PERU : A BASIC TRAVEL INFO Print

 

Area                                                    1,285,216 square kilometers

Comparing to the size of U.S.                Almost twice the size of Texas

Borders with                                         Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile

Population                                           30 million

 Time Zone                                          GMT - 5:00

Religions                                             Roman Catholic

Government Type                                 Constitutional Republic

Capital                                                Lima

Language                                            Spanish      

Passport & Visa Formalities

A valid passport is required to enter and depart Peru. Citizens of most countries in the Americas and Western Europe do not require a visa to travel to Peru. When entering Peru you will be asked to fill out an embarkation card. This piece of paper is very important since it has to be given to the migratory authority when you leave the country, do not loose it. We recommend you make various copies of your passport and embarkation card in case the originals are lost.

For further information regarding entry requirements, you can contact the Peruvian Embassy at 1700 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036; telephone (202) 833-9860; http://www.peruvianembassy.us

Weather & Clothing

Although the Peru is in the tropics, its weather varies due to the geographical diversity (coast, highlands, Amazon) and to the cold water current of Humboldt in winter and the warm water current El Niño in the summer.

On the Coast
The central and southern region of the Peruvian coast is generally sunny in the summer (November to May) and cloudy during the rest of the year.
Temperatures vary between 20ºC and 30ºC during the summer and 10ºC and 20ºC during the winter. The northern region of the coast has sunshine almost all year with some rain between November and March, depending on the seasonal presence of the “El Niño” current in the north.

In the Sierra (Highlands)
The Andes have usually a rainless winter that runs from April to October, where temperatures during the day are very warm, and a rainy season that lasts from November to March, being heaviest in January - February. In the highlands temperatures have accentuated variations between day and night, with sudden temperature falls after sunset (sometimes up to 15ºC)

In the Rainforest
In the Rainforest it can rain all year round and there may be high temperatures. From November to May rain is heavier, rivers rise, but from May to September temperatures are generally milder but never cold, except sometimes in Madre de Dios (south) where cold air-masses move in from Bolivia and Argentina in the winter months and you may need to wear a light jacket/sweater. 

Travel Gear

The following travel equipment is recommended for the different types of trips:

Trekking and tours which include camping accommodations:

• Cotton short-sleeved shirts or t-shirts
• Light coloured long-sleeved shirts
• Fleece or Wool sweater and/or trousers
• Lightweight pants 
• Hiking shorts 
• Regular and long underwear (at over 13,000 ft/4,000 masl) 
• Medium weight parka with fibber fill or down
• Light cap and wool hat 
• Rain poncho (or rain gear) 
• Light gloves 
• Medium weight socks 
• Tennis or running shoes and hiking boots 
• Trekking poles (optional)
• Sleeping bag (0º to -15ºC) and small day pack 
• Strong waterproof duffel bag 
• Sun glasses 
• Sun block, lip balm and Insect repellent 
• Flashlight with spare batteries and bulb 
• Towel 
• Swimsuit. 
• Water bottle 
• Personal first aid kit. On each trip we carry a medical kit but we suggest a small personal first-aid kit for bruises and blisters. A knee and ankle brace are sometimes useful especially if you suffer from weak knees or ankles. Include any special medication your doctor might suggest for you.

 

• Other adventure gear as listed above for camping and evenings on the river shores.
• Light weight sleeping bag. 
• Certain areas have insects so bring long sleeved clothing and insect repellent.
• Sun block, lip balm and Insect Repellent.

Sea Kayaking

• Long - sleeved lycra 
• Neoprene booties or wet-shoes 
• Neoprene suit (short or long) 
• Hat/cap, sunglasses, gloves (if required for paddling) 
• Wind-jacket 
• Water bottle
• Sun glasses
• Suns Screen
• Personal first aid kit 
• Warm clothes for afternoon camping including sleeping bag (25ºF /- 5%C).

Rainforest Programs

• Rubber boots (can be rented or are given at most lodges)
• Long-sleeved cotton shirts 
• Full rain-gear and insect repellent 
• Other cotton pants and lightweight clothing. 
• A light parka or sweater (sometimes there is some cold wind flow in Peru's southern Amazon Basin) 
• Light cap and wool hat (in mountains). 
• Remember your yellow-fever vaccines and malaria prophylaxis.
• Sun glasses
• Suns Screen
• Personal first aid kit


Soft Adventure and Overlanding
• Since all the programs include overnight stay at hotels, aside from the normal outdoor gear needed during a daily active hike or river trip, no extreme outdoor gear is necessary.

Cultural Programs

• Good walking shoes (rubber soles) 
• Standard clothing used for travelling world-wide 
• Light outdoor gear 
• Rain protection gear, sun protection and insect repellent
• Warmer clothes especially in the months of May - July when temperatures can vary from hot days to freezing nights.

Health & Immunization

Peru does not require any immunizations for entry, although it recommends vaccination against Yellow Fever.

If you plan to travel to the rainforest, the administration of a Yellow Fever vaccine 10 days in advance is strongly recommended.

Travellers with heart conditions or high blood pressure should check with their doctors before travelling to high altitudes. It is advisable to bring a small personal first aid kit with you.


We recommend you to drink only bottled or previously boiled water and to bring a water bottle, especially if you will be travelling outside of the larger cities.

To prevent dehydration, especially in the mountains, it is recommended to drink three litters of liquids daily - water, tea or sodas.

Altitude Sickness (Soroche)

To help prevent altitude sickness the best measure is to acclimatize for at least two days with limited activity, eat light meals, drink lots of water and abstain from alcohol.


Altitude sickness begins affecting people who quickly ascend to altitudes over 2,500 m / 8,100 ft . Symptoms include headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, insomnia and loss of appetite. Risk of altitude sickness increases with higher altitudes, faster ascents more physical exertion and severe cases include fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema) or swelling of the brain (high-altitude cerebral edema) and can only be treated by descending immediately. Being physically fit does not necessarily mean you are free from risk of altitude sickness.

The Centers for Disease Control provides an International Traveler’s Hotline offering recorded messages or faxes on current health risks. Call 877 394 8747 or visit cdc.gov/travel for suggested immunizations and food/ water precautions For other health-related inquiries, call 404 639 3534 (8 a.m. 4:30 pm EST)

Customs & Declarations

You will receive a baggage declaration and immigration form on the plane prior to landing. Please fill the form accurately as it appears on your passport.

Besides the persons items you can also bring up to twenty (20) packets of cigarettes or fifty (50) cigars or 250 grams of shredded or threaded tobacco for smoking and up to three (3) liters of liquor, up to THREE HUNDRED U.S. DOLLARS (US$ 300.00) worth in miscellaneous articles for use or consumption by the traveler, or for gifts that by their quantity, nature and variety are presumed not destined for commercial use and providing the value per article does not exceed ONE HUNDRED U.S. DOLLARS (US$$100.00).

Money, Credit Cards & ATM

The official currency in Peru is the Nuevo Sol (S/.)  Though It is common to exchange money (US dollars) in the street but it is not recommended . Use the Money Exchange Offices known as "Casas de Cambio" or banks for safety reasons. The US dollar is accepted in most commercial shops at the daily exchange rate.

You will find ATM in the bigger cities. Most of them are located in airports, near banks or in major shopping malls.

The major credit cards are accepted in most of the hotels, restaurants and sotres. 

Culture & Etiquette

Officially, most of the Peruvians are Roman Catholic, but especially on the country-side, the ancient pre-Hispanic religiosity is still alive. Respect that when visiting temple ruins or other ritual places and behave as if it were a church.

While country often equated with Mexico in the American Media, Peru has little in common with Mexico, apart from the Spanish and having indigenous peoples. It's offensive to compare countries. Know the locals. Not all of the country consists of native people wearing ponchos, just like not every American is a Texan cowboy. 

Don't use the word "indio", although it's Spanish. For natives, it sounds like "nigger" since it was used by Spanish conquerors. The politically correct way of speaking is "el indígena" or "la indígena" - although, like "nigger", very close people inside a circle of friends can get away with it. Another word to be careful with is chola/cholo or cholita, meaning indígena. This may be used affectionately among indigenous people (it'a very common appellation for a child, for instance) but is offensive coming from an outsider.

And note: Coca leaves are not cocaine and they are legal. You can try them to experience the culture. If you don't like to chew them, try a mate de hojas de coca. Also quite effective against altitude sickness. However,  if you work in the place that have regular drug tests, it is highly recommended that you don’t taste the coca leaf, because it is going to be positive in your test (the coca stays 1 month in the body) Becasue of this, we  recommend to try a mate of muña, which is another recommended herb for the high altitude and stomachache. 

Miscellaneous

When you arrive at the airport or border

When you arrive in China, someone from our local supplier will meet you at the airport who will be displaying your name. You will be then transferred to your to hotel.  In case,  because of earlier or delayed flight, if you do not  see anybody to pick you up, then give a call to the local tour operator listed on the “Local Operator’s Contact Detail” which is in the information package you have received from us before you left U.S.

Telephone/Email/Wifi

Peru’s code is 51. In order to receive phone calls from abroad you must dial (00) + (51) + (Department Code) + (Phone number) . The area code for Lima is 1 and Cusco is 84.

There are several internet cafes around each main city. Most of the 3 star and above hotels have WiFi internet access or may provide PC’s with internet access for free.

Luggage
Upon arrival in Peru, either into Lima or Cusco (from La Paz) we tag all luggages for easy identification all over Peru.

For cultural and sightseeing travel we recommend you bring luggage that is easy to manipulate for normal worldwide travel.

We have no weight limit although many airlines have weight specifications that allow up to 30 kilos (66lbs) for checked in baggage and 5 kilos (11lbs.) for carry on bags.

In all the hotels we work with, we are usually allowed to leave luggage for the return journey.

For adventure trips, trekking or rafting, we recommend duffel bags that are waterproof or can be lined with plastic bags to protect your clothes from water. These are easily tied on pack-animals and can be carried by porters (we use porters only on the Inca Trail since pack-animals are not allowed). The weight limit is 20 Kilos (44 pounds) for most routes. This weight includes duffel and sleeping bag and one extra piece. Sometimes couples choose to share a duffel bag.

**On the Inca Trail weight is an important factor, so we ask you to please pack lightly. The weight limit per person is 8 kilos (20 pounds). On Fixed Departures we can supply duffel bags on request the night before departure during the briefing session. **

On the train journey to Machu Picchu, there are weight and size restrictions on luggage. (There is more info regarding this matter available)

Transportation and Connectivity

Air transport
There are airlines that operate nationally as well as various regional and charter companies. We can sell you national intra-Peru flights, often providing this service at comparable prices since we can monitor the bookings and reconfirmation of flights to improve schedules and connections. When our passengers arrive we automatically ask for their ongoing international connection on their way out of

Rail transport
In 1995 the state railroad which ran the railways all over Peru was privatized and a company called Peru Rail S.A., owned by Orient Express from the United Kingdom, won the concession to operate the Arequipa – Puno, Puno – Cusco and Cusco – Machu Picchu section of the railroad. Since then the tracks have been refurbished and there are now excellent schedules and alternatives available between mostly Cusco and Machu Picchu.

Buses and vehicles
Ground transportation terminals in the big cities offer secure areas and services to connect to other Peruvian regions. In the nineties many highways were improved while others were extended so now it is possible to travel by land counting with public transportation of international standards. Most routes that have paved highways, such as the Pan-American Highway to Nazca and Arequipa, and the road to Huaraz, have reliable scheduled bus service available. The overnight service is specially designed to include lounge seats comfortable for sleeping with TV and refreshments available. On some of our fixed departures and on longer routes we travel on these buses since they tend to be less expensive and more comfortable than minivans or small vehicles.

On group departures we provide 20-40 seat buses for tours and longer journeys.
For individual or small groups we provide comfortable minivans and sometimes station wagons for short transfers and tours within a city. This is applicable to transportation and guided tours all over Peru.

Electric voltage

Ac 220 volts, 60 cycles. Usually five and four star hotels also offer electric voltage of 110 volts.

Shopping

Tourists always find it very interesting to stroll in street markets in Peru. where you can see people selling all kinds of products. If you are interested, go ahead and buy something, Also extensive bargaining is expected when you buy something on the street. If you are thinking of purchasing any products, which you cannot carry with you, then think twice before you purchase it. The salesman or guide may tell you that they would pay the shipping charges to your address.  However, besides the shipping charge, you must understand that there are other charges involved at your end, which they may not be aware of, such as destination charges, custom clearance fees, warehouse fees and other fees. By the time, the product reaches your home; the chance is high that you will also receive a bill for all the other charges, which might be higher than the cost of product itself. So, unless you are very sure about these charges, shipping anything home is not suggested.

Tipping

We only include tipping for porters at airports, train or bus station transfers, where qualified porters certified by the proper authorities are located.

Tips at hotels are usually not included since your contact with the hotel porters is personal at baggage delivery in the rooms, and baggage pick-up at check-out. Passengers are free to tip them once inside the hotel.

Tipping is not included for drivers, guides and/or camp crews, trekking and/or river guides during journeys; the amount depends on the number of days the people accompany you and the size of the party. Camp crews tend to be with you a minimum of 4 days. These are voluntary contributions and if desired, we recommend that the following guidelines be followed (amounts specified are per group and applicable for the length of the trip, not per day):

Drivers:                                   US$10-15
Transfer Agents:                  US$10-15
Head Cook:                            US$40
Camp Crew each:                US$20
Porters/ mule drivers:        US$10-15
Adventure or Tour Guides US$60-100