The weather in Cusco is not as warm as most Latin American cities, largely due to its location high up in the Andes. The average high stays in the low to mid- 70’s for most of the year. The lows, however, dip quite drastically from mid-40’s between September through April to mid-30’s between May-August. The rainy season lasts between October through April.
Suggested Packing List:
Must - Haves:
- Passport. Must be valid for up to 6 months after your scheduled departure date from Peru.
- Comfortable shoes for walking (tennis shoes are great!)
- One refillable water bottles
- Rain jacket / wind breaker (waterproof)
- Warm sweatshirt / fleece (nice to wear fleece under rain jacket on colder days, remember layers!)
- Short-sleeved shirts
- Long-sleeved shirts
- Gym / sportswear (for hiking / working)
- Under garments
- Socks (very warm, thick socks and hiking socks)
- Shorts (no shorter than mid-thigh)
- Jeans / long pants
- Warm pajamas
During the Peruvian winter months (May to August), it can be very cold, especially during the evenings. Also, in developing countries such as Peru, warming the inside of a home is often difficult. You will need warm clothes for indoors, as well. During these months, please consider packing:
- Ski jacket / Scarf(s) / Gloves / Ski hat
- Long underwear or under armor
- Warm pajamas, socks & sweatshirts
- Travelers to Peru often buy alpaca clothing in the markets, which is very warm and perfect for the climate in the highlands. Travelers can reduce the amount of clothing they plan to bring with them, and pick up some clothing when they get to Peru (i.e.- jackets, ear-flap hats, socks, and gloves are all really popular to buy and easy to find everywhere)
Bath / Personal:
- Blister pads (for feet)
- Personal medication
- Ibuprofen / Tylenol (for altitude induced headaches)
- Glasses / contacts / contact solution / retainer, if applicable
- Personal toiletries (If you have certain items that you absolutely need, bring enough to last until you return home. Don't forget to bring gender specific products)
- Bug spray for Machu Picchu
- Chap-stick- the air in the sacred valley/highlands can often be dry and arid
- Flashlight / headlamp
- Flash drive (optional for photos taken by Miguel)
- Altitude sickness medicine
- Books and/or magazines
- Watch or small alarm clock
- Extra batteries (for your flashlight)
- Personal snacks that you may need or crave (such as granola bars or power bars). We provide 3 full meals a day, however, some have particular dietary/health needs.
- Disposable camera, film camera or digital camera - and film or memory card(s) for digital camera
- Adapter / converter (only if you are bringing items that need to be charged)
- One day pack back to carry your water, etc while hiking
- One suitcase (wheels, backpack, whatever you prefer).
- Make sure you consider airline weight and baggage restrictions when packing
- If you'd like to bring donations for the communities we work with, we recommend bringing: lightly used shoes for children 5-12 (any size too!), warm winter clothing for children, toiletries such as soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, plastic combs. Basic multivitamins and Tylenol are also very helpful.
- For our service at the after school program, items like peanut butter, nutella, maple syrup, small games like Uno or Crazy 8, stickers, or books from home will be great to share culture, food, & traditions with the kids.
Discover Corps Provides:
- Linens / blankets
- Hand soap
A Note on Altitude Sickness:
- Cusco sits an altitude of about 11,000 feet (nearly double that of Denver). Certain people are affected by high altitude and may experience symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, nausea and shortness of breath. This is known as "altitude sickness" or "mountain sickness".
- Symptoms typically subside as your body adjusts the new altitude and reduced amount of oxygen
- We recommend consulting your local travel clinic or doctor if you'd like to obtain medication prior to traveling to Peru. Many locals in Peru drink coca tea or chew on coca leaves to help reduce the effects. This is an option as well.
*Electrical outlets in Peru are either Type A (U.S.) or Type B (European). Voltage is 220 volts. You will need and voltage converter and plug adapter to use U.S. appliances.
*There is hot water in the accommodations. However, at times it can be very weak and may not be as warm as expected. This is very common in Peruvian villages and something to be flexible about during your time there