USEFUL INFORMATION

Peru is the third largest country in South America and has a mixed ethnic population. It includes Spanish, Incan, African, as well as a mixture of European and traces of Asian ancestry.
The main language spoken throughout most of Peru is Spanish. In the Andean region, Quechua is spoken as well, and Aymara in the Puno region. Throughout the Amazon there are many different dialects.

Food And Drink

Peru is a treasure trove of culinary surprises. The chefs are boss here, proud to prepare tasty dishes in every variety of restaurants. Of course, you must try the ceviche, a traditional Peruvian dish. Do not be afraid of the Pachamanca, a meat stew cooked in the ground, or of the meat on a stick, the anticucho. Oven roasted guinea pig and the roccoto relleno are among other delicacies. All are amazing.

The typical alcoholic drink in Peru is the Pisco Sour, though Peru’s abundance of fruit makes it famous and fondly remembered for its fruit juices, including: maracuya, lúcuma, pacae, chirimoya, etc. Also, at the local markets you can drink a large glass of orange juice for just 1.00 sol.

Money

The Peruvian currency is the New Sol or Nuevo Sol. It is then divided into 100 centavos. One US dollar is roughly equivalent to three soles, but you can find the latest exchange rate online. The euro and the dollar can easily be exchanged in major centers such as Cusco and Lima.

  • Bills are normally only accepted if they are in very good condition. If they have any tears or marks, you can usually still exchange them, but normally at a lower rate.

  • Beware of false bills or coins. This is not a major problem, but tourists should be aware that they exist.

  • Traveler's checks are only accepted in certain stores and mostly only in main tourist areas. They are usually charged a higher rate to exchange them so most travelers prefer to bring cash or use their ATM cards to withdraw money.

Taxis

Inside the airport, you can find registered and official taxis which are recommended, however, they are more expensive. In Lima, expect to pay about $30 from the airport to Miraflores, and in Cusco, expect to pay 15 soles from the airport the main plaza. If you want to pay less, you can get a taxi from just a step outside the airport gates. Many taxi drivers work with other services such as hotels, restaurants or tour agencies and will try to sell you their services, so be aware of this and be careful.

ATM

There are ATMs in major centers and highly visited tourist areas, though not all ATM’s provide international transactions so make sure your bank logo is on the machine before you use it. Credit cards are accepted in major centers, but don’t count on using them everywhere. Cash is preferred.

Health and Precautions

Please only drink bottled water to avoid stomach ailments such as diarrhea. If you venture into areas of the jungle, make sure you have all recommended immunizations.

Medical care varies from city to city in Peru. There are very good doctors in Lima if you have any major problems, however, for small ailments, the health centers in smaller cities are suitable and the equipment and facilities have been improving greatly, although they may not have the same standards as in America or Europe. If you do receive care, many hospitals will require you to pay cash for the care and any medications.

Peru is considered a safe country, but as in all poor countries, be careful with your valuable items and don’t display large amounts of money or jewelry.

Communications

  • Peru has many internet cafes and call centers in highly populated areas. Check prices first, before calling, because prices can vary considerably.

  • Phone calls often cost one (1) to four (4) soles per minute.
  • Internet time often costs one (1) to three (3) soles per hour.
  • If you venture into the mountains and areas of the jungle, you should always bring a cell phone, even though service is often limited.

The Peruvian Government

Peru has one of the most stable governments in South America. The president of the republic is a Democrat, Alan Garcia who was elected for a term of five years in 2006.

Electricity

Our country uses 50hz of 150 and 220 volts. Check your equipment before leaving, as you may need a converter or adapter.

Climate

Peru is a country with many different climates and different ecological zones. The coast is warm and dry during the summer. Our Sierra, surrounded by beautiful mountains, tends to have a colder climate and rainfall from December to March. Sunny, warm weather usually lasts from April to November. The jungle is hot throughout the entire year.

Cusco Advisories

From May to September the weather is dry and warm. December to March is the rainy season, with cooler temperatures. Cusco is located at an altitude of 3400 meters, so you may need a day to acclimate when you arrive. The first few days, it is advisable to eat light meals and drink plenty of liquids. Coca tea is recommended for the altitude. For trips going to high altitudes, we recommend using pills to help with the altitude.

Equally Important

It is helpful to learn a few words in Quechua before your adventure in the Andes. A few words or phrases will be useful and the people appreciate it. As Peru is a poor country and many children have not had enough to eat, showing a bit of affection and a smile helps.

Other Useful Info

For all of our hiking programs we recommend bringing warm clothes regardless of the season. We try not to use plastic bottles for water due to the impact on the environment, so we ask that you bring reusable water bottles or canteens.

Important Note:


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