Peru, one of the 8 mega-diverse countries in the world, offers unique experiences and a chance to enjoy an unforgettable vacation. Inheritors of an ancient culture, with hundreds of archaeological sites, Peru was home to Pre-Hispanic cultures, vestiges of which continue alive through present day customs and traditions of the Andean people. From the coast to the mountains and the lowland rainforest, you can enjoy a unique mixture of culture, history, adventure and nature as well as an unimaginable variety of foods complemented with the hospitality and warmth of its people.
Why Visit Peru
You might want to travel to Peru because it is the country that boasts Machu Picchu and is the centre of the Inca Culture; or because of its people and culture, it’s wonderful food, the mystery of its Amazon rainforest that hosts the largest bio-diversity in the World… if you are challenging these statements, well my friend, you are right.
There is always a great reason to visit Peru, discover it with Explorandes.
Coming to Peru
Nowadays travelling within Peru means you can find modern airports and airlines of international prestige which are supervised by the airline transport authority to comply with security and consumer standards. There are many weekly and daily frequencies from Europe and the USA to Peru as well as efficient intraregional connections from Chile, Bolivia and Ecuador.
Visa/Immigration Card (TAM)
Citizens of most countries in the Americas and Western Europe do not require a visa to travel to Peru. When entering Peru you will be asked to fill out an immigration card. This piece of paper is very important since it has to be given to the migratory authority when leaving the country. It is also very important you carry this paper with your passport during your stay in Peru as all hotels will ask you to present this paper in order to exonerate you from tax payments. We strongly recommend you to make a copy of both documents to avoid possible problems
Peru country code is 51. In order to receive phone calls from abroad you must dial (00) + (51) + (Department Code) + (Phone number). From the USA it is 011 51 + codes
Main departments Codes: Lima: 01, Cusco: 084, Puno: 051, Huaraz: 043, Arequipa: 054, Madre Dios: 082, Trujillo: 044, Chiclayo: 074, Ica: 056, Loreto: 065
If you are calling within Peru you must add a 0 to all department codes.
There are several internet cafes and cabins around in the main cities. Prices are around US$ 1 or S/. 3 an hour, though you are charged upon time spent.
Most of the 3 star and above hotels have Wi-Fi internet access or may provide PC’s with internet access for free.
Although Peru is in the tropics, its weather varies due to its geographical diversity (coast, highlands, Amazon) and to the cold water Humboldt Current northwards along most of the coast.
On the Coast
The central and southern region of the Peruvian coast is generally sunny in the summer (November to May) and cloudy during the rest of the year. Temperatures vary between 20ºC and 30ºC during the summer and 10ºC and 20ºC during the winter. The northern region of the coast has sunshine almost all year, can also get cloudy with some rain between November and March, depending on the seasonal presence of the “El Niño” current.
In the Sierra (Highlands)
The Andes have usually a rainless winter that runs from April to October, where temperatures during the day are very warm, and a rainy season that lasts from November to March, being heaviest in January - February. In the highlands temperatures have accentuated variations between day and night, with sudden temperature falls after sunset (sometimes up to 15ºC) in the winter months (May-August).
In the Rainforest
In the Rainforest it can rain all year round and there may be high temperatures. From November to May rain is heavier, rivers rise, but from May to September temperatures are generally milder but never cold, except sometimes in Madre de Dios Department (south) where cold air-masses move in from Bolivia and Argentina in the winter months and you may need to wear a light jacket/sweater.
Upon arrival in Peru, either into Lima or Cusco (from La Paz) we tag all luggage for easy identification all over Peru. For cultural and sightseeing travel we recommend you bring luggage that is easy to manipulate for normal worldwide travel.
Many airlines have weight specifications that allow up to 30 kilos (66lbs) for checked in baggage and 5 kilos (11lbs.) for carry-on bags. In all the hotels we work with, we are usually allowed to leave luggage for the return journey. For adventure trips, trekking or rafting, we recommend duffel bags that are waterproof or can be lined with plastic bags to protect your clothes from water, no heavier than 20 kilos per person. These are easily tied on pack-animals and can be carried by porters (we use porters only on the Inca Trail since pack-animals are not allowed).
This weight includes duffel and sleeping bag. Sometimes couples choose to share a duffel bag.
**On the Inca Trail weight is an important factor, so we ask you to please pack lightly. The weight limit per person is 8 kilos (17.64 pounds). On the Inca Trail Fixed Departures we can supply duffel bags on request the night before departure during the briefing session. **
On the train journey to Machu Picchu, there are weight and size restrictions on luggage. (There is more info regarding this matter available).
In most airports a security tax for intra-Peru flights must be paid. We cannot include it in our service costs because it varies. This is approximately US$6.00 for the Lima airport and around $5.00 in regional airports.
In Lima and other airports the international departure tax is approximately US$30.25, which must be paid at the airport prior to departure and immigration, in Nuevos Soles or US Dollars. Some airlines include this cost in the airfare.
Sales tax (IGV) on goods and services in shops and restaurants is 19%, and is generally included in the prices shown. At hotels if you travel on your own or extend your stay, you can omit paying the sales tax by presenting a photocopy of your passport, so it is always good to have photocopies on hand.
Ac 220 volts, 60 cycles. Usually five and four star hotels also offer electric voltage of 110 volts.
We advise all travelers to check the coverage of their personal health insurance policy. We highly recommended you to purchase a travel-insurance policy to cover theft, loss and medical problems for the duration of your trip. It is advisable to bring a small personal first aid kit with you.
Altitude Sickness (Soroche)
To help prevent altitude sickness the best measure is to acclimatize for at least two days with limited activity, eat light meals, drink lots of water and abstain from alcohol.
Altitude sickness begins affecting people who quickly ascend to altitudes over 2,500 m / 8,100 ft. Symptoms include headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, insomnia and loss of appetite. Risk of altitude sickness increases with higher altitudes, faster ascents and more physical exertion; and severe cases include fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema) or swelling of the brain (high-altitude cerebral edema) and can only be treated by descending immediately. Being physically fit does not necessarily mean you are free from risk of altitude sickness.
Travelers with heart conditions or high blood pressure should check with their doctors before travelling to high altitudes.
If you plan to travel to the rainforest, the administration of a Yellow Fever vaccine 10 days in advance is strongly recommended.
We recommend you drink only bottled or previously boiled water and to bring a water bottle, especially if you will be travelling outside of the larger cities. To prevent dehydration, especially in the mountains, it is recommended to drink three litters of liquids daily - water or infusions.
Currency & Exchange Rates
The official currency in Peru is the Nuevo Sol (S/.)
The average exchange rate is US$1.00 = S/.2.75 (although this may vary). It is common to exchange money (US dollars and Euros) in the street but it is recommended to make use of the Money Exchange Offices known as "Casas de Cambio" or banks for safety reasons.
The North American dollar is accepted in most commercial shops at the daily exchange rate.
ATM''s & Credit Cards
You will find ATM''s in the bigger cities. Most of them are located in airports, near banks or in major shopping malls. The main credit cards are usable in commercial establishments in Peru, although markets, small shops and "bodegas" will most likely not accept credit cards.
We only include tipping for porters at airports, train or bus station transfers, where qualified porters certified by the proper authorities are located. Tips at hotels are usually not included since your contact with the hotel porters is personal at baggage delivery in the rooms, and baggage pick-up at check-out. Passengers are free to tip them once inside the hotel.
Tipping is not included for drivers, guides and/or camp crews, trekking and/or river guides during journeys; the amount depends on the number of days the people accompany you and the size of the party. Camp crews tend to be with you a minimum of 4 days. These are voluntary contributions and if desired, we recommend that the following guidelines be followed (amounts specified are per group and applicable for the length of the trip, not per day):
Drivers: US$15 -20
Transfer Agents: US$ 15 - 20
Head Cook: US$40
Camp Crew each: US$20
Porters/ mule drivers: US$15
Adventure or Tour Guides: US$60-100
Long-haul Drivers: US$ 25-50
Lima’s shops, galleries and markets offer a typical sampling of Peruvian crafts. The markets are usually less expensive, but unlike the shops, there is no quality guarantee. Store hours are approx. 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Saturdays. Most all stores are closed on Sundays. Outside of Lima, vendors can be found every day of the week in designated areas in main cities, usually around the main squares.