Wednesday, November 16, 2022
Peru travel guide - Travel S Helper

Peru

travel guide

Peru is without a doubt one of South America’s most fascinating nations. Famous for being the location of the legendary lost Inca citadel of Machu Picchu and the mind-boggling Nazca Lines, this country’s unique history ignites the explorer in all travelers. Its breathtaking landscape ranges from untamed Amazon rainforests to huge coastal deserts and the Andes’ snowy peaks. Peru is home to a level of biodiversity that is seldom seen within the confines of a single nation, with an array of magnificent species that extends well beyond the well-known llamas and circling condors. Additionally, Peru’s hospitable, multiethnic people are a cultural gem in and of itself. The captivating fusion of hundreds of different indigenous tribes and mestizos, each with their own vibrant customs and culinary delights, is an experience you will never forget.

In summary, this is a land of unfathomable contrasts, making destination selection a real challenge. Whether you choose to venture off the beaten path, follow in the footsteps of thousands of previous visitors who took the Gringo Trail through some of the country’s best highlights, or immerse yourself in the jungle on a relaxing multiple-day Amazon boat trip, Peru is certain to amaze you in every way.

Peru covers 1,285,216 km2 (496,225 sq mi) in western South America. It is bordered by Ecuador and Colombia to the north, Brazil to the east, Bolivia to the southeast, Chile to the south and the Pacific Ocean to the west. The Andes Mountains run parallel to the Pacific Ocean, defining the three regions traditionally used to describe the country geographically. The costa (coast) in the west is a narrow plain, largely arid, except for the valleys formed by seasonal rivers. The sierra (highlands) is the region of the Andes; it includes the altiplano plateau and the country’s highest mountain, Huascarán, at 6,768 metres. The third region is the Selva (jungle), a vast flat area covered by the Amazon rainforest that extends eastwards. Almost 60% of the country’s surface area is in this region.

Most Peruvian rivers originate in the peaks of the Andes and flow into one of three basins. Those that drain to the Pacific are steep and short and flow only sporadically. The tributaries of the Amazon have a much larger flow and are longer and less steep when they leave the Sierra. The rivers that flow into Lake Titicaca are generally short and have a large flow. The longest rivers in Peru are the Ucayali, Marañón, Putumayo, Yavarí, Huallaga, Urubamba, Mantaro and Amazon.

Peru’s largest lake, Lake Titicaca, located between Peru and Bolivia at the top of the Andes, is also the largest in South America. The largest reservoirs, all located in the coastal region of Peru, are the Poechos, Tinajones, San Lorenzo and El Fraile reservoirs.

Due to its diverse geography and climate, Peru has a high biodiversity with 21,462 recorded plant and animal species (in 2003), of which 5,855 are endemic. Peru has more than 1,800 species of birds (120 of which are endemic), 500 species of mammals and over 300 species of reptiles. Among the hundreds of mammals are rare species such as the puma, jaguar and spectacled bear. Peru’s birds produce large quantities of guano, an economically important export product. The Pacific Ocean is home to large quantities of sea bass, flounder, anchovies, tuna, crustaceans and shellfish and is home to many sharks, sperm whales and whales.

Peru has an equally diverse flora. The coastal deserts produce little more than cacti, with the exception of the rolling misty oases and river valleys, which are home to unique flora. The uplands above the tree line, known as puna, are home to shrubs, cacti, drought-resistant plants such as ichu, and the largest species of bromeliad – the spectacular Puya raimondii. The slopes of the Andean cloud forest are home to mosses, orchids and bromeliads, and the Amazon rainforest is known for its diversity of trees and canopy plants.

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Peru - Info Card

Population

34,294,231

Currency

Sol (PEN)

Time zone

UTC−5 (PET)

Area

1,285,216 km2 (496,225 sq mi)

Calling code

+51

Official language

Spanish

Peru | Introduction

Demographics Of Peru

Ethnic groups

Peru is a multi-ethnic nation formed by the combination of different groups over five centuries. The Indians inhabited the Peruvian territory for several millennia before the Spanish conquest in the 16th century. According to historian Noble David Cook, their population dropped from nearly 5 to 9 million in the 1520s to about 600,000 in 1620, largely due to infectious diseases. Under colonial rule, Spaniards and Africans arrived in large numbers, mixing heavily with each other and with the indigenous peoples. After independence, there was gradual immigration from England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. The Chinese and Japanese arrived in the 1850s to replace slave labourers and have had a major impact on Peruvian society ever since.

Population genetics

According to a 2015 genealogical DNA test, the average Peruvian is 79.1% Amerindian, 19.8% European and 1.1% sub-Saharan African overall.

Population

With approximately 31.2 million inhabitants, Peru is the fifth most populous country in South America. The population growth rate decreased from 2.6% to 1.6% between 1950 and 2000; the population is expected to reach about 42 million in 2050. In 2007, 75.9% lived in urban areas and 24.1% in rural areas. Major cities include Greater Lima (with over 9.8 million inhabitants), Arequipa, Trujillo, Chiclayo, Piura, Iquitos, Cusco, Chimbote and Huancayo, all of which had over 250,000 inhabitants in the 2007 census. 90] There are 15 uncontacted Indian tribes in Peru.

Religion

In the 2007 census, 81.3% of the population over 12 years of age identified themselves as Catholic, 12.5% as Evangelical Protestant, 3.3% as Other Protestant, Judaism, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and Jehovah’s Witnesses, and 2.9% as non-religious. The literacy rate was estimated at 92.9% in 2007, lower in rural areas (80.3%) than in urban areas (96.3%). Primary and secondary education is compulsory and free in public schools.

Amerindian religious traditions also play an important role in Peruvian beliefs. Catholic holidays such as Corpus Christi, Holy Week and Christmas are sometimes mixed with Amerindian traditions. Amerindian festivals, celebrated in pre-Columbian times, are also common throughout the country. The Inti Raymi, an ancient Inca festival, is still celebrated.

Most towns and villages have their own official church or cathedral and patron saint.

Weather & Climate in Peru

The combination of tropical latitude, mountain ranges, topographical variations and two ocean currents (Humboldt and El Niño) gives Peru a wide variety of climates. The coastal region has moderate temperatures, low rainfall and high humidity, except for the warmer and more humid northern areas. In the mountainous region, summer rains are frequent, and the temperature and humidity decrease with altitude until the icy peaks of the Andes. The Peruvian Amazon is characterised by heavy rainfall and high temperatures, except for its southernmost part, which has cold winters and seasonal rainfall.

Language in Peru

Peru, like many South American nations, has Spanish as its official language. It’s a good idea to learn a few basic Spanish phrases since you’ll need them to travel about outside of the major tourist areas. Although English is spoken by a growing number of young people in Lima and, to a lesser degree, in the most prominent tourist destinations, it is much less widely understood than you would think in a country where tourism is such a major business.

Learning some Quechua or Aymara, especially if you’re on your own, may open opportunities, since indigenous people would respect your effort. Quecha is the language of the Incas and the first language of many indigenous peoples in the Sierra Nevada region. The Tihuanacu culture’s language was Aymara, which is widely spoken in the Altiplano. However, in both situations, individuals will usually speak English as well.

Internet & Communications in Peru

Except in the tiniest towns and villages, public telephones for national and international calls are available. The majority are in pubs or shops. Some of them take coins, but be wary of stuck coins or suspicious-looking coin receivers, since these may cause you to lose your money. Don’t worry if your 1 Nuevo Sol coins don’t go through at first; just keep trying and it will work soon. Many public phones are costly, therefore a Locutorio, or “call-center,” is an appealing option. Calls inside the country typically cost.2 Nuevo Sol per minute, while most international calls cost.5 Nuevo Sol per minute.

You may also purchase phone cards with a 12 digit secret number printed on them. And begin, use a phone card to call 147. After that, you’ll be informed how much your card is still good for and asked for your secret number (in Spanish, of course). After you input it, you are prompted to enter the phone number to which you want to connect. Enter it here. Then you’re informed how much time you have to speak. The connection is then attempted.

It is frequently a good idea to go to an Internet café that provides Internet-based phone calls while making international calls. They may be found in cities. Internet cafés, known as cabinas pblicas in Peru, proliferate like mushrooms, and if you are not in the rural, you should have no trouble finding one. Even in tiny towns like Mancora or Chivay, Internet cafés offering 512kbit/s ADSL may be found. The connection is very stable, and they are reasonably priced (1.50-3 Soles, US$0.60-1.20 per hour). Just don’t expect most of them to offer coffee – or anything else except computer time or printing services. Cabinas that burn CDs straight from SD, CF, or Memory sticks are not prevalent. Many Internet cafés provide headphones and microphones for free or at a cost.

Tourist offices

This government tourism office has a presence in most tourist-friendly cities and can provide information. They also maintain track of companies and record complaints, allowing you to research tour operators and other businesses before making a reservation. Their services are provided at no cost.

Economy Of Peru

Peru’s economy is classified as upper middle income by the World Bank and ranks 39th in the world. Since 2011, Peru has been one of the fastest growing economies in the world, thanks to the economic boom of the 2000s. It has a high Human Development Index of 0.752 based on 2011 data. Historically, the country’s economic performance has been linked to exports, which provide hard currency to finance imports and external debt. Although they have provided substantial revenues, self-sustaining growth and a more equitable distribution of income have proved difficult to achieve. According to 2010 data, 31.3% of the total population is poor, with 9.8% living in extreme poverty. Inflation was the lowest in Latin America in 2012, at only 1.8%, but it increased in 2013 with the rise in oil and commodity prices; in 2014 it rose to 2.5%. The unemployment rate has been falling steadily in recent years and has been at 3.6% since 2012.

Peruvian economic policy has been very different in recent decades. The government of Juan Velasco Alvarado (1968-1975) launched radical reforms including land reform, expropriation of foreign companies, introduction of an economic planning system and the creation of a large public sector. These measures failed to achieve their goals of income redistribution and ending economic dependence on industrialised nations.

Despite these achievements, most of the reforms were not reversed until the 1990s, when the liberalising government of Alberto Fujimori ended price controls, protectionism, restrictions on foreign direct investment and most state ownership of enterprises. The reforms have led to sustained economic growth since 1993, except for a dip after the Asian financial crisis in 1997.

Services account for 53% of Peru’s GDP, followed by manufacturing (22.3%), extractive industries (15%) and taxes (9.7%). Recent economic growth has been fuelled by macroeconomic stability, improved terms of trade and increased investment and consumption. Trade is expected to increase further following the implementation of a free trade agreement with the US, signed on 12 April 2006. Peru’s main exports are copper, gold, zinc, textiles and fishmeal; its main trading partners are the US, China, Brazil and Chile.

Water supply and sanitation

The water and sanitation sector in Peru has made significant progress over the past two decades, including an increase in water supply from 30% to 85% between 1980 and 2010. Sanitation coverage also increased from 9% to 37% in rural areas between 1985 and 2010. Progress has also been made in drinking water disinfection and wastewater treatment. However, many challenges remain, such as

  • Inadequate service coverage ;
  • A poor quality service that endangers public health;
  • Lack of sustainability of the systems built ;
  • Tariffs that do not cover the costs of investment, operation and maintenance of services;
  • Institutional and financial weakness; and
  • overstaffing, lack of skills and high staff turnover.

Entry Requirements For Peru

Visa & Passport for Peru

Tourists from North America, Australia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and the European Union (and many others, check with the nearest Peruvian embassy or foreign ministry for the latest information, albeit in Spanish) will be issued a visa on arrival for up to 180 days.

When you enter the country, you must go through the immigration office (inmigración). There you will get a stamp in your passport indicating the number of days you are allowed to stay (usually 180 days). You cannot get further extensions, so make sure you apply for the time you think you need. If the 180 days are up and you want to stay longer, you can either cross the border to a neighbouring country (Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia or Chile) and come back the next day to get another 180 days, or stay too long and pay the penalty when you leave. The penalty for overstaying is only one dollar per day, which means that if you stay 30 days longer, it will cost you 30 dollars. Many people do this because it is much cheaper than leaving the country and coming back.

You will receive an additional official paper, which you should keep in your passport (be careful not to lose it!). When you leave the country, you must go to the emigration office (migración) where you will receive the exit stamp. Inmigración and migración are available at all border posts. Travelling to and from neighbouring countries by land is not a problem.

How To Travel To Peru

Get In - By air

The capital Lima has the Jorge Chávez International Airport, with frequent flights to/from all over the world. The main airlines operating from Lima’s Jorge Chávez International Airport are Air Canada, Aeromexico, Aerolineas Argentinas, American Airlines, Avianca Holdings, Copa, Delta, Grupo Latam (formerly Lan & Tam Airlines), Gol, Iberia, Copa Airlines, United Airlines, Viva Colombia. There are non-stop flights to Lima from Antofagasta, Sao Paulo, Bogota, Caracas, Santiago, La Paz, Sucre, Guayaquil, Quito, Buenos Aires, Saltos, Rosario, etc. in South America; from Toronto in Canada with Air Canada; and from several cities in the United States with American, Delta, United, Spirit and Jetblue. There are five other airlines that offer non-stop flights to Europe. In the future, there may be non-stop flights from Oceania or Asia, but for now, travellers usually go through Los Angeles (non-US citizens even have to go through immigration when changing planes, which takes one to two hours – so make sure your stopover is long enough!

The city of Cuzco has direct flights to La Paz, Bolivia, with Peruvian Airlines and Amaszonas.

For example, Iberia flies direct from Madrid to Lima, the journey takes about 13 hours. However, LAN and KLM flights are much better in terms of quality. LAN and Iberia often fly in codeshare mode (1 plane, 2 flight codes), so if you are on a LAN flight you may have to check in at the Iberia service counter or vice versa, sometimes they send you from one to the other and vice versa, so queue at the shortest service counter. There is a tax on domestic flights, about US$6, under the same conditions as for international flights.

For domestic flights, there are several Peruvian travel agencies that can get you your tickets at “Peruvian prices” for about $20. You will find that prices can vary by hundreds of dollars for the SAME flights if you check the Peruvian LAN site and the US site. You can buy flights online. The same goes for Avianca or LC Perú.

Make sure you confirm your ticket 72 hours in advance or you risk being removed from your flight. Most travel agencies can do this for you if you wish.

For the latest airline information, visit the Jorge Chavez International Airport page.

From Ecuador

Ecuador borders Peru to the north, so it is easy to find cheap flights from Guayaquil and Quito to Lima (the hub of Peru’s inland cities). You can also take a bus to Piura or Tumbes and fly to Lima from there.

Get In - By boat

The Amazon city of Iquitos has boat connections to Leticia in Colombia and Tabatinga in Brazil (about 10 hours). There are also slightly expensive cruises on the Amazon to enjoy the splendour of the Peruvian-Brazilian Jungle.

How To Travel Around Peru

Time and distance

Almost all cities outside Lima had a flight time of between 1 and 1.5 hours. It is recommended to use the airlines. For example, from Lima to Zorritos in Tumbes (beautiful beach with modern resorts), the bus trip takes 21 hours.

  • Yurimaguas-Iquitos(water): 2.5 days
  • Quito-Lima(Bus): 27 hours
  • Lima-Cuzco(Bus): 21 hours
  • Lima-Cuzco(plane): 1 hour 30 minutes

In and around the cities

In the cities, there is usually no problem getting around by bus or taxi. Buses cost between 0.70 and 1.50 soles (0.20-0.40 USD) in one city, taxis between 7 and 8 soles (2-2.60 USD) in Lima, usually less in other cities. The term “taxi” does not necessarily mean a car; it also refers to bicycles, rickshaws and motorbikes for hire. Taxis are divided into two categories: “formal” taxis, which are painted and marked as such and carry a sticker with the word SOAT on it, and informal taxis, which are simply cars with a sticker on the windscreen saying “taxi”. The latter are best left to the locals, especially if you don’t speak Spanish. With the exception of the more upscale (even the more expensive) radio taxis, the fare is not fixed or measured, but negotiated with the driver before you get into the vehicle. Ask your hotel or guesthouse how much you can expect to pay to get to a particular place so that you have a reference point. There is no tipping for taxis.

“Micros” (from microbús), “combis” and “coasters”:. They have bus stops. The direction is indicated by signs in the windscreen or painted on the side. If you want to catch a bus, just signal the driver (by raising your hand, like hitchhiking) to stop. If the bus is not completely full (and sometimes if it is), it will stop to pick you up. During the journey, the ticket inspector will ask you for the fee or, if there is no inspector, you will pay the driver when you get off (this is more common on long journeys where most people go to the last stop, for example from Ollantaytambo to Urubamba). When you want to get off, you have to press the button or simply say out loud “¡Baja paradero! “(BAH-ho), and the driver will stop at the next paradero. They are cramped, dirty and not very useful, except in small towns or during off-peak hours. They also stop in the middle of the road, so be careful getting out.

Note: microphones are very common, but known to be quite dangerous, and various government programmes are trying to reduce the number of microphones. It is not advisable to bring a microphone with you.

Get Around - By air

Because of the distances and the state of the roads in some remote areas (or lack thereof), it may be preferable to fly, which is what most people do, especially when travelling between Lima and Cuzco. In some places, such as Iquitos, flying is the only way to get there, as there are no roads and the number of river boats that ply the waters is limited (or non-existent). Note that some major airlines, such as LAN and Avianca, have a dual pricing system where foreigners pay more than Peruvian residents. Currently, the following airlines offer domestic flights to Peru:

  • AviancaPeru (formerly Taca Peru). is the other major airline offering domestic and international flights to other parts of South America. International flights to/from North America are usually via El Salvador, Colombia or Costa Rica and to/from Europe via Avianca Colombia.
  • LATAM (LAN Peru), (Miraflores sales office) Av. José Pardo 513-Miraflores;, +51 1 213-8200. The national airline offers domestic and international flights to other parts of South America and beyond.

The following are smaller airlines operating mainly in Peru:

  • LC Peru (formerly LC Busre), (sales office in Miraflores Lima) Av. Jose Pardo 269 – Miraflores /, +51 1 204-1313. It is planned to offer international services to/from Bolivia, Ecuador and the USA (Miami).
  • Peruvian Airlines, (Mega Plaza Sales Office) Av. Alfredo Mendiola 3698, Mega Plaza Shopping Centre – 2nd level; (Miraflores Sales Office) Av. Jose Pardo 495 Miraflores, +51 1 716-6000.
  • Star Peru, +51 1 705-9000.

Most airlines operate on a “hub and spoke” paradigm via Lima rather than point to point. So, to get from a city like Iquitos to Cuzco, you may have to go to Lima to change planes, even if Lima is in a different direction from the two cities the traveller is heading to.

Get Around - By bus

Some main roads, especially along the coastal strip, are tarred, but there are still many unpaved roads in very poor condition. During the rainy season, landslides can even block the main roads.

Traffic between cities is mainly by bus, in some cities there are also rail connections. Unlike colectivos, buses, and of course trains, leave from a fixed point, either the central bus station or the depot of the bus company concerned. It is advisable to buy your ticket a day in advance to be relatively sure of finding a seat. If you arrive just before the bus leaves, you may run out of seats. In most bus terminals you will have to buy a separate departure fee of 1 or 1.5 soles.

If you are unlucky enough to be taller than 6ft, you will probably be uncomfortable behind the wheel as the seats are much narrower than in Europe or parts of North America. In this case you can try to get the middle seat in the back, but on unpaved roads the back will tip a lot. In older buses, the front row seats are best, but many buses have a driver’s cabin separate from the rest of the bus, so you are looking at a screen or dark curtain rather than the front windscreen. On older buses you can get a seat or two next to the driver, which gives you a good view of the scenery as it passes by.

First-class express buses with video, luggage storage and even catering services run between major cities, but remember to bring earplugs as the video on these buses can be played very loudly for most of the journey. You may need to show a passport to buy a ticket.

Make sure your luggage is waterproof, as it is often carried on the roof of the bus when travelling in the Andes.

Avoid bus companies that allow passengers to board buses outside the official stops. They are generally poorly managed and can be dangerous, both in terms of unsafe driving practices and street robberies, which are unfortunately not uncommon. This is something that women travelling alone or people travelling at night should take to heart. There are many clandestine bus services in Peru, and it is best to opt for one of the major companies such as Cruz del Sur, Oltursa or others. Check with your hotel, hostel or tourist information booth before taking a tour. The following are the main bus companies that cover a large part of the country and are more reliable (the addresses given are for their terminals in Lima, around San Isidro and La Victoria):

  • Cial, Av. Republica de Panamá 2469-2485, La Victoria, +51 1 207-6900.
  • Civa/Excluciva, Paseo de la República 575, La Victoria (corner of Paseo de la República and Av 28 de Julio), +51 1 481-1111 They also have another terminal for their ‘Excluciva’ brand in Javier Prado Este #1155.
  • Cruz del Sur, Av Javier Prado Este 1109, La Victoria (Javier Prado Este & Nicolás Arriola à La Victoria), +51 1 311-5050, 431-5125, gebührenfrei : 72-0444 oder 0801-1111. Bedient Arequipa, Ica, Cuzco, Puno, Chiclayo, Trujillo, Pisco, Arequipa, Tacna, Cuzco, La Paz, Santiago, Buenos Aires, Cali, Nazca, Guayaquil, Quito, Bogotá und Máncora.
  • TransportesFlores, Paseo de La Republica 627 & 688, La Victoria (Paseo de La Republica & Av 28 de Julio), +51 1 332-1212, 424-0888. They also have another station at 28 de Julio #1246.
  • ITTSA, Av. Paseo de la República 809, +51 956 487-989, from Lima only to Chimbote, Chiclayo, Piura, Sullana, Talara and Trujillo in the northern parts of the country.
  • MovilTours, Paseo de la Republica 749, La Victoria (Frente al Estadio Nacional. In front of the national stadium), +51 1 716-8000. They also have another station nearby, Javier Prado Este 1093, La Victoria, in front of Clinica Ricardo Palma and next to a KIA car dealership.
  • Oltursa, Av. Aramburú 1160, San Isidro (SE of the intersection Av Republica de Panama next to the Derco Center dealership. ), +51 1 708-5000.
  • Ormeño, Av. Javier Prado Oeste Nº 1057, La Victoria – Lima 13, +51 1 472-5000, 472-1710.
  • TEPSA, Av Javier Prado Este 1091, La Victoria (west of the intersection of Javier Prado Este and Paseo de la Republica. ), +51 1 617-9000, 990 690-534.

You can also find more information on BusPortal.pe, which compares the large number of companies.

Get Around - By train

Even if you travel by train, it is best to buy your ticket in advance. Buy 1st class or buffet class (or even higher), otherwise you risk being completely covered in luggage. People put their luggage under your seat, in front of your feet, next to you, and everywhere there is a little room. This makes the journey quite uncomfortable as you can’t move around and the view of the landscape is poor.

There are five railway lines in Peru:

  • Cuzco – Machu Picchu – For more information on [Trains to Machu Picchu], visit the PeruRail website.
  • Cuzco – Juliaca – Puno
  • Arequipa – Juliaca – The service has been interrupted since the beginning of 2007.
  • Lima – Huancayo – The Ferrocarril Central Andino, the line between Lima and Huancayo, is the second highest railway in the world and the highest in South America. The journey on the Andes train through the heart of Peru is simply breathtaking. It is an 11 hour experience where the train reaches an altitude of 4781m.a.s.l. and passes through 69 tunnels, 58 bridges and 6 zigzags. In 1999 the company was privatised. In 2005, Ferrocarril Central Andino renovated its passenger carriages in a luxurious and comfortable way, which places the railway in the list of the most famous trains together with the Orient Express and the Transsiberian. Unfortunately, the service is irregular. You can find out more on the website
  • Huancayo – Huancavelica

Get Around - On foot

Besides the famous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, there are many other treks in the Sierra, preferably during the dry season. The Mecca for hikers is Huaraz, where you will find many agencies offering guided tours and/or equipment rental. The thin vegetation of the high sierra makes off-trail hiking easy. Good maps are hard to find in Peru. It is best to bring them from home. Make sure you have enough iodine to purify your drinking water. When hiking at high altitudes, it is essential to be well acclimatised. Bring a good sleeping bag, as nights in the Sierra can be freezing (-10°C at 4500m is normal, sometimes colder).

Beware of thunderstorms, which can come on very suddenly. Rapidly falling temperatures and heavy rain are a serious danger at high altitude. Remember that night lasts 12 hours all year round, so a torch is a good idea. Water can be scarce when hiking on higher, non-snow-covered mountains. Alcohol for the stove is easily available: you can buy blue quemar alcohol or, better still, pure drinking alcohol. You can get it in any town for about 3 soles (US$0.85) per litre. (Don’t even think about drinking it). It will not be so easy to find special fuel for petrol stoves. Petrol for cars is also available in many hardware stores (ferreterias) which sell it in litres, but you can also buy it directly at petrol stations, provided you bring your own bottle.

Get Around - By car

It is also possible to travel inland by car. This gives you the opportunity to drive “off the beaten track” and explore some of the areas that have not yet been changed by tourism. An international driving licence is required to drive in Peru.

Peru has three main roads running north-south: the fully paved Panamericana Sur/Norte (PE-1S/1N), which crosses the entire country; further east, the partially paved Longitudinal de la Sierra Sur/Norte (PE-3S/3N), the Interoceánica Sur (PE-26) and the Interoceánica Norte (PE-5N). Most of these roads are toll roads to the north and south. The main roads are connected by 20 roads from west to east.

Note that, with the exception of a few main roads in good condition, most roads are unpaved and your speed is severely restricted. A 4WD is required for these roads. This is especially true during the rainy season, from November to April. You should travel with a good knowledge of your route. Carry a good road map (for example, the ITMB waterproof map of Peru). On the Internet, cochera andina offers useful information on road conditions, driving times and distances for over 130 routes in Peru.

Make sure you take enough petrol with you, as petrol stations in unpopulated areas are very rare and often closed. Buying petrol late at night can be an adventure in itself, as even in more populated areas, petrol stations often close early and the pumps are locked. The owner of the petrol station may be asleep inside and if you manage to wake him up, he will come out and let you fill up. Be aware that fuel consumption is higher in the mountains, often reaching over 20 L/100 km (12 MPG) (5 gal/62 mi).

The traffic rules are almost the same as in Europe and the United States. However, people tend to interpret them freely. It is best to honk your horn in unclear situations, such as on bends and at intersections, to signal right of way. Also note that roadside checkpoints are scattered throughout the country and police may try to bribe foreigners to pass. It is advisable to travel with a native speaker who can navigate the roads and deal with the police.

Touting

As in most countries, Peru has a large number of touts who hang around airports and bus stations or terminals. The wise decision for any traveller is not to deal with people who try to sell you their wares on the street/bus station/airport. First of all, if they had a decent place, they wouldn’t have to sell it to unscrupulous tourists who try to pull them from anywhere. More importantly, it’s really not a good idea to hand over money to the first person you meet when you arrive somewhere.

TIP: When you arrive in a city, make sure you have already decided which hotel you are going to stay in. Do not mention this or any other information to the touts waiting for you. They will construct lies out of anything you tell them to change your mind and convince you to follow them. If you have already chosen a decent hotel, chances are you will be fine there and it will have all the (additional) information you need, such as tour or ticket reservations.

Destinations in Peru

Regions

  • Central coast
  • South coast
  • North Coast
  • Southern Sierra
  • Central Sierra
  • Northern Sierra
  • Altiplano
  • San Martín
  • Peruvian Amazon
  • Madre de Dios

Cities

  • Lima
  • Arequipa
  • Ayacucho
  • Cajamarca
  • Chiclayo
  • Cuzco
  • Iquitos
  • Puno
  • Trujillo

Other destinations

  • Chan Chan – impressive ruins of the ancient earthen city of Chimor, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Chavín de Huántar – UNESCO World Heritage Site, originating from the pre-Inca Chavin culture around 900 BC.
  • Huascarán National Park – High mountain park in the Cordillera Blanca range
  • Lake Titicaca – considered the highest commercially navigable body of water in the world.
  • Machu Picchu – this UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most famous symbols of the Inca Empire and one of the most famous and spectacular ruins in the world.
  • Manú National Park – one of Peru’s most diverse regions
  • Nazca Lines – world-famous for their geometric figures and huge designs in the desert sand.
  • Paracas National Reserve – a popular nature reserve on the south coast.
  • Río Abiseo National Park
  • Máncora – a small seaside town with the best beaches and excellent surfing, turns into a real party town on weekends and public holidays.

Accommodation & Hotels in Peru

Hotels in Peru are very common and quite cheap. They range from 1 to 5 stars. The 5 star hotels are usually for package tourism or business travel, and are very common outside Lima for the most visited tourist attractions like Cuzco/Machu Picchu with its stunning scenery, Paracas (to fly over the Nazca lines), Tumbes with its large resorts, and of course Lima with the international and Peruvian businesses. Everything is substandard and expensive, but it’s definitely worth checking out.

Four star hotels tend to be a bit more expensive (>US$80 per night) and are common in the larger cities. Three-star hotels are a good compromise between price and quality and usually cost between US$30 and US$50. 2 and 1 star hotels are very cheap (<30 USD), but don’t expect hot water or a particularly safe neighbourhood.

In many cities there are hotels in residential areas, but they are not tourist hotels, they are “couple’s rooms” for lovers. They are usually advertised as “hostels”, which may confuse the unsuspecting traveller who thinks they are for backpackers. Recently, there has been a considerable development of guest houses, backpacker accommodation, bed and breakfast and holiday rentals (short-term rented flats). The range of accommodation on offer has thus become more diverse.

Things To See in Peru

Forgotten temples in the dense Amazon jungle, lost Inca cities, fabulous wildlife and extraordinary folklore. Peru has everything that adventure films are made of.

Most of the best Inca sites are in the Inca highlands around the beautiful city of Cuzco, once the capital of the Inca empire and now a World Heritage Site itself, as well as a bustling city. Book at least six months in advance if you want to do the famous 4-day Inca Trail hike, which usually starts at the 15th-century Inca dwellings at Ollantaytambo. You’ll have to use your imagination to get past the huge crowds at the final destination, Machu Picchu, but it’s worth it. Wait until the larger crowds have left, find a quiet spot away from the tourist crowds and contemplate your view of one of the most famous and spectacular archaeological sites in the world. Many other sites are located in the nearby Sacred Valley.

The list of great Peruvian ruins from pre-Columbian times is long, and not all of them are Inca. The ancient mud-brick capital of Chan Chan, built by the Chimú culture that arrived in the 15th century, is a World Heritage Site. Other popular sites include the tombs of Sipán, the ruined fortress of Kuelap, the pre-inca tombs of Sillustani and Caral, the oldest city in the Americas. The spectacular Nazca lines are particularly famous and a must-see from the air, although you’ll have to haggle a bit to get the right price.

Natural attractions

Peru is home to 84 of the world’s 104 recognised ecological zones and is incredibly rich in biodiversity. With a wide range of landscapes and ecosystems, this country is a veritable Valhalla for all those who love wildlife. Peru is famous for its condors, llamas and jaguars, but it is also home to almost a third of the world’s bird species and no less than 4,000 butterflies.

One of the best places to see all this natural beauty is in the Manú National Park. This World Heritage Site is home to more than 15,000 species of plants, 1,000 different birds and around 220 mammals, including pumas, giant anteaters and many monkeys. The breathtaking Colca Canyon, dubbed the ‘deepest canyon in the world’, is Peru’s third most visited destination and is just a stone’s throw from the beautiful city of Arequipa. Get up close to the famous Andean condors that fly along the canyon’s high walls or buy a colourful souvenir handmade by one of the indigenous peoples who inhabit the picturesque Colca Valley. Of all the peaks in the Peruvian Andes, Huascarán (6,768m), in Huascarán National Park, is the highest of them all. This 3,000 square kilometre World Heritage Site is home to 663 glaciers, 296 lakes and 41 tributaries of three major rivers. The large city of Iquitos is a popular starting point for exploring the mystical Amazon, one of the seven natural wonders of the world. It is also the capital of the Charapa culture. Among the long list of protected areas in Peru are the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, Rio Abiseo National Park and Cutervo National Park (with many caves).

Folklore

The diversity of Peru’s people and cultures is reflected in a rich tradition of festivals, dance and music. In the Andes, the plaintive wail of the flute and the rhythm of the drum accompany songs describing indigenous life, while dancers masked as devils and spirits combine pagan and Christian beliefs. In the jungle, ceremonial music and dance provide a window into tribal life. And on the coast, a mix of elegant Spanish sounds and lively African rhythms reflect the conquest and subsequent enslavement of the New World. One of the must-see shows is the Caballo de Paso Peruano in Lima and on Peru’s northern coast. The Concurso del Caballo de Paso Peruano takes place in April and is a mixture of the Caballos and the dance called “Marinera” which is the cultural expression of the coast in Peru.

Other highlights

Head to the blue waters of Lake Titicaca to meet indigenous peasant women wearing bowler hats at high altitude and join in the celebrations of their ancient communities. Puno is a good starting point, also for a relaxing boat trip to the various islands and towns of the Altiplano on and around the lake, all with their own character and historical relics. If you fancy perfect beaches and sunbathing, head for the crowded beaches and resorts of Piura/Tumbes. Spend a day in one of Lima‘s many excellent museums and dance the night away in one of the city’s popular clubs. Buy shamanic herbs at the Chiclayo market and see the dozens of tombs in the area.

Food & Drinks in Peru

Food in Peru

Peruvian cuisine is one of the most varied in the world. Not only does the country grow a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, but it does so all year round. Peru’s geography offers at least 8 different climates (coastal desert, steep and high mountains, Amazon basin). In Lima, because of its history as an important Spanish colonial port, the dishes are a mixture of Amerindian, Spanish, African, Asian and even Italian influences that contribute to the constant evolution of platos criollos (Creole dishes).

Rice is the staple food, and it can be assumed that many dishes contain it; in the Siera it is corn and potatoes, and in the jungle it is yuca. Meat is traditionally included in most Peruvian dishes. Chicken (pollo), pork, mutton and beef are common. Alpacas are actually bred for wool, not meat. Most of the time you will find that alpaca meat is quite tough. Guinea pig (cuy) is an Andean delicacy. Peruvian cuisine offers dishes based on different organs, including anticuchos, a skewer of heavily marinated and spiced beef heart, and cau-cau (which looks like a cow), made from beef stomach, served in a yellow sauce with potatoes. Anticuchos are a standard meal in street stalls, but be careful with them.

Fish can be found on the coast (of course), but also in the jungle area, as the rivers provide fresh fish (but beware of pollution in the area known as the high jungle or selva alta, where most of the cocaine is produced and strong chemicals are dumped in the rivers; mining is a small source of pollution in this area). Trout (truchas) are cultivated in several places in the Sierra. A very common fish dish is ceviche, a raw fish prepared by marinating it in lime juice. Popular variations of this dish can also include shellfish and even sea urchins. The exact recipe and method of preparation of ceviche varies from region to region. It is definitely worth trying, especially in summer, but cleanliness and hygiene make all the difference. Be careful when buying from street vendors and remember that it is often served spicy.

Throughout Peru there is a wide variety of dishes made with potatoes (papas as in Spain), the traditional vegetable of the Andes. Papa a la Huancaina is a tasty dish of sliced potatoes and diced hard-boiled eggs, topped with a thin, creamy yellow sauce that usually includes a lettuce leaf and an olive or two. (A similar green sauce, called ocopa, can be served over potatoes or yuca.) Papa rellena is mashed potatoes shaped like potatoes, but with meat, vegetables and another spicy filling in the middle. Aji de gallina is chicken shredded in a thick, spicy cheese sauce over sliced potatoes, often with an olive and a slice of hard-boiled egg. Causa is mashed potatoes topped with tuna or chicken salad with mayonnaise and hot peppers.

Many Peruvian dishes can contain strong spices and be heavy, so if you have a weak stomach, be careful.

Today, the transport routes from the flat areas of the jungle are good enough to supply the whole country with vegetables and fruit. Nevertheless, vegetables still have the status of a side dish to meat. Vegetarian restaurants can be found in all cities, but they are relatively rare. In most areas there is an abundant supply of tropical fruits and freshly squeezed fruit juices.

Locals usually eat in small restaurants or Chinese restaurants (“chifas”) where a menu costs 5-8 soles and includes soup, a selection of main courses and a drink.

Peruvians are quite proud of their desserts, especially in Lima. Try them with caution, as they tend to be extremely sweet and loaded with sugar, egg yolks and similar ingredients. Try mazamorra morada, or purple pudding, made from the same purple corn used in the chicha morada drink; together with arroz con leche (sweetened rice pudding), it is called combinado (combination). Picarones are a type of doughnut, made from fried sweet potato dough and served with chancaca, a very sweet sugarcane syrup. And the sweetest dessert, suspiro a la limeña, is perfect when you need a high-calorie glucose fix. Panetón is a type of sweet bread with dried fruit. It is usually served around Christmas time for breakfast with a cup of hot chocolate. It used to be sold only in large boxes containing giant panetons, but now they sell individual portions. Chocotón is a variant of panetón where the fruit is replaced by chocolate chips. The bread is very light and sweet. As Christmas is the hottest time of the year, people often replace hot chocolate with coffee or a cold drink.

Drinks in Peru

The Pisco-Nazca region is famous for its viticulture. Their most expensive vintages compare favourably with Chilean imports. The beer is good, stronger than American brands but less full-bodied than European ones. Most Peruvian beers are made by Backus, currently owned by SAB Miller.

When drinking in bars and/or restaurants, be aware that Peruvian happy hour is a little different from most countries. Drink prices are usually posted on the walls and are a little cheaper than normal. The real difference is that you get two drinks instead of one at the posted price, which gives new meaning to the phrase “half price”. This can be a great way to save money (if you’re travelling in a group) or to meet locals (if you’re travelling solo). You can also end up accidentally getting completely drunk, so be careful.

  • Caliente is a hot alcoholic drink served at celebrations in Andean towns like Tarma. It is actually a herbal tea with white rum to give a boost.
  • Chicha de Jora, a cheap traditional alcoholic drink made from corn that is fermented and has a fairly high alcohol content for a non-distilled drink. They are not usually found in formal restaurants and are quite rare in Lima outside the residential areas. Places that sell chicha have a long stick with a coloured plastic bag outside their door.
  • Chicha morada, not to be confused with the previous one, is a non-alcoholic drink made from boiled purple corn with added sugar and spices (not lemonade). Quite refreshing, it is widely available and highly recommended. Restaurants serving Peruvian cuisine usually have their fresh broth on the menu; it is also available from street vendors or in restaurants, but be careful with the water. Bottled or canned chicha morada is made from concentrates and is not as pleasant as freshly made chicha.
  • Coca tea or Mate de Coca, a tea made from the leaves of the coca plant. It is legal to drink this tea in Peru. It is good for coping with altitude or after a heavy meal. It can be found cold, but is usually served hot.
  • You can find many places that serve fresh fruit drinks. Peru has a wide variety of fruits due to its natural diversity, so if you find a good “jugueria”, you have many options to choose from.
  • The cities of the Peruvian Amazon also offer typical drinks such as: masato, chuchuhuasi, hidromiel and others.
  • Coffee. Peru is the world’s leading producer of organic coffee. Ask for “Cafe Pasado”, the essence obtained by pouring boiling hot water over freshly ground coffee in places like Chanchamayo.
  • All Peruvian wines are good value for money. Wines from the Tacama, Ocucaje and Santiago Queirolo brands are the most reliable.
  • Emoliente. Another popular drink in Peru, often sold by vendors for 50 cents on the street. It is served hot and tastes like a thick, slimy, but surprisingly refreshing tea – depending, of course, on the herbal and fruit extracts you want to put in. The mixture offered by the seller is usually sufficient, but you are free to choose it yourself. It is usually sold hot and is the usual drink after a party, as a “reconstituyente”, but it can also be drunk cold.
  • Inka Kola. The Peruvian equivalent of Coca Cola in the rest of the world, recently bought out by Coca Cola but retaining its unique taste. It is bright yellow and has a unique flavour. It tastes like Hierba Luisa.
  • Pisco Sour. An alcoholic drink with an interesting list of ingredients, such as egg whites, which is the main drink in Peru and available in most places. It is made from pisco, a type of Peruvian brandy that is worth trying; it is a strong drink as pisco is a 40+ proof spirit (about 70-80 proof), and the sweet taste can be deceiving. As Chile has registered the Chilean Pisco brand for commercial purposes in some countries, Peruvian producers have decided to defend the designation of origin (Pisco is a very old town in Peru) by being very strict about quality standards. You can be sure that in any brand of pisco produced in Peru, you will find a very high quality product.

Money & Shopping in Peru

The currency of Peru is the Sol (PEN), symbolised by S/.

As of 20 October 2015, 1 USD = 3.25 PEN and 1 € = 3.69 PEN is one of the most stable currencies in South America in recent years.

Coins come in five, two and one soles, as well as 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1 cent. Five and one cent coins are not usually accepted outside large supermarkets or banks, so avoid them (or take them home to collect or give to friends). Banknotes come in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 soles; 200 soles notes are unusual and – like large notes in other countries – are not accepted in many places.

ATMs are available in major cities, upscale hotels and tourist areas. With a Cirrus or Maestro sign, you can easily withdraw money. The exchange rate is the same as for credit cards, but the fees are much lower. Some banks charge a fee for withdrawing money from their ATMs. BBVA Banco Continental reportedly charges excessive fees without informing you in advance. Make sure you take enough cash with you when visiting small towns, as your credit card or traveller’s cheques may not be accepted there.

Credit cards and travellers’ cheques are common. Although the exchange rate for cash is about 2% higher, it is strongly discouraged to carry large amounts of cash while travelling. The Banco de Credito (BCP) offers good rates for travellers’ cheques. Rates at exchange offices are often slightly lower. It is always worth comparing them before changing money. If you change money at bureaux de change, check their calculations. Most bureaux de change will calculate the amount you want using an electronic calculator and even show you the process step by step (unless it’s something brutally obvious like changing tens or hundreds). If they don’t do it, keep the money in your pocket and find someone who will.

Never forget that counterfeiting is a big problem in Peru: get to know the money and don’t hesitate to reject any note or coin (especially 5 sol coins) that looks suspicious, as any Peruvian would. In other words, if you want to look like a smart foreigner, take 10 seconds to check every bill you receive, even at a bank. All notes have a watermark and a security strip, and the large number on the far right that indicates the denomination of the note turns from purple to green when you look at it at an angle. Do not take torn banknotes with you; you can only use them in a bank.

If you have a counterfeit coin or note in your hands, they may want to confiscate it in department stores. Do not accept damaged or cracked notes, as you will have to take them to a bank to exchange them for new notes before you can spend them. Be especially careful when changing money at street money changers (a common way for counterfeit money to enter circulation) or at the border (especially the border with Ecuador).

In general, small bills are very useful to carry. Change large notes into small notes as often as possible. If you only carry 50 and 100 soles, consider changing them at a bank. Local shopkeepers and taxi drivers often claim not to have change on them, forcing you to wait in public while they look for something (which can be dangerous) and sometimes hoping you will get impatient and give them change.

In Peru it is not as common as in other countries (e.g. Ecuador) to accept US dollars in transactions, but a few nice new 10 or 20 US dollar notes can be useful in some situations. Often, in small towns, local shops will change money for you. If this is the case, it will be clearly marked.

Costs in Peru

If you’re on a budget, you can get around easily for USD 50 per day. Basic hotels or hostels (hospedajes) are everywhere, with hostel dormitories generally costing USD 8-15. There are many very cheap restaurants (US$0.50-1.50), but for a little more (US$2-3) you can get a much better lunch or dinner in better restaurants. There are fancy restaurants in every town, with menus starting at USD 20.

Buses are a fairly cheap way to get around. A 10-hour trip on an ordinary bus (not “royal class” or anything like that) will cost you about $20. If you can afford it, the most luxurious seats cost about double that, but they make a big difference in terms of comfort. Avoid bus companies that allow passengers to board buses outside the official stops. They are often poorly managed and can be dangerous, both because of unsafe practices and street robberies, which are unfortunately not uncommon. Women travelling solo, in particular, should take this into account. Your hotel, hostel or local tourist information booth can tell you the best options.

Trains (except those to Machu Picchu, which are relatively expensive) run at similar prices.

Don’t forget to retain the exit fee of 30.25 USD. They accept USD or Soles for the fee and make sure you pay the exit fee before you queue for security or you will have to wait again.

Arts and crafts

Peru is famous for its many different, truly beautiful and relatively cheap handicrafts. Remember that buying handicrafts supports traditional skills and helps many families to maintain their modest incomes. Search for :

  • Jumpers and many other wool (alpaca) products throughout the Sierra. Puno is perhaps the cheapest place.
  • Tapestries (Tejidos).
  • Sculptures on stone, wood and dried calabashes.
  • Silver and gold jewellery.
  • typical musical instruments such as pan flutes (zampoñas), skin drums.
  • many others

Do not accept handicrafts that look like (or are in fact) pre-Columbian pottery or jewellery. It is illegal to trade in them, and there is not only the possibility of confiscating them, but also of being prosecuted for illegal trade, even if the actual artifacts are copies or fakes. Dealing with the police on the criminal side is messy and really unpleasant.

Beware of fake alpaca (Bamba) wool products, many items sold at the unsuspecting gringo are actually synthetic or ordinary wool! The nice soft jumper you find on the market for about 8 USD is most likely acrylic. Even in places like Puno it is not easy to tell if it is made of alpaca, sometimes it may contain a small amount of alpaca mixed with other fibres. Baby alpaca does not come from young animals, but from the first shearing and its fibre is very soft and fine. In general, alpaca fibre has a low sheen and a slightly greasy feel, and is slow to recover after stretching. Buy and compare.

Negotiation

Haggling is very common. If you are not used to it, you should follow some rules. If you want to buy something, ask the price first, even if you already know what it should cost. Then check that everything is in order. (Does the jumper fit? Do you really want to buy it? Has the cheese expired? etc.) If the price is right, pay it. If it is not, it is up to you to offer a lower, but realistic price. First, get an idea of how much you can expect to pay. Then say a price that is about 20-30% lower. It is always good if you can give a reason. Once you have quoted a price, you cannot quote a lower price later. This would be considered very rude behaviour. If you feel that you cannot meet your price, just say “No, gracias. ” and start walking away. This is your last chance. If you are lucky, the seller will make you a final offer, if not, say “No, gracias. “and move on. Be aware that most products sold in tourist markets (such as the Pisac market) are sold in almost every other market during your trip to Peru and South America, so don’t worry about never finding that alpaca scarf again.

They have a way of negotiating without giving an exact price, and that is “¿Nada menos?“, so you will simply ask if they can lower the price a little.

Remember, never start bargaining if you don’t really want to buy.

Coca

DO NOT BRING COCA PRODUCTS HOME.

Coca leaves and products made from them (unless decaffeinated) are illegal in the vast majority of countries under the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. Simply bringing in a tin of coca tea can land you in the hands of strict anti-trafficking laws. Although coca is legal in Peru, buying or selling cocaine is illegal.

Thawed coca products are not commonly available in Peru, and sellers may assure you that processed coca products (such as tea) can be taken home, but this is not true. It is legal to buy and consume coca products in Peru (with the exception of cocaine), and it is probably legal to buy thawed coca products (such as Coca-Cola or thawed coca tea) in your home country, but importing coca products is illegal.

Instead of coca tea, consider emoliente, a traditional herbal tea from the coastal regions, widely available in Lima.

While in Peru, you can find coca tea, coca leaves, coca candy, coca beer, etc. The Museo de la Coca in Cuzco sells a wide range of coca products.

General information

Supermarkets are only found in the cities and are somewhat more expensive. In every city there is at least one market or market hall, except in Lima, where there is a dense concentration of supermarkets, shopping centres and department stores. In the cities there are different markets (or sections of a large market) for different items.

Shops with similar items are usually clustered in the same street. So once you know the street when you are looking for something special, you should have no trouble finding it quickly.

Tipping in restaurants (at least if it’s a simple or average restaurant) is not very common, but 10% for good service is polite. In the cities you will always find beggars, sitting on the street or doing a musical number on the buses. Many of them really need help, especially the elderly and disabled. Common donations are about 0.10-0.20 PEN (0.03-0.06 USD). This is not much, but some unskilled workers get as little as 10 PEN for a day’s work. Whether you want to give money to child beggars or not is up to you. But remember that this may encourage parents to let their children beg on the streets instead of sending them to school. Buy them food instead, they need it.

Traditions & Customs in Peru

Even if it is Spanish, do not use the term indio. Because it was employed by Spanish invaders, it sounds a lot like the English n-word to locals. The politically acceptable phrase is el indgena or la indgena — but, like with the n-word, extremely close pals within a circle of friends may get away with it. Another term to avoid is cholo, chola, or cholita, which all imply indigena. This may be used lovingly among indigenous people (it’s a popular nickname for a kid, for example), but it’s insulting when used by an outsider. The n-word is used, but in a humorous/playful manner, so don’t get upset if you hear it on the street.

Even if you have around 20 No Drugs t-shirts at home, understand that people chew coca leaves, particularly in the rural. Consider it a cultural component with social and ceremonial components. Remember that coca leaves are not cocaine and are thus lawful. You may sample them to get a taste of the culture. If you don’t enjoy chewing them, try a mate de hojas de coca instead (also quite effective against altitude sickness). However, the consumption of coca leaf tea may result in a positive drug test in North America over the following several weeks.

Officially, the majority of Peruvians are Roman Catholic, but pre-Hispanic religion is still alive and well, particularly in the rural. Respect this by acting as though you were in a church while visiting temple ruins or other ceremonial sites.

Culture Of Peru

Peruvian culture is mainly based on Amerindian and Spanish traditions, but it has also been affected by ethnic groups from Asia, Africa, and Europe. Peruvian creative traditions may be traced back to Pre-Inca civilizations’ exquisite ceramics, textiles, jewelry, and sculpture. These skills were preserved by the Incas, who also achieved architectural feats such as the building of Machu Picchu. The Baroque style dominated colonial art, but it was influenced by indigenous cultures.

The majority of art during this time was religious in nature; examples include the many cathedrals of the time and the paintings of the Cuzco School. After independence, the arts remained stagnant until the early twentieth century, when Indigenismo arose. Peruvian art has been diverse and influenced by both international and local art currents since the 1950s.

Peruvian literature is based on pre-Columbian cultures’ oral traditions. In the 16th century, Spaniards brought writing to the colonies, which comprised chronicles and religious writings. Costumbrism and Romanticism were the most popular literary styles after independence, as shown by Ricardo Palma’s writings. Indigenismo was headed by authors like Ciro Alegra and José Mara Arguedas in the early twentieth century. César Vallejo produced modernist poetry that was often political in nature. Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa, a prominent member of the Latin American Boom, is credited with popularizing modern Peruvian literature.

Peruvian cuisine combines elements of Amerindian and Spanish cuisine, as well as Chinese, African, Arab, Italian, and Japanese cookery. Anticuchos, ceviche, and pachamanca are popular meals. Peru’s diverse environment encourages the development of a wide range of edible plants and animals. Peruvian cuisine is renowned for its variety of ingredients and cooking methods.

Peruvian music is influenced by Andean, Spanish, and African cultures. The quena and the tinya were two popular instruments in pre-Hispanic periods, and musical manifestations varied greatly by area. New instruments, such as the guitar and harp, were brought by Spaniards, leading to the creation of hybrid instruments like the charango. The cajón, a percussion instrument, and its rhythms are examples of African contributions to Peruvian music. Marinera, tondero, zamacueca, diablada, and huayno are examples of Peruvian traditional dances.

Stay Safe & Healthy in Peru

Stay Safe in Peru

There is a kind of local police called “Serenazgo” in Lima and several of the bigger cities: you may ask for assistance, but they do not provide tourist-oriented services.

Be alert of your surroundings and avoid dark or unpopulated places, particularly at night. There is a lot of minor criminality that may escalate into violence. Avoid gatherings of male teenagers since there are many small gangs attempting to rob passers-by. If you observe a robbery, use extreme caution before interfering, since criminals may be armed and are prone to shooting if they feel threatened.
Tourist armed robberies are quite frequent.

A filthy old backpack containing valuables is safer than a fresh one with old clothing. It’s frequently preferable not to seem too wealthy.

Some tourists do not carry wallets and instead retain their cash and coins in their pockets. Let’s suppose you have some little banknotes on the left side and the remainder on the right. As a result, the pickpocket’s task becomes considerably more difficult.

Don’t carry your debit or credit cards around with you. Leave them in a secure location when you don’t need them right away, since visitors have been abducted and forced to withdraw money every day for a few days. A neck wallet is usually a fantastic option if you want to carry big sums of cash out with you – you can conceal it under your shirt.

Be wary of fake bills. Every bank has posters explaining what to look for while receiving higher-valued banknotes. The only security feature that has not been tampered with is the bichrome 10,20,50,100, or 200, which is now also used on US dollar notes. Don’t be afraid to double-check any invoices you get. The majority of Peruvians do as well. You may receive fake bills even at expensive restaurants or (uncommonly, although it has happened) banks, so check there as well.

The legislation allows for small amounts of narcotics for personal use or possession (up to 2 g of powdered cocaine or 8 g of marijuana) (Section 299 of the Penal Code of Peru) PROVIDED THAT THE USER HAS ONLY ONE TYPE OF DRUGS IN HIS POSSESSION. Buying or selling these substances is prohibited, even if possession in these quantities is permitted.

When getting a cab, do a quick check in the rear seat and trunk to ensure that no one is hidden there. There have been instances of armed robberies and kidnappings in cabs. Following that, visitors are blindfolded and transported away of the city, leaving them behind beside the highway.

People have attempted to steal passports by impersonating plain-clothed police officers at the border crossing from Ecuador (Huaquillas) to Peru. They offer you another form to fill out that is a forgery. This occurred despite the fact that police and customs officers were nearby.

When taking a bus, it is best to keep your bag beneath your seat, with the strap wrapped around your leg.

Police

Tourist police wear white shirts instead of the customary green ones, speak English, and are very friendly to visitors. The average police officer does not speak any other language than Spanish, although will usually attempt to assist.

Dealing with the police may be time-consuming. To get a copy of a police report, go to a Banco de la Nación and pay 3 soles. The police will not give you a copy unless you have this, and you can only arrange this during business hours.

Natural disasters

Earthquakes are possible in Peru, which is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire. Beware of tsunamis if you are near the shore and the earth begins to shake.

Stay Healthy in Peru

Vaccinations and Prophylaxis

The number and kind of vaccinations required for travel to Peru are determined by many variables, including your medical history and the areas of the country you want to visit. Tetanus, diphtheria, typhoid fever, hepatitis A and B, yellow fever, rabies, and meningitis are the most frequent vaccinations required for travel to Peru. Some of them need more than one dosage or a considerable amount of time to be effective. As a result, you should ask about required vaccinations 6 to 8 weeks before your travel.

All travelers should be vaccinated against Hepatitis A and Typhoid fever.

The Peruvian government advises any visitors planning to visit Amazonian forest regions below 2,300 meters to be vaccinated against yellow fever (7,546 ft). Yellow fever vaccination is not required for those who just visit the shore or the highlands.

Yellow fever vaccination is also needed for all visitors arriving from Africa and the Americas, where the illness is prevalent.

Yellow fever has been recorded in Cuzco, San Martn, Loreto, Pasco, Amazonas, Ancash, Ayacucho, Huánuco, Junn, Madre de Dios, Puno, and Ucayali in recent years. Permission to Vaccinate Permission to Vaccinate Permission to Vaccinate Per

Travelers who think they may have had sex in the nation should be vaccinated against Hepatitis B, particularly if their stay is more than six months.

The rabies vaccine is recommended for travelers who may come into contact with infected animals while away from a hospital, but if you are bitten, seek medical attention as soon as possible, as the prophylactic rabies vaccine is ineffective at preventing rabies infection, which is almost always fatal once symptoms appear.

All travelers who have not previously gotten the measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccination should get two doses.

Every ten years, a tetanus/diphtheria booster is advised.

Bring a first-aid kit, particularly if you want to go on a walk in the countryside during your stay.

Malaria may be found in areas of Peru. Malaria is not a threat in major cities such as Lima and its surrounding regions, or in places over 1500 meters (4,921 ft). However, you may be in jeopardy: (1) on the country’s northern shore (Tumbes, Piura, and Lambayeque); (2) in the Amazon region: Loreto department (Iquitos), San Martin, Ucayali, Just as Amazon (Chachapoyas), and Cajamarca (Jaen). Malaria cases have also been recorded in Cuzco Department (Province of Concepción, outside of the tourist region of Machu Picchu) and Madre de Dios. If you intend to visit these regions, take the necessary measures and, if recommended by a physician, preventive medicines.

Food safety Enjoy the cuisine, but exercise caution should you acquire diarrhea, dysentery, or a more severe illness, such as a parasite infection, which may spoil your vacation. Food that has been thoroughly cooked is most likely safe. Food that has been left out for an extended period of time or that has been landed on by flies may make you ill. Seafood, in particular, is prone to spoilage. Raw fruits and vegetables may be hazardous unless they can be properly peeled without contacting the pulp inside, or unless they are washed in safe (not unboiled tap) water. Bananas and papayas are the most nutritious fruits.

Water from the tap. In Peru, unless you boil it, tap water is hazardous to consume or use for brushing your teeth. Bottled water is less expensive than boiling water and tastes better. Check to be sure the bottle hasn’t been opened and refilled. If you don’t trust the staff at a restaurant, you may request that the bottle of water be opened in your presence. Ice cubes should preferably be produced with pure water, but if in doubt, avoid ice.

Bites by insects Avoiding bug bites lowers the chance of acquiring mosquito-borne illnesses such as yellow fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, and malaria.

Rabies There have been documented instances of rabies in Peru, therefore be cautious of animals that act oddly near you and seek medical attention promptly if bitten.

The sun and the heat Expect to take some time getting used to the heat, particularly if you’re in the forest. Avoid fatigue, heat stroke, and sunburn by taking reasonable measures, such as drinking enough of safe water and not waiting until you’re thirsty to drink.

Injuries and accidents Accidents and injuries kill more travelers than illnesses, so be cautious. Aside from standard measures, you should avoid riding a bicycle or motorbike in Peru if you are inexperienced.

Pharmacies

Common medications, such as antibiotics, may be purchased relatively inexpensively and without limitations in pharmacies (farmacias or boticas). However, be certain that the expiry date has not passed. Pharmacists are often extremely helpful and should be contacted if necessary. They may be able to substitute a doctor for less severe diseases.

Diarrhea

Electrolytic beverages aid in the prevention of dehydration. Almost every drugstore sells granules that dissolve in water. If you don’t have any, just dissolve the sugar and salt in water. But remember to use clean water, not contaminated tap water! Antibiotics may be used to treat bacterial diarrhea if it does not resolve within a week. Generally, pharmacists are quite helpful.

Altitude

Don’t underestimate it if you’ve never been to higher elevations than 3,500m (12,000 ft). It is fairly uncommon for unacclimatized visitors to pass out. If you’re coming from sea level, spend at least one week at a middle elevation of approximately 3,000 m (10,000 ft). Then, heights of approximately 4,500 m (15,000 ft) should not pose a danger, but you will still be aware of your surroundings.

Sunburn

Because Peru is so near to the equator, the sun may be harmful to your skin and eyes. The intense UV radiation from the height, along with the relatively chilly air, may burn your skin before you feel it, especially in the Sierra. Sunblockers are widely available at pharmacies (boticas). Bring excellent UV-blocking sunglasses from home if your eyes are sensitive to light. Of course, you can purchase sunglasses in Peru as well, but be certain that they block the whole UV spectrum; otherwise, they may be worse than none.

Sanitary facilities

Outside of clearly well-equipped restaurants and hotels in cities and towns, bathrooms are often basic and, at times, filthy. It’s a good idea to carry your own toilet paper, since Peruvian toilet paper may be harsh and just one ply. Toilet doors are labeled “bao,” “S.H,” or “SS.HH.” The last two are acronyms for the more formal phrase servicio higienico. Expect to spend no more than 20 centimos for toilet paper and 50 cents to one dollar to access the restroom.

Water is not always available in hostels or low-cost hotels. Showers in the Andean area may also have more or less hot water just in the afternoon since the water is heated only by sun radiation. Electrically heated showers are common, however the electric installation may be hazardous at times since the water heater is usually located near the shower head. Examine it before turning on the shower, particularly if you are tall enough to come into contact with the wires or other metal while bathing and electrocute yourself. However, don’t be too concerned since these electric shocks are typically unpleasant rather than life-threatening.

If you are a woman and need tampons during your period, you should carry them with you from home since they are not widely used in Peru. At Lima, you may find them in grocery chains such as Tottus, Wong, Metro, and Plaza Vea, as well as pharmacy stores/chemists known as farmacias and boticas. When you locate them, purchase enough to last the remainder of your journey, since they are practically unknown in the rest of the nation. You may also bring a menstruation cup since they are reusable and small.

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