Here you can find the answers to the most frequent questions on Peru, we know that sometimes they’re not enough, but we’re always available to help, if you have any doubt please write: email@example.com
Regions and climate
On the Andes, the climate is characterized by two different seasons: the summer, from April to October, is the best season to visit Peru, as the weather is dry, the days are sunny, the nights are cold and low rainfalls, while from December to March it’s the rainy season. Generally on the Andes during the day the temperature range can vary from 20°C to 2°C.
The Amazon region is characterized by a humid and tropical climate, there are two different seasons, the summer (from April to October), that is sunny, with temperature higher than 30°C and the rainy season (from November to March) with frequent downpours and increased river flow.
The coast region is also characterized by two different seasons, the summer (from December to March) with temperature up to 27°C and the winter season, humid and cold, with temperature that can decrease to 12°C. During the winter, especially in Lima, the phenomenon of “garua”, a fog that cover the sky all day long, is very common. The northern coast (from Piura to Mancora, close to the border with Ecuador) on the contrary is sunny with a sub-tropical climate where it’s possible to swim all year round.
Cusco is located at a height of 3400m above the sea and Lake Titicaca to almost 3900! Always consult a doctor before leaving if you are more than 60 years old, if you suffer heart diseases, if you have heart by-pass or if you have respiratory problems. Health, first of all!
Altitude or mountain sickness presents symptoms such as fatigue, heaviness, headache, slight nausea and tachycardia. The tourists suffer from very mild symptoms during the first 24 hours of stay (over 3,000 meters high) and usually disappear with a sound sleep. It is recommended - once you reach the hotel - not to do strenuous physical, not to drink alcohol, not smoking and not eating fatty foods and try some natural remedies such as eating bananas and, above all, chewing the leaves of coca or served as a tea (mate). Another practical remedy is to take a Sorochepill (available at any pharmacy), a tablet which greatly reduces these symptoms.
Vaccines: If you're planning a visit to the beautiful Amazon is required to make a vaccine against yellow fever, at least 10 days before entering the jungle. Bring your certificate of vaccination, it’s very probable they’ll ask for it! This is the only mandatory vaccination to come to Peru!
Malaria prophylaxis is not mandatory for those who visit the National Park of Manu or Tambopata-Candamo Reserve in the Amazon. Drink only bottled water or boiled previously, before drinking fruit juice on the road, ask to the seller!
The revenge of Atahualpa: better known as "traveler's diarrhea," quite common but you can easily treat it with two days’ rest. We recommend you to consult a doctor or a pharmacist, drink plenty of water, tea and eat light foods (boiled rice).
If you have the ISIC Card, bring it with you, there’s a lot of discount (flight tickets, Inca Trail, museums, Machu Picchu entrance ticket)
Train to Machu Picchu : the train leaves from Cusco or from Ollantaytambo, the rates vary depending on the train type. For information: www.perurail.com
Tourist agencies: we recommend you to contact only authorized agencies, be careful to people that offer you trips on the road, at the bus terminal, at the airport or on the taxi, they can cheat you.
Markets: useful to know the Peruvian customs and habits, they are also a fascinating and colorful place where you can taste special foods or take a full breakfast, the loquacious mamitas (women) will instantly prepare you a juice squeezed from fresh fruit! You’ll find our "Casera" (usual seller) in the market of San Pedro in Cusco in the place 51!
Communications: for any phone call you’ll find a lot of internet point (everywhere!) and call from the call booths that are inside. Surfing internet costs around 1.50 Nuevos Soles per hour.
Electric power: Electric power voltage is 220 volts and 60Hz. The sockets are different, we recommend you to bring a universal adapter.
Children: we strongly suggest you to not give money to the begging children as the money will be spent by the father to buy alcoholics.
Brichera/o: they are the people of the nightlife (in Cusco) that look for foreigners who marry them and carry them to Europe. From the English word “bridge”.
Photos: in the Andean culture not always people accept to be photographed; it’s necessary to ask permission ( we suggest you telephoto) or sometimes you can take a photo for few soles.
What to bring
The climate in Peru vary depending on the area and at 3000m above the sea the temperature range between the day and the night is very large: it’s better to bring comfortable clothes suitable for every temperature (during the night temperature can descend below zero!), sunscreen, sunglasses and repellent. We suggest you to dress in layers. In fact, during a trip in Peru you’ll meet different climate and certainly you’ll be wearing either a bathing suit or a windbreaker. This applies to any period of the year.
Baggage or backpack? This is the problem… the answer is…you choose, as you feel more comfortable. If you travel to Machu Picchu, Titicaca Lake and Colca Canyon you can leave your baggage at the hotel and take only few things for the night that you’ll not sleep in the hotel.
Currency and payment methods
In Peru there’s a lot of counterfeit coins and notes! So be very careful when changing money (try to do it only in authorized exchange houses). The euro is generally exchange at a worse rate. Broken or even slightly shredded dollars (notes) are difficult to be changed and always check the change back.
The official currency of Peru is the Nuevo Sol (S /.) divided into 100 cents. There are coins of 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents, 1, 2 and 5 Nuevos Soles and notes of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 Nuevos Soles. The U.S. dollar is accepted in most shops, restaurants and service stations with daily exchange rate. At the moment we’re writing 1 euro correspond to 4 soles. The opening hours of Peruvian banks are generally from Monday to Friday from 09:00 to 18:00, some banks open on Saturdays until noon. In major cities there are ATMs of different banks.
Time and Visa
In Peru the time zone is 5 hours less than UTC. The Visa is not necessary for the citizens coming for many American countries and from Western Europe. When arriving in Peru, you’ll get a touristic visa, that generally has a validity of 90 days.
Whether you are in the Andes, the Amazon or the Pacific Coast, Peru always offers such a variety and quality in its food to be left amazed. The Peruvian cuisine is considered the most elaborate and upper-class cuisine in South America, it can be extremely sophisticated in its fusion and international expression but also popular with typical local dishes that vary from region to region and are very succulent. Highly recommended are fish dishes in Lima, in particular Ceviche, Tiraditos, Causas and in Arequipa you can taste Chupe de Camarones and fish cooked on lava rock. In Amazonia it’s worth to try Tacacho and river fish cooked in banana leaves, while in the Andean region you don’t have to miss the meat of Alpaca with his lean and tasty meat, quinoa in a soup or risotto, Chicharrones de Chancho (fried pork) and finally, it is recommended to try at least once the simple grilled chicken that is the true Peruvian national dish!
Airlines: There are flights and connections from Lima to all major cities in the country. The best airline is Lan Peru without doubt, alternatively Peruvians, Taca Peru or Star.
Bus: There is a wide range of companies covering the whole country, among the many we recommend Cruz del Sur.
Micro: micro or combi vans are used for carrying passengers in cities, little used by tourists, but is the cheapest and the most authentic way to travel (0.5 - 1 soles), be careful at little man shouting the route .... you can misunderstand!
Taxi: The taxi fare from Lima airport to downtown is approximately $ 15 U.S., while in Cusco is around 6 Nuevos Soles. In Cusco the daytime rate is 2.50 soles, while in the night (after 22:00) is 3 soles. In Lima always remember to negotiate the price before we got on board because there are no taximeters!
Trains: The tourist rail service covers two routes, Puno-Cusco (two waya) and Cusco-Ollantaytambo-Machu Picchu (two ways).
Peru is a peaceful country (be aware of guides too much alarmist), you’ve just to take the normal precautions for any kind of travel: don’t flaunt wealth or telephoto’s camera; don’t walk in the night in isolated areas; take authorized taxi by calling prior to their operative center. We suggest to bring a copy of your passport and leave the original in the hotel together with your valuables. In case of strike, especially taxi or transport company, we suggest you to wait for the end of the strike. Most shops accept known credit cards: Visa, Master Card, Diners and American Express. The use of travelers check is limited, please check in advance.
Books and Movies
BOOKS > Mario Vargas Llosa, Nobel Prize for Literature, recently in 2010, with his biting humor and his ability to describe the Peruvian reality in his works as “Conversation in the Cathedral”, “The Time of the Hero”, “Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter”, “Captain Pantoja and the Special Service”, “The Way to Paradise”; while Arguedas brings out the contrasts and the contradictions of the rural Andean world with the white men through “ Deep rivers”, “Yawar Fiesta”, “Todas las sangres” and “The Fox from Up Above and the Fox from Down Below”.
Other interesting books to read are: “The River Ran East” of L.Clark, already considered a classic of travel and adventure literature, that is a chronicle of his travel into the Amazon in 1946 searching for the mythical El Dorado; “Kantu, El poder de la mujer” of Hernan Huarache Mamani, a glimpse on the Andean mysthicism and Cosmo vision: in Italian, “Desaparecida” of Maria Gabriella Guarino, the tells the history of an Italian journalists that comes in Peru for interviews and falls in love with a guerrilla. She will be stopped for more than two years just to have loved a terrorist.
MOVIES > The Peruvian movie that recently received more attention is undoubtedly “The Milk of Sorrow” (La teta Asustada), Golden Bear at the Berlin Festival in 2009. The literal translation of the original title is "The frightened breast", which is a rare "disease" that is transmitted from the mother to the infant through breast milk of women who experienced violence during pregnancy. It's just the syndrome that affects Fausta, whose mother was raped, causing her nosebleeds and other ailments, as well as she will bring with her a lot of secrets until the death of her mother. Another movie worth to be seen is “Pantaleon y las Visitadoras” by Lombardi.