When you’re getting set for your vacation to Peru, taking one of our Machu Picchu tours or Inca Trail tours, check out these valuable tips and information so that you can be as prepared as possible for your journey.
Time Zone: Peru is 5 hours behind GMT. Also, it is in the same time zone as US Eastern Standard Time Zone and does not observe daylight-savings time.
Days Most Popular Museums and Tourist Sites are closed
Gold Museum: January 1, May 1, July 28
Rafael Larco Herrera Archaeological Museum: Never closes
Archaeological and Anthropological Museum: Mondays, January 1, May 1, July 28, July 29, November 1, December 25.
Museo de la Nacion: January 1, May 1, July 28, December 25.
Pachacamac Ruins: January 1, December 25.
Cusco Cathedral: Sundays
Valuables: We suggest that while touring or shopping you leave your passport and the bulk of your money in the hotel; only take with you the money you intend to spend or exchange at that particular time. It is also helpful to take a copy of the picture page of your passport to carry in your wallet because it is sometimes needed to exchange traveler’s checks. This copy can also be useful in the event your passport is lost or stolen.
Photographs: It is customary in many Indian populated areas to give a small tip to the subject of your photographs. These tips can be monetary or souvenir type items such as a ball point pen. In addition, items such as cosmetics, pens, T shirts and pocket calculators often can be traded in the Indian markets for native handicrafts.
Luggage: You will want a small bag for excursions to Machu Picchu and the Amazon. Bring a duffle bag to pack for the Amazon, your main suitcase will stay in the city office of the jungle lodge. There is no room for all the luggages on the jungle boats. We suggest one of the fold-up, expandable types — can be carried in a larger suitcase, it is perfect for overnight and handy to carry souvenirs when you pack to return home.
Electric Voltage: The electric voltage in Peru is 220 volts, 60 cycles and the electrical outlets require a connector with 2 small round prongs. Although some major hotels also have outlets with 110 volts and others have adapters for use, we find it much more convenient to bring our own.
Language: Peru has two official languages, Spanish and Quechua. English is spoken in most hotels, tourist shops and major visitor centers.
Altitude Sickness, Health and Vaccinations: To minimize the chances of altitude sickness in Cuzco we strongly recommend to rest for two hours to allow you lungs to adjust to the altitude, upon arrival you may feel energized and anxious to walk around Cuzco, Please Don’t!, stay in your room and rest for a couple of hours. To visit the jungle areas of Peru, a yellow fever vaccination is not required anymore. If you plan to continue to Brazil, the Brazilian Government requires the yellow fever vaccination for visitors coming from Peru. Some travelers do have gamma globulin before departing and carry their own medications for stomach upset.
Currency And Exchange Rates: The currency of Peru is the NUEVO SOL. Bills are for 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 Nuevos Soles. Coins are for 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents of a Nuevo Sol. And also coins for 1, 2 and 5 Nuevos Soles.
Dollars and traveler’s checks are widely accepted at shops and restaurants. Dollars may also be exchanged at banks and at most hotels Traveler’s checks command a slightly lower rate than actual currency. The exchange rate fluctuates, so check with local tour guide upon arrival in Peru for current rate issued.
Major credit cards are also accepted at hotels, restaurants and shops.
Tips And Taxes:
As in most countries, taxes are unavoidable and tips are given on the basis of the quality of service rendered. The amounts suggested for tips in this section are a guideline for appropriate tips for average to good service. Note: It is helpful to carry a small quantity of US $1 bills for tips and easy change.
Hotels: A percentage service charge will be added to all room service bills. This percentage varies from location to location but will be stated on the actual bill. Bellboys and maids are generally tipped for their services on the average of $1.00 per bag portage and $ 1.00 per room per night of accommodation as a room tip for the maid. Get more information about Peru Hotels here.
Restaurants: As a general rule there is a percentage sales tax and a percentage gratuity added to all restaurant bills. These taxes and gratuities vary from location to location, but the percentages being charged are always printed on the bill. It is customary to leave an additional tip so that the total percentage of gratuity comes to 15 – 20% for good to excellent service.
Tour guides and drivers: On group tours, the average tip for a tour guide traveling with the group is $7.00 to $12.00 per day of travel. When the guide is not traveling with you the suggested tip is $3.00 to $5.00 per person for full day tours and $1.00 to $2.00 per person for half day tours. The driver’s tip is usually half of what is given to the guide. For private car tours, guides generally receive $5.00 to $7.00 per full day and $3.00 per half day. Get an ample variety of Peru Tours here
Airport departure taxes: On international departures there is an exit tax of $31.00. Within Peru, passengers must pay about $6.05 airport security tax for each domestic flight.
Taxis: All taxis should have a red and white “Taxi” sign in the windshield. There are no meters so settle on a price prior to entering the car. Taxis at many hotels and at the airport have higher, set rates than those you may hail on the streets, they are better and much more reliable. Taxi cab drivers do not expect a tip.
Imported Items: Items not made in Peru are much more expensive than elsewhere and often not available for purchase . Some of these commonly needed items include film and camera equipment, insect repellent, sun screen, contact lens solutions and binoculars. A word to the wise, if you use these items, bring them from home.
Souvenirs And Such The best buys in Peru are silver and gold jewelry as well as a wide variety of handicrafts such as hand-woven shawls, llama and alpaca furs, sweaters, rugs and blankets, wall hangings, ceramics, woodwork, straw and leather items. Hint: That extra expandable suitcase really comes in handy when it is time to return home with all your bargain purchases.
Business Hours: Banks: 9:00am/6:00pm Monday – Friday. 9:00am/12:00pm on Saturdays. Shops: 10:00am/1:00pm and 4:00pm/8:00pm Monday – Saturday
Shopping: For quality alpaca products we suggest two stores in Lima. Alpaca Av. Larco 859 in Miraflores, Phones 447-7163, 446-1687 and La Casa de la Alpaca Av. La Paz 665 in Miraflores, Phone 447-6271. In Cusco Alpaca Collection Santo Domingo 299, by the Hotel Libertador, Phone 23-6581.
While In Cusco Meet your transfer representative in the baggage claim area or outside this area, not all the times they are allowed in the baggage claim area. You will be provided with your “boleto turistico” which allows you to enter all the sites visited on all the tours and some sites you may want to visit on your own. You must always carry this “boleto turistico”.
Your train ticket to and from Machu Picchu indicates the departure times from Cusco and from Puente Ruinas (Machu Picchu train station) or from Aguas Calientes (the town just before Puente Ruinas). If you transfer representative is delayed, grab a cab and go to the train station to Machu Picchu on your own, it is five minutes from all hotels. Do not go to the station for the train to Puno.
* Foreign visitors (not residing in Peru) are exempt of the current 19% taxes on lodging and meals taken at the hotel where they overnight.
* Our quotations reflect such exemption.
* A Xerox copy of the passport will be taken by the hotel at each check in. PASSPORT & IMMIGRATION CARD are the only documents valid for the exemption.
* If passengers fail to present above documents during check in (at each hotel), the hotels will charge them the tax directly.
* It is mandatory that travelers contract travel insurance to cover events such as trip cancellations , medical expenses, repatriation and loss of belongings. Make sure you read your policy carefully to ensure that you are covered for all instances and up to an amount you feel appropriate.
* International and in-country long distance calls can be made from public pay phones. Public phones can take coins as well as cards, which are sold in stands and supermarkets. No collect calls can be made from a pay phone. To obtain telephone information, dial 103 (service is in Spanish). To make an international call dial: 00 + country code + city code + telephone number. For domestic calls from one city to another, dial: 0 + city code + telephone number. The main cities in the country have public Internet booths.
Traveling with Children
* Peruvians love children and if you are traveling with children you will probably attract special attention which can often be of great help. It is wise to always have a stock of bread, biscuits & other snacks when traveling in case the food at stops is not to your child’s preference.