Stepping Back in Time
Peru was once home to several ancient civilisations, such as the Chavín and Nazca. Their marks on the land can be seen in the remains of their temples and the enigmatic lines that crisscross the Nazca desert. Arguably one of the most famous South American communities, along with the Mayans of Central America and the Aztecs of Mexico, the great Incan Empire has certainly left its mark on Peru. Thousands of people make the pilgrimage each year to the great citadel of Machu Picchu, either as a day trip or as a longer trek on the ancient Incan trail that runs through the Andes. The popular four-day trek takes you through several Incan ruins and over high mountain passes with unforgettable views. On the fourth day, you set off before sunrise to reach the Sun Gate just as the sun rises – a truly magical experience.
Welcome to the Jungle
The Andes isn’t Peru’s only claim to fame. Great swathes of the vast Amazon rainforest also cut through Peru. If you want to sail down the Amazon river, then this is where you should do it. Thanks to those cheap flights to Peru, you’ll have enough money to combine your trek to Machu Picchu with a tour to the Manu Amazon jungle region, an area reachable from Cuzco, a city close to Machu Picchu. Explore the lush wilderness and keep your eyes peeled for the Peruvian Cock of the Rock bird of paradise. The males boast a glorious orange crest and head with soft, dove grey wings and jet black body. If you’re lucky, you might just spot them vying for a female’s attention.
When to Go
Tourist season hits in July and August when it’s dry in the Andes and eastern rainforest. Due to the high demand, flight prices are pushed upwards and are at their most expensive over these two months as people arrive to make the most of the festivals and trekking opportunities. For coastal regions, peak time occurs in December with a similar price hike likely.
The shoulder seasons from March to May and September to November are other excellent times to visit Peru. Generally, it will be less crowded and less expensive. May is the start of hiking season; the mountains are often lush after the springtime rains. October is an excellent time for rainforest treks, because it’s the driest time of the year.
Keep in mind that you will need a pass to hike the Inca trail to Machu Picchu. These passes sell out quickly, particularly in May and June. Book your pass well in advance and before your flight to ensure your dates don’t clash. It’ll be easier to work your flights around your trek rather than vice versa.
Airports and Airlines
When you’re using the Netflights website to find your Peru flights, the best way to find and compare the best deals is to first enter your departure and arrival airports and your travel dates. Then, use the table at the top of the results page to compare prices by airline. Be sure to check the ‘Flexible Dates’ tab as this may show a better offer for flights leaving on another day that week.
Direct flights to Peru are only available from London Gatwick to Lima. Flying to Lima from other United Kingdom (UK) airports is possible but will require one or more stopovers, usually in Europe, North America or South America. As there are no direct flights to Cuzco from the UK, you will fly into Lima first before continuing onward.
To save money on traveling to Cuzco and other Peruvian destinations, consider booking domestic flights from Lima. If you’re planning on walking the Inca trail, consider spending a few days in Lima before heading down to Cuzco to starting your Andean adventure. This could save you a lot of money in the long run.