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Peru is a country that has dramatically grown in popularity in recent decades. It is no longer an "off the beaten path" destination and now has facilities that cater to travelers of all styles and budgets, particularly in the major cities such as Lima. You can even find many major western chains in the capital city if that is your desire. There is a Radisson, Sheraton, and Marriot, to name just a few. These hotels are comparable in price to what they would be in the United States, and the facilities themselves are also comparable in quality.
There are also many locally run hotels, and some Peruvian chains that offer a better deal but perhaps a slightly less reliable quality. Peru has a standardized rating system for its hotels with star levels ranging from one to five. You can find a description of each star level below.
Finding a Good Deal
Accommodation is generally affordable in Peru. You will find a range of quality and price levels in the major cities such as Lima. In Lima you will find anything from luxury, western style accommodation to backpacker hostels. Once outside of the major cities you're actually more likely to find budget accommodation of variable quality. Consider your budget when you choose your destinations and time frame in the country. If you head outside of the touristy areas you'll find cheaper places to stay, but less selection. Within the more touristy destinations, particularly with the growing popularity of Peru, you will find more variety, but also more expensive options generally speaking. Keep this in mind when you plan your travel route.
A Rating System
Hotels in Peru are rated under a star system ranging from one star to five stars. Generally the five star hotels are reserved for package tours or business travelers and you are unlikely to find them outside of Lima. The four star hotels cost around US$60 a night or more and are typically found in the larger cities, but are far less common elsewhere. Three star hotels are the best compromise of price and quality. You will typically pay between US$30-50 for a descent quality hotel. They are also far more common than the more expensive options. The one and two star hotels are the most affordable, and can be variable in quality and neighborhood, so do some research before you book to ensure you understand what you're getting.
Because of Peru's recent popularity, you will likely find any type of accommodation you desire. There are western chains, Peruvian chains, and locally owned, independently run hotels. Understand ahead of time the type of accommodation you desire and you will be much more satisfied with your choice.
When you arrive in Peru you will likely fly into Lima. The city is large and worth exploring for at least a few days. It has the largest selection of hotel options and they spread out throughout the city. Some neighborhoods are considered somewhat safer than others so research your area in advance to make sure you are comfortable and well connected with the rest of the city. One popular area to stay where you will find a decent selection of hotels is San Borja. There are a good number of commercial businesses in this area as well as some residential homes. It's a safe area and a pleasant place to pass the time while you're in the area. It's a middle class neighborhood and the hotels are generally reasonably priced and are comfortable.
If you're looking for a more upscale neighborhood in the city then you can choose between Miraflores, Barranco and San Isidro. These high end neighborhoods are a little less conveniently located than the city's historic center, but they offer comfort and high quality options. There are also a few budget options sprinkled about if you look hard enough.
Whatever neighborhood you stay in during your time in Lima do use some common sense when it comes to your safety. Leave any flashy jewelry at home and don't draw attention to yourself. These rules apply almost anywhere you decide to travel to.
There is a large selection of budget accommodation options in Cuzco. You likely won't need to make reservations in advance as there is almost always some availability. If you're looking for peace of mind then it can be reassuring to have a reservation though, particularly if you're arriving later at night. It's comforting to have an address to give the taxi driver and the reassurance that you will have a place to sleep for the night that you have chosen ahead of time.
Cuzco is a popular tourist destination in Peru and wherever you stay you are sure to meet fellow travelers. Hostels can be a particularly nice option if you're looking for people to travel with or even want some advice on what you should see and do for the rest of your trip. Fellow travelers sometimes have the best tips and advice as they have only just finished their vacation. Hostels a abundant in Cuzco and they are often located close to some of the more popular, and touristy, restaurants and bars. If you want to be in the middle of all of the tourist action then you can easily find a hostel that is near everything. Alternatively, if you're looking for a more peaceful and removed experience, you should seek out a hostel that is more remote and located in a more residential part of the city.