All the basic tips to start getting ready for a trip to remember is compiled here. This is the guide we share with all of our clients to assure their full satisfaction during their journey along Peru. Thanks for reading us and being a RESPONSible traveller as everyone that gets informed and research about its destination is one of our tribe. Our tips to travel to Peru are nine basic categories as follow:
Seasons and climate
Peru is a tropical country with marked seasons and a varied topography that make of its climate a highly variable aspect along the whole territory.
December, January and February is summer time, that is generally characterized by rains along the country except for the coast. This is a period of time where most of the touristic activities are not recommended. It also coincides with the peruvian school vacations, so nationals tend to move during this season. This is for instance considered the low season.
On the contrary, the winter time comprises July, August and September, and this is when rains affect the coast (of Lima almost exclusively), while the rest of the country is suitable to visit. Of course winter also is accompanied by lower temperatures along the country, but the northern coast and the jungle are always exceptions, as weather varies little. This is for instance considered the high season.
To have a reference, historical records of extreme temperatures go from -20 °C to 34 °C (-4 to 93 fahrenheit) but more realistic ranges go from -10 °C during winter and at elevations above 4000 m, to 30 °C at the coast or the jungle during summer (14 to 86 fahrenheit).
The rest of the year tends to be average, in terms of temperatures and precipitations and, considering if it is either low or high season, it is a very pleasant time to visit the country.
Peru is also a country of festivities -an outrageous amount of these are celebrated during the year. So keep this in mind if your plan is to include one or more in your itinerary or if on the contrary you are trying to avoid them. The carnival and the Easter are especially busy, others like the Inti Raymi, the main Inca celebration takes part during late june. This is only a concern if you are not traveling with us, but if you do, forget about it as we will plan and operate your holiday to perfection as your wishes dictate.
Your passport will be the main travel document you will have to carry with you during your visit to Peru. Citizens of most countries won’t have the need for visas but check your case in doubt.
Citizens of certain Central America and Caribbean countries, all African countries except South Africa, most Asian and middle east citizens will be required to get a visa as well as some from Eastern Europe.
In general terms the length of the stays vary upon your condition, but normally permission to enter the country is granted as 60, 90 or 183 days at the top, depending on the case.
A passport will be considered valid if its expiration date is six months or longer after your day of departure from Peru.
South American countries like Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela are exempt of using a passport, in substitution of it, a national identity card will be the only requisite to enter Peru.
Mexico, as a member of the Alianza del Pacífico is the only country of this alliance in which its citizens must carry a valid passport to enter the others.
VERY IMPORTANT: do not forget to send us a copy of a pair of pages of your passport (the one with your picture and the one with the country’s entrance stamp). This copies will also be requested at each hotel reception. Without this copies, we (as all the other business), will be forced to charge you an extra 18% over the reservation costs corresponding to taxes.
Always have a copy of your documents, and the contact information of the consular services of your country in Peru, in case of losing them.
Peruvian authorities do not request certifications of vaccinations to enter the country, however it is strongly recommended to be protected against most endemic diseases upon arrival.
Yellow fever, typhoid, hepatitis, chickenpox and other infections are totally preventable with the proper shots.
Other infections like malaria or zika will require of major considerations, as prevention and treatment of the former is constantly under medical opinion, while the latter only becomes an epidemic under certain circumstances, but it is of special consideration for pregnant women.
Consult your medic before traveling and get vaccinated ahead of time to make sure your immune system is already strengthened since your first day in Peru.
The Peruvian currency is the Sol (PEN). Coins are valued as 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents while the 1 Sol coin has many different emissions, many of them limited and collectibles. Notes are valued as 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200.
During 2017, the exchange rate of the American dollar was about 3.3 while for the Euro was about 3.7
Not only in Lima but in main and touristic cities you will see money exchangers, men and women standing at corners or next to malls or banks, and even though it is a common practice for Peruvians to ask for their services, we recommend you to go a establishment and make your transaction with a little more privacy and off the public way.
Debit and credit cards are widely accepted in most peruvian cities. Ask your bank in case of doubt and let them know you are traveling to Peru for your holiday, this way you will warrantee your cards won’t be blocked, as this is a common security procedure of banks to avoid frauds.
Make sure you are always carrying small cash (but no little money), especially when leaving the cities.
To start familiarizing with the currency this examples will help you out:
Personal water bottle: 2 soles
Beer (300ml) at a restaurant: 8 soles
Taxi (in between closeby neighbourhoods): 10 soles
Headache pills: 3 soles
Clothing and gear
As you read in the seasons and climate section, the weather can be very variable as well, so of course your clothing needs will depend upon what regions of the country you will visit, or what activities you will perform, but seasonal and daily variations of the weather are to consider seriously.
First, if you come from a temperate country you will know what to expect in terms of coldness and how to deal with it. The Andean region and elevations above 3000 m (10.000 feet) are normally very cold during early morning and at night, but don’t discard cold days, especially if there is wind. So to wear layers is the deal, hats, scarfs and gloves are not excessive.
The hot regions like the coast and the jungle (although only the northern coast is warm during winter) make most people to get rid of the not so lightweight or fresh cloths, but always take in consideration, that you might still need protection from the sun and mosquitos using long sleeves and pants. We are not saying that you will swim in the ocean all dressed up or that mosquitoes can’t be repelled with insect repellent but only to let you know that these are alternatives.
Bathing suits for the many rivers, lagoons, beaches and hot springs you may find along the way.
Raincoats or ponchos are always needed because sometimes showers don’t come with an advise.
Sunhat and sunglasses are mandatory as well as footwear for all occasions.
Always keep your money, documents and gadgets safe from the elements. All type of cases, pouches and dry bags are available in main cities, but you will save time and money bringing all those from home.
Peruvian energy lines bring 220 V electricity and outlets are American (type A: two flat and/or round prongs). Bringing a universal adaptor is always a good idea.
Most electronic devices and chargers convert electricity from 220 to 110 V and vice versa but always make sure yours do.
Having this information handy can aid avoiding a lot of headaches (literally).
Take it easy when visiting places above 3000 m (or 10 thousand feet) resting a lot, keeping yourself hydrated, consuming fat free food and no alcohol, or opting for simple pills can make a real difference avoiding the feared altitude sickness.
Lima 0-150 m
Cuzco 3400 m – Machu Picchu 2400 m
Puno and Titicaca 3800 m
Huaraz 3050 m
Cajamarca 2700 m
Chachapoyas 2300 m – Kuelap 3000 m
Peru is located at the GMT -5 or UTC -5, as other countries like Colombia, Ecuador, Cuba, Panama and eastern USA. Most international flights arrive during the afternoon, so if you are dragging any sort of sleeping alteration, you can rest right away and wake up like new to freshly start a new day and continue your journey along Peru.
The following are terms you can find during your trip, although most of them were just selected to make you smile instead of being a real guide, so do not take them too seriously
Botica – a commercial establishment where medicines and personal care products can be found
Soroche – altitude sickness
Coca – the leaf or the infusion obtained from the infamous plant
Cevicheria – a ceviche restaurant
Picanteria – tradicional restaurant of Arequipa
Chicha – corn or fruit based beverage (fermented or not) that is usually prepared on a stove. There are also chicherias
Chela – beer
Guasca – being drunk
Peña – a commercial establishment where traditional live music and dancing shows are accompanying the food.
Taipá – a generous portion, a well served dish (abundant)
China – 50 cents
Luca – 1 sol
Coco – 1 dollar
Mango – can be used instead of coco
Alalau – to feel cold
Ayayau – to feel pain
Añañau – how cute!
Gringo – any white skinned foreigner
Cholo – normally despective, it refers to the indian race, however it can be used in a cherish way (cholito)
Colorado – any (white) person whose skin is turned red by the sunlight
Get in contact with us writing at english @ responsibletravelperu.com or fill out our brief questionnaire and our travel specialists will help you to design your perfect trip to Peru, a 100% tailor made, where you won’t have to worry about many more details besides giving us all the input of wishes and desires you want to make true during your holiday.