Peru’s climates vary to the extremes. From the northwestern coast’s sun-pounding humid heat to the freezing cold found at Lake Titicaca, travellers will encounter all forms of air and temperature. That being said, a backpacker doesn’t a carry a backpack for nothing! Here’s a genuine traveller’s list of things that will be necessary to handle the diverse climates of Peru.
The coast is not burning hot throughout. Lima’s microclimate, for example, is decisively moderate compared to Mancora’s tropical blaze. South of Lima you’ll find the warmer temperatures of Ica and Huacachina. Up into the Andes, the evenings are usually chilly to freezing. The air is also rather dry in the mountain climates. Descending the eastern slopes brings the traveller to the ubiquitous humidity of the Amazon jungle.
As a backpacker, you come prepared with all the necessary gear. This means that for the coastal climates, you’ll have packed a number of items. Board shorts or swimsuits are of course mandatory as far as Mancora’s vibe is concerned. Light t-shirts or loose-fitting clothing is also recommended. Sunglasses and a cap are a wonderful idea in all of Peru’s climates.
Lima’s climate is a bizarre mix of heat, gray skies and drizzle. Raingear isn’t necessary there, but a sweater and jacket are. Into the mountains you’ll want to have all the necessary gear for some pretty cold encounters. Long johns will keep your legs warm, and a good base layer makes for better comfort. Wear a winter hat, gloves, and a jacket. You might several layers if you plan on spending any amount of time near Puno at night.
The jungle is sweaty. You’re going to want to have a good pair of sandals. You’ll also want to soak your shirt in cold water whenever you have the chance. Sleeveless shirts are not uncommon here, either. In the mountains, there’s a bit more conservatism in terms of dress, so you’ll want to try to avoid sandals and shorts there.
Finally, make sure you have a good deodorant, chapstick, and a water bottle to carry around. The best material for all your clothes is going to be synthetic materials, since they’re great at wicking up sweat, and they dry much faster than cotton garments.
Hostels sometimes have laundry services, so you’ll enjoy arriving to a good joint to prepare for the next leg of your journey.