IMPORTANT INFORMATION – PERU

Entry requirements – Visas

Entry requirements – Visas: citizens of America, Western-Europe, Australia or New-Zealand, don’t need a visa to enter Peru. For more information, you can consult the closest Peruvian consulate in your city. You can find the address and telephone number at the website of the Peruvian ministry of foreign affairs at www.rree.gob.pe (in Spanish).
You can get a tourist visa for a period of 90 days, but if you need more time, ASK, because the officers will automatically restrict the entry into the country. If you need more time, you can ask the office of immigration for a provision of a month extra or you can leave the country and get another 90 days.

When to Go

Peak travel season for tourists is largely dictated by the weather. Peru experiences two very distinct seasons, the “wet” and the “dry” rather than "summer" or "winter". The high season of Peru for travel coincides with the driest (though coldest) months: May through September. June (the month of Inti Raymi in Cusco) and July are considered high season. May and September are particularly good months to visit much of the country with fewer tourists but little rain.

December, January and February are very wet, particularly in the mountains – however tourist numbers are lower and trekking routes are quieter.

Language

Peru has two official languages: Spanish and Quechua. However, basic English is widely spoken. Spanish is also relatively easy to learn and quite some words are similar to English. Many travellers opt for a week long course at a local Spanish School in Peru to give them the ability to communicate a little with the locals.

Time Zone

Peru has the same time as the Eastern Standard Time in the United States. It is also 5 hours behind GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) and does not have a season of daylight savings.

Vaccines

A yellow fever vaccination is NOT required anymore, though it is recommended if you are travelling to jungle areas especially to the town of Iquitos. We suggest that if you are traveling to jungle areas you should discuss malaria protection with your medical advisor.

Electricity

The electric voltage in Peru is 220 volts, 60 cycles. In most hotel bathrooms, there is an electrical outlet with 110 volts for electric shavers which cannot be used for irons or hairdryers.

Currency

Money

The official currency of Peru is the Nuevo Sol (S/.) There are 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, S/.1, S/.2 and S/.5 coins and S/.10, S/.20, S/.50, S/.100 and S/.200 banknotes. At the time of writing the exchange rate is 2.65 soles to the US dollar, but this is likely to change. When changing money, try to get small notes because larger notes are difficult to change. US dollars are welcome at some (tourist) shops, restaurants and service stations within the center of the cities. The more expensive restaurants and hotels catering for travellers accept main credit cards, including Visa, Master card, Diners and American Express.
ATM’s can generally be found throughout the cities and in some smaller towns; they usually dispense notes in soles or dollars.



InfoPeru

InfoPeru is a traveler assistance service to help tourists. This service has a 24 hour hot line. For assistance call in Lima 421-1227 or if you are outside of Lima, dial 01 first.

Safety tips

While “out and about” we suggest you to leave your passport and most of your cash money, credit cards, etc. in the safe deposit box in your hotel. Only take with you the money that you intend to spend. It is also recommended to carry a photocopy of the picture page of your passport for ID purposes.

Internet Access

You can find public Internet access on every corner in the major cities of Peru. The price is generally about S/.1.50 sol an hour or US$0.60. Many cabins now have Skype with webcams and headphones so that you can easily connect with your relatives and friends (depending on the Internet Cafe, or the day or the time the quality of this service can vary). In smaller villages you may not be able to find internet but it is likely that there will be a telephone service nearby.

Departure Tax

At all international airports, the departure tax is already included in the price of the airline ticket. Some small domestic airports may charge a fee for the flight.

Taxis

There are plenty of taxis in Peru in all of the major cities and they charge very affordable rates. There are no meters in the taxis, so we recommend that you check the usual price at the hotel so that you can negotiate the rate with the driver before (not after) accepting a ride. Always use registered taxis, preferably ones that have intercom radios for communication with the drivers company. In Lima it is also advised, for an extra precaution, that you ask the staff of your hotel to write down the license plate of your taxi before you depart.

Tips

Tipping rates vary and depend on the traveller's satisfaction with the quality of the service. In most tourist oriented restaurants, a 10% tip is appreciated. These people generally earn very low wages and tipping forms a big part of their income. Also, if you take photos of indigenous locals, who are working as “photographic models” in tourist areas, either negotiate a price beforehand or tip generously afterward! When making treks, remember that porters and cooks are generally not very well paid and that a tip will make all the difference to them and their family!

Toilets

Public restrooms are rarely available except in bus stations, some restaurants, bars, cafes etc. Public toilets in Peru are labeled WC (water closet), ‘Damas’ (Ladies) and ‘Caballeros’ or ‘Hombres’ (Men). Be warned, toilet paper is not always provided so you should carry your own. All over Peru, regardless of the standard of the hotel or restaurant, you should throw the paper in the wastepaper basket rather than the toilet – or you will create a nasty clogging problem!



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