We welcome you to this country of many dimensions and exciting adventures. Travel back in the past as you visit the cultural centers of the pre-Columbian civilizations, enjoy modern Lima, and ponder the mystery of futuristic Nazca. And, of course, it is always fun to bargain or trade with the natives for an alpaca wool sweater or an exotic blowgun. To make your trip most enjoyable, we offer the following information.
A valid passport is required to enter Peru. U.S. citizens do not need a Visa. Others should contact the Peruvian consulate for entry requirements.
We suggest that while touring or shopping you leave your passport and the bulk of your money in the hotel; only take with you the money you intend to spend or exchange at that particular time. It is also helpful to take a copy of the picture page of your passport to carry in your wallet because it is sometimes needed to exchange traveler's checks. This copy can also be useful in the event your passport is lost or stolen.
Altitude Sickness, Health and Vaccinations:
To minimize the chances of altitude sickness in Cuzco we strongly recommend to rest for two hours to allow you lungs to adjust to the altitude, upon arrival you may feel energized and anxious to walk around Cuzco, Please Don't!, stay in your room and rest for a couple of hours. To visit the jungle areas of Peru, a yellow fever vaccination is not required anymore. If you plan to continue to Brazil, the Brazilian Government requires the yellow fever vaccination for visitors coming from Peru. Some travelers do have gamma globulin before departing and carry their own medications for stomach upset.
Currency And Exchange Rates:
Currency And Exchange Rates: The currency of Peru is the NUEVO SOL. Bills are for 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 Nuevos Soles. Coins are for 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents of a Nuevo Sol. And also coins for 1, 2 and 5 Nuevos Soles.
Dollars and traveler's checks are widely accepted at shops and restaurants. Dollars may also be exchanged at banks and at most hotels Traveler's checks command a slightly lower rate than actual currency. The exchange rate fluctuates, so check with local tour guide upon arrival in Peru for current rate issued.
Major credit cards are also accepted at hotels, restaurants and shops.
Tips And Taxes:
As in most countries, taxes are unavoidable and tips are given on the basis of the quality of service rendered. The amounts suggested for tips in this section are a guideline for appropriate tips for average to good service. Note: It is helpful to carry a small quantity of US $1 bills for tips and easy change.
A percentage service charge will be added to all room service bills. This percentage varies from location to location but will be stated on the actual bill. Bellboys and maids are generally tipped for their services on the average of $1.00 per bag portage and $ 1.00 per room per night of accommodation as a room tip for the maid.
As a general rule there is a percentage sales tax and a percentage gratuity added to all restaurant bills. These taxes and gratuities vary from location to location, but the percentages being charged are always printed on the bill. It is customary to leave an additional tip so that the total percentage of gratuity comes to 15 - 20% for good to excellent service.
Tour guides and drivers:
On group tours, the average tip for a tour guide traveling with the group is $7.00 to $12.00 per day of travel. When the guide is not traveling with you the suggested tip is $3.00 to $5.00 per person for full day tours and $1.00 to $2.00 per person for half day tours. The driver's tip is usually half of what is given to the guide. For private car tours, guides generally receive $5.00 to $7.00 per full day and $3.00 per half day.
Airport departure taxes:
On international departures there is an exit tax of $31.00. Within Peru, passengers must pay about $6.82 airport security tax for each domestic flight.
All taxis should have a red and white "Taxi" sign in the windshield. There are no meters so settle on a price prior to entering the car. Taxis at many hotels and at the airport have higher, set rates than those you may hail on the streets, they are better and much more reliable. Taxi cab drivers do not expect a tip.
Items not made in Peru are much more expensive than elsewhere and often not available for purchase . Some of these commonly needed items include film and camera equipment, insect repellent, sun screen, contact lens solutions and binoculars. A word to the wise, if you use these items, bring them from home.
Souvenirs And Such
The best buys in Peru are silver and gold jewelry as well as a wide variety of handicrafts such as hand-woven shawls, llama and alpaca furs, sweaters, rugs and blankets, wall hangings, ceramics, woodwork, straw and leather items. Hint: That extra expandable suitcase really comes in handy when it is time to return to the U.S. with all your bargain purchases.
It is customary in many Indian populated areas to give a small tip to the subject of your photographs. These tips can be monetary or souvenir type items such as a ball point pen. In addition, items such as cosmetics, pens, T shirts and pocket calculators often can be traded in the Indian markets for native handicrafts.
Arid Coastal Areas:
(Most important tourists centers - Lima, Trujillo, Ica, Nazca, Paracas) In general the climate is temperate to warm throughout the year with very little rainfall. The highest temperatures in this area are around 85 F and lowest around 50 F. June through October are the coolest months in Lima with the weather being somewhat humid and foggy.
Sierra or high elevation valleys:
(Tourist centers - Cusco, Puno, Machu Picchu, Arequipa, Huancayo, Huaraz). Most days are mild and sunny (79 F highest temperature) with cool to cold nights (32 F coldest temperature). There is a dry season from May through November and rainy season from December through April. Machu Picchu is the warmest of the tourist centers mentioned above with the highs averaging 75 F and the lows averaging 55 F while Puno is the coldest (66 F/32 F). Puno often receives light snow during the rainy season.
(Tourist centers - Puerto Maldonado, Iquitos) The climate is hot and humid (100 F/70 F) with frequent rains year round.
Dress informal for destinations outside Lima. For most destinations you will want to dress in layers for climatic changes. The cosmopolitan city of Lima calls for a bit dressier clothing: Sport outfits for day wear, dresses and jackets for dinner in fine restaurants.
You will want a small bag for excursions to Machu Picchu and the Amazon. Bring a duffle bag to pack for the Amazon, your main suitcase will stay in the city office of the jungle lodge. There is no room for all the luggages on the jungle boats. We suggest one of the fold-up, expandable types -- can be carried in a larger suitcase, it is perfect for overnight and handy to carry souvenirs when you pack to return home.
The hour in Peru is the same as Eastern Standard Time in the United States. Daylight savings time is not observed.
The electric voltage in Peru is 220 volts, 60 cycles and the electrical outlets require a connector with 2 small round prongs. Although some major hotels also have outlets with 110 volts and others have adapters for use, we find it much more convenient to bring our own.
Peru has two official languages, Spanish and Quechua. English is spoken in most hotels, tourist shops and major visitor centers.
Banks: 9:00am/6:00pm Monday - Friday. 9:00am/12:00pm on Saturdays. Shops: 10:00am/1:00pm and 4:00pm/8:00pm Monday - Saturday
You will be visiting a country that will by far exceed your dining expectations. Thanks to its diversity of regions, Peru brings together a variety of unique spices, which allows and inspires the creativity of renowned chefs. Lima is internationally recognized as the "Gastronomic Capital of the Americas", and its cuisine is considered among the most diverse and exquisite in the world on par with French cuisine. Our clients will receive, upon their arrival in Peru, an up to date a list of the restaurants we recommend.
Pisco Sour - The iconic Peruvian cocktail is the most widely consumed spirit in Peru, made with Pisco, a brandy made in the wine-producing region near the Peruvian town called Pisco.
Ceviche - Freshly caught fish marinated in drops of lemon juice and mixed with purple onions, salt, and a touch of chili pepper. Sweet potato and corn accompany the dish. You can request the dish with the touch of chili pepper or “sin aji”
Conchitas a la Parmesana - Lightly seasoned scallops with ground pepper and sprinkle grated Parmesan over the top. Plus some butter on top of each scallop and a couple of drops of olive oil. A true Peruvian delicatessen.
The Lomo Saltado - Small pieces of tender beef fried with onions and tomatoes will make a rich sauce, mixed with Peruvian yellow potatoes French fries and served with rice on the side.
Shopping: For quality alpaca products we suggest two stores in Lima. Alpaca Av. Larco 859 in Miraflores, Phones 447-7163, 446-1687 and La Casa de la Alpaca Av. La Paz 665 in Miraflores, Phone 447-6271. In Cusco Alpaca Collection Santo Domingo 299, by the Hotel Libertador, Phone 23-6581.
While In Cusco Meet your transfer representative in the baggage claim area or outside this area, not all the times they are allowed in the baggage claim area. You will be provided with your "boleto turistico" which allows you to enter all the sites visited on all the tours and some sites you may want to visit on your own. You must always carry this "boleto turistico".
Your train ticket to and from Machu Picchu indicates the departure times from Cusco and from Puente Ruinas (Machu Picchu train station) or from Aguas Calientes (the town just before Puente Ruinas). If you transfer representative is delay, grab a cab and go to the train station to Machu Picchu on your own, it is five minutes from all hotels. Do not go to the station for the train to Puno.