Practical Information

Practical information

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Passport and Visa
Having a visa is not required for stays of less than three months. You must have a valid passport for at least six months after your date of international return.

Vaccines: No vaccination is required. However, the vaccine against yellow fever is strongly recommended for visiting the Amazon.
Other recommended vaccinations: tetanus, typhoid, polio and hepatitis.
Water: It is not advisable to drink tap water because even if it comes from a processing plant, the existing standard of purity in Peru is not necessarily comparable to that in the countries of our customers. You can buy Agua Mineral (bottled water), agua con gas (carbonated water) or agua sin gas (still water) in shops.

The Peruvian currency is the Nuevo Sol (PEN). There are notes of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 soles, and coins of 0.10, 0.20, 0.50, 1, 2 and 5 soles. Do not pay for small services with large bills because money is a problem, especially in small towns.
The U.S. dollar (USD) is by far the easiest currency to change. It is well accepted in most hotels, restaurants and shops in major cities. The exchange rate in May 2016 was approximately 1 USD = 3.33 Nuevos Soles (PEN).
It is not advisable to change money on the street.

Peru is not only the country of sun, permanent snows, rain forest and desert. It is also the country of gastronomy. Nowhere else in Latin America you will find such a varied and tasty cuisine, the happy result of mixing different cultures: the indigenous, Spanish, African and the Chinese.
On the coast, you will taste the various fish from the Pacific and the ceviche, sea fish served raw, chopped, soaked in lime juice and accompanied with raw onions and sweet potato.
In the mountains, you can enjoy dishes made from potatoes like Carapulcra or the ají de gallina, split chicken served with a cheese sauce and sweet pepper.
You can also taste the famous "cuy” (roasted guinea pig) ... if your heart tells you to!

There are two types of chicha: chicha morada, made from red corn and non-alcoholic fruit and simple chicha, from fermented corn and therefore alcoholic.
The beers are light and of good quality. Among the best known brands you will find Cristal, Arequipeña or Cusqueña (the sweetest of the three).
Otherwise, the Peruvian cocktail of choice is the Pisco Sour, eau de vie of grape juice mixed with lime juice, cane sugar syrup, ice and egg white.

Service and taxes are included in restaurant bills. Therefore, there is no requirement that would be a subjective assessment of the quality of the given service.
Regarding the enforcement staff (porters, bellhops, waiters, drivers...), given that salaries are generally quite low, a small gesture is always really appreciated.
In the case of hotel or restaurant, it is customary to leave a tip of 5 to 10% depending on the nature of the service.
Amount of a tip reference for the porters at every In and Out: 0.5 USD / bag.
Amount of a tip reference for drivers: 1 USD / day / person.

Regarding the ongoing tour guides, they are all paid pretty decently by our company and do not expect tips for their living. We work, wherever it exists, on the basis of fee schedules from official guide associations.
However, during excursions, it is customary to tip: here again the amount depends on the quality of service, but a reference amount is $ 2 per person per day for the guide.
The presence of the guide is also an important element for the success of the tour: the amount of reference here would be $ 1 / person / day for him or her.

Time Zone
In Peru, there is no time change (summer / winter).

Lima: 150m.
Arequipa: 2,300m.
Chivay (Colca): 3,600.
Cusco: 3,400m.
Puno / Titicaca: 3,800m.
Once you go beyond the 3,000m, you can be subject to "soroche" or mountain sickness. It is therefore recommended that you sleep in the beginning in order to acclimatize to the altitude. Drink more than usual, eat light (digestion being slower at altitude) and avoid alcohol. You can also drink mate de coca (coca tea), offered in most hotels and restaurants.

Transportation and Guidance
Under tourism laws in force in Peru and to contribute to the harmonious development of tourism, in each region (Lima, Arequipa, Puno, and Cusco) it is compulsory to hire the services of carriers and tourist guides from each area visited. Thus, apart from exceptional circumstances, you must change your vehicle and guide according to the stages of the tour as vehicles and guides need special permits to travel and guide.

The maximum capacity of vehicles in Peru is as follows:
• In Lima and from Lima to Arequipa: 52 seats maximum (but of course we prefer not to have full buses for the convenience of customers).
• In Arequipa: 45 seats but if the visit of Colca is included two buses are preferable because the road is bad.
• Puno and Puno / Cusco: 45 seats.
• Cusco: 45 seats, but:
• if it must descend to Maras (salt on the mountain side), the road (trail) is too narrow and steep and it is imperative to use two smaller buses
• the circulation standards in Cusco's historic centre (where are all the hotels) prevent the entry of these large bus for transfers and IN and/or OUT of the city and for the city Tour and/or 4 ruins, we also usually splits buses. Same for the access to the neighbourhood of San Blas where the streets are very narrow and therefore high-capacity vehicles cannot travel.
You can do it from phone booths or small green posts installed in some stores and restaurants. You must obtain coins of 1 nuevo sol or alternatively buy a phone card in shops.
If you want to receive calls from your country, it must be 00 + 51 (Peru code) + the city code + the number of the caller. Some indicatives of Peruvian cities: Lima: 1, Ica/Nazca: 56, Arequipa: 54, Puno: 51, Cuzco: 84, Puerto Maldonado: 82, Trujillo: 44, Chiclayo: 74 and Iquitos: 65.

Peru uses the 220V, 60 Hz, except in Arequipa (50 Hz). The double female sockets usually accept male plugs from North America and European round plugs connections.
Peru has inherited from the pre-Inca and Inca civilizations a remarkable craftsmanship. You can find objects in gold, silver and wood, bags, woollen alpaca or vicuna and cotton. You can also find reproductions of pre-Columbian ceramics, paintings and tapestries.
Most shops are open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. with sometimes a break from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Bargaining is a common practice in the markets. It is also sometimes accepted in other circumstances. During your negotiations, be sure to request a descuento (discount).

• Peru remains a poor country (50% of its population lives below the poverty line). It is therefore advisable to leave your valuables in the hotel safe. Do not wear gold necklaces or watches of value on the street. Do not wear your camera carelessly thrown over the shoulder and do not place your bag on the floor (especially in restaurants). No violent assault is to be feared but stay alert so as to avoid unpleasant surprises.

• In town, it is advisable to leave your passport in the hotel safe and to bring along a photocopy of pages that include your picture and your number. On the contrary, when you travel, have your passport because controls are carried out at the entrance or exit of large cities.