Choosing the right place to stay is key to having a relaxed, enjoyable trip to Peru. The quality of lodging ranges dramatically in most Peruvian cities and often has no correlation whatsoever with price. If you plan well, you should usually be able to find a safe and quiet room, with a charming environment and a helpful staff.
Because where you stay makes a huge difference in the quality of your experience, we recommend making advance reservations by email—especially in hot spots like Lima, Arequipa, Huaraz, Cusco, and Puno and especially between the busy months May–September. Rates can increase as much as 50 percent during local festivals or national holidays such as the July 28 Fiestas Patrias weekend.
Walk-in travelers often get better rates than those who make reservations over email, but those with a reservation often get the corner room with a view, the quieter space off the street, or the room with a writing desk—especially if you ask for it in advance.
Lodging rates can be negotiated at budget hotels. That said, most hotels except for the top-end ones will probably have a low-season rate posted October–April, considerably lower than the usual rate posted year-round. But this depends on the city and can actually vary month to month.
Before you pay for a room, ask to see one or two rooms to get a sense of the quality standard at the hotel. Look carefully at how safe a hotel is, especially what neighborhood it is in, and avoid lodging around discos, bars, bus stations, or other places nearby that might make your room noisy at night. Inspect the bathrooms carefully and turn on the hot water to make sure it exists. If you are in a cold area, like Puno or Cusco, ask if the hotel provides electric heaters. If you are in a jungle city, ask if there are fans. If you are planning to make calls from your room, ask if there is direct-dial service that allows the use of phone cards— otherwise you will have to wait for the receptionist to make your call at a hefty rate that can be as much as US$0.50 per minute for local calls.
© Ross Wehner and Renée del Gaudio from Moon Peru, 3rd Edition