Packing for Two Weeks in Peru

This past July (2013), Boston was trying to show off with a string of days in the upper 90’s. I was sweltering in our non-air-conditioned apartment and attempting to pack for winter in Peru, which proved to be a test of mind over matter. I stumbled upon a couple packing lists that helped, and now I would like add to my newly found expertise for those planning a trip and as a personal resource for when I return to Peru someday (fingers crossed).

So now onto the packing list. I used these two lists to help me with packing: Adventures Within Reach and Nature Travel Specialists. Below you’ll find what I did bring and a little commentary about my thoughts afterwards. If you want to skip to a the more concise list, there is a link at the bottom of this post.

Trip Length – 14 days 

Lima/Miraflores – 4 days; Arequipa – 2 days; Ollantaytambo – 2 days; Aguas Calientes/Machu Picchu – 2 days; Cuzco – 2 days; Lima/Miraflores – 1 day, Travel – 1 day

My List: female,  generally cold-blooded =)

  • Long pants: 3 pairs – Perfect! Some women may want 1 more pair…
    • 1 pair of jeans (evenings in Lima and airplane)
    • 1 pair corduroy pants (evenings in Sacred Valley)
    • 1 pair hiking pants (used only in Sacred Valley)
  • Shorts/Skort: 1 hiking skort – This could go either way, it was nice to change it up in Arequipa, but I did end up with many bug bites on my legs…
  • Shirts: 4.5 Short sleeve – OOPS! Too many! Next time 2.5. TIP: Pack light as t-shirts are great souvenirs that you can wear while on the trip.
    • 3 Polyester/quick dry shirts, 1 cotton, 1 tank top (that’s my .5)
  • Shirts: 2 Long Sleeve – OOPS! Next time 3
    • 1 Polyester/quick dry/light
    • 1 hiking shirt with sleeves that roll up
  • Jackets: 3
    • 1 thick fleece hoodie (used this every evening and on airplane)
    • 1 long sleeve light hoodie (used every day in AM/PM and tied around my waist in between)
    • 1 rain jacket (great for Lima, not necessary for other places. I did use it in Cuzco as a third layer, but remember, I’m always cold. Side note, my raincoat is red, and I definitely stood out. Peruvians mostly wear dark outer clothing at this time of year.)
  • Sleepwear: 1 shorts/tank top – OOPS! The evenings are COLD! All but one of the hotels we stayed in had no heat, so if I were to do it again I would bring comfy/yoga pants and a long sleeve shirt. My intention was that these clothes could also be used for exercise…I didn’t work out once…duh.
  • Underwear: 6 pairs – TIP: use polyester blends and NOT cotton as it takes too long to dry.
  • Bras: 4 total – 2 regular bras, 2 sports bras (low intensity, yoga-esque)
  • Hats: 2 – 1 athletic, 1 cute…most people could probably just do 1, but I like hats.
  • Swimsuit: OOPS! I thought I would go into the hot springs in Aguas Calientes, but I was way too tired, so I never used this. You can rent swimwear there, and this would have been a better choice. Also, none of our hotels had swimming pools. If yours does, reconsider.
  • Socks: 6 pairs total – 1 smart wool (airplane), 5 quick-dry/not cotton
  • Footwear: 3 pairs Perfect! We went back and forth about bringing hiking shoes and running shoes because they take up so much space. I would do it the same way again. Sometimes my sneakers were damp at the end of the day, so it was nice to have a dry pair. I wore the hiking shoes while in the Sacred Valley and we climbed Machu Picchu Mountain. You could get away with only one pair if you are packing really light, but then you should pack more socks.
    • Hiking shoes, Sneakers/Running Shoes, Flip flops

My husband: generally warm-blooded =)

  • Shorts: 2 pair (workout shorts, hiking shorts)
  • Long pants: 2 pair (jeans, hiking pants)
  • Shirts: Long sleeve – 3 (2 button down casual, 1 Hiking shirt)
  • Shirts: short sleeve – 1 (hiking/athletic shirt)
  • Undershirts: 5 (1 Long Sleeve, 1 thermal, 3 Short Sleeve)
  • Underwear: 6 pairs
  • Hat: 1
  • Jackets: 1 rain jacket
  • Socks: 6 pairs
  • Footwear: 3 pairs
  • Sleepwear: shorts/t-shirt

Laundry Note: – On day 5, I washed my shirts, socks and underwear in the sink at a hotel. If this isn’t your style, several of the hotels did have laundry service (2 day turnaround).

Technology

  • Smartphone (for reading, guidebooks, English/Spanish translation app, photos)
  • Small netbook or laptop computer (optional) – We liked checking our email and uploading some photos as a back up. Most hotels had a computer to use for a short amount of time and there are Internet cafes around as well.
  • Chargers
  • Converter – Peru’s sockets run on 220 volts. Check the fine print label on your plugs to make sure (most of ours had a range of 100v-240v, which were great). You will not need a converter unless  you have something that is less that 220v (i.e. 120v), then bring a converter or check with your hotel as they may have one that you can use.
  • Flash Drive – We used this to back up our photos.

Cameras

  • Fancy Camera
  • Little Camera or Smartphone
  • Small Tripod
  • Lens Cloth – Remember all the dust…
  • Memory Cards – fyi, these are sold in every city and market.
  • Chargers/extra batteries – TIPS: Charge your cameras every night to be safe. We did not bring extra batteries, but some people do as an extra back up.

Personal Care

  • Eyes: Glasses & cases, Contacts  & Solution, Visine
  • Tissues/Toilet Paper/Wet-wipes/ Hand Sanitizer – You will find that there is not always toilet paper and rarely soap, so bring these along and ALWAYS keep a small stash in your pocket! When I say always, I mean ALWAYS (literally).
  • Suntan Lotion, small bottle – Essential!
  • Insect Repellant, small bottle – We used this in Machu Picchu and Arequipa. I recommend using it on your lower legs/sock line every day.
  • Water bottle – I put duct tape around mine because…well, you know, duct tape holds the world together.
  • Eye/sleep mask – I used this on the airplane and in a couple hotels in which the curtains did not block the streetlights well.
  • Money/passport belt – We only used this when travelling between cities.
  • Multi-tool – This was recommended on several packing lists, but I didn’t use it. If you bring one, make sure it does not end up in your carry-on luggage.
  • Small flashlight – This was recommended, but I didn’t use it.
  • Earplugs – I didn’t use these either, but I bet there are people who would have.

First Aid

  • Headache Medicine – Ibuprofen, Tylenol/Aleve
  • Allergy Medicine – Tylenol Sinus, Benadryl, Sudafed, Claritin
  • Cold Medicine– Alka-Seltzer, throat drops
  • Stomach – Imodium, Pepcid AC, Pepto Bismol, Tums (you will most likely need this at some point.)
  • Band-Aids

Food:

  • TIP: Pack snacks for the flight and long travelling/hiking days. The plus is that all of this will be gone by the time you fly home, which creates space for souvenirs.
  • Trail Mix (big bag!), Granola Bars, Protein Bars, Fruit sticks, Twizzlers – to share with Peruvian friends (on trains or long taxi rides), Gum

Luggage

  • NOTE: First of all, you will not be allowed to bring any liquids when you fly from Peru to the U.S., not even what you buy in the airport. They will either confiscate it or make you pour it out, so plan accordingly. We flew with Spirit Airlines…ugh. Be sure you read up about their baggage restrictions and fees BEFORE you get to the airport. They are sticklers about size and weight and they WILL charge you! This happened to the person next to us in line and led to a sad start to his trip!
  • Small Suitcases – Carry-on size, but we checked them to avoid the hassle of transferring (1 per person)
  • “Personal Item” – backpack/messenger bag (1 per person)
  • Small Camelback – We packed this in our luggage. We used this every day in Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. It fit our essentials for the day and left our hands free water bottles so we could take photos (and oh boy did we ever!).
  • Plastic bags (ziplock bags, plastic bags, etc) – These came in handy for dirty clothes, shoes and other random things.
  • Rubber bands – Similar to duct tape, rubber bands help to hold the world together.

Airplane

  • Passports (duh)
  • Inflatable pillow
  • Pill box with essential medicine
  • Pen (for immigration paper work that they give you onboard)
  • Headphones
  • Reading Materials (e-reader, guide book, etc)
  • Snacks
  • Smiles

Books

  • BEFORE THE TRIP: The Conquest of the Incas by John Hemming – I suggest reading this beforehand. It provides great insight into the history and culture of the Incas. Plus, it’s a great book!
  • Machu Picchu Guidebook by Ruth M. Wright & Dr. Zegarra (GREAT GUIDE!!)
  • Footprints Guidebook – Cuzco and the Inca Heartland – this book is small and a pretty good guidebook. It contains some info about the sites and the restaurant recommendations are good. However, the Lima section is small and it does not include Arequipa or other areas.
  • Post-it Notes – I keep in my guidebook to mark the pages you’ll need for that day/city.
  • Travel Journal – I didn’t journal at all but you know…
  • Pens

NOTE: If you forget something, don’t worry. You will either be able to buy what you need while you’re there (Peruvians are warm people that will help you find what you need) or you will realize that you didn’t really need it in the first place.

Concise Packing List for Peru

Below is a link to a Word document with the concise version of my thoughts from above. Everything that I determined to be an ‘oops’ I changed to what I would do next time.

Happy Trails!

08.2013_Concise Packing List for Peru

Photos like these are the reason for getting to Machu Picchu early in the morning!

Photos like these are the reason for getting to Machu Picchu early in the morning!

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2 thoughts on “Packing for Two Weeks in Peru

    • Thanks Anneli! I hope that you and Gary do make it to Peru someday! It’s an amazing country with such wonderful people! I was meaning to look up that blog since you mentioned it, so thanks for passing along the link.

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