Peru Travel Information

Information about Peru:peru y destinos

  • Population: 30 Million people (approx.)
  • Area: 1,285,215,60 km2 of jungle, mountains and coast.
  • Language: Spanish and Quechua are the two main languages.
  • Economy: Peru's economy is based on natural and industrial resources. In recent years the Peruvian economy has vastly improved.
  • People: Almost 45% of the people of Peru are indigenous and about 37% are mestizo (Native and Spanish mix).
  • Money: The Peruvian currency is the "Nuevo Sol."

Peru is the third largest country in South America and is ranked in the top 20 of the world’s largest nations. The capital of Peru is Lima.

The Landscape:

Peru’s beautiful, western coastline is bordered by the South Pacific Ocean, featuring magnificent beaches. Inland, to the east, are the Andes with its deserts and valleys. The Highlands consist of the Andes and puna (flat terrain ranging from cold to almost freezing temperatures), or Highland Plains, known for its many different crops due to its accommodating climate. The eastern portion of Peru is known for its vast area of thick, tropical jungle vegetation that surrounds the famous Amazon River.

The Climate:

Three main climatic zones make Peru a very interesting country. Because of Peru’s three different zones, the Coast, the Andes, and the Amazon you will find many different climates. 28 of the 32 world climates can be experienced in this country. The Andes Mountains and the Humboldt Current contribute largely to these diverse climates. The Coastal climate is subtropical, with very little rainfall. Rainy summers and very dry winters are common in the Andes Mountains, with temperatures ranging from cool to cold. The Amazon eastern lowlands are known for their hot weather and rain because of its proximity to the equator.

Immigrations- Regulations & Visas:

Citizens of most countries of Western Europe, North or South America, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa do not need to have a visa to enter Peru, only a valid passport with a remaining validity of at least 6 months. To obtain a tourist visa, you must present a valid passport, two color photos, an application form, a ticket for the return flight from Peru, a proof of economic solvency, and the required fee.

*At the immigration, tourist will be given a small card, this is the Immigration Card ( Tarjeta de Immigración/ Trajeta Andina) and will be important for tourist not to pay the national taxes ( 18%) on hotels and will be needed to leave the country.

Note: During your visit to Peru it is absolutely forbidden to purchase and to attempt to remove from the country any archaeological or historical objects. Peru has international agreements with most countries and will confiscate these objects if they are removed from Peru.

Safety (Seguridad):

Safety in Peru is improving. Petty thieves are the biggest problem; be especially cautious in crowded areas, on public transport, in bus and train stations, and in the center of Lima at night. Women should take particular care to only take official taxis or those that have been pre-booked by a hotel or other company, and travelers arriving at Lima International Airport should be wary of thieves posing as taxi drivers or tour operators. There has been an increase in the number of crimes associated with taxis in the main cities. Visitors should avoid all political gatherings and demonstrations as these have the potential for violence. The most common form of crime apart from pickpocketing is committed by fraudulent “travel agencies” that trick tourists into phony services. Make sure you only do business with well-established agencies and businesses or for more security book your tours directly with us, in case you haven’t done so already.

Taxis:

Please be careful and take only official taxis. Official taxis have a sticker on the windshield that says “taxi autorizado” and the license plate number should be written on the doors both inside and outside. Taxis in Lima and Arequipa have the name of the driver posted inside the car.
Taxi Fares may vary depending on the city you are in.

Taxes (Impuestos):

Peru has different kind of taxes, the official sales tax is 18%. If you are staying in a hotel, your passport exempts you from the 18% sales tax for your room charges for three months.

Peruvian Food:

Peruvian cuisine is one of the best in South America and is known not only for its exquisite taste, but also for its variety and the ability to fuse influences from different cultures. Thanks to Peru's diverse geographic regions and coastline there is an abundance of fresh ingredients. Dishes combine elements of culinary traditions from Africa, Italy, France, China, and Spain, flavored by traditional grains (rice, corn, and beans); roots (cassava, taro roots, and sweet potatoes); spices (coriander, garlic, annatto, saffron, parsley, oregano, thyme, and nutmeg); fresh fruit, and vegetables. Generally, the food is slight - to medium - seasoned.

The most common dishes are:

  • Ceviche: consists of fish and other seafood marinated in citrus juices and tossed with sliced onion and andean rocoto (a traditional hot pepper). The mixture is served cold or at room temperature.
  • Anticuchos: are roasted and braised meats, including beef, guinea pig, chicken, and alpaca, usually served with potato.
  • Lomo saltado: sautéed vegetables and meat in a traditional Peruvian sauce served with rice and potatoes.
  • Pollo a la Brasa: roasted chicken that comes with french fries and salad, best known as the Peruvian fast food.
  • Ají de Gallina: Shredded chicken in a traditional peanut sauce served with lettuce, olives, potatoes and rice.

About Utilities:

Electricity - volt electricity system in peru is 220v . To operate U.S. and European appliances like hairdryers, electric shavers or portable CD players you will likely need a voltage converter. Laptop computers and other high-end electronics are often dual voltage ready and do not require a voltage converter when used in Peru. To avoid damage to your electronic appliances, be sure to check each appliance for acceptable voltages before you plug them in. You can purchase a voltage converter prior to your departure or upon arrival in Peru. In addition, you may wish to purchase a plug adapter for some appliances.

Water - Tap water in Peru is not potable. Simply boiling water for 5 minutes removes the bacteria and bottled water is easily purchased throughout all of Peru.

- Hot water is normally available 24 hours a day. It is important to keep in mind however, that as in most developing countries, things like hot showers and potable water are more limited than in our home countries.

Altitude: Because of Peru’s three different zones, the Coast, the Andes, and the Amazon you will find many different climates, the best way to deal with the climate in Peru is to dress using layers. Remember that Cusco is located at 11,000 feet/3,500 meters above sea level and it always gets chilly at night. If you are planning on traveling to the Amazon Ba-sin or to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu you will also need to be ready for the heat and humidity there.

Personal Identification and Documentation: Peru Volunteer and Travel highly recommends you always carry a photocopy of your passport with you at all times. It is not recommended that you carry your actual passport unless necessary, as loss or theft of your passport can be a costly and time-consuming problem.

We also recommend keeping photocopies of other important documents like airline tickets, prescriptions, vaccination cards etc. in a safe location.

Because entry requirements change frequently, it is always a good idea to call your countries Peruvian Embassy or consulate before leaving to see if there are any new regulations.

Tipping: Tipping in restaurants is not expected in Peru. However, if someone gives you exceptional service, then tips are greatly appreciated. Taxi drivers are never tipped. Porters and doormen should be tipped as they rely on tips as a major source of income. It is recommended that you tip tour guides as well. Generally speaking, you should tip between 5 to 10 soles to porters and doormen and 10 to 20 to tour guides (more if you wish) depending on the quality of the service and the length of the tour. Most hotels and restaurants will add a 10% service charge to the bill, no tipping beyond this is necessary.

Staying Healthy during Your Trip:

Prevent Insect Bites: Many diseases, like Malaria and Dengue, are spread through insect bites.
One of the best ways to prevent insect bites is by:

  • Using insect repellent (bug spray) with 30%-50% DEET. Picaridin, available in 7% and 15% concentrations, needs more frequent application. There is less information available on how effective picaridin is at protecting against all of the types of mosquitoes that transmit malaria.
  • Wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and a hat outdoors. (Arequipa and Cusco do not have Mosquitos).

Prevent Animal Bites and Scratches: Direct contact with animals can spread diseases like rabies or cause serious injury or illness. It is important to prevent animal bites and scratches.

  • Be sure you are up to date with tetanus vaccination.
  • Do not touch or feed any animals, including dogs and cats. Even animals that look like healthy pets can have rabies or other diseases.

Be Careful about Food and Water: Diseases from food and water are the leading cause of illness in travelers.

Follow these tips for safe eating and drinking:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially before eating. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand gel (with at least 60% alcohol).
  • Drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes. Do not eat food purchased from street vendors.
  • Make sure food is fully cooked.
  • Avoid dairy products, unless you know they have been pasteurized.

Diseases from food and water often cause vomiting and diarrhea. Make sure to bring diarrhea medicine with you so that you can treat mild cases yourself.

  • Use sunblock rated at least 30 SPF, especially at high altitudes, where the risk of sunburn is greater.

Vaccinations: When coming to Peru you need to be caught up on the traditional vaccinations like tetanus, polio, MMR, etc. plus you'll need one for yellow fever, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, typhoid, and - if you're going to be outdoors a lot and will have contact with animals who are carnivores (like bats, for example), then you'd also need the rabies vaccine. Antimalarial drugs are not required for travelers to Peru but you may want to bring them if you plan to go to the Jungle or travel to neighboring countries. Technically, you should be getting the vaccinations 4 - 6 weeks before your trip so that they have a chance to fully protect you before you get here.
We highly recommend you ask your doctor for advice about more vaccinations details.

Exchanging Money: There are always money exchanges “casa de cambios” in all Peruvian cities and it is easy to get soles. If you expect a late-hour arrival, you can exchange money 24 hours a day in the Lima airport and in most
international terminals.

Credit cards are widely accepted in urban areas and you can withdraw money—either soles or U.S. dollars—from your credit card or ATM card at most banks. Banks are typically open 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. weekdays, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm on Saturdays, and are closed on Sundays. ATM access is available in all major cities 24 hours per day. Scotiabank and BanBif ATMs are reported to not charge a withdrawal fee.

IMPORTANT: If you plan to exchange U.S. dollars, try to bring the newest and cleanest bills possible. Most places (even banks!) will NOT accept dollars that are old, dirty or torn.

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PV Travel - Quality Peru Tours

Contact Info

  •   Cusco: Calle Triunfo (Sunturwasi) 354, Second Floor
  •   Arequipa: Calle America #826
  •   +51 984763433
  •   info@pvtravels.com
  •   pvtravels.com

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