Peru General Information

Peru is the third largest country in South America, after Brasil and Argentina,  extremely biodiverse country, It is made up of a variety of landscapes, with habitats ranging from the arid plains of the Pacific coastal region in the west to the peaks of the Andes mountains vertically extending from the north to the southeast of the country to the tropical Amazon Basin rainforest in the east with the Amazon river.

Peru is a very old country. it was home to ancient cultures, Societies emerged on the west coast more than 5,000 years ago and began to spread inland, Caral, one of the oldest in the world, to the Inca Empire, the largest state in Pre-Columbian America.

Lima is the capital, a modern city and entrance door to the country.

video inca trail face

CONTENT

Basic Info Peru

Government: Democracy where the President and Legislative Chamber are elected every five years.

Capital:Lima

Religion: Roman Catholic: 95%. Protestant and others: 5%

Time: GMT-5 hours (No change during the Summer).

Area: A total of 496,220 square miles, divided into three main geographic areas: the Coast, the Highlands and the Jungle.

Population: 30 million of the following ethnic strains: Europeans, Oriental, African, Indoamerican. In Lima: 10.5 million.

Languaje: Spanish with 80% literacy rate.Quechua is also an official language. Aymara is spoken by people around lake Titicaca and dozens of languages are spoken by the native inhabitants of the Amazon basin.

Clothing: 

It is advisable to bring a variety of clothing, depending on the places to visit. If the traveling is through the coast, its appropriate to wear clothing for Fall. If traveling to the mountains, winter clothing will be necessary. Be prepared to dress in layers in the jungle.  If the plan is to enjoy some time at the beach, bring light summer attire.
In general, the suggestion is dress casually, unless the tour program dictates otherwise. Comfortable shoes, a hat and sunblock to protect you from the sun’s strong rays in the mountains and from the heat of the jungle are recommended.

Gambling: Gambling is widespread in Peru, and there are numerous casinos in Lima, few in Cusco and Arequipa.

Water: Tap water in Peru is not safe to drink, especially for foreign stomachs. The best option is to drink bottled water, available in various sizes throughout the country. Boiling water for a couple of minutes and sterilization tablets are also good alternatives.

Tipping: Although some establishments currently include a service surcharge, it is common to leave a 10% tip.

During the tours like Inca trail. The guides and the porters will be expecting some tips at the end of the tour. We recommend give the pñrters around 70 soles per person.

Electricity: Electricity in Peru is 220 volts AC, 60 cycles. Some hotels have 110 volts AC or adapters.

 

PEOPLE & CULTURE

The people of Peru are a mix of many different cultures, including Andinos (Inkas), Spaniards and other Europeans, descendants of African slaves, and Asians. Until recently, most people lived in the countryside. But now, more than 70 percent live in cities. Most Peruvians follow the Catholic religion introduced by the Spanish.

Cities to Visit

A brief description of the most-visited tourist destinations in Peru.

Lima City

Cusco - Machupicchu

Nazca & Paracas

Arequipa City

Puno City

Trujillo

Amazonas

What to see in Peru

Peru is an extremely biodiverse country: it combines the 3 main regions The Cost (desert) , Jungle (Amazonas) and Andes, hight altitudes.

Travel to Cusco the capital of the Inca Empire and visit Machupicchu, overfly the enigmatic Nazca Lines, go and explore the Amazon (Manu rainforest) and navigate the highest Lake on the world, lake Titicaca in Puno or walk the famous Inca trail, visit  Arequipa and the Colca canyon the deepest canyons in the world, practice white water rafting in the rivers of Cusco and meet the Ancient Culture of the Incas and its traditions.

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Questions about Peru

BEST TIME TO COME TO PERU?

Peru experiences two seasons: a wet season from November through March and a dry season from April through October.

Coast: :the best time from December to March - Summer 

Highlands: the best time is from April to octobe - Winter 

Jungle: Best time  from  April - October

However since Peru is in the Southern Hemisphere it is also our Winter so the nights can be cold in the Cusco region, often falling to freezing in July and August but beautiful sunny days!

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BE HEALTHY?

Peru generally maintains good health conditions. Hospitals and clinics provide adequate services, especially in Lima and the other main cities.
Consult with your doctor about preventive measures for traveling in the jungle or at high altitudes.

  • Altitude sickness known as soroche in Peru, is occasionally a problem for visitors traveling directly from the coast or jungle regions to the high Andes, above 2,500 meters (8,000 feet). Cusco city. The best way to prevent altitude sickness (headache, dizziness, fatigue) is to eat lightly,  and drink plenty of fluids. It is recommended to ascend gradually to become acclimated and rest on the first day of your arrival.
  • Vaccinations - Travelers that are planning to visit only highlands and coastal cities do not require any inoculation. However, a yellow fever vaccination is required for traveling to jungle cities, and it must be administered at least 10 days before your trip. If not, it will not be effective. Additionally, it's advisable for independent travelers who plan to visit some particular jungle areas to consult their doctor regarding vaccinations against hepatitis A and typhoid before leaving their country.

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FOOD AND RESTAURANTS?

Anyone who has been to Peru can vouch for its wonderful cuisine. Sophisticated restaurants, awarded several forks, reflect the diversity of a nation that has blended its native traditions with the cuisine of Europe, the Middle East, China , Africa and Japan. The result: unique flavors that make Peruvian cuisine one of the finest and most varied in the world.

Today the gastronomy bounty can be enjoyed in traditional restaurants and also through the creations of a new generation of chefs who have achieved international recognition for their imaginative use of traditional ingredients and recipes with haute cuisine techniques. Peruvian restaurants throughout the country can be a fantastic and inexpensive treat. Most restaurants take major international credit cards.
The recommendation for travelers is to avoid eating from street vendors or in places where health conditions are not guaranteed; following these simple measures will prevent uncomfortable moments.

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SAFETY?

During the visit to Peru, it is important to take the precautions that are shared among the world’s main cities and tourist destinations, such as not neglecting personal belongings in public places or avoiding deserted places at night. Besides, we recommend taking the following precautions:

  • Consider getting a copy of the passport, airplane tickets, and credit cards; likewise, think about the option of leaving personal documents in the safekeeping of the hotel and taking the copies with you.
  • Discover where the unsafe areas of the city are and avoid visiting them, especially at night. Also consult the appropriate hours for visiting tourist attractions.
  • If you must exchange money, do so in banks, exchange houses, or in your hotel. Avoid doing this in plain sight.
  • If you drive a car, try using a parking garage or similar service. Do not leave it in dark spots or leave valuables in plain sight.

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MONEY & BANKS?

The official currency in Peru is El Sol (S/.),

There are bills in the denomination of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 Nuevos Soles.

In major cities, most hotels, restaurants and shops accept international credit cards and travelers checks. Nevertheless, it is always advisable to carry some cash. The use of U.S. Dollars is allowed. You may pay for goods and services directly in US Dollars or in Soles at the daily rate of exchange.

Bank offices are open for business Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., although some banks remain open until 6 p.m. (closing hours may vary during the summer months, January through March). Some banks also open Saturday mornings. You can withdraw money with major credit cards at the principal banks.

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PLACES TO STAY?

Peru has a wide range of hotels: (from 5 star to basic hostels), varying  in  room capacity and quality, to satisfy the needs of all visitors. Thanks to the privatization of the chain of State-run hotels, and new foreign and national investment, accommodation for tourists continues to be greatly improved.

There are a number of small hotels with special characteristics that have earned a good reputation.
 
Hostels are similar to hotels, although they are more modest; they provide an interesting lodging option for groups preferring good quality bed-and-breakfast services.

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DOMESTIC FLIGHTS & BUSES

There are several airlines operating the route between Lima and Cusco. The most reliable and professional companies are Star Peru, Lan and TACA.
 
Star Peru www.starperu.com The most recent airline to enter the market with 2 flights per day between Lima and Cusco. This is a Peruvian company with a fleet of 7 Boeing 737-200s (bought from United Airlines). Flights can be booked and paid for online, however their website is only in Spanish. Together with AeroCondor they offer a budget alternative to Lan and TACA. No accidents that I have heard of so far!

Lan www.lan.com Lan is a Chilean owned airline and probably the best airline operating domestic flights in Peru. They also offer many international flights. Lan is a member of One World Alliance (together with American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia & Quantas amongst others) so it should be possible to purchase these flights through your local travel agent when booking your international flight. Their web site also allows online reservations and secure payments. Domestic flights between the following major cities in Peru: Lima - Cusco (3 flights per day each way), Lima - Arequipa (3 flights per day each way), Arequipa - Juliaca, Lake Titicaca (2 flights per day each way), Cusco - Puerto Maldonado (1 flight per day each way). Good safety record. Recommended.
 
TACA www.taca.com  Airline from Costa Rica. Operates international flights as well as one daily domestic flight each way between Lima and Cusco. Good safety record. Recommended.
 

Bus Companies

If you decide to take the bus from Lima to Cusco there are many bus companies offering daily services. However it is highly recommended to pay a bit extra and going with a more professional company such as Cruz del Sur or Ormeno.
 
Cruz del Sur  www.cruzdelsur.com.pe Good quality buses with a good safety record. Website in English with the facility to reserve and pay online. Can also be booked a day in advance upon arrival in Peru.  Recommended. Lima to Cusco between 18 and 20 hours depending on service.
 
Ormeno www.grupo-ormeno.com Website in Spanish only with no facility to pay online. Can be booked in Peru a day in advance. Lima to Cusco 24 hours.

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