Planning a Trip to Peru

Peru Holidays & Business Hours 
Business Hours & Local Holidays Business hours in Peru can vary a great deal, but generally offices and business are open from 8:00-12:00 in the morning and from 2:00-6:30 in the evening.
 
National holidays include:
New Year's Day 2006/01/01 2007/01/01
Epiphany (3 Kings' Day ) - Christian 2006/01/06 2007/01/06
Maundy (Holy) Thursday - Christian 2006/04/13 2007/04/05
Good Friday - Christian 2006/04/14 2007/04/06
May Day / Labor Day 2006/05/01 2007/05/01
Fiestas Patrias (Independence Day) 2006/07/28 2007/07/28
Battle of Angamos 2006/10/07 2007/10/07
All Saints' Day - Christian 2006/11/01 2007/11/01
Feast of the Immaculate Conception 2006/12/08 2007/12/08
Christmas Eve - Christian 2006/12/24 2007/12/24
Christmas - Christian 2006/12/25 2007/12/25
Last edited Oct 11, 07 2:17 PM. Contributors:
Best Time to Visit Peru 
The best time to visit Peru is between May and October, the country’s dry-winter season. This season translates into fewer mosquitoes in the Amazon basin and sunny crystal-clear days in the Andes. The exception to this rule is Peru’s coast, which experiences more fog in winter, and more sunshine the rest of the year. Peak tourist season is from June through to August, during which hotel and restaurant prices go up by about 15% to 30%, and booking a few days ahead of time is often necessary.
Last edited Oct 11, 07 12:36 PM. Contributors:
Cusco, Cusco Region, Peru
Machu Picchu for less than $80 dollars.
Going to South America? Or travelling Peru? No trip is complete without a visit to the lost city of the Inca's, Machu Picchu. But what if you're backpacking and trying to live on less than a minimum a day? The train from Cusco to Machu Picchu can cost up to $130 for a return (which is a big chunk out of your budget) and that doesn't even include things like accommodation, food or other transport. But as always, there's a way around (literally this time). I have to admit, it takes a bit longer but that doesn't mean a day wasted. It takes you over mountain roads and through lush green valleys, you'll pass scenic villages and sandy lost towns, you'll encounter some landslides and very steep cliffs. Even that would be worth the trip.

First, take an (early) bus to Ollantaytambo, 1.5 hours. Here you'll find the best remaining example of the planning of an Inca town. A little walk outside the town will bring you to ruins, a nice first stop. From the main square you'll need to catch the (big red) bus to Santa Maria. This ride takes about 3,5 hours and brings you up to about 4000 meters and then back down into the heat. During rain season (oct-apr) there are many landslides on the road. It's safe to drive there, though it might take a little longer because the men on the bus need to jump off to take away the rocks. In Santa Maria you haggle over a taxi that takes you through Santa Teresa, all the way up to the Hydroelectrica. This shouldn't cost more than 3-5 dollar. The road follows the river and goes along some really steep cliffs, don't sit at the window if you suffer from vertigo. You'll be dropped off at the Hydroelectrica, which is, apart from being a hydroelectrica, the train station at the end of the train track. The part from Aguas Calientes to Hydroelectrica wasn't in use for a couple of years but is used again. Here you can choose whether you want to take the train or walk along the train tracks. If you decide to walk, be careful and listen if you can hear the train coming. You'll hear it from quite a distance though. Don't forget to bring a flashlight since you'll have to go through a tunnel. It will take about 4 hours to walk, the train will get you there in about 30 minutes and costs $8. Either way, you'll end up in Aguas Calientes where you spend the night. It's best to buy your entrance ticket that day in Aguas Calientes to skip the queue at Machu Picchu ($20/$40 student/adult). There's two ways of getting to the archaeological site, by bus or by foot. The walk is quite tough, all uphill for about an hour. I would say, save your energy and take the bus so you can climb Huayna Picchu, the mountain towering over the lost city. The bus costs $7 and takes 40 minutes.
Then, enjoy!
For the way back, you can take exactly the same way. Unfortunately the train to Hydroelectrica only leaves at 7.00 and 12.00 am. This would mean a short visit to Machu Picchu if you want to climb the mountain as well. Though the site opens at 6.00 am so you should be able to catch the 12.00 am train (allow 2 hours for the mountain). Otherwise you can stay an extra day or take the train directly to Cusco or Ollantaytambo. If you're in the train to the Hydroelectrica, try to find some tour guides that go back to Cusco. They'll take you for about $15.
Adding up all the costs will leave you spending:
1. Cusco - Ollantaytambo: $4
2. Ollantaytambo - Santa Maria: $5
3. Santa Maria - Hydroelectrica: $4
4. Train to Aguas Calientes (x2): $16
5. Hydroelectrica - Cusco : $15
6. Bus to Machu Picchu : $14
7. Accommodation: $6
8. Food: $15
Total: $79
You can skip numbers 4 and 6, saving you another 30 dollars.

Welcome to Machu Picchu poor backpackers!
Good tip?
(+4)
Lima, Lima & Surrounding Region, Peru
Best to only stay in Lima as a gateway to somewhere else (Cuzco, Nazcar lines, etc). Hustle and bustle, typical of third world city. Lots of hassle if you are blond. but felt safe all the time and can eat great food for hardly no money at all. Some great temples to check out around the Lima area too.
Good tip?
(0)
Iquitos, Amazon Basin, Peru
If you are visiting Peru, dont miss the opportunity for a trip in the jungle. Like everybody else, I was mainly looking forward to trekking the Inca Trail (which I did enjoy a lot) but I had not given much thought about a trip in the jungle... had a few more days to use wisely at the end of my stay in Peru (October 2007) and decided to fly to Iquitos... Once there I made sure to find a guide who was a local - which i recommend to anyone. To be Peruvian is not enough... ask for someone who grew up in a jungle village... and you will be AMAZED. I was not prepared at all for the immersion in pure nature and it hit me big time... one of the best experiences of my life. 4 days in the Jungle, with a 21 year old local guide (nicknamed "the wolf") and I learned so much... I can never forget it... the feeling of freedom and beauty... unbelievable. The jungle is tough so do not go there without someone reliable to guide you and without some strong... insect repellent ;-) (only Deet works... Mosquitoes there are not afraid of much). But if you are up for the adventure, here are some of the life-changing activities that I was lucky enough to experience: Bird watching (and the guide had a story for each species); holding a sloth (mind, I was told some of them can be agressive if they've eaten a certain kind of leaf); going to see the alligators at night; paddling through endless river arms; camping by a river lake and fishing piranas, watching the pink dolphins; swimming in the Amazon, meeting locals; playing football with the ppl of the jungle village; experiencing food and drinking a strange tea that has to be chewed and spat out by the host before serving (yukkkk... but what a laugh); cooking fresh fish for breakfast, just wrapped in a banana leaf and enhanced with fresh (and so deliciously strong) coriander; finding your way in the jungle by swinging your machete around (carefull) and nearly losing your boots in the deep thick mud... LOL I loved every second of it, far from any civilization... how small you feel... The Amazon and its jungle will leave you wanting for more. I will go back one day, I promised it to the Jungle when I left.... Cheers to "The Wolf", his incredible wild life knowledge and his unforgettable laugh. :)
Good tip?
(0)
Peru Visas & Permits 
To enter the country, travelers from most nations require a valid passport that expires no sooner than 6 months after the traveler’s arrival in Peru.
 
In addition, travelers from certain nations need a tourist visa in addition to a valid passport. These include:  Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Bhutan, Cambodia, United Arab Emirates, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Oman, Qatar, Laos, North Korea, Pakistan, Syria, Sri Lanka, People's Republic of China, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen, Cuba, Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Slovenia, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Romania, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, Serbia & Montenegro and all African nations with the exception of South Africa.
 
Tourist visas allow travelers to stay in Peru for 90 days and costs $12 USD. Documents required to obtain this visa include: a valid passport, evidence of departure arrangements from Peru, 2 color passport photos, proof of financial solvency, 2 completed application forms.
 
Stays of longer than 90 days in Peru require a student visa.

Customs & Immigration

Generally speaking, Peruvian customs allows travelers to bring items of personal use. Quantities are usually limited to one item per traveler (such as one typewriter, one musical instrument, one electric shaver, etc). Tobacco products are limited to 500 cigarettes, 50 cigars, or 250 grams of tobacco. Travelers over the age of 18 are allowed to bring up to 3 liters of alcoholic beverages into the country. Travelers are also allowed to bring up to $300 USD of goods for their own consumption or as gifts so long as the unit value of these goods does not exceed $100 USD. Finally, travelers may not bring more than 10 music CDs with them. 

Temporary internment declarations are required for expensive items such as laptop computers and mobile phones, as well as equipment used in adventure sports such as hang gliding and wind surfing.

In is important to remember that it is illegal to bring any pre-Columbian artifacts out of Peru upon leaving the country.


Last edited Oct 11, 07 1:54 PM. Contributors:
Trujillo, Northern Coast, Peru
A few kilometers at the North from Trujillo, there is a pretty seaside town called Huancayo. Pacific Ocean, bars, discos, youth hostels, a great mirador, and plenty of artisans ... what do you need else ???
Good tip?
(0)
Huancayo, Central Highlands, Peru
The Rock and Pop, the best disco in Peru !!! Near the main place, you won't forget so much cumbia !!!
Good tip?
(0)
Santa Rosa, Amazon Basin, Peru
When crossing from Tabatinga or Leticia to Santa Rosa, Peru for the boat to Iquitos, you will be leaving so early in the morning it will be completely dark. It is best to stay at one of the guesthouses in Tabatinga (very cheap anyways) that arrange the boat, because they will pick you up and ferry you to customs. (may still have to pay for taxi and ferry, but very cheap) Anyways having this organized makes it easier when it is the early hours of the morning and your spanish/portuguese is even more groggy than your sleepy self. When we arrived at customs we had to wait for the customs lady to wake up and stamp our passports.
Good tip?
(0)
Peru Electricity 

Electricity in Peru is set at 220 Volts.

Two different plug types are used in Peru: Type A (North American plug type), and Type C (European plug type)

Last edited Oct 11, 07 1:49 PM. Contributors:
Costs in Peru 
The cost of life in Peru is very low. Costs can be significantly higher in the cities of Lima, Cusco and Arequipa. Nevertheless, shoestring budget travelers can get by on anywhere from $15 USD to $20 USD per day including road transportation within the country, basic meals and accommodations. Travelers willing to spend more than $20 USD per day, will be able to get some added services and amenities, such as hot showers and private washrooms. In addition, given how long it takes getting from one region or city to another by road, travelers may want to fly instead. This will also increase average daily spending. Keep in mind that exchange rates between the sol and other currencies are subject to fluctuations and that costs in Peru have fluctuated dramatically in the past.
Last edited Oct 11, 07 1:46 PM. Contributors:
Machupicchu, Cusco Region, Peru
If you take the train in, stay in the town of Aguas Calientes the night before you plan to go to Machu Picchu. By staying in the town, you can get to the entrance first and snap some photos of the site without other tourists in your photos!
Good tip?
(+6)
Cusco, Cusco Region, Peru
Machu Picchu for less than $80 dollars.
Going to South America? Or travelling Peru? No trip is complete without a visit to the lost city of the Inca's, Machu Picchu. But what if you're backpacking and trying to live on less than a minimum a day? The train from Cusco to Machu Picchu can cost up to $130 for a return (which is a big chunk out of your budget) and that doesn't even include things like accommodation, food or other transport. But as always, there's a way around (literally this time). I have to admit, it takes a bit longer but that doesn't mean a day wasted. It takes you over mountain roads and through lush green valleys, you'll pass scenic villages and sandy lost towns, you'll encounter some landslides and very steep cliffs. Even that would be worth the trip.

First, take an (early) bus to Ollantaytambo, 1.5 hours. Here you'll find the best remaining example of the planning of an Inca town. A little walk outside the town will bring you to ruins, a nice first stop. From the main square you'll need to catch the (big red) bus to Santa Maria. This ride takes about 3,5 hours and brings you up to about 4000 meters and then back down into the heat. During rain season (oct-apr) there are many landslides on the road. It's safe to drive there, though it might take a little longer because the men on the bus need to jump off to take away the rocks. In Santa Maria you haggle over a taxi that takes you through Santa Teresa, all the way up to the Hydroelectrica. This shouldn't cost more than 3-5 dollar. The road follows the river and goes along some really steep cliffs, don't sit at the window if you suffer from vertigo. You'll be dropped off at the Hydroelectrica, which is, apart from being a hydroelectrica, the train station at the end of the train track. The part from Aguas Calientes to Hydroelectrica wasn't in use for a couple of years but is used again. Here you can choose whether you want to take the train or walk along the train tracks. If you decide to walk, be careful and listen if you can hear the train coming. You'll hear it from quite a distance though. Don't forget to bring a flashlight since you'll have to go through a tunnel. It will take about 4 hours to walk, the train will get you there in about 30 minutes and costs $8. Either way, you'll end up in Aguas Calientes where you spend the night. It's best to buy your entrance ticket that day in Aguas Calientes to skip the queue at Machu Picchu ($20/$40 student/adult). There's two ways of getting to the archaeological site, by bus or by foot. The walk is quite tough, all uphill for about an hour. I would say, save your energy and take the bus so you can climb Huayna Picchu, the mountain towering over the lost city. The bus costs $7 and takes 40 minutes.
Then, enjoy!
For the way back, you can take exactly the same way. Unfortunately the train to Hydroelectrica only leaves at 7.00 and 12.00 am. This would mean a short visit to Machu Picchu if you want to climb the mountain as well. Though the site opens at 6.00 am so you should be able to catch the 12.00 am train (allow 2 hours for the mountain). Otherwise you can stay an extra day or take the train directly to Cusco or Ollantaytambo. If you're in the train to the Hydroelectrica, try to find some tour guides that go back to Cusco. They'll take you for about $15.
Adding up all the costs will leave you spending:
1. Cusco - Ollantaytambo: $4
2. Ollantaytambo - Santa Maria: $5
3. Santa Maria - Hydroelectrica: $4
4. Train to Aguas Calientes (x2): $16
5. Hydroelectrica - Cusco : $15
6. Bus to Machu Picchu : $14
7. Accommodation: $6
8. Food: $15
Total: $79
You can skip numbers 4 and 6, saving you another 30 dollars.

Welcome to Machu Picchu poor backpackers!
Good tip?
(+4)
Cusco, Cusco Region, Peru
Try to get an accommodation in San Blas. For headaches, try Mate de Coca, helps a lot!
Good tip?
(+2)
Puerto Maldonado, Amazon Basin, Peru
Avoid the hideous shopping centre! If you're just stopping over on your way further south or before heading accross to the national parks, you would do better to stay in Puerto Varas.
Good tip?
(+1)
Machupicchu, Cusco Region, Peru
Without climbing onto Wayna Picchu... it is not the same! It’s the big mountain behind the Machu Picchu complex that gives the character to the whole archaeological site. Although the access is a little bit difficult, the view that you have from the top of the mountain is incredible and it’s worth the effort to climb it. It is a place that you won’t want to miss and will make an unforgettable memory of the citadel for you. After entering the Machu Pichu Citadel you will have to climb for a very narrow and steep path, it will take you 60 minutes to 1 ½ hour to complete it and you will arrive to a place where you will see and amazing landscape of Machu Picchu. You have to enter the Wayna Picchu before 2 pm, and leave it before 4 pm.
Only 300 people per day are allowed to climb on it. So if for example at 10 am 300 people went trough they close the entry!
Good tip?
(+1)
Vaccinations & Diseases in Peru 

Most medical clinics recommend that travelers visiting Peru have at bare minimum received immunization treatment for tetanus, diphtheria and poliomyelitis, hepatitis A, smallpox, typhoid fever, cholera, and influenza. If travelers plan on visiting the Amazon basin, then they will be required immunization from Yellow Fever.

There are other diseases present in Peru, for which no vaccines have yet been developed, such as Malaria and Dengue Fever. Ample use of Insect repellent is highly recommended for travelers entering malaria or dengue fever zones. Anti-malaria pills also help reduce the chances of contracting malaria, but present a number of undesirable side effects as well. Boots, pants, and long sleeve shirts are also highly recommended for jungle excursions to avoid a wide variety of nasty parasites that bore their way under the skin to cause all sorts of problems. See “Traveler Precautions – Health” of the “Once You Are There” section for more information.

List of Diseases affecting Peru:

  • Traveler’s diarrhea
  • Rabies
  • Hepatitis A
  • Cholera
  • Typhoid fever
  • Yellow fever
  • Influenza
  • Smallpox
  • Malaria
  • Dengue Fever
  • Tetanus
  • Diphtheria
  • Poliomyelitis
  • HIV & AIDS
Last edited Oct 11, 07 1:51 PM. Contributors:
What to Bring to Peru 

Items travelers need to bring with them depend greatly on the activities they plan to partake in once in Peru. As such, be sure to consult the “what to bring” lists for all major activities planned for in your trip. Basic items necessary for travel in Peru include:

  • Hiking boots
  • Swiss army knife or similar device (highly recommended)
  • Sunglasses
  • Soap, shampoo, shaving gear, tooth brush and paste
  • Earplugs
  • Insect repellent
  • Small padlock
  • Water bottle
  • First-aid kit
  • Sunblock
  • Miniature Alarm clock or watch with alarm mechanism
  • Seal-able plastic bags
  • Backpack or luggage capable of carrying all travel items + souvenirs purchased abroad
Last edited Oct 11, 07 1:56 PM. Contributors:
Peru Internet & Communications  

Internet access is available in the majority of cities, towns, and even some villages. Rates are usually between 3-10 sols per hour of Internet use (the more rural you go the more expensive it is) at most Internet cafes (called cabinas publicas). The speed is most often painfully slow, but it remains far cheaper than using a phone or other means of communications with friends and family back home. Peru has one of the fastest growing Internet networks in the developing world, so travelers should expect Internet access to improve greatly in the near future.

Last edited Oct 11, 07 2:19 PM. Contributors:
Miraflores, Lima & Surrounding Region, Peru
Stay at the Original Casa del Mochilero backpackers! It is on the second floor, and so popular that it has many not-so-good copy cats. 14 Soles per night (less than $5) for a dorm room. Hot Water Showers, shared kitchen, dining area, tv room with dvd selection. Amazingly friendly owners make you feel it is your home away from home, and the beds are very warm and comfy. Walking distance to the Vivanda supermarket which bottles its own fresh squeezed orange juice every morning. YUM. Walking distance to buses for Barranco and for Central Lima. Walking distance to the beautiful waterfront. They also have a bulletin board full of volunteer opportunities and have internet which you can pay to use. Miraflores is considered one of the safer areas in Lima, but I have heard stories of people being robbed at night, so still be careful. The hostel is so welcoming, if you are concerned about safety, you don't need to go out at night. Basically it is in my Top 5 hostels of everywhere I have ever been.
Good tip?
(0)
Lima, Lima & Surrounding Region, Peru
BIG city!!! I felt a little bit lost when i arrived there! It llooks nice city, but for some reasons i didn t really enjoyed Lima.... GO to sse PLAZA DE ARMA, te POST OFFICE which is nice...
Good tip?
(0)
Peru
Transport in Peru can be cheap but confusing. The main big companies run out of various different terminals spread over each city and local mini buses that run inside cities and towns or the stops that the big buses go passed are rarely marked correctly.
the only real way to find out how things work is to ask the locals where the bus leaves for a certain destination as there are no internet or other resources that are any good.
Good tip?
(0)
Peru Photography  

Camera and video gear is expensive in Peru. It is best to bring everything with you into the country. Peru uses the NTSC video system compatible with North America.

Last edited Oct 11, 07 2:19 PM. Contributors:
Machupicchu, Cusco Region, Peru
If you take the train in, stay in the town of Aguas Calientes the night before you plan to go to Machu Picchu. By staying in the town, you can get to the entrance first and snap some photos of the site without other tourists in your photos!
Good tip?
(+6)
Yungay, Huaraz Region, Peru
Yet another awsome place in Peru. We wee in a place called Cusi just above Yungay. At the base of the second biggest mountain in the andies! What an awsome place! Check out some of my photos on bebo.
Good tip?
(0)
Puerto Maldonado, Amazon Basin, Peru
If you plan on get some good photos in the jungle, you really need to have a dslr with iso of around 800. I shot with a 35mm slr and had 400 stock, a lot of photos ruined by shutter speed related blurring. Speedlites don't work unless you are reasonably close to the animals. Great place though!
Good tip?
(0)
Iquitos, Amazon Basin, Peru
Bring your cameras to take lots of photos. Do NOT buy travel packages or book lodging with street guides. Go to the local government managed tourist information office located at the main plaza (plaza de armas)
Good tip?
(0)
Peru Tourist Information  
Hello Hola
 
Good morning Buenos Dias
Good afternoon Buenas Tardes
Good evening / night Buenas Noches
Goodbye Adios
 
Yes Si
No No
 
Please Por favor
Thank you Gracias
You’re welcome De nada
Sorry! Perdon
 
My name is … Me llamo
What is your name? Como se llama
 
Where is … Donde Esta …
Last edited Oct 11, 07 12:43 PM. Contributors:
Urubamba, Cusco Region, Peru
Always bring your own toilet paper and save up 1 sole coins to use the public restrooms. Don't be surprised when the toilets have no seats.
Good tip?
(0)
Peru TV, Radio & Newspapers 

Television programming in Peru is terrible. Cheesy Latin American soap operas, old American sitcom and Korean drama reruns dominate the airwaves. That being said, sport events appear occasionally, and the local news can be fairly good. There is a lot more choice for Radio, and the programming is much better. There are several newspapers published in Peru, the most common being El Comercio, Expreso, and La Republica. The news-magazine Lima Times is printed in English and is issued every two months.

Last edited Oct 11, 07 2:20 PM. Contributors: