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Written by Kieran Proctor

What To Pack For A Trip To Lima Peru

If you’re looking for an exact list of how many pairs of socks or underpants to pack, you’ve come to ...

If you’re looking for an exact list of how many pairs of socks or underpants to pack, you’ve come to the wrong place. But if you’re looking for local guidance on what you need to consider when packing for your trip to Lima Peru, then welcome to the right page!

Before I became a local expat living in Lima, I traveled here regularly for almost 2 decades. So, you can say I know a bit about packing for a trip to Lima. I’ve also spent more than 4 years traveling continuously throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

In this no nonsense guide to what you need to pack for Lima, I’ll give you the complete rundown on what I prioritise packing and what I won’t even consider. In this article, you’ll find everything you need to know when packing for your own trip to Lima Peru!

What To Arrange Before Arriving In Lima

Before arriving in Lima, you need to arrange a couple of things. It’s all fine and dandy to have enough pairs of socks and underpants, but there’s certain things you should pre-arrange in order to make your trip smoother and more enjoyable.

The things you should arrange ahead of arrival are:

  1. A pre-paid digital debit card;
  2. An e-SIM card for internet;
  3. Travelers medical insurance;
  4. Airport transfers from the Jorge Chávez International Airport.

I’ve previously gone into detail about how to pay and how to tip in Peru, so there’s no need to rehash it here. Other than to say, don’t be a fool and use your home bank card around town in Lima. It can get skimmed, scanned or cloned and you could lose everything. Plus, it won’t give you the same exchange rate that the free WISE digital debit card does.

The next item on your list should be an e-SIM or some other means to get connected once you land. There’s two (2) places selling SIM cards in the Jorge Chávez International Airport. And both of them are a tourist rip off.

The third item you need to arrange before traveling is some form of travelers medical insurance. That way, you’re covered in the event that you get sick or injured. The worst possible souvenir you could take home with you, would be a huge medical bill. I get all of my own plans from visitorscoverage.com.

The fourth and final thing you need to consider is how you will get to your airbnb or hotel from the airport. If you have an active cell-phone connection with an e-SIM, you can simply call an Uber. If you don’t, or if you’re part of a larger group, carrying more luggage or simply want a smoother ride, book an airport transfer in advance.

Factors To Consider When Packing

Here are the most important factors to consider when packing for your trip to Lima. And these are the factors I most often see tourist forget to take into consideration. Which then leads to a lot of needless panic when they get here.

Those factors are:

  1. The season and climate
  2. The other cities in Peru that you will visit
  3. How long you will be in Lima
  4. If you will have access to a laundry

The Climate And Season When You’re Visiting

While it almost never rains in Lima, the city does have two distinct seasons. Summers are warm with blue skies. And winters are cold and grey. Summer runs from December to April and winter runs from June to October.

For each of Lima’s two seasons, you need to pack appropriately. Yet, the basics are the same. Except in winter, you’re going to want to have extra layers on hand, so you can layer up your outfit to stay warm.

You should also note that being a desert city, Lima’s buildings are not designed to retain heat. And your accommodation could be quite cold in winter, depending on where you’re staying in the city. So, you should also choose your accommodation in Lima, with the season in mind.

Local Tip: The average annual humidity in Lima is 84%. So, if you’re sensitive to humidity, you should also take this into consideration when organizing your vacation.

How Many Other Cities In Peru You’re Visiting

Nobody ever just visits Lima. Every tourist to Peru will venture to other cities. And though Peru isn’t a particularly large country, Peru is incredibly diverse. Within as little as an hour, if you take a cheap local flight to Arequipa, Cusco or Iquitos, you could be in a completely different climatic zone.

If you pack solely for a trip to Lima in summer, but don’t also pack for colder climates and then decide to visit Cusco, high up in the andes, you could freeze. Or, if you pack solely for Lima in winter and you also visit Iquitos, you could melt in the sweltering heat and humidity.

No matter the season in which you plan on visiting Lima, you also need to think carefully about the other cities in Peru that you’re also planning to visit. And you need to make sure that you take into account the different climatic conditions of each city that you will visit during your holiday in Peru.

Travel Tip: Within as little as 150 kilometres (93 miles) of Lima, you can reach heights exceeding 5,000m (16,400ft). So, even if you’re just exploring around Lima, pack appropriately!

How Long You’re Staying In Lima

Most tourists visiting Peru, underestimate the sheer size and range of things to see and do in Lima. Lima is a huge, sprawling metropolis filled with tourist attractions. And of all the tourists I encounter on a daily basis, most do wish they’d planned to stay longer.

So, how long you’re planning to stay in Lima is not just important from a packing perspective, dictating how many pairs of socks you’ll need. It’s also important to consider how long you’ll be spending in Lima, so you can set your itinerary, prioritizing those activities and experiences that you want to have on your vacation.

Local Travel Tip: If you can aim to spend around two weeks in Lima, you can experience most of what makes this city, such an amazing place to visit. And you’ll be able to visit the bulk of the touristic sites without rushing.

This is just a tiny fraction of the megacity that is Lima, Perú

Will You Have Access To Laundry Facilities?

If you’re booking a stay in a private apartment or a hotel, you need to look at whether they have laundry facilities available. At some point during your stay in Peru, you will need to do laundry. And private laundry services (lavaderos) aren’t as reliable in Lima, as they are in places like Buenos Aires.

If you’re staying in a private apartment in Barranco, Miraflores or San Isidro, a lot of the airbnb owners will advertise that they have laundry facilities in the apartment. And yet, they often don’t have the advertised facilities. So, do ensure that you can actually see the laundry in the pictures, before booking your stay in Lima.

What I Pack For A Trip To Lima

When I was packing for my own trips, before I actually bought an apartment here in Lima, I would focus on three main things as a priority. The things I would focus on, and that I recommend you take into consideration when packing, are:

  1. Electrical power adaptors;
  2. Prescription medication;
  3. Shoes.

Chasing down a power adaptor that fits your foreign appliance, and works with the power outlets in Peru, can be a real challenge. And it will waste your precious vacation time, if you forget to pack enough of them.

Prescription medications from abroad, can sometimes be harder to get in Peru. So, do pack any prescription medications that you’ll need for the duration of your trip. And also pack an extra weeks worth of meds, just in the event that you get sick, stuck in transit or delayed on your way home.

Now, I always buy my own shoes abroad. Peruvians, even the tallest of them, typically have small feet. And I don’t. So, I do find it hard to get appropriately sized shoes in Peru.

Even in the most ‘gringo’ infested area of Lima, Miraflores, in the ‘famed’ Larcomar shopping mall, getting larger shoe sizes can be difficult. If you have big feet, ensure the shoes that you pack for your trip to Lima, are adequate for your entire trip.

Fashion In Lima Peru: Dressing Like A Local

Unlike other South American capitals, such as Buenos Aires or Bogotá, the Peruvian capital takes a much more relaxed approach to fashion. You can get into all but the most exclusive establishment, with a simple ensemble comprising jeans, t-shirt and a jacket, with either converse sneakers or boots.

You really don’t need to worry about high fashion and fitting in, when it comes to daily clothing choices in Lima. Or even the rest of Peru. Just go for jeans and a tee, with longer sleeve shirts and a jacket for layering, and you’re set.

Stick to packing darker colors, if you want to blend in with the local crowd. And don’t wear any ostentatious designer clothing with brands all over it, or flashy expensive jewelry.

Flashy designer brands and expensive jewelry could make you a target for robbery. And the locals don’t wear a lot of designer clothing and expensive jewelry. So, if you do, you will stand out in the crowd.

Travel Tip: The escobar mustaches that are often worn by young backpackers in Lima, will make you stand out in a crowd in Peru. But not in the way you’d hope. Ditch the dirty stash and leave it at home.

Essential Electronics And Accessories

When packing electronics for your Lima trip, remember to consider the type of activities you’ll be engaging in. If you plan on capturing professional-quality photos, a digital SLR camera would be ideal. However, if you’re mostly interested in documenting your trip casually, a GoPro or even your smartphone camera will suffice.

Remember to pack all necessary chargers and cables, so you’re not stuck running all over town trying to replace them when you get here. If you plan on using your electronics frequently, a good power bank can be invaluable.

Finally, don’t forget to bring a plug adapter or converter to ensure your electronics will work with Peru’s power outlets. I will typically also carry a small portable surge protector for my more expensive electronics, like my laptop.

Peru’s standard voltage is 220 V (60 Hz). And the sockets are type A and C in Lima. With type type C being the most common.

Travel Tip: If you’re planning on bringing a drone to Peru and using it, you need to be aware of the laws. There are limitations on the size of drones allowed to be used without a license. And also limitations on where and how high you can fly your drone. And if you need drone supplies or a run down on the laws in Peru, see the guys at Zintec. It’s where I got my own drone in Lima and was certified to fly.

Toiletries, Medications & Other Essentials

Standard toiletries are quite cheap and easy to get in Lima. With the exception of imported perfumes and cosmetics, which are available, but can command steep prices.

You can acquire basic toiletries in Lima, at any of the large chain supermarkets like Metro, PlazaVea or Wong, for prices similar to or cheaper than, your home country. So, don’t waste space in your suitcase packing excessive amounts of toothpaste or moisturizer.

Instead, pack any fancy perfumes or cosmetics you may need. And do bring an ample supply of any prescription medications that you take. But also pack a copy of the prescription, just in the event that migration personnel at the border ask to see your prescription.

Note: Do not pack any ‘medicinal marijuana’ or cannabis products. You might consider it medication, but most of the world doesn’t share the same view.

What Not To Pack For A Trip To Lima

I often see a lot of packing lists for Lima, that are either written by people who have never been here before, or that are written by AI writers. And they constantly recommend bringing a load of stuff you either won’t need, like an umbrella and raincoat. Or they recommend a bunch of affiliate junk that you really shouldn’t use in Lima.

Here’s a handy list of commonly recommended items, that as a Lima local, I’ll tell you not to bring to Lima! Don’t bring the following items to Lima Peru:

  • Umbrellas;
  • Raincoats;
  • Self purifying water bottles;
  • Water purification tablets;
  • Drones with a weight exceeding 2kg (4.4 pounds);
  • Any form of ‘medicinal marijuana’ or ‘magic mushrooms’;
  • Vapes with cannabis in them;
  • Excessive valuables and flashy jewelry;
  • Cash exceeding $10,000 USD.

It almost never rains in Lima. Rain with real rain drops, that isn’t the Garúa (wet fog), scares the locals. It happens about once a decade and parts of the city do flood. There’s so little actual rain in Lima, that the city has no storm water system. So, you won’t need any wet weather gear.

Now, I often see a lot of blogs spruiking self purifying water bottles and water purification tablets, with affiliate links to amazon. These are affiliate junk items that you don’t need in Lima. Yet, moreover, they could actually do you quite a lot of harm if you use them in Lima.

The tap water in Lima is not fit for human consumption. It will make you sick. The water source it comes from is the Rímac, Chillón, and Lurín Rivers. And these rivers are some of the most polluted in the world.

The main source, the Rímac, is contaminated with everything from heavy metals from illegal mining, such as lead, arsenic, mercury, cadmium and chromium, through to agrochemicals and human waste (i.e sewage). And while the water is chemically treated before it flows into Lima’s public water system, I wouldn’t chose to drink it.

Boiling tap water will kill most, if not all of the bacterial junk in the water. But it won’t eliminate heavy metals. And a cheap Chinese self-filtering water bottle purchased off amazon, is unlikely to be effective against all the metals and bacteria, that’s potentially in the tap water.

Instead of buying a self-purifying water bottle or water purifying tablets, that aren’t designed to deal with things like arsenic and mercury, buy actual bottled water in Lima. Get used to buying your drinking water for consumption, from a supermarket. Bottled water in Lima is both cheap and plentiful.

Conclusion

I hope that after reading this packing guide, you’re well on your way to getting everything ready for your upcoming vacation in Peru. And if I’ve dissuade you from packing one of those silly self-filtering water bottles, or anything else that could get you into trouble, then my job here is done!

Be sure to check out my other travel guides on Lima and the rest of Peru. Plus, you should have a look at my YouTube channel. So you can see what some of these places look like in advance!

Safe travels!