Trip Planning – The stuff you need to know!
Entry Requirements – Visas
Generally citizens from Western Europe, North America & Australasia do not need a visa to enter Peru.
You can receive up to 90 days on a tourist visa. If you would like to stay longer, you can either apply for a month’s extension at an Immigration office or cross the border into another country and stamp for another 90 days visa.
Peru has two official languages: Spanish and Quechua. Basic English is widely spoken in most towns & cities.
Peru has the same time as the Eastern Standard Time in the United States. Peru is 5 hours behind GMT. (Greenwich Mean Time). Peru does not utilise any daylight saving programs.
A yellow fever vaccination is NOT required anymore, though it is recommended if you are travelling to jungle areas. Our suggestion is that if you are traveling to jungle areas you should discuss malaria protection with your medical advisor.
The electric voltage in Peru is 220 volts, 60 cycles. In most hotel bathrooms, there is an electrical outlet with 110 volts for electric shavers.
Peru’s official currency is the Nuevo Sol (S/.) There are 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents coins and S/. 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 banknotes. At the time of writing the exchange rate is 3.20 soles to the US dollar, but this does flux. When changing money, try to obtain the smaller notes as larger notes can be difficult to change.
US dollars are welcome at most good shops, restaurants and service stations at the current exchange rate. The more expensive restaurants and hotels catering for travellers accept main credit cards, including Visa, Master card, Diners and American Express.
ATMs are now common in all larger cities and generally provides you with the option of making your withdrawal either in soles or dollars.
InfoPeru is a traveler assistance service to help tourists. This service has a 24 hour hot line. For assistance call in Lima 421-1227. Outside of Lima, dial 01 first.
While out and about, we suggest you leave your passport and the bulk of your money, credit cards etc in the safe deposit box of your hotel. Only take with you the money you intend to spend. Carry a photocopy of the picture page of your passport for ID purposes
There is public internet access on every corner in virtually most towns & cities. The price is generally about 1 sol an hour or US$0.30. Many cabins now feature software to make very inexpensive international calls via the internet. (The quality of this service varies). In the smaller villages, you will struggle to find any kind of service.
At all airports, passengers must pay a departure tax: $ 28, for international flights and about $ 5 for domestic flights. This tax must be paid in cash (soles or dollars) before boarding.
Tips vary and depend on the traveller’s satisfaction with the quality of the service rendered. In most tourist oriented restaurants, a 10% tip is most appreciated. Generally they earn very low rates of pay and so the tip really helps.
Deciding how much to tip the porters, the cook and guide is a difficult moment at the end of the trek. Generally speaking if all the group have been pleased with the service then try to ensure that each porter/muleteer takes home an extra US$10, the cook US$15, the guide US$20 and the assistant guide about US$15. Tipping the guide and cook should be dependent on the quality of the service that you received, and only if you’re happy. Tipping is on a per day basis and to be paid at the end of the activity with the guide/crew.
Public toilets are rarely available except in bus stations, restaurants, bars, cafes etc. Public restrooms are labeled WC (water closet), Damas (Ladies) and Caballeros or Hombres (Men). All over Peru, regardless of the standard of the hotel or restaurant, you should throw the paper in the wastepaper basket rather than the toilet.