Peru Travel Guide
From eclectic cities such as Lima and Cusco to historic villages and towns high up in the Andes, Peru is diverse and delightful. Before you plan your Machu Picchu vacation, a Lima tour or hiking trip on the Inca trail, discover our list of the most important Peru travel tips – from Peru visa information to cash and currency, dining etiquette, cultural tours in Peru and other important tips.
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Entry and visas
All visitors need a passport which is valid for six months from the date of travel. Your passport must be in good condition otherwise you will be refused entry. Tourists are allowed to stay in the country for a maximum of 90 days. No visa is required for visitors from the US, UK, Canada and Australia.
Cash, credit cards and tipping
Peruvian Sol (PEN) is the national currency of Peru. One sol equals one hundred Céntimos. Refer to this finance convertor for the most up to date exchange rates.
ATMs are found in every city and town, and are usually open 24/7. Visa is the most widely accepted credit card in South America, followed by MasterCard. American Express is sometimes accepted. Credit cards are accepted in most hotels, major shops and restaurants. Please carry some local currency, preferably in smaller denominations, to tide you over unforeseen circumstances.
Tipping and gratuities, known as “propinas” in Spanish, are not mandatory, but common practice at various service establishments like restaurants is 10%. Taxes are always included in the price.
Communications and internet
In Peru, mobile phone coverage is limited to major cities and towns but will be poor to non-existent in rural areas. If you wish, your Trip Coordinator can help you purchase a local SIM card while in Peru. The best option for making international calls from South America is a prepaid calling card that can be used with a local landline phone, for example, hotel room phones. You can easily purchase these at kiosks. Internet is available in all major cities and towns.
Visitors to Cusco and Machu Picchu in Peru do not need any vaccinations. In the rainforest areas such as Puerto Maldonado and Iquitos in Peru, it is best to carry insect repellent and wear long-sleeved clothes, trousers and a hat, to protect yourself from the Zika virus or dengue fever. Please speak with your doctor before the trip or visit a Tropical Institute to find out which preventive measures are best for you.
In areas such as Colca Canyon, Cusco, Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca, we recommend taking it slow so your body can adapt to the high altitude. In the first hours after arrival we recommend you lie down and drink plenty of water. Acclimation generally takes 1-2 days.
Our travel consultants plan your Peru tours to give you plenty of time to get used to the altitude. If you need any assistance, please contact your Trip Coordinator who is available around the clock.
How to prevent altitude sickness
- Eat light and avoid alcohol
- Ensure that you get a lot of rest, especially during the first few days
- Drink plenty of water
- Drink coca tea or chew on coca leaves
- Soroche Pills may be helpful – these can be purchased at any pharmacy
Please note that meal times are different in Peru than in the US, UK and Australia. Dinner is between 8:30 pm & 11:30 pm. Lunch is served from 12:30 pm to as late as 4 pm. It is typical to have a “merienda” or a light snack with tea or coffee around 5 or 6 pm.
Spanish is the official language of Peru, however, native languages such as Quechua and Aymara are still spoken especially in the Andean regions. English is not widely spoken in areas outside of tourist establishments.
Our destination experts are happy to share more Peru travel tips and recommendations for your tour. Plan your journey of a lifetime in Peru. Contact us for your obligation-free itinerary.
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