A Traveler’s Guide: 10 Essential Packing Items for Cusco, Peru

Embarking on a journey to the ancient city of Cusco, nestled high in the Peruvian Andes, is like stepping into a world where history breathes through the stones of Incan walls and vibrant traditions pulse in the streets. But before you can lose yourself in the magic of this UNESCO World Heritage site, you’ve got to tackle the practicalities—packing. Trust me, what you stuff into your suitcase can make or break your high-altitude adventure.

Layer Up: The Art of Dressing for Cusco’s Climate

First things first, let’s talk weather. Cusco’s got a mind of its own, with sunny afternoons that can quickly turn into chilly evenings. You’ll want to master the art of layering. A breathable base layer, like a moisture-wicking tee, is a must. Add a fleece or a warm sweater for insulation, and top it off with a waterproof jacket. This trio will have you ready for whatever the Andean weather throws your way.

Footwear: Your Trusty Travel Companions

Those cobblestone streets aren’t just charming; they’re also a workout for your feet. A pair of sturdy, comfortable walking shoes is non-negotiable. If you’re planning to hike the Inca Trail or explore the Sacred Valley, hiking boots with good ankle support are a wise choice. Just make sure they’re well broken-in to avoid blisters that could put a damper on your explorations.

Altitude Allies: Combating Soroche

Altitude sickness, or soroche, can catch even the fittest travelers off guard. Stay ahead of the game with a few key items. Hydration is crucial, so pack a reusable water bottle to refill throughout the day. Coca leaves, whether to chew or to brew as tea, are a traditional remedy offered at most hotels. Lastly, consider bringing altitude sickness pills as a backup, but consult with your doctor first.

Protective Gear: Sun and Health Essentials

At high altitudes, the sun’s rays are stronger, and Cusco is no exception. A high-SPF sunscreen, lip balm with sun protection, and a wide-brimmed hat are your best friends. sunglasses with UV protection will shield your eyes from the intense Andean sun. And don’t forget a small first-aid kit with band-aids, pain relievers, and any personal medications.

Daypack: Your Adventure Sidekick

Whether you’re wandering through the colorful San Pedro Market or making the trek to Machu Picchu, a comfortable daypack is indispensable. It’ll hold your essentials like water, snacks, camera, and extra layers. Opt for one with multiple compartments to keep things organized and easily accessible.

Power Up: Staying Charged and Connected

In this digital age, staying powered up is key. A universal travel adapter will ensure you can charge your devices, no matter the outlet. A portable power bank is also a lifesaver when you’re out and about. And for those epic landscapes, a lightweight tripod or a selfie stick can help you capture the memories without a shaky hand.

Smart Storage: Keeping Your Belongings Safe

Pickpockets can be a concern in any tourist destination, and Cusco is no exception. A money belt or a neck wallet can keep your valuables discreet and secure. For added peace of mind, use luggage locks and consider anti-theft bags with RFID-blocking technology to protect your credit cards and passport.

Traveling Cusco: Cultural Respect and Preparedness

When visiting sacred sites or interacting with locals, showing respect is paramount. Lightweight, long clothing not only protects against the sun but also adheres to local customs. A phrasebook or translation app can bridge the language gap, and a small gift from home can be a Nice icebreaker when meeting new friends.

Hygiene Helpers: Staying Fresh on the Go

Travel can be tough on your body, but a few hygiene essentials will keep you feeling fresh. hand sanitizer and wet wipes are great for quick clean-ups, especially when water isn’t readily available. Pack a microfiber towel too—it’s compact, dries quickly, and can be a lifesaver in hostels or on camping trips.

Snack Smart: Fuel for Your Adventures

Exploring Cusco can be energy-draining, so having snacks on hand is a smart move. Energy bars, nuts, and dried fruit are nutritious options that won’t take up much space. Plus, they’re perfect for those moments when you need a quick boost to keep going.


  • What should I pack for the unpredictable weather in Cusco?

    Layers are your best bet. Include a base layer, an insulating layer, and a waterproof outer layer to adapt to changing conditions.

  • How can I prevent altitude sickness?

    Stay hydrated, chew coca leaves, and consider altitude sickness medication after consulting with your doctor.

  • Are there any cultural norms I should be aware of when packing?

    Yes, pack modest clothing that covers your shoulders and knees, especially when visiting religious sites or interacting with locals.


There you have it, folks—a suitcase packed with these essentials is your ticket to a hassle-free Cusco experience. Remember, it’s all about being prepared for the elements, respecting the local culture, and keeping your belongings secure. With these items in tow, you’re ready to dive into the heart of the Andes and discover the wonders of Cusco. So go ahead, embrace the adventure, and let the city’s rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural beauty unfold before you. Safe travels!

Kurby Team

The Kurby Content Team is a diverse group of seasoned real estate experts dedicated to providing insightful, reliable information for homebuyers, real estate investors, and real estate agents. With backgrounds ranging from real estate brokerage, property investment, and residential home buying, our team combines decades of experience with a passion for demystifying the real estate world. We at Kurby are committed to helping you make informed, successful real estate decisions. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer, a seasoned investor, or a real estate professional, count on the Kurby Content Team to deliver the most relevant, actionable real estate content you need.