Peru has accommodations to suit every budget, especially in tourist hubs and cities.
- Hotels The most diverse lodging option, from budget to luxury. An overflow in touristy areas means they can be competitively priced.
- Hostels Range from huge amenity-oriented party or boutique hostels to run-down backpacker places or family-run guesthouses. Their unifying element is the bunk bed.
- Lodges Stately to rustic lodgings can be found anywhere from the mountains to the Amazon Basin.
- Homestays Modest lodgings with families usually arranged through Spanish-language schools.
- Camping Campgrounds are rare in Peru and generally not of great quality when you find them.
Note that prices may fluctuate with exchange rates.
Extra charges Foreigners do not have to pay the 18% hotel tax (sometimes included in rates quoted in soles), but may have to present their passport and tourist card to photocopy. A credit card transaction surcharge of 7% or more does not include the home bank’s foreign-currency exchange fee. US dollars may be accepted, but the exchange rate may be poor.
Packages In the remote jungle lodges of the Amazon and in popular beach destinations such as Máncora, all-inclusive resort-style pricing is more the norm.
High season In Cuzco, demand is very high during the high season (June to August). Other busy times include Inti Raymi, Semana Santa and Fiestas Patrias, when advance reservations are a must. In Lima, prices remain steady throughout the year; look for last-minute specials online. Paying cash always helps; ask for discounts for long-term stays.
Airport arrival Since many flights into Lima arrive late at night, it’s inadvisable to begin searching for a place to sleep upon arrival. Reserve your first night ahead; most hotels also can arrange airport pickup.
When to book Around the country, reservations are a necessity for stays during a major festival (such as Inti Raymi in Cuzco) or a holiday such as Semana Santa (Easter Week), when all of Peru is on vacation. In the Amazon, reservations are needed at remote lodges. In smaller villages and areas off the beaten path, service tends to be on a first-come, first-served basis.
Late arrival Cheap budget places may not honor a reservation if you arrive late. Even if you’ve made a reservation, it is best to confirm your arrival time. Late check-in is not a problem at many midrange and top-end hotels, in which case a deposit may be required.
Advance payment Some lodges, especially in the Amazon, may require all or part of the payment up front. Make sure your travel plans are firm if you are paying in advance, as securing refunds can be a challenge.
Discounts Reserving online is convenient, but off-season walk-in rates may be lower. At top-end hotels, however, last-minute online deals are the norm, so always check a hotel’s website for discounts and special promotional packages.
Peru’s budget accommodations don’t always have hot water, and some only have it for certain hours of the day. Early birds often use up all the hot water, so plan accordingly.
Electric showerheads require care. Switch them on for a hot shower and wait a few minutes. Water is hotter if the pressure is low. Don’t fiddle with the heating unit while the water is on or you may get a shock.
Short-term rentals, primarily in Lima, increasingly attend mid- to high-end needs.
Check www.vrbo.com and www.airbnb.com for listings.
Hostels are diverse and plentiful in Peru, from rundown to boutique, from party hostel to mellow haven with the gamut of amenities. There are also Hostelling International (www.hihostels.com) affiliates.
Hostales, hospedajes and albergues are Peru’s cheapest accommodations. In this price range, expect to find small rooms, with a shared or private bathroom. In the major cities, these options will generally include hot showers; in more rural and remote areas, they likely will not. Some budget inns will include a very simple breakfast in the rate, such as instant coffee with toast.
Avoid rooms that appear insecure; test the locks on doors and windows. Shopping around makes a difference.
Rooms generally have private bathrooms with hot-water showers and small portable heaters or fans. Some are also equipped with air-conditioning. Amenities may include cable TV, in-room telephones and safes. Continental or American-style breakfasts are usually included.
Peru’s top hotels are generally equipped with en suite bathrooms with bathtubs, international direct-dial phones, handy dual-voltage outlets, central heating or air-conditioning, hairdryers, in-room safes, cable TV and internet access (either through high-speed cable or wi-fi); some may come with minifridges, microwaves or coffee makers.
A large high-end spot may also feature a bar, cafe or restaurant (or several), as well as room service, concierge services and an obliging, multilingual staff.
Expect the biggest places (particularly in Lima) to come with business centers, spas and beauty salons. In the Amazon, where conditions tend to be isolated, high-end lodgings have fewer amenities and are more rustic.
- Many lodgings offer laundry service and free short-term luggage storage (ask for a receipt).
- Habitación simple refers to a single room. A habitación doble features twin beds while a habitación matrimonial has a double or a queen-sized bed.
- Street noise can be an issue in any lodging, so select your room accordingly.
- It’s always OK to ask to see a room before committing.
- Homestays are sometimes offered by Spanish-language schools.
- Campgrounds are rare.