In order to make your trip an unforgettable experience, please take some time to read below.
Every trip requires planning. Even so, many other things may not be part of the planning. You should have in mind that the country you will arrive to has many different ways compared to your hometown. Part of the travel experience is learning and enjoying these differences. We suggest you to; open your mind and your heart to it. You may be happily surprised.
Country Full Name
RepúblicadelPerú/Republic of Peru
Official: Quechua, Spanish
GMT/UTC -5 (Peru Time)
** You can check in this map, and have exactly the time around the world…http://24timezones.com/
Weights & Measurements
Metric, check this link to convert any weight or Measurements.
Please Be aware that in US 110Vis used
For electronic devices. Be sure the electrical outlet you will use is “DUAL” or has the appropriate convertor.
Symbol: S/. The New Sol (Nuevo Sol) is divided into 100 cents. Thebillsin circulation are S/. 200, 100, 50, 20, and 10. There are coins of S/. 5, 2, 1, 0.50, 0.20, 0.10, 0.05, 0.01.
The exchange rate to the US dollar is approximately S/.2.70 per $1.00 U.S. Theexchange rate may vary, according to the place you are changing. For example, in hotels it may be a little bit higher.
All currency you will be exchanging must be new and crisp. Any worn bills or slight tears or rips will not be accepted in money exchange offices.You should also be on the lookout for any counterfeit money.
Check this link to see the images of the actual currency of Perú
Travel Documents & Visas
A valid passport is required to enter Peru. No visa is necessary for U.S., Canadian or UK citizens.
Please check on this link the countries that must get a VISA to visit Perú
An immigration form will be filled when you arrive in Peru, (TARJETA ANDINA DE MIGRACIÓN), Peruvian Authorities will keep one part and you will keep the other until you leave the country.
This little white paper will be needed at the check-in moment in every hotel you stay in Perú, please keep it safe.
Remember to keep colour photocopies of your passport (photo page) since you will need these to cash traveller checks, possibly for credit card transactions, and also for your own tranquillity as you may leave the passport in the safety of your hotel.
The sewage System in Peru does not flush the toilet paper easily, so we should use the trash disposal in each bathroom. Do not through the paper inside the toilet.
Visa (the most common), MasterCard, American Express, and Diners Club are widely accepted. There is a possibility of withdrawing funds at ATMs, but it is recommended that you check with your bank before leaving to determine the fees involved. Remember that each bank has different international ATM fees, and this may be above any fees from ATMs here in Peru.
It is important to be aware that each card charges a different exchange rate. Please check with your card provider before leaving to find out their current exchange rates and any other possible fees involved in using your card abroad.
In some places when you pay in credit card, they may charge the amount in soles, using the bank’s exchange rate.
In some places they may charge a percentage (5 to 8%) of the sale, due to the bank commission.
Are accepted but not everywhere (established businesses tend to accept them more readily).
If you change it to Soles, they may fetch a lesser exchange rate.
If you change it to Dollars, they may charge a commission of 2 or 3 %.
Anyway, travel checks are safe since you will not lose your money if they are lost or stolen. Visa, MasterCard and American Express are the most common.
How Much Money to Take
This is a subjective issue since we all spend our money differently. We suggest you take a combination of cash, traveller checks and credit cards. Use your cash first, then your credit cards, and last your traveller checks (as a backup), or whatever combination you may feel comfortable with. When exchanging money make sure to ask for smaller bills and coins, since you will soon find out that very few people have adequate change, if any at all.
Some stores prefer cash, because of bank commission on the credit cards; you can also get a discount if you pay in cash.
If you feel that you have received a good service we would like to encourage you to tip your guides, drivers, hotel staff, restaurant waiters, and so on. This will show your appreciation and recognition for their work and will further enhance the experience of future travellers.
The amount is totally related with the service you think you have got.
There are some products that you shall obtain from Peru: Cotton clothes, alpaca sweaters and coats, silver jewellery and other handicraft typical from Peru (weavings, chullucanas ceramics).
Take in account that your purchasewill return with you, so think twice and evaluate if it may be too fragile to take, or to heavy. Some stores may send the item directly to your hometown.
It is a great idea to visit workshops in order to learn about the manufacturing process.
Sometimes, even some bargain is expected; please consider the relationship between quality and price. Also that many people make their living out of it (especially street sellers)and take a lot of time to manufacture products.
You can also take some processed products to eat (jams made on exotic fruits, yellow chilli, cookies made of native products, a good bottle of Pisco) to take a “Bite” of Peru back home and share it with your friends or family at the time they see your pictures.
As many of your travelling will be to country areas, comfortable shoes and pants will be recommended. A farewell dinner is a great idea, so you can take something fancy if you want. Most restaurants have not strict dressing codes.
If you are travelling to the Jungle, long sleeves are required to avoid mosquito bites, alsobright colours of clothing are recommended for the Jungle, since mosquitoes are repelled to some extent.
Black colours attract radiation, therefore heat.
Rain Coats or Rain Ponchos are recommended for Cusco, Machupicchu and the Jungle during rainy season (December to March). The weather in Cusco is sometimes unpredictable, it may be sunny in the morning and cloudy and cold in the evening, or vice versa.
Keeping in Touch
It is possible to buy prepaid calling cards in Peru as well (from the local telephone company “Telefonica”) that let you talk from a landline telephone; you can request assistance to the hotel’s front desk to know how to use it and where to purchase them.
You can also rent a cell phone with a Peruvian line at the airport when you arrive in the country.
Other possibility is to purchase a local SIM CARD, for about USD5 and use it on your own telephone, incoming calls will be free for you and prepaid cards can be charged when you require. The telephone should be unlocked from your country. Some telephones don’t allow these SIM CARDS; try one from a friend before you buy your own.
Another possibility is to purchase for about USD50 a non-contract prepaid line and telephone, with incoming calls free and prepaid telephone cards accepted.
Most of the hotels will have wire less connection; also there are some free WiFi zones in cafes in the downtown area.
There are also plenty CIBER Cafes around town, some may charge around USD1,50 per hour.
It might double the price in remote areas, as Aguas Calientes or Colca.
Some Hotels will have one or two computers with internet access for free passengers use.
The official language of Peru is Spanish. Some people also speak Quechua, the ancestors’ language, and in Southern Peru (near the Bolivian border) you will find groups that also speak Aymara, another pre-Spanish language. You will find many people who also speak English.
Taxis & Transportation
For safety reasons prefer Taxi Companies as (“Alo Cusco” 22-2222 in Cusco, Tatataxi 274-5151 in Lima), or request assistance at the front desk.
The price will be a little more than a regular taxi, but it is 100% safe
Local transportation in Peru doesn’t have a subway system; there are Buses and Vans (“combis”), with different routes, which connect the city. This is why the traffic in some places is very rough.
Peru is known for its food, so make sure you are able to enjoy it all in the healthiest, cleanest way possible. Two things to remember are that vegetables should be peeled (tomatoes, cucumbers) or washed in treated water.
If you do come down with a case of a rumble stomach, there are many places for analysis; medicines are generally not too expensive. Remember that in altitude is harder to digest, therefore at first eat lightly.
Bottled water is readily available in all Peru, and more restaurants (also the South American Explorers clubhouses in Peru) are starting to offer bottle-refill services to prevent plastic waste. Please use treated water even to brush your teeth, do not drink tap water, and be aware that sometimes the ice in some restaurants is made with untreated water, so ask before you order your cocktail.
In regard of Photographic gear, it is easy to find film, batteries, memory cards, and basic requirements.
Photo Labsand internet Cafés are easy to find, you can download your pictures and burnthem in a DVD there.
If you are looking for professional gear, it is more expensive comparing to the US, and you may not find many specialist Shops, most gear is imported.
Sometimes taking photos is not allowed in churches and museums.
Don’t forget to charge your batteries.
Health, Medical, Inoculations
It is a good idea to ask your doctor about your physical condition and about any vaccines you may need for this trip. He or She will be best suited to give you these recommendations knowing in advance your medical history. Common vaccinations include Hepatitis, Typhoid, Tetanus, Yellow Fever (if you plan to visit the jungle) and Measles.
If you are arriving from a yellow fever infected country in Africa or the Americas.The vaccine for yellow fever is required.
Bring enough quantities of your prescription drugs before arrival. Although there a great number of pharmacies here, it is necessary to know the name and also the generic name (active ingredients), since the commercial name of a drug may change from country to country.
Consult with your medical insurance about your coverage in Peru. Make sure that emergency evacuation back home is included and that they are readily available to answer your questions and assist you.
Personal First Aid Kit
Everyone should have one. Do not forget any required medication (if you are taking any), plus a good insect repellent and your favourite sun block. A suggested list is included in this pre-trip information package. You may also want to add any medicine your doctor has recommended for this trip, consult on what medications you should take for your individual needs.
There is a possibility of encountering pickpockets and other thieves. The best recommendation we can make is for you to avoid making yourself a target to them. Please do not wear expensive and showy jewellery, neitherdangle your camera or backpack from your shoulder while walking, and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Common sense will get you a long way! Try to stay with your fellow travellers. Be calm.
Be prepared for a little bit of everything. Since Peru is so close to the Equator, “winter” means blue skies with little rain, warm days up to 80ºF (depending on the altitude), and cold nights (possibly down to freezing). Pack accordingly, with many layers, a warm jacket, and perhaps a scarf and hat (unless you prefer to buy them here!).
Between November and March the “wet” season in the jungle and in the mountains. We will have frequent rain showers with sunny spells in between. It is recommended to bring lightweight, quick-drying clothes with thin layers to put underneath. When packing pants; remember, that when jeans get wet they are heavy, and also take more time to dry. Zipper pants found at most outdoor stores offer the option for shorts in the day and pants at night, and are the most comfortable for hiking in.
In the coast,especially in Limait does not vary much, especially because we do not have rains, but only drizzles during the winter, you do not have to worry about weather conditions.
There are a lot of street dogs and cats in Peru, around the city and also in the rural areas, so don’t play with them, they may not be trained or vaccinated.
Festivities in Perú
http://www.blogsperu.com/calendario.asp Check this link to know if there is any local festivity that you can enjoy during your visit.
It is important to travel light, take with you a small backpack, or duffle bag for the outside overnights; for example, Sacred Valley and Machupicchu.This way you can storage your big luggage at the hotel, and travel light when it is required.
If you don’t have any other choice than taking your big luggage to Machupicchu, it should go in a different coach, with an extra charge per kilo up to 10 kilos.
Comfortable shoes and clothing
Cotton T-shits and underwear
Sun block (sun in altitude is very strong)
Camera and charger (Electricity 220V)
Extra memory card
Personal items (toothbrush, towel, medication)
Light backpack to carry daily needs.
Please be aware of some cultural attitudes that may be important for your visit…
1. If you are invited for a meal with a local family and they give you a dish, it would be nice if you eat it all, otherwise they may feel offended if you don’t finish it.
2. Peruvian culture is very conservative, in attitudes and believes, avoid scandals, speaking out loud in sacred places, when you visit the archaeological remains,be very careful where you stand or seat, it may be fragile or sacred.
3. If you take pictures of local people, they may expect for a tip, especially children. Be sure to deal with them and ask for permission before taking the photo.
4. Don’t tip the little kids with money, candies or sweets; they will appreciate school supplies or something practical and useful.
5. Some people don’t like to be photographed, especially old people, it has to do with their spiritual believes, so be sure to ask permission before shooting, and please respect if the answer is No.
6. Tipping is appreciated in Perú, and also the way you do it.
Guides and Drivers most of the times are hired for all services in each City, you can tip them at the end of the tour, inside a little envelope, so they will not feel uncomfortable to receive it in front of the others.In restaurants, 8 to 10% is expected, one dollar per bag to the bell boys.
7. Peruvians are well known for being very warm and kind with foreigners; please behave back with the same attitude. It is important the way to ask and smile while you are getting a service.
8. It is important to say Hi, when you are getting into a bus or room.
9. Community Visits: expect modest living conditions, and in some cases no good bathroom facilities.
10. Some typical meals, as guinea pig may be a little shocking, don’t make a scandal if you don’t want to try it, or if it is unusual or uncomfortable for you, just explain in a polite way and they will not insist.
11. It is normal being chased by little kids at Cusco Main Square asking for a tip, offering postcards or shoeshine.
Kindly say NO THANKS and if they keep asking just ignore them, it is the best way to keep them away, don’t feel bad or guilty to say NO when you don’t wantto purchase something.