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Intercultural Studies in Peru

Rolling mountains, steep green valleys, and handmade textiles in bright reds, oranges, and yellows, make Peru a symphony of color and culture. Take in the indigenous history at Machu Picchu, see the Maras salt ponds, and don’t be afraid to try uniquely Peruvian cuisine.





Let’s get the paperwork out of the way so we can focus on the fun stuff. Your passport must:

·       be valid for at least six months after your return.

·       match your name and birthday on file with EF.

·       have three blank pages available.

Non-US citizens may require a visa—visit to see if you need one.

Traveler tip: Make two photocopies of your passport - one to bring with you and one to leave at home.

Not to sound cliché, but we can’t say this enough: pack light! Check with your airline to see what size bags they allow to avoid paying any fees.

Most travelers find it easiest to go without checking bag. Here are some tips for getting as much as possible into that carry-on suitcase:

  • Wear your bulkiest shoes on the plane and pack the lighter ones. Same thing goes for jackets and heavier clothing.

  • Packing cubes or vacuum seal bags can save space and help you stay organized.

  • Make the most of your personal item by using a tote bag or backpack that you can reuse throughout the trip.

  • Roll your clothes instead of folding them. Pack the bigger items first and use smaller items like socks and underwear to fill in the gaps.

Traveler tip: You'll be traveling by train on this itinerary, where very limited space is available. 

To see a full packing list, check out our Pocket Guide to Expert Travel. Just make sure you don’t forget these: 

  • Passport—bring a photo copy and leave one at home too

  • Visa (if applicable)

  • ATM card and credit card

  • Entertainment for the plane and travel days

  • Purse or small day bag with a zipper 

  • Converter/adapter for any electronics

  • Toiletries

  • Washcloth—optional, but they aren’t always available

  • Medications and a copy of any prescriptions*

  • Comfortable, casual clothingcheck the weather before you pack!

  • Dressier outfit

  • Raincoat and umbrella

  • Reusable water bottle

  • Comfortable walking shoes—for example, one pair of sneakers and one pair of sandals

  • Warm layers

  • Comfortable, casual clothing in breathable, lightweight fabrics.

  • Bathing suit

  • Comfortable shoes like sneakers and waterproof sandals

  • Pack layers, as the temperature can fluctuate throughout the day

  • Hat, reef-safe sunscreen, and bug spray

  • EF's emergency numbers

    • ​Calling from within the US: 1-800-873-2250

    • Calling from abroad: 001-617-619-2913

*All medications should be in their original containers. Put medications in your carry-on bag only, in case a checked bag gets lost or delayed.

Traveler tip: Bring a daypack! The train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes limits larger luggage. Usually, travelers will leave their suitcase in Ollantaytambo and just bring the essentials in a daypack for the one-night stay in Aguas Calientes.

The best things in the world are free (like snapping the perfect selfie in front of Machu Picchu). Still, a little spending money can go a long way while you're abroad:

  • Mo' money, less problems: Budget $20 to $30 per day for pocket money. This will cover lunch each day, souvenirs, and additional activities. If you’re an especially avid souvenir hunter, you’ll want to give yourself more wiggle room—financially and in your suitcase.

  • Currency: Peruvian Sol. You can exchange money before you leave, but we recommend just withdrawing some cash from an ATM when you arrive.

  • Tips for tipping: We suggest $6-$8 per day for your Field Director. Your Group Leader will likely collect this money before you depart so that you can budget accordingly.

P.S. Be sure to let your bank know you’ll be traveling so they can put an alert on your account and inform you of any international fees.

Imagine it: you’ve finally arrived. It’s been a few hours since you left home, but your feet are firmly planted on the ground again. Today’s challenge? Fight off jetlag and make the most of the day.

Unless you arrive at night, be prepared to hit the ground running. Staying awake on arrival day is the best way to fight jet lag and adjust to any time difference. If there are other groups on your program, you may wait at the airport for them to arrive. To make things a bit easier:

  • Pack toiletries and a change of clothes in your carry-on for when you land.

  • Stay hydrated—it helps reduce jetlag.

  • Travel in comfort, not necessarily in style, and get as much sleep as you can on the flight before.

Your dedicated Field Director—a physical and cultural guide—will be with you throughout your program. Our Field Directors work tirelessly behind the scenes to coordinate logistics like managing reservations and making sure everything flows seamlessly, so that you can enjoy your time without sweating the details. They are there to acquaint you with each new city and make sure everyone is safe, confident, and making the most of every moment.

You’ll spend very little time at your hotel (mostly catching some sleep), but you should still be aware of where you’re staying and who you’re staying there with.

  • Hotel du jour: City-hopping means hotel -hopping, but don't worry; each hotel is safe, clean, comfortable, and equipped with private bathrooms and conveniently located to the sites you'll be visiting.

  • What to expect: Hotels abroad may feature smaller rooms than you’re used to and may not have air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, television, or elevators. All the more reason to get out and explore.

  • Roomies: Unless you have opted to upgrade your room, standard accommodations mean you’ll be rooming with two or three other people of the same gender, each with your own bed.  You may even take part in an exchange program—that is, rooming with a traveler(s) from another school in your group.

Traveler tip: Electrical outlets in different countries may be different from the ones we're used to. Make sure you research what type of converter and/or adapter is needed for your travels! 

Kick off each day with an included continental breakfast. All dinners will be included, too. We work with local restaurants to provide plated meals inspired by the region, giving you the opportunity to experience authentic dishes.

Traveling to Peru is a truly memorable culinary experience. Lima is home to some of the top restaurants in the world and throughout the country you will find dishes inspired by cuisines from all over the world, as well as Peru’s own unique traditions.

  • Soups and stews are commonly served with lunch or dinner

  • Other typical dishes: Ceviche, chicken, quinoa, lomo saltado

  • If you’re feeling adventurous, try the guinea pig, a local delicacy.

Since teleportation hasn’t been invented yet, you’ll need these to get from point A to point B (and C and D and E).

  • Flights: Into and home from Lima. Your departure flight after the final day will be late at night or early the next morning.

  • Internal flights: Lima to Cuzco & Cuzco to Lima.

  • Bus: Primary mode of transportation on the ground.

  • Train: You will travel by train from the Sacred Valley to Aguas Calientes and continue on to Machu Picchu by bus.

  • Walking/hiking: Hands down the best way to explore a new place. Be ready to walk a ton (we're talking 5-7 miles per day) to see as much as possible. 

You will be covering a lot of ground in nine days, so this program will feel fast! In order to maximize your time each day, you will leave the hotel bright and early and return some time in the evening. Most days will be pretty packed with activities and there will be limited exploration time. You'll have a mix of time on the bus, train and walking to get around. Be prepared to walk between 5-7 miles per day.

You'll spend 1-2 nights in each hotel before moving on to the next, meaning there’s no time to waste! Your group will hit the ground running in each new place.

Exploration time can vary depending on a few factors: the number of planned activities, whether or not your group has decided to add any optional excursions, and general travel variables like traffic. How you spend your exploration time is entirely up to you. You could sit in a café and people-watch, grab a few friends and discover a new part of the city, or do some souvenir shopping. On busier days, you might just have enough exploration time for a quick lunch.

Here is a rough breakdown of exploration time on your itinerary:

  • Lima: Afternoon

  • Cuzco: Afternoon

There is so much to see and do, so do some research and plan ahead. If you need inspiration, here are our exploration time suggestions:

  • Explore the Inca Market in the Miraflores district

  • Visit the Lima Art Museum

  • Walk along the coast for stunning photo opportunities

The mountains of Peru are at a high altitude. Many people come to Peru to experience the natural wonders of the Andes, and it is important to stay hydrated and rest when at high altitudes, especially in the first couple of days of adjustment. When you arrive in Cusco take about 1 day to get adjusted to altitude make sure that you are watching what you are eating, drinking, and alcohol consumption. 

At Machu Pichu, the restrooms are located outside the entrance to the site and no re-entry is allowed. That means once you enter, you will likely not have access to a bathroom during the 3-4 hour visit.

Norms around personal space are different in Peru than they are in the US. Typically Peruvians will stand much closer to each other than Americans when having a conversation.

In terms of clothing, in the more traditional, indigenous regions of Peru, you should dress conservatively, long (knee high) shorts or pants and tee shirt or long sleeved shirt. Also, practicality here is important, the sun is extremely strong so generally people try to protect themselves from it. You should follow their lead.

Please note that this guide is for the nine-day version of this program. Ask your Group Leader for details regarding the two-day extension to an Amazon lodge and Iquitos.

We’re here to help

Our team has heard it all so don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions. Call us at 877-485-4184 between Monday and Friday, 9:00am-5:30pm EST.