Peru is a big country, so many travelers take internal flights if they have limited time. There are four bigger companies operating flights (Aero Continente, LanPeru (co-owned by LanChile), Taca and Tans). There are also a handful of small airlines flying to remote destinations in light aircraft. There's an 18% tax on domestic flights and there's also a US$4 departure tax on domestic flights.
Public buses are the usual mode of transport over long distances. They are cheap, frequent and relatively comfortable, at least on major routes. When traveling between towns, have your passport with you, as it will need to be shown at police checkpoints. Armed robberies on night buses are not unheard of in Peru, so travel on a day bus (or fly) if you have the option. Trucks often double as buses in remote areas. Local buses are slow, cheap and crowded; when you want to get off just yell out. Taxi fares need to be haggled over; there are no metered cabs. Agree on the fare in advance.
WHEN TO GO
Peru's peak tourist season is from June to August, which is the dry season in the highlands, and this is the best time to go if you're interested in hiking. Travelers do visit the highlands year-round, though the wettest months, January to April, make trekking muddy. Many of the major fiestas occur in the wettest months and continue undiminished in spite of heavy rain. Basically, there is tourism in the highlands throughout the year.
On the coast, Peruvians visit the beaches during the sunny months from late December through March, although few beaches are particularly enticing. The rest of the year, the coast is clothed in mist. In the eastern rainforests, it naturally rains a lot. The wettest months are December through April, though travelers visit year-round since it rarely rains for more than a few hours and there's still plenty of sunshine to enjoy.
WHAT TO BRING
Because Peru is a country of such diversity, what you bring depends on your travel plans. Bring warm clothes for the mountains, light clothes for the jungle and a combination for the coastal deserts, which are warm by day and cool at night. Items that are difficult to obtain in the country include: personal medical supplies, a money belt, sunscreen, good books in your native language and any electrical equipment you use.
Some other suggestions include: something small and typical from your home country (for your guest family). Dictionary; Spanish grammar book in your own language (there are no Spanish Grammar books or Dictionaries available in Cusco); email addresses; a guidebook, English novel books (no good bookstores around). If you plan to do the Inca Trail or another camping trip we suggest bringing a warm jumper/sweater; raincoat; walking shoes/hiking boots; sleeping bag (for Inca Trail, although these can be rented as well); water purification tablets (can be bought in Cusco as well); pocket knife; torch/flashlight and equipment because there is a shortage of trekking supplies in the country. For the jungle excursions malaria tablets, mosquito net and a raincoat (all can be bought in Cusco as well).
No visa is necessary for most western countries (but please check with the Peruvian Embassy in your home country). The tourist visa you will get upon arrival at Lima Airport, will allow you 90 days in Peru. You are allowed a maximum of three 30-day extensions for up 180 days (6 months) in Peru. Each extension will cost you about $ 25.00. You might want to consider just crossing the (Bolivian or Chilean) border, if you need more time in Peru. It'll take you about two days and you'll be guaranteed another 90 days.
Generally, it is pretty safe and relatively easy to travel around by yourself in Peru. There are buses, planes, taxis etc. all over the country as well as hotels of all categories. There are all kinds of travelers and tourists around and it will be easy to meet other people and have a great trip full of adventure, culture and new friends.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
It is recommended that prior to arrival, students undertake a thorough medical examination, purchase health insurance and consult your physician about the necessary injections. There is no malaria in the Cusco area!
Don`t forget that the sun is much stronger at tropical latitudes. It is easy to get sunburnt even when it is overcast. Take extra precautions to avoid being sunburnt: wear a hat and use sunscreen. Try not too spend too much time in the direct sun, especially between 11:00 and 14:00. Be especially careful when going on boat trips as the wind and reflection of sun from the water will increase the risk of sunburn. Drinks lots of water.
Symptoms are nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The best precaution against this is to avoid uncooked vegetables, salads and tap water. Eat only fruit that requires peeling. If living with a host family all your food and drinks will have been properly prepared, so indulge. Despite precautions, many visitors are affected by an upset stomach. If you are affected get plenty of rest and drink lots of liquids. Oral Rehydration Solutions (ORS) are available from pharmacists and can help you to replace the fluids lost. If you are affected for more than three days and/or you have a fever, you should visit a doctor.
Some people experience some discomfort at this altitude. We recommend at least a day of rest prior to the commencement of classes. The symptoms are headaches, dizziness, stomach upset and tiredness. These symptoms can be managed by reducing the alcohol intake; drinking lots of fluids; eating light meals and getting plenty of rest.
Cusco is a relatively safe city but as the urban center have swollen, so has petty crime. Unfortunately, pickpockets and thieves have become more and more common in Lima and Cusco and one should take precautions such as not taking a taxi alone at night nor walking around on the street alone after 22:00. Objects such as money and passports should not be left openly in your room.