PERU TRAVEL TIPS
GMT - 5 hours.
Spanish is the official language, although various dialects of Quechua and Aymara are widely spoken in the Andes. There also 50 different indigenous languages in the Amazon region of Peru.
Peru’s currency is the Nuevo Sol (S/.). Like most others, it is based on the decimal system (100 céntimos = 1 Nuevo Sol). Coins include 10, 20, and 50 céntimos, as well as 1, 2 and 5 Nuevos Soles. There are bills for 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 Nuevos Soles.
Most stores and restaurants accept US Dollars, but if you want to change your dollars into local currency, we recommend that you do it in a bank or ask the receptionist at your hotel to do it for you. Never change dollars with the money changers working on the streets. Avoid bringing ripped, crumpled or deteriorated US bills with you, as many establishments will not accept damaged bills.
There are ATMs situated in strategic places for withdrawing cash with the principal international credit cards, either in local currency or in dollars. If you are going to withdraw money from machines, be sure to take security precautions suggested worldwide.
Tipping is customary but purely discretionary. The amount of the tip depends on the service received and as in your home country, tips should only be offered if the service has been satisfactory.
Most restaurants add a 10% tip (service charge), however some do not.
Taxi drivers are not tipped
Local tour guide – full day $3 to $5 per person, per day.
Driver - $2 per person per day
Best time to go to Peru
Being such a geographically diverse country within the tropical belt, the weather in Peru is determined both by altitude and season. While the traditional ‘high season’ is April – October, given the different regional weather conditions and the fact that the ruins are less crowded out of that season, many people prefer to travel in the November – March period making Peru a true all year round destination.
Coast (Ica, Chiclayo, Lima, Piura, Trujillo, Tumbes):
The northern region is warm year round with highs of up to 35ºC (95ºF) in the summer.
Central and southern regions have two well defined seasons, winter between April and October, and summer between November and March.
Highlands (Ancash, Arequipa, Ayacucho, Cajamarca, Cusco, Puno):
This region has two seasons, a dry summer between April and October, and a wetter winter with a mix of sunshine and showers between November and March.
Rainforest (Iquitos, Madre de Dios, Manu):
High rainforest (over 2,300 ft asl / 700 m asl) has a temperate, subtropical climate with abundant rainfall. Lower rainforest (under 2,300 ft asl / 700 m asl) has two seasons, summer or dry season between April and October, when it is sunny and hot, and winter or rainy season between November and March, with frequent downpours.
If your trip in Peru includes visiting Andean areas (such as Cusco, Huaraz, Arequipa or Puno), don’t forget to take precautions to avoid altitude sickness if you are prone to it. Be sure to try a hot tea or infusion of coca leaves on arrival as an aid in acclimatisation to the altitude, (coca leaves have long been used by the people of the Andes as a delicious and successful remedy to altitude problems). In addition it will help to eat lightly and take time to relax.
If you are going to visit areas of the jungle (rainforest), you should have a yellow fever vaccination. If you have not been inoculated, and are going to these areas, please contact your doctor as soon as possible for relevant advice.
Do not use tap water for drinking or tooth brushing. Avoid iced drinks. Even if “purified”, water in flasks and thermoses can be suspect and should be avoided. Drinking directly from a bottled or can is safer.
For up to date information on latest health and vaccination recommendations, please contact your doctor.
The current is 220 volts AC.
Arrival and Departure Formalities
Every foreign passenger entering Peru must have a passport with a time validity of at least 6 months from the day of arrival in Peru. No visa is necessary for US citizens or citizens of most other countries – check with your travel consultant.
Upon arrival you will go through immigration and customs. Peruvian authorities will ask you to complete a Landing Card and a Customs Declaration Form, listing passport details and articles subject to customs duties. Items exceeding US$1000 in value must be declared. Peru uses a ‘red light, green light’ system for random baggage inspections. Press a button and if the light shines red, you will be asked to open your suitcases for a routine inspection. Keep all customs forms with your passport in a safe place, as you will need these documents to leave the country.
Airport taxes are as follows: For local flights $6.50 per person for each departure and $31.00 per person for international departures. It can be paid in US$ or in local currency.