Before You Go
Exploring Peru is an exciting adventure, but getting here doesn’t have to be. This travel guide has information designed to make your visit to Peru easier. Here you’ll find information about your visit, from visas, to vacation tours, entertainment and much more.
Things to know before your trip
Peru has one time zone -5h, GMT. It does not go onto Daylight Savings Time.
Hygienic conditions in Peru are good, particularly in the cities. Over the last year health services have been modernized and expanded to many hospitals and clinics in order provide adequate care; however it is always advisable to purchase your own travel health insurance.
When you arrive, rest to allow your body to acclimate. It is advisable to rest on the first day of your arrival, to eat light meals and to drink enough liquids and coca tea (“mate de coca”). If you suffer from heart trouble consult your doctor before traveling. Some cities in Peru are above 4,800 meters above sea level (masl), especially in the mountains of the southern and central regions. If you climb up into the mountains by road it is recommended that you travel gradually to prevent altitude sickness. In case of altitude sickness, drink plenty of fluids, particularly in high altitude zones, using only bottled or previously treated water.
Purchase your food at restaurants, avoiding street food.
Don’t let your personal belongings out of your sight. Avoid using unofficial or unmarked taxis during the night. Avoid exchanging currency in the street or carrying large sums of money. Currency exchange agencies are safe.
Regardless of the season and the area of Peru you are visiting, it is advisable to carry warm clothes, loose pants, cotton tops, hiking footwear, good sunblock and a hat (to protect you from the sun and the cold).
Peru’s electricity runs on 220 volts and 60 cycles (except for Arequipa where it is 50 cycles)
The “Nuevo Sol” (S/.) is the official currency of Peru. There are notes of the following denominations: 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 soles. Coins are 10, 20 and 50 cents, as well as 1, 2 and 5 Nuevos Soles. Countless shops, restaurants, hotels and gas stations accept US Dollars. It is possible to exchange currency in banks and currency exchange agencies. There are also “cambistas” street currency exchangers, but the safety of the transaction is not guaranteed. Currency exchange agencies are regularly open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, from Monday to Friday, and half day on Saturdays. Most cities in the country have ATMs connected in most cases to Plus (Visa), Cirrus (MasterCard/Maestro), American Express and other networks. You may withdraw Nuevos Soles or US Dollars, although the exchange rates tend to be less favorable.
There is no preestablished amount for gratuities. It depends on the customer’s level of satisfaction with the service. 10% of the check is usually considered adequate.
Wireless coverage reaches the majority of the country. Payphones are available in most cities and villages; they can be operated using coins or prepaid cards, which can be purchased in shops and businesses.
Unlike the rest of the countries in the region, public internet booths in Peru are cheap and easily available. A large number of tourist establishments and businesses are beginning to offer wireless internet.
There are post offices across different regions of the country