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TRIP PLANNER


TOURIST VISAS

Citizens from most countries in the Americas (including the United States and Canada), Western Europe (Great Britain), South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia do not require visas to enter Peru as tourists - only valid passports. Only some Asian, African and communist countries, need visas when entering Peru.

Bolivians, Ecuadorians, Brazilians, Colombians and Chileans may even enter specific regions of the country just by presenting their national identification documents.

The maximum authorized length of stay is 90 days. stamped into their passports and onto a tourist card, called ''Tarjeta Andina de Migracion'' or Andean Immigration Card, which you must return upon leaving the country. Carry your passport and tourist card with you at all times, especially when traveling in remote areas (it's required by law on the Inca Trail).

LOCAL MONEY

The official currency in Peru is the Nuevo Sol (S/.), which is divided into 100 centimos. The currency includes coins for 5, 10, 20 and 50 centimos and 1, 2 and 5 soles coins. There are bills in the denomination of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 Nuevos Soles.

U.S. Dollar is accepted at some local businesses, restaurants, and gas stations at the day's exchange rate.

It is also possible to exchange foreign currency (USD and Euros) at hotels, banks, and authorized exchange offices.

There are limitations when using travelers checks, so we recommend asking at the establishment to see whether they are accepted or not before making purchases or ordering.

TIME ZONE

The time in Peru is 5 hours behind GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) and is similar to EST (Eastern Standard Time) in the United States. However, Peru does not operate daylight saving time in order to save energy, therefore the hours are the same year round and do not vary from one geographic region to another.

MEASURE SYSTEM

The Metric system.

NATIONAL LANGUAGE

The population is mostly mixed and urban and speaks Spanish, but there are two important minorities: Andean populations, divided in the Quechua and Aymara language families and Amazon populations divided in 15 language families and 43 ethnic groups.

You may also speak English with people working in the tourism industry, like tour guides, travel agency employees, and staff members at 3 to 5 stars hotels.

HEALTH TIPS

If you are planning to travel to the highlands, the following will help you avoid experiencing mountain sickness: rest on the first day of your arrival, eat light foods, drink plenty of fluids, and keep lime drops on hand. If you suffer from heart conditions, consult your physician.

If you are planning to travel to the jungle, take the proper measures to protect yourself from mosquito bites: vaccinations against tropical diseases, insect repellant and medication. Consult your doctor before traveling. Take note that a yellow fever vaccination is required and must be administered at least 10 days before your trip. If not, it will not take effect.

INSURANCE

Before traveling, we strongly recommend that you review your personal insurance and your health insurance to ensure you have appropriate cover to meet your needs, and the needs of your family and dependants, in case of any loss of property, or accident, injury or death.

CLOTHING TIPS

Find out about the climate before you arrive so that you know what type of clothes you should bring. If you are coming in Summer you can bring shorts, jeans, T-shirts, sandals, quality sun block and a hat, as well as a light jumper or jacket, as there is often a cool breeze at night.

During Winter a jacket and thicker wool or cotton clothes are essential; they can be obtained here in malls and clothing stores. If you are going to the Andean plateau or jungle you should take waterproof clothing or an umbrella for the rain, as well as insect repellent. Also, take walking shoes if you plan any outdoor excursions.

ELECTRICITY

Peru has sockets of 220 volts / 60Hz. However, most 4 and 5-star hotels do have sockets equipped for 110 volts.

BEST TIME TO TRAVEL

None of the seasons of the year are bad to visit Peru. Peru's climate can be divided into two seasons - wet and dry - though this can vary depending on the region. Temperature is mostly influenced by elevation: the higher you climb, the cooler it becomes.

Peru's peak tourist season is from April to October, which is the dry season in the Andean highlands. It's also the best time to go if you're interested in hiking, cicling or mountain climbing. For travelers who visit the highlands year round, the wettest months, January and February, make trekking a muddy proposition. However, many of the major festivities occur around this time and continue undiminished in spite of heavy rain.

On the coast, Peruvians visit the beach during the sunny, humid months from December through March. The rest of the year, the coast is clothed in mist.

In the eastern rainforests, it naturally rains a lot. The wettest months are December to May, but travelers visit year round. It is due to it rarely rains for more than a few hours at a time and there's plenty of sunshine to enjoy.

SECURITY

During your visit to Peru, it is important that you take the same precautions for personal safety shared by all tourist destinations the world over, such as:

* Not leaving your personal items unattended in public areas and avoiding deserted areas at night.

* Carry a copy of your ID documents and keep the originals together with other valuables in the hotel safe.

* If you must exchange money, do so in banks, exchange houses, or in your hotel. Avoid doing this in plain sight.

* When taking a taxi it is advisable to telephone a cab company or look for cabs that are authorized by the municipalities. In Lima these are usually yellow with a lighted sign on the roof.

COMMUNICATIONS

Internet

A number of service providers across the country offers public access to internet. Besides cybercafes, hotels, airports, the most popular places are known in Peru as ''cabinas internet'' or internet booths, and the average cost of an hour connection is S/. 3.50 (US$ 1.00).

Wireless internet service is provided in most 4 and 5 stars hotels and in shopping centers.

Telephony

Peru features an ample telephone network that provides services for national and international long-distance calls from private telephone lines and public cabins. There are also 12 million active cellular phones nationwide.

Public telephones accept coins and phone cards that are sold in kiosks and supermarkets. Make certain that you are buying the phone card from the company you wish to use. It is also possible to make collect calls from some public phone booths.

For international calls dial 00 + 51 (country code) + city code + telephone number.

For inter-city calls dial 0 + city code + telephone number.

Postal Service

Post offices are located throughout the regions of the country.

MEDICAL ATTENTION

Peru generally maintains good health conditions. Hospitals and clinics provide adequate services, especially in Lima and its main cities.

Prevent altitude sickness or soroche by resting on your first day in the highlands and eating sparingly. Drink coca-leaf tea.

If you are traveling to the highlands or jungle, take waterproof clothing and insect repellent.

To keep from getting gastrointestinal infections, we recommend you take care when eating raw foods. Drink bottled or boiled water, and do not eat food from street food stalls.

MONEY EXCHANGE

The official currency in Peru is the Nuevo Sol (S/.), which is divided into 100 centimos. The currency includes coins for 5, 10, 20 and 50 centimos and 1, 2 and 5 soles coins. There are bills in the denomination of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 Nuevos Soles.

U.S. Dollar is accepted at some local businesses, restaurants, and gas stations at the day's exchange rate.

It is also possible to exchange foreign currency (USD and Euros) at hotels, banks, and authorized exchange offices.

ATM machines can be found in most major cities in Peru (Lima, Arequipa, Cusco), and these accept a variety of cards.

The most widely accepted credit cards are: American Express, VISA, Diners Club and Master Card. When using any of these cards, you must show some form of identification.

There are limitations when using travelers checks, so we recommend asking at the establishment to see whether they are accepted or not before making purchases or ordering.

The exchange rate currently stands at about S/.2.80 Nuevos Soles for $ 1.00 and about S/.3.73 for $ 1.00 although it is subject to market fluctuations. If you want to change on the street make sure that the person is clearly identified and it is in busy places and nearby banks and businesses.

AIRPORT TAXES

Each airport charges a tax for the use of its facilities, called the T.U.U.A. or airport use tax, which is not part of the price of your airline ticket, must be paid in cash before boarding your airplane, and differs, according to the city of departure. Minors are also charged.

For national or domestic flights, the airport tax is US$ 6.82 in Lima and US$ 4.28 in Cusco, which are the cities that charge a higher tax for the use of their airports. This tax is paid in each exit from an airport, and the payment is per person.

For International departures, the amount you have to pay is US$ 31. This tax will be paid at the bank offices located in the airport after your Check-in, receiving a self-adhesive small sticker that usually adheres to the air ticket. At the moment of passing by the migration control, this payment voucher will be shown to the authority.

NIGHTLIFE

All over Peru, you will find so many things to do, see and experience, you may not have enough time to do everything. Most cities in Peru offer a variety of nightlife. In Lima, there are peñas (folk club), discotheques, pubs, bars and night clubs in several districts, the most popular are found in Miraflores, San Isidro, and Barranco. The location of nightlife places in other cities is normally near the main square and its surroundings.

PERUVIAN CUISINE

Peruvian cuisine is characterized by its wide variety of traditional dishes from the coast, highlands and jungle. You can find all kinds of restaurants to discover this mixture of flavors: from the highly sophisticated to simple and inexpensive establishments. When it comes to ordering food, some dishes are usually served intensely seasoned, which is why we suggest you to learn about them before ordering.

Pisco Sour is the national drink of Peru and it is served in countless other ways. Chicha morada (purple corn juice), chicha de jora (corn beer), and aguaje (drink made from aguaje palm fruits) are also traditional drinks from Peru that you can enjoy during your trip throughout Peru.

Tipping Suggestions

Restaurants normally include a 10% service charge in the bill. In this case, an extra tip is not necessary. If a service charge is not included, then a 10% tip can be given. For smaller restaurants or family owned establishments tipping is not common, but a friendly tip to a waiter is always gratefully received. In hotels, porters expect about US$ 1.00 per bag and taxi drivers do not expect a tip, so Peru tipping is normally at the discretion of the tourist, depending on how satisfied you are with the service given.

SHOPPING

The main hand-made craft stores are found in the Indean markets on Avenida Petit Thouars in Miraflores. It is also possible to purchase crafts in the city's main shopping centers as Larcomar.

CUSTOMS

Arrival:

On arriving in Peru it is necessary to fill in a customs declaration, on which is listed the objects which carry duty. These are listed on the back of the document. The articles which are of free entry into the country are those normal to any traveler. After having completed passport control and before leaving the airport, if you arrive in Lima by plane, you have to go through a control system that consists of the following: the passenger pushes a button, if a green light turns on, they can go their way; if it is a red light, the customs officer must thoroughly check all the luggage.

Departure:

It is absolutely prohibited to take out objects of pre Colombian art, although some locations freely sell them. Also, it is not advisable to take leaves of coca, even though it is not specifically prohibited. In the country, the consumption of coca leaves is normal and the leaves are sold legally to make tea or to chew. However, departure with this product can lead to a fright or cause some loss of time at customs.