Welcome to Peru travel tips
Here you will find plenty of useful information to help you prepare before starting your trip.
01 January New Year
Maundy Thursday and Good Friday (March or April)
Holy Week (movable date)
01 May-Labour Day
29 June St Peter and St Paul´s Day
28 and 29 July Independence Day
30 August St Rosa of Lima´s Day
08 October Battle of Angamos
01 November All Saints Day
08 December Day of the Immaculate Conception
25 December Christmas
18 January Anniversary of Lima
1st Saturday in February National Pisco Sour Day
1st Sunday in February National Pachamanca Day
14 February St Valentine´s Day
20 February Traditional Natural Drinks Day
08 March International Women´s Day
2nd Sunday in May Mother’s Day
30 May National Potato Day
01 June International Milk Day
24 June Inti Raymi – Sun Festival
28 June Ceviche Day
3rd Sunday in June Father´s Day
3rd Sunday in July “Pollo a la Brasa” (spit roast chicken) Day
4th Sunday in July National Pisco Day
4th Friday in August National Peruvian Coffee Day
2nd Friday in October National Guinea Pig Day
2nd Friday in October World Egg Day
16 October World Bread Day
3rd Saturday in October Anticucho Day
31 October Day of the Creole Song
The days celebrating foods mentioned above have been highlighted for their nutritional value and/or tradition.
Come prepared for the season and climate
Peru has a privileged position and visitors will notice that our country is divided into three geographical regions: coast, highlands and jungle.
The coast has a warmer climate in the north and is a little colder in the centre and the south. It almost never rains except in the north in the summer months, and the central coast (Lima) and southern coast (Arequipa) have a heavy sea mist.
In the mountainous Andean regions the climate is cold and dry, with more intense rain.
The jungle regions have a tropical, hot and very humid climate with strong rains which increase in the summer months.
The climate varies according to season and region:
Summer: 22 December to 21 March.
Autumn: 22 March to 21 June.
Winter: 22 June to 22 September.
Spring: 23 September to 21 December.
Depending on the place or places you are going to visit we recommend packing different types of clothes as you will find a different climate wherever you go.
Coast: From January to December in the cities of Lima, Ica and Nazca it is advisable to take light clothing, maybe sports clothes, preferably cotton, and sandals, trainers, and swimming costume. However, you should keep in mind that from April to November the temperature drops and the humidity is high, requiring warm clothes and closed shoes.
Highlands: In cities like Cusco, Arequipa and Puno you will need light clothes during the day and warm clothes such as coats and jackets at night. If you visit these places between November and April you should take thermal layers and waterproofs because sudden rain is highly likely.
Jungle: If you visit cities like Puerto Maldonado or Iquitos it is advisable to take light clothing in light colours. It is important to take long-sleeved shirts or t-shirts and long trousers to avoid mosquito bites. Don’t forget to take boots for walking in the jungle, mosquito repellent and a waterproof jacket in case of storms.
Regardless of the season you choose to travel to Peru, and which region you choose to visit, you will need to bring warm clothes, comfortable trousers, walking shoes, a good sun screen and a hat (for the sun and the cold).
If you are going to do day hikes it is advisable to take a cap or sunhat and clothes appropriate for the season and region where you will be walking. It is also important to take an umbrella and waterproof jacket, especially in the highlands like Cusco and Puno where there are often strong winds in the afternoons.
If you are going to trek for more than just a day you should choose carefully what to take so as not to carry unnecessary weight which would be uncomfortable during your walk. Take only what your guide recommends. Besides a good sleeping bag, you will need hiking boots and a waterproof jacket, especially in the highlands. Remember to drink lots of liquid during the hikes, making sure that it is sterilised.
For adventure tourism
If you are going to go canoeing it is essential to bring more than one complete change of clothes, good sunglasses to avoid the reflection of the sun on the water, and everything must be securely attached to your person so that you do not need to hold anything with your hands. You should pay close attention to the briefing before your excursion.
If you are going to go on other excursions such as mountain biking, quad bikes or motorbikes, it is important to take good sunglasses to protect you from the sun, wind and dust. Other equipment like helmets and protective clothing are the responsibility of the agency.
Long waterproof trousers
Light long-sleeved t-shirts
Jacket and windbreaker
Sun hat and warm hat
Waterproof jacket or umbrella
Medicines and other personal items
Don’t worry if you forget something, you can buy anything you need in Peru.
The official language of Peru is Spanish. In Andean or Amazonian areas Quechua, Aymara and other indigenous languages are also spoken.
The official currency of Peru is the Nuevo Sol, you can find coins of 5, 10, 20 and 50 centavos, coins of 1, 2 and 5 soles and notes of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 soles.
You can change money at banks and money exchanges, the exchange rate varies, check the rate at banks or in the daily papers.
If you are outside of Lima, Peru has a wide banking network with branches in all cities. Their normal opening hours are 09.00 to 18.00 Monday to Friday and Saturdays until midday.
We recommend you take only authorised taxis, the price should be agreed before getting into the vehicle.
You can ask your hotel to call a safe taxi.
The electricity in Peru is 220 volts and 60 hertz (cycles per second). If you want to connect devices of 110 volts in Peru you will need to buy an adaptor or transformer, although most 4 and 5 star hotels will have this transformer.
Electric sockets in Peru: Peru has three types of socket, the universal type of two round pins, those with two flat pins and those with three pins, two flat and one round.
In Peru there is no established amount to leave as a tip for services, it varies according to the satisfaction of the client, however 10% would be considered adequate.
Don’t carry large quantities of cash nor valuable objects.
Never leave your belongings far from you or out of sight
Don’t use unauthorised taxis
Don’t change money in the street or with informal money exchangers
Don’t trust anyone pretending to be a guide or assistant, ask to see their identification.
Tourist Assistance and Information Peru is a service provided by the Peruvian state and offers tourists complete information about attractions, destinations, journey times, routes and the registered companies that provide these services. They can also offer assistance in case of any problem during your stay in Peru. They offer assistance in Spanish and English.
We recommend you eat in restaurants, not in the street, to avoid any stomach problems.
Peruvian food is very varied, as much on the coast as in the highlands or jungle. We recommend you ask what each dish contains as some dishes are seasoned or spicy.
Among our more well-known dishes are ceviche, stuffed chili pepper, roast guinea pig, fried guinea pig, “menestron” (beef soup), and beef stir fry.
If you are vegetarian, Peru has restaurants specialising in vegetarian food prepared with national and international products.
Peruvian food is one of the most varied in the world, considered by many experts as among the best in the world. We recommend trying typical food in each region to experience all of these Peruvian flavours.
It is recommended to rest immediately after arrival to avoid altitude sickness and to drink coca leaf tea, especially when you travel to cities in the highlands like Cusco, Puno, Cajamarca, among others.
Do not eat too much, since at high altitude digestion is slower.
It will also help to not exert yourself too much and make sure you get enough sleep.
Drink plenty of liquids, above all in high altitude areas, preferably bottled water.
When you buy artisanal products, remember that you are helping the local economy and it is a great support to the artisans.
Making phone calls from your room will be expensive, we recommend buying international phone cards to call your country for less, or use local call centres.
We recommend that before leaving home you send yourself an email with all your important information such as passport number, phone numbers, insurance details, etc, so that in case of loss or robbery you have an easy way of recovering the necessary information.
Don’t take services below the regular prices.
Investigate and plan an itinerary for your trip according to your requirements, in this way making best use of your time and allowing you to enjoy more of our marvellous Peru.
Altitude sickness or “soroche” is caused by being in places located at a high altitude, generally occurs above 2,400 metres, and can lead to pulmonary oedema and other illnesses.
Altitude sickness does not affect people travelling by aeroplane because the plane is pressurised to 8,000 feet altitude (2,440 m)
Chronic altitude sickness can occur only after being at altitude for a long time. Frequently people can confuse altitude sickness with dehydration since a loss of water in the lungs can cause them to feel unwell and they attribute it to the altitude.
People who go up quickly to altitudes of more than 2,500m can suffer from altitude sickness. In Peru this includes the cities of Cusco (3,326m) and Puno (3,820m). People who have suffered from altitude sickness in the past are prone to experience it again in the future and the risk increases if you ascend very quickly and exert yourself physically.
Symptoms include headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, insomnia, loss of appetite, etc, in some severe cases, and can be complicated by fluid on the lungs (pulmonary oedema). If the symptoms persist for more than 24 hours it is advisable to descend at least 500m in altitude.
To avoid altitude sickness it is advisable to spend two or more nights for each 1000m. Alternatively you could ask your doctor to prescribe you something that could help. Secondary effects of altitude sickness include increased urination, numbness of the body, tingling, short-sightedness, temporary impotence, etc.
When you travel to high altitude cities it is important to avoid physical exertion, eat light food and avoid alcoholic drinks. Altitude sickness should be taken seriously as it could be life-threatening when severe.
Cusco “Boleto Turístico” (Tourist Ticket):
The ticket costs s/130, half price for students, and is valid for 10 days. It allows you to enter 15 touristic sites such as Sacsayhuaman, Qenko, Puca Pucara and Tambo Machay, which you can visit from the city. It includes Pisac, Ollantaytambo and Chinchero, which can be visited as part of an excursion to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. It also includes other places in Cusco such as the Religious Art Museum, San Blas Church and the Regional History Museum.
Entry to Moray is included in the complete ticket which may be needed for cycling excursions.
The Boleto Turistico is sold at all sites and can be bought on entry during your excursion.
Note: This ticket does not include entry to Koricancha (s/10) nor the Cathedral (s/25)
Alternatively you could buy a partial ticket costing s/70, which allows you to visit four archaeological sites, in case you didn’t want to visit the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
Or you could buy a ticket that is only for the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
The partial ticket has no student discount, students pay the full price of s/70.
There is a great variety of Peruvian handicrafts to choose from, such as alpaca jumpers, carpets, indigenous masks, colourful weavings, and silver jewellery. You will find many shops and galleries selling these crafts in the city and also in the surrounding area in places such as Pisac, which is famous for its handicrafts market.
We can always recommend good places to eat, based on recommendations from our clients.
Since you are at high altitude in Cusco it is advisable that your first few meals be very light, perhaps a vegetable soup, and that you avoid alcohol. You should rest for at least two hours after arriving otherwise you will feel the effects of the altitude. It’s good to drink a coca leaf tea on arrival and have a camomile tea with your meals.
It is highly recommended that foreign visitors have complete medical insurance and be prepared for any medical costs they may incur during their trip.
Note: If you are going to travel to areas of the jungle such as Puerto Maldonado, you should be vaccinated against yellow fever.
We suggest you contact the Peruvian embassy in your country to check if you need a visa and obtain all necessary documentation.
The currency in Peru is the Nuevo Sol (s/.) and has the following denominations: notes of s/.200, 100, 50, 20 and 10, and coins of s/.5, 2, 1, 0.50, 0.20, 0.10, 0.05 and 0.01.
Note: American dollars are accepted in many touristic places, however, it is advisable to always have local currency in small denominations.
Only a few money exchanges in Lima and Cusco will change anything other than American dollars. American dollars, however, can be exchanged in all money exchanges, banks, hotels, etc (torn or damaged notes will generally not be accepted).
It is not advisable to change money with informal money exchangers.
All credit cards are accepted, Visa and Mastercard being the most common.
ATMs are also a quick and easy way of getting money.
Banks will exchange travellers cheques, to avoid any additional charges the cheques should be in American dollars.
Banks are open Monday to Friday from 09.00 to 18.00, and Saturday from 09.00 to 13.00.
You should wear light clothing in summer and warmer clothing at higher altitudes, especially at night.
It is advisable to take a rain jacket in rainy season, particularly in the Andes and in the Amazon.
The dialing code to call Peru is 51, to call Cusco dial 84.
You can buy phone cards in shops and supermarkets.
Mobile phones: Many international phone companies have special roaming rates. You can also hire mobile phones in Lima and in the main Peruvian cities.
You can connect to the internet in public internet cabins and internet cafes. Many public places such as restaurants and hotels also offer internet access.
There are post offices in most towns. However, facilities for sending postcards are limited and tend to take a long time to arrive.
LAN currently has the greatest number of domestic flights, covering routes between cities such as Lima, Cusco, Arequipa, Juliaca, Puerto Maldonado, Iquitos, Tumbes and Piura among others.
There are other airlines operating routes between Lima and Cusco such as Avianca, Lc Peru, Star Peru and Peruvian Airlines.
You have a great variety of options to find the best offer, if you have any questions we can help you. With an electronic ticket you can receive your ticket directly at the airport.
We can help you with flight reservations, however it is important to mention that domestic flights are often cheaper when bought together with an international flight and will also give you security in case of any delay as the airline will be responsible for your onward connection.
The airport tax is included in the ticket price, with the exception of Puerto Maldonado and Juliaca airports.
The company Perurail covers the routes between Cusco-Puno and Cusco-Machu Picchu.
The company Inca Rail covers the route Cusco-Machu Picchu
The Central Andean Railway offers a touristic service twice a month between Lima and Huancayo, this route is the second highest railway in the world.
The Panamerican highway runs along the Peruvian coast and has a number of intersections with routes to the highlands. Not all of the roads in mountainous areas are paved and in good condition and in the rainy season landslides are frequent.
There are organisations that produce maps with travel guides.
The minimum age to drive is 18.
This is an economical way to travel. There are numerous companies, the largest being Cruz del Sur, Ormeño, Oltursa, among others, where you will find a price, level of service and timetable to suit you.
It is advisable to take only authorised taxis, in Lima easily recognisable by their yellow colour. Taxis don’t have a meter to calculate the fare, you must agree the price beforehand.
There are companies offering a safe taxi service, which you can call. The fares will be higher at night and on bank holidays.
Peruvian food is world famous and Peru has a great variety of high quality products. Many hotels offer a la carte dishes and buffet lunches and dinners.
Among the specialities of Peruvian cuisine are:
Ceviche (raw marinated fish), lomo saltado (stir fried beef), rocoto relleno (stuffed chili pepper), shrimp soup, and deserts such as mazamorra morada (made from purple corn), suspiro limeño, etc. Our national drink is Pisco sour and other drinks made from Pisco such as Chilcano.
A service charge of 10% is already included in your bill. It is recommended to leave between 5% and 10% tip depending on your satisfaction.
Occasionally you may come across demonstrations in the streets which can sometimes turn violent. We advise you to avoid these areas.
Drugs: Drug trafficking is a serious crime in Peru and narcotraffickers face long jail sentences.
Exporting art or stuffed animals is prohibited.
Sexual exploitation of children and minors (under 18 years of age) is punishable by up to 25 years in jail.