Most people over pack when traveling anywhere. In Peru, where there is a chance of being in three different areas and three different season in one short trip. Keep in mind that whatever you need you can buy here. Much of it for much cheaper. So instead of buying that nice new jacket for the trip, buy one here. It will give you a souvenir too. Things such as t-shirts can be bought for just a couple of dollars and would likely be purchased anyway. Shoes can be bought in most markets, both dress shoes and sneakers. So, if you find that you need a pair that you didn’t bring there you go. Most cosmetics are imported from abroad so are more expensive here, but not by much. As for adventure sports, much of the equipment you will need you can rent here, although if you desire a specific quality of item you may want to bring your own. In Lima you can find just about everything you would find in any major American or European city. So, if there is something you forgot you could likely buy it there. Also, there is so much in the way of handicrafts in Peru, that you will likely buy a few, so save some room.
Doing laundry is simple here. Just take your pile of clothes to the Laundromat, get your receipt and it will be ready for pick up the next day all nice and folded. Some places in Cuzco and Lima will have it ready within two hours. The price is quite cheap, never more than a few dollars. The lavanderias are everywhere too. Most hotels will do your laundry as well, although not as cheap. With that in mind, don’t try and pack for your entire trip. Plan on doing a wash at least once, and it will make your trip a lot easier.
For the jungle lightweight pants that can zip off the legs to become shorts are good. That way you can be ready to protect yourself from mosquitoes when needed, as well as cool yourself off. Also binoculars, a zoom lens for your camera, mosquito net if camping, insect repellent, malaria tablets, a wide brimmed hat, and sun block are some extra accessories that are must haves.
For the Andes the weather can be quite sunny during the day and bitterly cold at night. Daytime temperatures may even require shorts, but at night, you better be prepared. Warm jacket or sweaters are essential. Keep in mind that wool accessories and clothing are sold everywhere in the highlands, are quite cheap, and make good souvenirs. Leggings and thermal underwear are a good bet also; they don’t take up much space and can be worn under your regular clothes.
For the coast one pair of shorts will likely get you buy. Only in the summertime is it warm enough where they are really needed though. Pants are the norm and at night it can get a bit chilly, so a light jacket or a sweater is necessary. If going to Tumbes, follow the same rules as you would in the jungle.
Author’s Tip: If there was one item I could recommend for traveling above all others it would be without a doubt the MP3 player. On it I keep music of course, but also Spanish lessons, audio books, files, and now with the Ipod Video I have photos of family and friends and movies. Soon they ill be able to read PDF files much like a Palm would, which means that you will be able to keep this guide, which is also available in PDF format, there as well.
A Basic Packing List for Peru
These clothing items should be the foundation of a 10-day to two-week visit:
– Hiking boots, sandals, and walking shoes or sneakers
– 4 pair absorbent cotton socks
-2 pair lightweight pants or slacks
– 1 pair lightweight shorts (more if spending all of your time at the beach)
-1 pair of jeans
– 3 or 4 T-shirts
-2 mix-and-match skirt and blouse ensembles (for women)
– 2 short-sleeve sport/dress shirts (for men)
– 1 bathing suit
– 1 hooded rain slicker/poncho (heavy-gauge if you’ll be in the jungle); or 1 light to medium jacket (especially if you will be visiting the highlands; if you are going ice climbing or on a serious trekking expedition a thick or heavy duty material coat such as the ones by North Face are highly recommended)
-1 wide-brimmed hat (ones that roll up for packing are good)
– 1 pair protective sunglasses
– 1 set of sleepwear (light)
– 1 pair flip-flops (for the beach, as slippers, or for showering)
– Prescription medications (including Malaria tablets if going to the jungle)
– Personal hygiene products
– Insect repellent (with DEET)
– Pain reliever
– Antibiotic ointment
– Toilet paper (if your bottom is adjusted to fine aloe scented bath tissue, you may want to bring some along. Also keep in mind that many bathrooms in rural hotels and other places don’t provide toilet paper).
– Hand and body lotion
– Toothbrush, hairbrush/comb, razor, other daily grooming accessories
Author’s Tip: One item I have found that does wonders in my daily travels is hand sanitizer. A small bottle will go along way and help you ward off strange germs that appear in rest stop bathrooms, rural living areas, and elsewhere.
Other Useful Items
– Documents: Passport, driver’s license, and tourist card
– Credit card and ATM card (or traveler’s checks)
– Concealed money belt
– Pocket size high-intensity flashlight
– Camera (film for traditional cameras; extra battery and memory card for digital ones)
– Pocket-size Spanish dictionary, preferably with phrases if you don’t speak the language.
– Small notebook and pens
– Resalable plastic bags (to keep your camera dry and your cosmetics from leaking)
– Reading material
Author’s Tip: Make copies of all of your important documents such as passports, driver’s licenses, credit cards, etc. Keep copies with you and back at home. If anything is lost or stolen this will be a lifesaver.
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.