First on your packing list for your trip to Cuzco should be an open mind and a sense of humour! Don’t come with too many preconceived ideas about what Peru is like, this way your trip will open you up to incredible new horizons and possibilities.
Bring as little as possible. Don’t worry, if you forget something, you can probably buy it in Cusco once you arrive. Tourist shops abound selling a whole range of items from water bottles and first aid kits to hiking gear. You can also rent hiking equipment in Cusco, which can be a good option if you don’t want to travel to Peru with a whole lot of heavy hiking and camping gear.
Cusco & Machu Picchu Packing List:
After spending a LOT of time travelling around Cusco & Machu Picchu we have come up with our definitive list of what to pack for a trip to Cusco & Machu Picchu.
- A good pair of hiking boots or walking shoes. This is not the place to bring those high heels ladies! Steps and uneven cobble stone surfaces abound and if it rains the stones can get slippery.
- A poncho for those downpours. The weather changes very quickly here. An ideal solution is to carry a good quality poncho in your daypack at all times particularly during the rainy season from November / March. (You can buy ponchos in any of the tourist shops in Cusco but the quality isn’t always great.)
- A warm jacket. Evenings and mornings can be very cold particularly between June – September so a good quality, waterproof and ideally windproof jacket is ideal. Another good option is a warm fleece which you can wear under a light-weight waterproof, windproof jacket.
- Good quality sunscreen and a sunhat. Due to the altitude and Peru’s location close to the Equator frequent application of sunscreen is advised to avoid any nasty sunburn. Be warned, even when it’s cloudy here you can get very burnt…
- Bring clothes that you can layer. Cool mornings mean you may want to wrap up as you set off for a day’s exploring, however by 11am you might want to strip down to a t-shirt and shorts. Warm layers and trousers that can be unzipped into shorts are great. You will only need a couple of changes of clothes as you can get washing done anywhere cheaply.
- A day-pack to carry all your bits and pieces, ideally with a hip strap to make long days hiking and exploring more comfortable.
- A water bottle. Plastic disposal is a real problem in the Sacred Valley so we recommend you buy large bottles and refill water into your own re-useable bottle.
- Small first aid kit for basic cuts and bruises and tummy upsets. Pharmacies abound in Cusco and other small towns in the Sacred Valley where you can buy basic first aid and medical supplies. Do make sure however, that you bring enough of any prescription medicine you might need as some brands and types of medicine might not be available in Peru. A good rule of thumb is to bring enough prescription medicine to cover you for the length of your trip plus an extra week in case you get delayed.
- A spare pair of prescription glasses or contact lenses plus a copy of your prescription is a good idea.
- A small pocket size torch.
- Earplugs for when you are stuck in a noisy room or want to sleep on the bus or plane.
- A duckpack or rainproof covering for your daypack or backpack is a must particularly if you are travelling during the rainy season to avoid wet clothes and personal items. This is particularly important iof you are going to be doing any multi-day hiking including the Inca Trail.
- A hat, scarf and gloves for those cold mornings and evenings. You can buy fabulous Peruvian style hats and gloves at the local markets so don’t worry if you forget to bring these with you.
- A good book.
- Pack your toiletries in zip lock bags. For some reason the altitude can cause shampoo and other bottles to pop leaving a nasty mess in your bag, Pack all toiletries in sealed bags to avoid any unnecessary mess.
- Insect repellent, particularly if you plan on going trekking or visiting Machu Picchu.
- Camera with lots of memory and battery for all those great shots you are definitely going to want to take!
- Take enough padlocks for every double zipper to stop wandering hands and lock up your important belongings, even in your hotel room.
Packing Essentials for Cusco & Machu Picchu:
- Passport with minimum 6 month validity left.
- Photocopies of important documents like passport and tickets. Keep these separate from the originals.
- Travel insurance. Get a quote for travel insurance with our travel insurance partners World Nomads.
- Blood donor/type card.
- Details of your next of kin.
- Prescriptions for any medication you require. Most chemists will sell medicine over the counter without a prescription, but if you are searched by immigration it’s good to be able to show you require what you’re carrying.