It's always good to take a look at your room before accepting it, especially if you're staying in a budget hotel. If it isn't what you expected, there might be several other rooms from which to choose. Expense is no guarantee of charm or cleanliness, and accommodations can vary dramatically within a single hotel. Many older hotels in some of the small towns in Peru have rooms with lovely balconies or spacious terraces; ask if there's a room con balcón or con terraza when checking in.
If you ask for a double room, you'll get a room for two people, but you're not guaranteed a double mattress. If you'd like to avoid twin beds, you'll have to ask for a cama matrimonial (no wedding ring required).
Apartment and House Rentals
Apartment rentals are not a viable option in most parts of Peru. However, they're becoming more common in Lima and several other tourist centers. Aside from the convenience they offer, rentals can be cost-effective—you can often get a roomy two- or three-bedroom apartment for less than you'd pay for a shoe-box-size hotel room. One company that has proven reliable is Inn Peru, which rents apartments in Lima’s Miraflores neighborhood; North American–based alternatives include HomeAway and Airbnb.
Airbnb.com. 855/424–7262; www.airbnb.com.
HomeAway. 877/228–3145; www.homeaway.com.
Inn Peru. 01/998–578–350; www.innperu.com.
Bed-and-breakfasts are a popular option all over Peru, but especially in tourist areas like Cusco, Arequipa, and Puno. Many are in charming older buildings, including colonial-era homes built around flower-filled courtyards. Breakfast ranges from a roll with butter and jam to a massive buffet.
Bed and Breakfast.com. 512/322–2710; 800/462–2632; www.bedandbreakfast.com.
With a direct home exchange you stay in someone else's home while they stay in yours. Some outfits also deal with vacation properties, so you're not actually moving into someone's full-time residence, just their vacant weekend place. Homeexchange.com charges $119.40 for a year membership.
Home Exchange.com. 800/877–8723; 310/798–3864; www.homeexchange.com.
Peru’s hotels range from bare-bones hostels to luxurious retreats tucked away in forgotten Andean valleys. In general, the highest-quality ones are in major urban centers (Lima, Arequipa, Cusco), but four- and five-star properties can still be found in smaller cities and rural areas that cater to high-end tourism or business. These will generally feature hot water, modern fixtures, and 24-hour concierge service. Midlevel hotels may lack some of these features and will generally feel dated in comparison. At the low end are dormitories aimed at backpackers and budget travelers. Prices tend to reflect the property’s age and amenities, but specialty lodges in the jungle or highlands may offer few comforts at a given price point. The name of a hotel does not necessarily have anything to do with its luxuriousness. A posada, for example, can be at the high, middle, or low end.
Ask the local tourist board about hotel packages that include tickets to major museum exhibits or other special events.