Panorama tour with G Adventures then in February 2011 when I spent 3 weeks backpacking around the country with friends.
This week, Diana Pena prepares for her first major international backpacking adventure to Peru. She’ll be traveling for three weeks with two of her close friends.
She’s planning to visit Lima, Cusco, Puno, and Mancora. Read on to find out my top tips on what to pack to Peru in this special Q&A!
Please read this Machu Picchu Packing List for specific tips on the trek.
What to Pack to Peru
Q: I need a travel backpack and a trekking day backpack, what size would be appropriate for me? (110lbs, 5’0)
A comfortable backpack for your height would be a 40L bag. While you can probably carry a larger bag of up to 65L, the bag will be larger than you!
For a day pack, try not to go over 25L.
The secret to traveling light is to create a functional but minimalist capsule wardrobe. Learn more in my guide!
Q: Is there a particular backpack brand that you prefer?
I’m a big Osprey fan. I have previously travelled with the Osprey Aura 65 and now I travel with the carry on sized Farpoint Osprey 55 and couldn’t be happier. The main compartment is 40L and includes a detachable 15L daypack so the combined total is 55L.
You can find more information about my backpack here: Osprey Farpoint 55.
Q: How many shoes should I bring with me?
No more than three pairs and definitely no heels. You should bring a pair of flip flops and sturdy pair of trekking shoes like Merrell Hiking Shoes. I own these New Balance cross trainers which I’ve used on two separate treks to Machu Picchu.
You can bring hiking boots if you prefer the additional support however it is possible to do the trek in a pair of trainers.
In addition, you can opt to bring one nice pair of sandals, comfortable flats, or flat booties that would dress up your outfits. Check out this awesome post on stylish and practical travel shoes.
Read our top 10 cute and comfortable flats for travel.
Q: Should I pack feminine hygiene products, lotions, medicines etc.?
For three weeks you should be okay with 3 oz. travel size containers of the basics including lotion, shampoo, sun block, etc. Even though Peru is cold, it is easy to get a sunburn because of the altitude. Please make sure to wear sun block.
Learn more about how to choose travel-size toiletries.
Q: Other than a hat, are there any other accessories I should bring with me?
Peru is a great place for shopping, especially Cusco! I’d say to come with a couple of basics but buy accessories there. It’s also common for travelers to buy Peruvian woolly hats, scarves, and gloves to stay warm – very cute and great souvenirs!
Check out my favorite travel accessories.
Q: Is there a method to packing or a certain order I should pack all my belongings so that everything fits?
Packing cubes are life and space savers! They drastically minimize the clutter, keep your bag organized, and everything fits! I travel with this set and love them. Roll up your clothes and put them in one at a time. Zip it up and you’re good to go!
Check out the Travel Fashion Girl Packing Lists to choose a packing list that best suits your needs.
What else would you suggest for what to pack to Peru?
For tips more on what to pack for Peru, please read:
- Inca Trail and Machu Picchu Tours Packing List
- What to Pack for a Year Traveling Latin America
- What to Pack for Machu Picchu if You’re not Trekking
- Backpacking South American Packing List
Suggested Travel Resources:
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I followed your packing tips for Peru July 9 – July 22 & I may have been the only person on our tour who was prepared for all the different weather! Our four hours at Machu Picchu experienced warm sun with blue skies, strong wind, pelting rain, cooler temps, and then it warmed up again with sun & a rainbow all in one afternoon! During my trip to Peru, we visited Amazon near border with Ecuador – temps very hot high 80’s, next we were in Cusco and Sacred Valley – very comfortable touring weather during the days 70’s and cold at night & cold at breakfast, Lake Titicaca was cold early morning, warm to low 70’s in the day, and cold again in afternoon. The packing cubes helped because I was able to organize and find what I needed at each new hotel plus it made it easy to separate what we wanted to bring in our small overnight bag for Machu Picchu. This is second trip I used the cubes.
Great post. I’m heading on a trip to Peru (Lima, Cuzco, Machu Picchu trek and Lake Titicaca) with 4 days in Miami afterwards this July. Help needed on what to pack please! Also we were thinking of bringing suitcases with us, with backpacks for during the day, instead of large backpacks, will that work? We will be on overnight buses etc so will they fit? Thanks
Hi Sara, so pleased you enjoyed this article. You might find our 10 step guide to South America a good place to start planning your packing: https://www.travelfashiongirl.com/10-step-packing-guide-south-america/ I think you would be fine with the suitcase but I would double check with the bus company to see if they have a recommended luggage size as I do not wan’t to give you the wrong advice.I would also highly recommend that you join our TFG facebook group and post any questions you have there: https://www.facebook.com/groups/travelfashiongirls/ Its a fabulous community of helpful female travelers that have the best advice and recommendations to share. Hope this helps. Have an incredible time on your trip! ?
I haven’t really decided where to go in Peru as my primary focus was a retreat in August in Iquitos. Since I have the summer off I decided to go to Peru for July and August. Is anywhere warm? And in general I am kinda stressing on what to bring for this time, since I usually go to beach areas. Any ideas? I don’t know if I am doing the long trek to machu picchu since I have read you have to book in advance? This was a last minute thing so I would need any advice I can get 🙂
Hi Maria, great choice! Peru is one of my top five favorite countries in the world and has a very cool beach town in the north called Mancora. You can find everything you need to know about packing for Machu Picchu (whether or not you are doing the trek) in these articles:
They also have tips on how to pack for the rest of Peru. I would suggest buying a guidebook such as South America on a Shoestring http://amzn.to/2t9gahy or Peru http://amzn.to/2s52JPI to find more ideas about itineraries.
Have a wonderful time!
I don’t wear or own jeans. Will yoga pants suffice?
Hi Jen, Whatever pants you’d normally wear in the fall or winter would work.
I’m heading to Peru for 12 days this month and really appreciated the information in your blog about what to pack. I was wondering if you had a general idea of the amount of USD or PEN I should bring/get? I don’t want to exchange too much but also don’t want to be short.
Hi! I’ve been visiting your website everytime I travel.. We are heading to Peru-Ecuador-Bolivia-Chile this February 2017. Just like the other ladies, I am doubting what to bring. As of the moment, I am making a mental note and would probably bring the ff: my osprey farpoint 70L (used this in China, Philippines, Europe), my carry-on Coleman backpack 40L, hiking boots, a pair of jeans, fleece jacket, 2-3 leggings, several shirts.. I was planning to bring 2 -3 pairs of shorts but now I am doubtng after I read all the comments.. Help?? Thanks!!!!
Wow sounds like an awesome trip Shana! Here are some more posts to help:
Love the Osprey Farpoint bag!
Hi Alex, love your blog. When you say its possible to do the trail in trainers, do you mean sneakers/running shoes? I’m debating whether or not to bring my regular Nike sneakers or if I need to purchase heavy-duty cross-trainers/hiking shoes. I’m intending to do the trail in late February/early March and expect it to be rainy. Thanks so much.
yes sneakers. I used New Balance cross trainers. So long as they have strong sole that won’t slide on loose rocks. The Inca Trail is closed in Feb so early March would be best 🙂
I just finished 8 days between Lima and Cusco, with one day for Machu Picchu. The packing was quite challenging, as the climates are so different in each place. I didn’t end up with a carry on only, but had space to come back with lots of gifts. 🙂
The colder weather in Cusco required lots of layers at night, especially as the airbnb we stayed at did not have indoor heating as we are used to in the US. I had an amazing time, but could definitely improve/par down on my packing for my next trip in May (back to Tokyo, Seoul, and Taipei).
You have to start somewhere and space in your bag is definitely a great start 🙂 Here are some tips for Tokyo for your next trip: https://travelfashiongirl.com/packing-list-for-japan-tokyo-travel-tv-host-shares-her-fashion-tips/
I spending two weeks in Peru, we will be in Lima as well as Machu Pichu. We will be there the 1st two weeks of June! I have hiking shoes, is that enough? Or should I take hiking boots? I have a waterproof pair of Vasque leather boots that are 20 years old but in excellent shape and comfy. I have Merrill hiking shoes. I want to make sure I am taking what I need. Please reply, your advice is so appreciated. firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s possible to do the trek in trainers. You can take hiking boots if you prefer the additional support.
This post has a full packing list and more tips: https://travelfashiongirl.com/inca-trail-and-machu-picchu-tours-packing-list/
have a great time!
I wondered if you could help me with my packing list.
I’m stressing! I leave in Jan and am traveling through Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama. Then I’m crossing over to Colombia early March, Peru in April for a month including Machu Picchu, then I will be crossing into Bolivia then Chile (will be in Chile June/July )
I don’t even know where to start for all the different weather and activities . 🙁
Hi Bec, sounds like a great trip! Don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it sounds. What date are you leaving?
I’m traveling for 10 days over Christmas vacation to Peru with my three sons and husband. I have been asked to prepare them a packing list so they know what to bring home with them from college for the trip. I know it’s summer and the rainy season but I’m not sure how warm they need to dress. will layers of t-shirt. sweatshirt, light weight rain jacket be enough? Should they pack jeans and button down shirts for dinners out? What do they need for Lake Titicaca? Thanks for your help.
Hi Susan! Peru is colder than other parts of South America year round because of it’s altitude. Plan to layer long sleeve, tees, fleece (or hoodie) and waterproof. Jeans are a must and button down shorts are optional depending on the type of dining that you do.
While the proximity to the sun will make it feel warm during the day at night the temperatures will drop. ALWAYS wear sun screen on your face even if it is cold – everyone on my trip burnt to a crisp in Lake Titicaca!
Don’t worry, if you find yourself unprepared you can buy cheap Northface replicas in Cusco for just about anything. Have a great time!
Thank you sharing! I plan to travel to Peru end of September. Your blog has been very helpful. Thank you
I’m leaving at the end of June for Peru, and will spend only about 4 days in Lima, then the majority of the remainder of the trip time will be spent in Cusco. There will be outings to Lake Titicaca, Machu Picchu, and several ruins. I’m planning to take one big bag, and have read several suggested packing lists and am concerned that I will overpack because it’s winter there. Do I need to take a medium-weight jacket, or will long sleeved shirts and sweaters be enough?
Hi Melinda, awesome trip you have planned! Take a look at this post: https://travelfashiongirl.com/inca-trail-and-machu-picchu-tours-packing-list/
You for sure need a warm jacket and hoodie/fleece and also a pair of jeans. It’s cold. You don’t have to overpack or take a huge bag, you just have to layer. Also still pack sunblock (for your face) because of the altitude. I went in winter and my face got burned along with other travelers on the boat trip in Lake Titicaca 🙁
For pants all you need is a pair of jeans, leggings, and walking pants if you’re doing the Machu Piccu Trek. The cool thing about jeans is that they keep you warm and you don’t have to wash them often.
Then pack about 5 long sleeve tops in varying thicknesses that you can layer together along with a couple of short sleeves for warmer days. An easy way to ensure you’re always warm without needing to pack a million clothes is to take a set of thermals you can wear under everything 🙂
I’m going to South America for 5 months in June… And the thought of packing for all the different climates and temperatures is stressful to say the least! Any chance of an all round South America packing list?! It would be a life saver! X
Hi Gem! it’s on it’s way but I’ll send you my packing list e-book in the mean time that has specific tips for different seasons 🙂
Hi Alex, I’m about to head off to Peru for 14 days (hiking the Inca) which includes 2 nights in the amazon and then onto a Mexico city/ruins/beach tour for another 14 days. Needless to say I am completely at a loss as to what to wear considering they’re both very different holidays. Any advice would be very much appreciated. Cheers:)
Hi Amanda, sounds like you have a great trip planned 🙂 Machu Piccu is phenomenal and the Peruvian amazon is a trip of a lifetime!
What day do you leave? I can email you a list this weekend!
Thanks so much Alex – that’s be fabulous!!! I leave in two weeks and am very excited. But this outfit planning is really challenging. I’m trying to plan it all out so I don’t keep buying single pieces that don’t really go together. So glad I found your blog!
That’s great, thank you! I’ll work on something for you this weekend 🙂
Very good list and tips. I know nothing about traveling with a backpack.
I usually have two small carry-on bags. I also travel with camera gear so I don’t know if I’ll ever get it down to one bag. Good post!
I can imagine traveling carry on with camera equipment would be a challenge! What bags do you use?
Thanks for reading 🙂
Oh how I would LOVE to go to Peru! It’s SO high on my list 🙂 Thx for the tips!
Yes! It’s truly magical! i’d probabaly go again 🙂
Thanks for reading!