Frequently Asked Questions

These FAQs cover some of the most frequent queries about travel in Peru. If you have any other questions that aren't covered in the list below, or you'd like more detail, don't hesitate to contact us at: info@sudamericatour.com.

 
How Safe is Travelling in Peru?

During the 1980s and 1990s conflict and social unrest resulted in a drop in tourism to Peru. Nowadays however the country is stable and Peru is considered to be less dangerous than most of the Latin American countries. A journey to Peru is no longer a risk. If you follow certain rules it is no problem to stroll along the streets.

  • Be careful when withdrawing money from an ATM. Use ATMs only during daytime.
  • Don't wear obvious jewellery or carry around other valuables that are clearly visible.
  • Carry your money, camera and other valuables close to you (money for instance in a money belt)
  • Make a copy of your passport and leave the original document in a secure place during excursions.
  • Be careful walking around at nighttime and stick to the main streets.
  • Use registered cabs only. Ask in your hotel for safe taxi companies.
  • Please keep in mind that taking pictures of airports, military facilities, pylons and police stations is

strictly forbidden.

 
When is the Best Time to Travel to Peru?

Peru consists of three broad geographic regions (the coast, the sierra, and the jungle). Many of the most popular attractions in our tours are located in the sierra, which experiences its dry season from May to September. This is a good time to travel but is also the tourist “high season” and some tourist sites may be crowded, particularly in the peak months of July and August. The period from December to March is “summer” on the coast and the warmest and sunniest time of the year in that area. However, it also coincides  with the rainy season in the sierra and there is a possibility that the weather may restrict some tourist activities, notably trekking. In general, the “shoulder” periods of April-May and September—October are good times to get the best of both worlds.

 
What Clothes Will I Need in Peru?

What clothes you need depends on what area you are going to visit and what kind of activities you are planning to do. In general, you should wear light, comfortable layers. In most of our tours you will visit mountainous areas, where temperatures may be very low during the nighttime. Therefore it is recommended that you bring a warm sweater, fleece, and/or jacket.

 

You should bring walking shoes with a strong sole, which as well as being required for any trekking you do, will be useful in the cities on the sometimes uneven or slippery road and pavement surfaces. Depending on the season there may or may not be precipitation but it in any case it is recommended to bring a wind and rain resistant jacket. The sun in Peru is very strong, especially at high altitudes, so bring a hat and/or cap, UV-protecting sunglasses and plenty of suncream.

 

For trips that include a visit to the jungle, you should bring very light cotton or synthetic clothing. Shorts-convertible pants are very useful, as there will be times when you want to wear long pants to protect yourself from the sun or mosquitos. A pair of sandals is also recommended.

 
How Should I Carry Money?

The official currency of Peru is called Nuevo Sol (S/.). In large cities $USD are accepted in some stores, bars and restaurants However, for the majority of purchases you will need to pay in soles.

It is possible to exchange money in many exchange offices or banks, which is much safer than changing money on the street. In most hotels you will also be able to change money.

Creditcards like Mastercard, Visa, American Express or Diners are accepted in some restaurants, hotels and shops in tourist areas. Most ATMs accept common credit or debit cards like Maestro and Cirrus. In larger cities and in almost every tourist area. It is cheaper to get cash (local currency or US$) with a debit card (PIN required) than with credit cards. Make sure that there is a maestro, cirrus or other symbol related to mastercard on your debit card.

 

As at 2013 the exchange rate is approximately $1 USD = S/. 2.50 or €1 = 3.20.

 
How Much Money Will I Need?

The amount of money you need per day depends on how much you want to spend on gifts and souvenirs. In Peru for instance gold and silver jewelry is very cheap, and there are many bargains to be found such as high-quality alpaca clothing, ceramics and weaving. In general, costs for everyday items and groceries are lower than they are in Europe or the United States. Only cosmetics should be purchased before the journey since they are more expensive in Peru.

 

The average amount you will need for food, taxis or other expenses is about $20-30 USD per day.

 
What Documents Do I Need to Travel to Peru?

Citizens of the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or from countries belonging to the EU do not need a visa to enter the country for purposes of tourism. In order to enter Peru the only thing you need is a valid passport (as long a it doesn't expire within 6 months of entering the country) When you enter as a tourist you are allowed to stay in the country for 90-120 days.

If you enter country coming from areas with a high risk of yellow fever you may be asked to show a valid certification of yellow fever immunization.

 
How Are the Health Services in Peru?

Health care in Peru is not up to the standard of the United States or Europe. Moreover most of the doctors do not speak English very well. Quicker service in better conditions can be obtained from private clinics in the larger cities. You should have travel insurance that covers medical treatment while you are travelling and transportation back to your home country if necessary.

It is worth taking a small first-aid kit containing pills for nausea and diarrhea, painkillers, repellent, aspirin, simple bandages, blister plasters and so on. However, it is worth noting that medicines for treating many common health problems can be obtained cheaply over the counter at pharmacies in Peru.

 
Which Vaccinations Are Required for Peru?

There are no regulations regarding vaccinations when entering Peru. However, it is worth being vaccinated against the following: tetanus, polio, typhus, diphtheria and hepatitis A. You may also wish to consider vaccination against rabies.

A valid yellow fever immunization is recommended for journeys into the Amazon Jungle and may be required when emigrating from yellow fever regions such as Bolivia. You may also wish to consider prophylaxis for malaria when traveling to the Amazon. Consult with a travel medicine specialist on the vaccinations and other medications you may need.

 
What Is the Food Like in Peru?

Peruvian cuisine is considered one of the tastiest and most varied in the world. This is thanks to its pre-Incan heritage plus the a blend of Spanish, African, Chinese, Japanese and Italian influences brought by waves of immigration from the 16th to the 20th centuries. Each region of Peru has its own typical dishes, making the culinary experience of the main attractions of this diverse nation.

The national dish is cebiche, chunks of raw fish or shellfish marinated in the juice of Peruvian lemons, which because of their high citric acid content, add a unique flavour. This is combined with chilis, red onion, coriander, toasted maize, and/or camote (a sweet flat potato). Other well-known dishes include:

  • Lomo saltado - marinated beef stir-fried with sliced onions and tomatoes, served with fries and rice
  • Rocoto relleno - a regional dish from Arequipa, based on a large chili pepper which is cooked in a way to reduce its spiciness, stuffed with ground beef, onion, raisins, boiled egg, olive, and covered with grated cheese.

Peru's culinary diversity arises from the rich array of available ingredients. For example, there are more than 300 varieties of maize, and more than 5000 varieties of potato, with the same being true of other products.

 
Should I Be Careful With the Food?

When you arrive to a new country it's worth being careful as you adjust to the different bacteria and other microorganisms during the first few days. You may prefer to drink boiled or bottled water and not eat vegetables or fruits that are not cooked or peelable (e.g. mandarins and bananas shold be ok). It's worth asking your waiter or guide about the ingredients of different dishes in case you suffer from a specific allergy. Peruvian cuisine is chacterized by strong flavours, thanks to the use of different condiments and aromatic herbs.  Once you adjust, tap water is potable in most cities and larger towns.

 
Do I Need to Tip?

Despite recent economic growth, Peru remains a low-wage country. Any tips will be greatly appreciated by hospitality industry workers, who will often be trying to finance their studies or will have a family to support. There is no specific amount expected, so you are free to tip based on the quality of the service you have recevied.

 
Shoudl I Worry About the Altitude?

Many of the places we visit are located at altitudes that visitors not used to. You may notice some symptoms a few hours after arriving at a higher altitude, including headache, nausea, dizziness and general tiredness.

Our tours are planned in a way that you will be able to gradually adjust and acclimatise to higher altitudes. You are recommended to take it easy during your first few days at altitude, drink plenty of water, and avoid drinking alcohol to excess. If you experience any symptoms, these can be alleviated by drinking coca tea or other herbal preparations. Let your guide know if you are feeling bad at any time.