The following is a guest packing list by Chelsea Baldwin. See all packing list posts here.
Known for Machu Picchu, the mysterious Nazca lines, and the beauty of high-altitude mountains as well as sunny, salty beaches, Peru lands itself on the bucket lists of many world travelers and adventure-seekers.
I visited the Lima area in winter and didn’t do too much outdoor trekking through mountains and forests. However, I was outside a lot visiting small, rural communities. The packing list below will suit a trip to Peru as a backpacker or casual traveler in the winter months.
You can make it sexier and more suited for city life and going out by adding dresses and slinky shoes, or bulk it up for climbing mountain trails by trading the tennis shoes for hiking boots and adding in a mummy-style sleeping bag.
Layered clothing is essential for the changing climates in relation to the different altitudes of Peru, no matter what season you travel in.
2 pairs of jeans – You’ll want an extra pair to change into if one gets wet or excessively dirty.
5-7 shirts – Pack a variety of shirts, including long-sleeved options.
3-4 layers – Select tops that can be layered with each other and your shirts. Choose things like a heavy flannel shirt, a warm fleece, and a hoodie or jacket.
1 waterproof jacket – In case it rains. It will also protect you from cold ocean breezes.
5-7 pairs of underwear – This is enough to keep yourself fresh while doing laundry once a week.
2 bras – Depending on your shirts, one skin-tone and one colored should do nicely.
>> Read all our undergarments posts for help with packing these items.
1-2 pairs of leggings – These add an extra layer to your legs, keeping them warm. These aren’t as necessary in lower altitudes.
1 pair tennis shoes – You don’t have to look like an unstylish mom from the 1980s, but you’ll need a decent pair of walking shoes that keep your feet warm.
1 pair flip flops – To protect your feet against grimy shower floors.
1 pair cute shoes – The style is up to you, but pack something that will make you feel semi-attractive to wear on weekends or for going out to dinner after long days.
>> Read more about shoes to pack for an RTW trip and athletic shoes to pack.
Bar soap – It doesn’t leak and is easy to carry in a small plastic case back and forth from the showers.
2-in-1 shampoo & conditioner – If it’s in your carry-on, make sure it’s less than 3.4 ounces (or 100ml).
>>See HPL’s list of the best toiletries for carry-on travel.
Toothbrush, toothpaste and floss – No one likes stinky breath.
Razor – Bring shaving cream too if you don’t like using soap as a lather.
Wide-toothed comb – Or a brush, whichever you prefer.
Hair ties – Especially if you’re close to the ocean, they’ll keep your wispy hair out of your face. (Or try a headband or Buff.)
Diva Cup – So you don’t have to bother with buying and carrying around tampons.
Birth Control – Just in case.
Medicines – Keep a small, emergency supply to treat stomach aches, headaches and colds. If you get car sick on bumpy rides, pack something for motion sickness. (See what makes a good first-aid kit.)
Towel – To dry off after a shower. Or check out Turkish travel towels.
Camera – Take as many pictures as possible to show off back home.
Laptop – Skype with family and friends, update your travel blog or upload pictures at an internet cafe or your hostel lobby. If you’re going to Peru for adventure and hiking purposes, you might want to leave this behind.
E-reader – Give yourself some entertainment on the plane or while traveling within the country.
Chargers – Charge your electronics overnight to make sure they stay juiced during the day.
>> Get more insight in this tech gear packing list.
Sunscreen and sunglasses – Even in winter, the sun’s rays are still harmful.
Earplugs and eye mask – These are essential for light sleepers to get a decent amount of shut-eye.
>> Read more in our sleep packing list.
Water bottle – Just make sure you fill it up with filtered or boiled water only. I made the fatal mistake towards the end of my trip and had to deal with parasites when I got home. Note: bring a water purifier pen, or sterilising tablets.
Would YOU add anything to this list? Leave us a comment and let us know!
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About the author: Chelsea Baldwin is a professional freelance writer who is constantly looking forward to her next plane trip to a new, exotic land. Although she’s been to a handful of countries, she’s never traveled for pure tourism. Instead, she’s traveled for work, internship opportunities, or volunteer community development work. Connect with her via her travel blog, Twitter, or her website, CarolinaFreelanceWriter.com.
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I’ve heard a lot about electronic theft in Peru recently. Obviously this happens everywhere, but I’ve heard of a couple accounts where items were taken right out of the person’s hand. Do you pack things differently going to an area that has a potentially high crime rate?
When I travel to somewhere with a high crime rate, I do all the basics: wear my money belt, don’t leave things in the hotel/hostel unless I feel they are secured (lockers / hidden) and I don’t bring anything I’m not ok with losing. Also, I try to use my ATM card as little as possible, and only in bank buildings so I can lessen my chances of my cards getting skimmed. I don’t use public computers for checking bank accounts or buying anything. I’d also recommend something like this: http://pacsafe.com/rfidtec-100-rfid-blocking-bi-fold-wallet
Have a purse with a strap that wraps around your body and always have the purse in front of you. Camera thefts are common when tourists are trying to take pictures. Have a camera strap and wrap it around your wrist while you are taking pictures.
I just moved back to the US after having lived in Peru for two years and never had any issues with theft. HOWEVER, I took every reasonable precaution. Never put anything valuable in your pocket or in an outside pocket of your purse or backpack. Only use bags that zip close, and always keep your hand on the bag and keep it in front of you whenever possible. While traveling or in crowds, consider using little twisty-ties to keep backpack zippers together for added security. Keep a good hold even on your backpack in crowds as the knife-and-grab bag thefts are not uncommon. Never hang your bag on the back of your chair or set it on the floor.
Don’t flash electronics- ipods, phones, cameras- or money around, and be very careful about taking those items out on combis (public buses) or in certain parts of town. Be careful about taking taxis alone, especially at night and if you don’t know where you are going. I can tell horror stories from friends, but then as a pro photographer I carried around $6,000+ in camera equipment on a regular basis and never had an issue. Honestly, pickpocketing or a bag snatching is your biggest risk, so just be smart and aware of your surroundings and remember that crime happens everywhere. And the bottom line is don’t take anything with you that you can’t afford to lose. Be smart and Peru is an incredible place to visit!
Excellent insider tips – thanks so much for sharing, Rebecca!
One tip my group leader emphasized when we went to Peru a couple months ago was that you MUST keep your passport with you everywhere you go! If the police stop you at any time you need to have your passport to ensure that you have permission to be in Peru. So make sure you keep that safe in your bag and keep it close to you because you definitely don’t want to lose that.
I’ve found that my iPhone is enough for most things. I have music and audiobooks and a couple of games. I check email and have an app for calling overseas (which I don’t use!) It tells me the weather and time, has GPS and Google maps. To make sure it stays charged, not matter what, I bring along portable battery back-ups and re-charge them whenever I can. They are cheap and light and really work. I brought along my Kindle Fire on a 3-week trip to Russia, but used the iPhone for everything. At the end of a long day, my eyes were too tired to read anyway.
How long were you in Peru? I’ll be going there for 4 weeks coming up soon!
I’m travelling to Peru with a school group in July and was wondering about vaccinations.
We are travelling to Lima, Trujillo, Huanchaco and Cusco and I am not sure as to whether I should get a rabies jab.
Also, will it be cold? I’ve been told around !9 celcius but to pack jeans, which I wouldn’t wear in the UK at this temperature.