• Peru travel practical information

Peru Travel – Tour Destination guide

Welcome to Peru travel guide destination for your vacations.

Officially the Republic of Peru is a country in western South America. It is bordered with Colombia and Ecuador in the north, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the east by Brazil, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean.

The territory of Peru was home to many ancient cultures including the Norte Chico civilization, one of the oldest in the world, and to the great Inca Empire the most powerful and largest state America. In 1532, Spanish conquistadors made contact with the mighty Empire and within the next years the Inca Empire was in ruins ruled by the Spanish. The independence of Peru was, consequently, achieved in 1821.

Peru has experienced intervals of political turmoil and fiscal crisis as well as periods of stability and economic economic growth. As established in the Constitution, the Peruvian government is a presidential representative democratic republic divided into 26 regions.

Peru is the third largest country in South America. With 1,285,215 sq. km., Peru is divided into 8 geographic regions, which three are the most well defined: The central high sierra of the Andes, with its massive mountains, peaks, deep canyons, the narrow lowland of the  Pacific coast and the vast tropical forests of the Amazon Jungle. It is a country with a high Human Development Index score and a poverty level around 26%. Its main economic activities include fishing, mining, agriculture and manufacturing of products such as textiles. The population of Peru for first of January 2015 was estimated at 31 151 643 according on the INEI (Peruvian National institute of statistics and information technology). The main official spoken language of Peru is Spanish and Quechua, bus it is a multilingual country home to a significant number of indigenous tongues including Asháninka, Aguaruna an many others.

This mixture of different ethnic groups, nature and culture has resulted in a wide diversity of expressions and traditions in areas such as cuisine, art, literature, and music.

Experience our history and culture by booking any of our Peru travel tours and Packages.

Climate

The climate of Peru is very diverse, with a large variety of climates and micro climates, including 28 of the 32 world climates. This variety is basically because by the influences of the Andean Mountains, and the offshore cold Humboldt current.

In Lima, the climate in winter is cloudy and humid, specially during the mornings, and produces short morning fog from June to December and constant low clouds from May to November, the average daily temperatures in winter range from 12 °C – 54 °F to 20 °C – 68 °F. In summer is less humid, and warm and last from December to April, the maximum temperature averages is around 29 °C – 84 °F, with a daily minimum temperature around 19 °C – 66 °F.

Cusco: Its climate is generally dry and temperate, slightly cold with night frost. It has two defined seasons: the dry season lasts from April to October and sunshine is abundant with an average temperature between (5 ºC – 41 ºF to 22 ºC – 71.6 ºF). The rainy season lasts from November to March with an average temperature between (5 ºC – 41 ºF to 22 ºC – 75.2 ºF). Although frost and hail are common, snow is virtually unheard of.
Puno: Located at  3,822m. Temperatures are between (2 ºC – 35 ºF to 18 ºC – 64 ºF), which means it is cold, especially at night. If you arrive from a lower elevation, you might want to spend a day or two taking it easy in order to acclimatize.

Visas

All countries require a valid passport (with minimum 6 months validity). For more information about tourist visas contact your local consulate, or embassy for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent.

Citizens of US, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zeeland and Europe do not need visa. Travelers from all other countries should contact their local consulate or embassy prior to traveling to the Republic of Peru.

It’s your responsibility to check the correct requirements before you traveling to Peru.

Currency

The currency of Peru is the Peruvian Nuevo Sol (in English Sun) and is represented by the symbol S/.

Peru’s official currency is the nuevos sol (S/) and is divided into 100 centimos. The Nuevo sol are available in banknotes and different range of coins.

Coins: 5, 10, 20, and 50 centimos

Coins: 1, 2 and 5 nuevos soles.

Banknotes: 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 nuevos soles.

Note that, American dollars are accepted for payment in some tourist areas.

Currency exchange

American US dollars can be exchanged in banks, hotels and many tourist shops. There are also people in most cities wearing vests with the Dollar and Euro signs who can give better rates than banks. However we strongly recommend exchanging dollars only in banks and Casa de cambios (Exchange house).

American US dollars can be exchanged in banks, hotels and many tourist shops. There are also people in most cities wearing vests with the Dollar and Euro signs who can give better rates than banks. However we strongly recommend exchanging dollars only in banks and Casa de Cambios (Exchange house). Some money exchange bureaus in Lima, Cusco and Arequipa also accept Euros, but with other currencies, it is virtually impossible exchange into soles.

Make sure that your US$ and Euros bills are in excellent condition. Even the slightest rip or old looking bills will not be accepted. Small dollars notes are better accepted than large when travelling inside Peru.

Credit cards

Many ATMs are easily found in airports, bus terminals, cities and towns in Peru. Most ATMs are availble for major credit cards (Visa, Cirrus, Maestro/MasterCard systems, American Express etc.

Visa and Maestro are the most broadly accepted in Peru. Note that only credit cards with a 4-digit PIN number are only accepted by most ATMs and banks in Peru. Notify your bank in advance, that you’ll be using your ATM card and you will be withdrawing substantial amounts of cash, so they can rise your

Visa and Maestro are the most broadly accepted in Peru. Note that only credit cards with a 4-digit PIN code are accepted by most ATMs and banks in Peru. Notify your bank in advance that you’ll be using your credit card in Peru so you can avoid your card from being blocked by your bank.

Credit cards can be used in shopping centers, restaurants, hotels, travel agencies etc. Consider that purchasing products or services on a credit card a fee of 5%-10% usually applies. American dollars are the simplest currency to exchange, in anyway a combination of cash in US dollars, Soles and cards is the most recommended .

Tipping

Some tourist restaurants automatically add a 10% tip (service charge), so tipping is not obligatory. The normal tip rate is about 5-10% of the amount consumed. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip local guides or drivers we use. We recommend for tipping porters and local guides between 2-10 USD, for drivers 3-4 soles per day according of the length and service. Taxi drivers usually don’t expect a tip; ask your river Explorers assistant guide for specific recommendations.

Travel health

River Explorers recommend consulting your doctor to update your medical travel information before departure. Be aware that sometimes we are in remote areas and away from medical attention, and for legal reasons our guides are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit with antibacterial wipes, hand sanitizers and any personal medical requirements. When you choose your trip please read carefully the itinerary and evaluate your ability to fit with the style of travel.

Vaccinations

There are no mandatory health requirements for enter Peru unless you are will visit the Amazon Rain forest. Yellow fever vaccination is required for travel to the Amazon jungle and is necessary to show a yellow fever vaccination license in Iquitos and Puerto Maldonado airport. Taking malaria medication is a personal decision. However we suggest that you use insect repellent and malaria prophylaxis especially for the Iquitos area. No cases of malaria among guides, staff, researchers or clients have ever been recorded at River Explorers. Leishmaniasis is a skin lesion caused by a certain kind of small biting fly. There is no vaccination against it, but it is curable in every case. This applies only for tourist who has a Tambopata, Iquitos, Ucayali or Manu tours.

Visiting Lima, Cuzco, Arequipa, Puno or Machu Picchu or any other Andean areas, does not require any special caution.

Altitude sickness

High altitude is altitudes over 2,500 to 3,500m. Altitude sickness isn’t related to physical fitness and every person reacts differently. Cusco, Puno and Arequipa are an altitude over 2500 meters.
We recommend to drink lots of fluids to remain properly hydrated (at least four to six liters per day); eat a high-carbohydrate diet such as pasta. Take it easy and don’t overexert yourself when you first get up to altitude. But, light activity during the day is better than sleeping because respiration decreases during sleep, exacerbating the symptoms. Avoid tobacco, alcohol and other depressant drugs including, barbiturates, tranquilizers, sleeping pills and opiates such as dihydro-codeine. These further decrease the respiratory drive during sleep resulting in a worsening of symptoms.

Safety information

Safety in Peru is improving. We strongly recommend using a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your air tickets, cash, travelers’ cheques, passport and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelry at home, you won’t use it while travelling. Be cautious in crowded areas, on public transport, airports, bus and train stations, and in the center of Lima at night. Visitors should avoid all political gatherings and demonstrations as these have the potential for violence. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions. For transfers to airports, train and bus stations take taxis that have been pre-booked by a hotel, River Explorers or any other official tour operator.

Emergency contact

In case of a serious situation is best to call first River Explorers local office, if for any reason you do not have an answer, leave a message or call the emergencies number described below, so we can assist you as soon as possible.

River Explorers Contact Information
Cusco Office:
Phone numbers
Local: 51 84 260926
Cellular phone: 51 84 984 909249
Emergencies 24 hours: 51 84 984 909249
Email: contact@riverexplorers.com

Office Hours: Monday to Friday: 9am – 1pm 2pm – 6pm

What to bring

Weather vary constantly in Peru. We recommend to bring some warm clothes especially if you travel during May to September, early mornings and nights in Cusco, Puno and Arequipa are very cold. Sleeping bag minus 10 degrees for the Inca trail to Machu Picchu, Salkantay Trek, and Lares Trek to Machu Picchu is recommended.

  • Packing any other items are at your own discretion.
  • Travel documents such as passport, visas, travel insurance certificate, air tickets (with photocopies).
  • Any vaccination certificates required.
  • Money: traveler’s cheques/cash/credit or debit card, money belt etc.
  • Binoculars, photo or video camera, cover for backpacks, fleece top, windproof/waterproof jacket, small towel and swim wear, 4 shirts/t-shirts, fleece top, sun hat, 1 pair of shorts, 2 pairs of long trousers, 1 pair hiking pants/track pants, hiking boots/ sturdy walking shoes, sport sandals, sun block, sunglasses, watch or alarm clock, flashlight.
  • Refillable water bottle and water purification tablets – No plastic water bottles are allowed to hike the Inca Trail.
  • First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, aspirin, band Aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may be taking).
  • Day pack to carry your personal items during the day and the hiking tour

For The Inca Trail or other trekking tour
Sleeping bag (menus 10 degrees), mosquito repellent, hiking shoes or trainers, hat, socks, worm clothes, gloves, woolen hat to cover the ears, rain coat, sun block, flashlight, refillable water bottle and water purification tablets. More information about packing list click at Inca Trail tours

For The rafting trips
Sleeping bag (5 degrees) you can rent this for 6 USD a day at the office, mosquito repellent, Sandals and trainers, hat, socks, sun block, flashlight, refillable water bottle and water purification tablets, bathing suits. To put inside the wet-suit you need any kind of fleece or t-shirt that is not cotton; cotton usually does not keep the body hit when is wet. Small towel, shorts (obligatory in order to wear over wet suit)

Other rules

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any of River Explorers trips. Using or possessing drugs not only contradict the rules and laws of the Peru but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travelers. River Explorers has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession.

Laundry

Some of the hotels do the laundry for clients for a charge.

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