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Peru Safaris

Drift down the Amazon’s tributaries in search of pink river dolphins and watch condors sail on the thermal currents of the Colca Canyon. Climb through the ruins of distant civilisations to tap into your inner ‘Indy’ and watch the red gleam of caiman eyes in your torchlight. Peru has a surprise at every step of the way across its staggeringly diverse landscapes. With those evocative ancient ruins, a food scene that reflects both biodiversity and a storied history of migration, and an increasingly sophisticated range of accommodations, the result is something very special indeed.

The country is probably best known for the enormous quantity of Pre-Colombian archaeological sites littered across the country - even if the vast majority of visitors mainly head to one in particular. Peru’s history is so much more than the Incas however, and so much more than one historic site (though admittedly it’s a spectacular one). The country’s geography encompasses around 80% of the world’s different ecosystems; there aren’t many types of environment you can’t find somewhere in Peru. It’s absolutely full of wildlife: from the primates and wildcats of the Amazon, to the hummingbirds and spectacled bears of the cloudforest, to the sea lions and whales of the Pacific. Factor in the second highest number of bird species in the world, and it’s a paradise for anyone who loves nature. The geography is directly responsible for the variety seen in the landscapes, the experiences, and also the food. The different ecosystems result in a vast range of native ingredients, which are combined with immigrational influences from Europe, Asia and Africa, meaning Peruvian cuisine is arguably the most diverse and intriguing of anywhere in Latin America.

Why Natural World Safaris for your Peru safari?

Over the 17 years that Natural World Safaris has been established, we’ve sent clients all over the globe, to some of the most remote and least travelled parts of the planet. We are well recognised as the leading experts in our field; our awards and press coverage pay testament to this. Our team of specialists have extensive on-the-ground knowledge and have all explored and even lived in Peru. They will design your journey to Peru around you, at the right place at the right time, picking lodges, guides and boats taking you into the rainforest or into the Andes. At Natural World Safaris we frequently monitor the social, economic and environmental impact of our travel operations to ensure we are at the forefront of a sustainable and ethical tourism industry. There are any number of operators selling trips to take in a ‘bucket list’ highlights of Peru; sadly, it is a country that’s somewhat prone to ‘tickbox’ tourism. Of course, we’re not going to try to talk you out of visiting Machu Picchu, but we will make sure you see it in the best possible way, at the best time, and stay in the best places while doing so.

How much does Peru cost?

For a 10-night trip combining a stay in the southern Amazon with several days to explore Machu Picchu, Cusco and the Sacred Valley, staying in comfortable lodges and hotels, expect to pay from around £3,800 per person based on two sharing. This will include road and river transfers and guided excursions throughout, with a mix of private and shared services. On a 3-week safari sweeping through the southern half of the country, staying at a careful selection of the finest boutique hotels and eco-lodges, with private road transfers, all other internal transportation, and largely privately guided experiences, expect to pay from around £6,000 per person.

PER St Peru Scarlet Macaw Amazon Basin Martin Mecnarowski

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The Peru Safari Experience

Dizzying numbers of biomes, bird species, and ancient sites mean it’s easy to get lost in statistics when it comes to Peru. But for anyone who likes ‘big’ journeys that take in a genuine variety of landscapes, species and flavours, it is a heavyweight by any measure. With a little care you can avoid the selfie sticks and delve under the surface of those oft-seen postcard images. We can take you deeper into the rainforest and further into the mountains and along the coast to experience the best of this incredible destination.

You may wish to include the following in your Peru itinerary:

  • Rainforest exploration – Peru offers two types of Amazon experience: lodges in the south and river cruises in the north, allowing you to seek out dolphins, primates, jaguars, and a stunning array of birdlife.
  • Archaeology – Peru is the capital of the ancient Americas, with more Pre-Colombian sites than any other, from the obvious (e.g. Machu Picchu) to the barely-visited gems (e.g. Chavín de Huantar).
  • Adventure – As well as Inca ruins galore and engaging indigenous culture, the Sacred Valley also offers a wide range of activities, from mountain biking to white water rafting.
  • River travel – Sail to the Meeting of the Waters on your expedition cruise, or travel by motor launch deep into the southern Amazon rainforest.
  • Whale watching – See humpbacks off the northern coast near the laidback beach town of Máncora in the spring as they travel back towards Antarctica.
  • Hiking – Peru is one of the world’s great destinations for anyone who likes to get their boots on and feel the ground under their feet, from jungle to glacier.
  • Night safaris – Walk down forest trails and drift alongside the river banks, seeking out the gleam from the eyes of night monkeys, caiman and myriad other species.

Where to Stay in Peru?

While staying in the heart of the jungle, most people probably wouldn’t expect their bedroom to have a wall that’s open to the forest, but our favourite lodges have exactly this feature. Built in the traditional indigenous style, the spacious rooms are open-sided to provide cooling ventilation, but also elevated from the forest floor to discourage too much in the way of the local fauna joining you at night. In the cities, some of the most striking accommodations are sensitively converted colonial mansions in cities like Cusco and Arequipa. The boutique hotel concept has been well embraced in Peru, and there are some delightfully unique places to stay in the more bohemian areas of Lima as well as in more rural locations such as Colca and Titicaca.

When to Go to Peru?

The best time for you to go to Peru will depend on where you want to go and what you want to see. As Peru is in the southern hemisphere, the seasons are generally reversed, but with such an array of topography the weather patterns in Peru can still be somewhat confusing and conflicting depending on where you are; the jungle will differ totally from the Andean highlands, which will also differ from the lowland coast, which can in turn differ according to whether you are in the north or south.

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Peru Safaris FAQs

What wildlife can I see in Peru?

Peru contains huge diversity within its ecosystems thanks to the Amazon rainforest, Andes mountains and coastal areas. For this reason you’ll find habitats that support a wide variety of animals. Some you might encounter on your trip include the Jaguar, Amazon River Dolphin, Andean Condor, Spectacled Bear, Humboldt Penguin, Poison Dart Frogs, Humpback Whale and Bottlenose Dolphin.

Discover more detail on wildlife that you can see in Peru.

Which month is good to visit Peru?

The best time to visit Peru depends on your preferences and the regions you plan to explore. Generally, the dry season from May to September is considered ideal for most travellers, as it offers pleasant weather and clear skies in popular destinations like Lima, Cusco, and Machu Picchu. This period is especially well-suited for trekking and outdoor activities. The months of June to August are peak tourist season, so expect larger crowds and higher prices. The wet season from December to March brings rain to the coastal areas but is a good time to visit the Amazon rainforest due to higher water levels. Ultimately, the choice of when to visit Peru depends on your interests and the experiences you wish to have.

Do I need vaccinations for Peru?

Before travelling to Peru, it's advisable to consult a travel health professional to determine the necessary vaccinations based on your itinerary and activities. Commonly recommended vaccines include hepatitis A, typhoid, and routine vaccinations. If you're visiting lower-elevation areas or the Amazon rainforest, a yellow fever vaccine may be required.

Do I need a visa for Peru from the UK?

British citizens travelling to Peru for tourism purposes do not require a visa.

Can you drink the water in Peru?

In many urban areas of Peru, such as Lima and Cusco, the tap water is treated and considered safe to drink. However, the water quality can vary between regions and even within different parts of a city. To err on the side of caution, especially if you're not accustomed to the local water, it's generally recommended for travellers to drink bottled or boiled water and avoid consuming ice made from tap water.

Can you swim in the ocean in Peru?

Yes, you can swim in the ocean in Peru, but there are a few considerations to keep in mind. The Pacific Ocean along the Peruvian coast can be quite cold, particularly in the southern areas like Lima. Water temperatures vary throughout the year, with warmer conditions generally found in the northern coastal regions. Popular beach towns like Mancora and Punta Sal offer more favourable swimming conditions with warmer waters.