Travel Preparations & Advice
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Visas and Documents:
Citizens of most Western European countries, North and South America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand only require a valid passport to enter Peru. You need to ensure that your passport has at least 6 months left to run after the date that you enter the country.
On arrival you will be given a tourist card which you fill out in duplicate. At the immigration office you will normally get a 90 day stay in Peru; both your passport and the tourist card are stamped and you will be given one copy of the tourist card to keep. Do not lose it since you need to hand it back when leaving the country. Losing the card will incur plenty of hassle in replacing it.
If you want to stay longer than 90 days then you have two options: The first is to leave the country for at least 2 days (to Bolivia, Chile or Ecuador) and return to obtain another 90 day stay for free. This process can be repeated as many times as the border control officials still believe you are a tourist. Alternatively you can renew your tourist card at the Department of Immigration in either Lima or Cusco. The cost is $25 per extension of 30 days. A maximum of 3 extensions is permissible. Prepare yourself for a bit of a long drawn out renewal process particularly in Cusco.
For more detailed information see our webpage Visa Requirements for Visitors to Peru
When travelling between towns always have your passport close to hand since legally you have to have it ready for inspection at all times. In the cities it is probably best to leave it in the hotel safe and carry a photocopy of your passport with you.
It is also a good idea to make photocopies of any other important documents and to keep a note of your traveller's cheques, credit card account numbers and emergency phone numbers.
Time difference: Peru is 5 hours behind London or six hours in British Summer Time (BST). Other time differences are listed below
|Los Angeles||-3 (or -2 Pacific Daylight Time PDT)|
|New York||+0 (+1 Eastern Daylight Time EDT)|
|Toronto||+0 (+1 EDT)|
|London||+5 (+6 BST)|
|Sydney||+15 (+16 Eastern Standard Time EST)|
|Auckland||+17 (+18 EST)|
Currency: The local currency is Nuevo Soles but dollars are widely accepted. See our webpage Money for information about how best to travel with money in Peru and our webpage Peruvian Banknotes for images of the notes and information about how to detect counterfeit notes. This page is well worth spending a few minutes reading and may help you to save a lot of money during your visit to Peru.
Telephone: When dialling Peru from overseas dial your country's international access code (see below) followed by the country code (51), followed by the regional code (see below) minus the initial 0, followed by the number.
International access code:
New Zealand 00
Regional codes for the largest cities:-
084 Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes)
(see full list of regional telephone codes in Peru)
Example: You may see the number of a hotel in Cusco as 231424. From the UK dial 00 51 84 231424. From Lima dial 084 231424. From Cusco dial 231424
Language: As a traveller you will be best served knowing a little Spanish (about 80% of the population speak Spanish). Until 1975 this was the sole official language of Peru but since then Quechua, which is main language of the highland Indians, has also been made official (about 16% of the population speak Quechua). Around Lake Titicaca Aymara, another Indian language, is also spoken. Many Indians speak Spanish too but if you venture into the more remote areas you will find few people who speak any Spanish at all. In most large hotels, airline counters, and tour companies English is generally understood. For more information about learning the basics in Spanish visit our webpage Learn Spanish for Free
Electricity: The supply is 220 volts AC, 60Hz - twin flat blade (as used in the USA) and twin round pin plugs (as used in continental Europe) are both standard here. (The only exception is Arequipa which is 220 volts AC, 50Hz) If you travel to Peru with a device that does not accept 220 Volts at 60Hz then you will need a voltage converter/transformer which can easily be bought in electrical shops in the main cities. However many electrical devices such as battery charges, shavers & laptops are multi-voltage but it is always best to check the device BEFORE plugging it in!!
|Typical wall socket in Peru 220V||Both flat blade and round pin plugs are accepted|
Toilets: Toilet doors are marked with "baņo", "S.H" or "SS.HH" which is an abbreviation for Servicio Higienico. In some of the cheaper hotels and many restaurants toilet paper is not provided so always carry a roll with you. Toilet paper should not be thrown into the toilet but placed in the adjacent basket otherwise the toilet will soon become blocked. This applies throughout Peru even in 5 star hotels.
Packing List: There's a very good saying that goes 'bring twice as much money and half as many clothes as you think you'll need'!
The key to packing for a trip to Peru is to pack for a variety of conditions while keeping the weight to a minimum. Easier said than done when you have to deal with the intense heat of the high altitude, the cold mountain nights spent camping on the Inca Trail and the heat and humidity of the Amazon Basin. The best way to deal with these extremes is to dress using several layers rather than one thick jumper. If you forget something, don't despair since most things can be bought in most Peruvian cities frequently visited by tourists including excellent and cheap alpaca jumpers.
Below you'll find a suggested packing list:
1. Backpack (65 litres should be quite sufficient).
2. Day pack
3. Comfortable walking boots with good ankle support.
2 pairs long trousers (lightweight)
1 short-sleeved shirt
1 long-sleeved shirt
1 pair shorts
Underwear and socks (thermal underwear is highly recommended, being light, warm and makes good nightwear on cold nights).
5. Fleece jacket
6. Hat or cap to protect from the sun.
7. Towel plus washing items.
8. Sun cream, lip salve, sun glasses.
9. Alarm clock, torch, knife
10. Basic first aid kit.
11. Insect repellent.
12. Money belt.
13 Camera, battery charger, spare battery and plenty of memory.
Optional extras include:-
14. Sleeping bag (3 season)- but can be rented in Cusco for the Inca Trail if you don't have one.
15. Plastic sandals - useful for in the shower.
16. Several good novels, pack of cards.
18. Water bottle (mineral water can be bought throughout Peru)
19. Water sterilizing tablets for trekking including the Inca Trail. (Micropur tablets can be bought in Cusco and are very efficient).
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Andean Travel Web Guide to Peru. Office Address: La Casa Cultural, Avenida Pardo 540, Cusco, Peru (just 2 minutes walk from the Koricancha Inca Temple of the Sun). If you are coming to Cusco please bring a couple of second hand clothes, toys, school equipment and drop them off in our office. We will help distribute the items to people who really need them in small village schools and communities in the Andes. For more details visit our web page www.andeantravelweb.com/peru/projects A map of our office can be found by clicking here. Copyright Andean Travel Web Guide to Peru 2000-2009. All material used within this web site is original work and is subject to international copyright law. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited without prior permission from the editor. This web page was last updated in September 2009. Website designed by AndeanVisionWebDesignStudio