Below you will find a list of useful tips for your review, including information about weather, what to pack, and much more.
All cities are dangerous at night. Remember that Lima is a big third world city, so try to avoid walking in dark streets. Do not carry too much money, jewelry or any other valuable things with you while walking and do not display money in public.
Some taxis are old but generally safe – we don’t recommend riding in one of the little “Ticos”. The cost of riding around the center of Lima should generally not go beyond S/. 15.00. It is practice to tell the Taxi driver where you are going before you get in the taxi and pre-negotiate a price. Usually, it is one – two soles less than the first offer. In Cusco, you should be able to go anywhere in or around the downtown area for less than S/. 5.00-15.00. If you are traveling alone, it is much better to call a taxi company from your hotel and take a private one, instead of picking one from the street. You can ask for them at the hotel. In the last years in Lima there are several companies who are working throug mobile phone app: Uber, TaxiBeat. So we reccommend to download the app in case you do not have it and use it in the capital city.
FOOD, HEALTH AND IMMUNIZATION
Food is one of Peru staples and we want you to enjoy it. We will include a list of recommended restaurants and please ask our reservations team for more recommendations we will gladly recommend options based on your preferences. For more information on our food and our culinary tour visit our site (taste-of-peru.com). If you have to eat in a restaurant that you do not know and we have not recommended, we suggest playing on the safe and only eating well-cooked meats and fish, preferably served hot. Avoid pork, raw salads and mayonnaise as well as uncooked vegetables and unpeeled fruit and avoid food served by street vendors. Eat lightly during your first day in Lima, Cusco and Puno.
Drinking bottled water is highly recommended. Try NOT to drink tap water. Public water is chlorinated and relatively safe but may cause mild stomach upset to people not used to Peruvian water. We also recommend brushing your teeth with bottle water, we found that people that do so have less incidence of upset stomachs. While bathing or showering try to avoid water into your mouth. Bottled water is found in stores and shops while traveling. If one bottle is not sufficient, water is sold throughout the country.
Please check with your doctor to determine if any shots are needed for Peru. We generally do not feel shots are needed if you are only going to Cusco and Lima. However, passengers should do their own research on this. The yellow fever, typhoid, rabies, tetanus-diphtheria, Hepatitis A & B shots (which are listed in the CDC website mentioned below) are not really required for a trip to Cuzco and Lima only but if you want to be prepare and play it on the safe side you could get them, this is up to you. These shots are usually only required when staying over long periods of time in countryside areas of Peru. Even then, only the yellow fever and Malaria would be recommended for the Jungle trip. The rest are of course nice to have but nothing that we will require at all for this trip. However, most people consult with their doctors on whether or not is best to get them taking in account their particular situation. If you need more information please visit the following website: http://www.cdc.gov/travel/tropsam.htm or http://www.mdtravelhealth.com/destinations/samerica/peru.html. Please note that, if you choose to get the yellow fever shot you should do so within 2 weeks of your trip otherwise is pointless.
In most cases, if an adequate amount of liquid (mainly water) is consumed and people take it easy on the first day, gradually adjust to the elevation, they will have no problem greater than a little huffing and puffing and maybe a mild headache. It is highly recommended to sleep for at least 3 hours as soon as you get to Cusco so you can get used to the altitude. While tens of thousands visit Peru each year, and suffer no ill effects from altitude, there is always a possibility of others having problems with altitude sickness. There is a medication called acetazolamide (common name is DIAMOX) that has been shown to prevent and lessen symptoms of high altitude sickness. Taken the day before going to the high elevation, and for the first few days at high altitude, it is available by prescription. If you choose to do so, the most important thing is to consult with the doctor and make sure Diamox will not conflict with any other meditation you are currently taking. In one respect, altitude sickness if somewhat fickle. It can affect a 20-year-old soccer player, but not affect an 80-year-old disabled person or visa versa! We have one suggestion for anyone concerned about the altitude on this trip. CONSULT WITH YOUR OWN PHYSICIAN AND FOLLOW THEIR ADVICE. In general, the hospitals in Cusco are not by any means sophisticated or have great resources. Even though, they are probably the best place to get help regarding altitude sickness since they have seen so many cases that the doctors are experts in this topic, they are not prepared to deal with any other complications.
INSURANCE AND TRAVEL DOCUMENTS (PASSPORTS)
A valid passport is required to enter and depart Peru. Tourists must also provide evidence of return or onward travel. U.S. citizens may enter Peru for short-term tourist- or business-related visits of up to 90 days; however, the actual period authorized is determined by the Peruvian immigration officer at the time of entry into Peru. After admission travelers may apply to extend their visa for an additional three months. Persons who remain beyond their period of authorized stay without obtaining a visa extension or a residence visa will have to pay a fine to depart Peru. Visitors for other than tourist or short-term business visit purposes must obtain a Peruvian visa in advance. Business workers under contract should ascertain the tax and exit regulations that apply to the specific visa they are granted.
The following countries need visa to enter to Peru:
Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Mexico, Angola, Algeria, Benin, Bostwana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Cameroon, Chad, Comoras, Congo, Ivory Coast, Diibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Morocco, Mauritius, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Central Africa Republic, Central Southafrica Republic, Rwanda, Western Sahara, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sevchelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zaire, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Saudia Arabia, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Bhutan, Cambodia, China People’s Republic, United Arab Emirate, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kirquistan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lebanon, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Qatar, Pakistan, Korea, Laos People’s Democratic Republic, Siri Lanka, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen, Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia Herzegovina, Georgia, Turkey.
To arrange travel insurance, please contact the following company:
Travel Guard: 1-800-826-3000. Client code: 110201
*NOTE: This is a separate transaction and must be handled between these companies and the passenger. Please note that all travel insurance must be purchased within 2 weeks of payment of the package from us. Please also review carefully the terms of your policy, as many policies are very restrictive and limited to cancellations due to emergencies not related to pre-existing conditions.
We can serve as the intermediary to purchase the travel policy for you from Travel Guard, which is the insurance company we recommend. If you want us to do so, just send us an e-mail stating the plan you choose and authorizing us to charge your card for that amount. We offer this as a service to you, and the policy will be purchased under your name and will be contracted directly between you and Travel Guard. Magical’s terms and conditions apply to this transaction as wel
It is recommended. Health regulations and requirements are subject to change and the traveler is advised to contact their doctor well in advance of the intended departure date. If traveling to the Highlands, a previous check of your blood pressure is also recommended.
TIPPING AND TAXES
You can tip the guides, waiters and people who help you with the luggage. They usually expect to receive some tip, but please feel free to give them what you think they deserve. Tips are not mandatory. All gratuities may be paid in US Dollars or Peruvian Soles. If you have some Peruvian soles remaining on the last day of travel, use them for last minute airport purchases, as part of your gratuity to our guide, or as departure tax. Here is some suggested tipping:
Tour Conductor (may or may not act as a guide): US$ 5.00 per person per day.
Driver (Provides chauffeur services and limited assistance with luggage): US$ 1.00 per person per day.
Local Guides (Offers in-depth information at specific locations. There may be one or many guides along a tour program): US$ 4.00 per person per day of sightseeing.
Hotel Porters (usually included): US$ 50.00 per bag per person.
Wait staff: 10% of meal. If meal is included you can leave S/. 5.00-10.00 for your party.
Chamber maid: US$ 1.00 per day.
Inca Trail Porters: Tips are not mandatory but they expect to receive them. The tips will depend on the group size, but you can consider between US$ 20.00 to US$ 40.00 per person that will be shared between all the porters.
Inca trail guide: we suggest between US$ 15.00 to US$ 30.00 per person.
Spirit, www.spiritair.com, 1-800-756-7117
Aeromexico, www.aeromexico.com, 1-800-237-6639
Currency in Peru is the “Nuevo Sol”. Bills are in denominations of 200, 100, 50, 20, and 10 Nuevos Soles, with coins in 5, 2 and 1 denominations as well as “centimos” of 0.50, 0.20, 0.10 and 0.05. Banks, hotels and shops easily accept US Dollars, but changing currencies other than US Dollars can be difficult. The best places to change money are at “Casas de Cambio” (Money Exchange), which are recommended for their good rates, speed and security, also at the Lima airport, there is a money exchange booth in the international baggage claim area managed by a reputable bank. If you only need some cash, you can pay with dollars in a restaurant and you will get the change in soles. The exchange rate has varied in the last few months due to world instability. It maintains in average of 1 US$ = about 2.9 Soles. The current exchange rate can be found at: http://finance.yahoo.com/currency/convert?amt=1&from=USD&to=PEN&submit=Convert
About the basic amount to bring, that is up to you, because we have a lot of beautiful arts & crafts and tourists go crazy with them and spend some money. We recommend to bring a hundred or two hundred dollars at the most for two people in small denominations ($20,$10,$5,$1 since $50 and $100 are too large and small stores will not have change) and get the rest at the ATMs.
ATM machines are the best way to get cash. They operate in dollars and soles (the local currency) and they are everywhere in both Lima and Cusco and all over Peru. In Lima, ATM machines are an easy source of currency (fee additional) for both US Dollars and Peruvian Soles. In Cusco, they may be a little more difficult to find, but are also available. There is one in the “Pisac” Market!. A bank ATM machine usually has the lowest fees.
American Express, Mastercard, Diners Club and Visa are all accepted and be used easily in the main cities. Check with your credit card company for details on merchant acceptability and other services which may be available. Traveler’s checks are like cash and very easy to change. All major banks will cash traveler checks, however going to a bank could be a hassle in the middle of your tour. Most banks are open from 9:00am to 4:00pm or some 6:00pm Monday – Friday. Some banks are open on Saturdays from 9:30am to 12:30 pm. The best way to cash a traveler check is in a hotel. Cashing traveler checks outside of Lima is a more difficult and slower process.
BEST TIME TO TRAVEL AND WEATHER
Tourist season (high season) is from May to September, which is also no-rainy season in Cusco. October to March is less tourist and rainy season in Cusco. Seasons in Cusco are not strict at all, sometimes in rainy season do not rain or rain very lightly, and in “No-rainy season” it rains. Also, if it rains does not rain the whole day, rains for a while and then stops. Even in a rainy day you get sunshine in the morning.
Lima is on the coast.
Winter: June to September is cloudy but it never rains or snow, it is very humid; the temperature is not below 15ºC.
Summer: November to March, it is beautiful and warm; the temperature is not over 30ºC
They have mountain climate, the weather is variable, rain, heat and cold happen, there is no way to predict it (unless you ask the Inca Gods). Most tourists used to wear shorts and t-shirts during the day since sun comes out almost daily. Really early in the morning is really cold, as the day goes by the sun comes out and most of the time it gets really hot. Later in the afternoon, it gets sometimes windy and very cold again. This without taking in account that it could rain during the day. During the day temperatures are between 3ºC and 26ºC.
Really cold in the early morning, sunny and hot in the morning, windy and chilly in the afternoon, really cold at night. (In October an average temperature is between 40F and 75F). Wear layers is the key.
Dry season is from May to October and the temperature fluctuates between 91o and 95o F, and the rainy season is between November and April with temperatures fluctuating between 86o and 91o F. It’s not as cold, humid and hot.
We suggest informal regular clothes. Lima is a big city so it is better not to stand out as tourist. We suggest usual clothes based on the correct season, weather, jeans, and slacks and shirts and a jacket for more formal dinners.
We suggest you wear layers, start with a t-shirt or top, sweatshirt or sweater (fleece will be ideal), warm jacket (rain proof preferable), heavy coat or raincoat. Bring a hat, scarf and gloves or you can buy this here. Very comfortable shoes since you will be walking a lot—boots or snickers preferable.
You should prepare a backpack for the days you will stay in the jungle. There is limited room in the boat to the lodge. Upon arrival, we will take you to the Lodge’s main office where you will store your extra luggage is a designated locker. Do not worry, these lockers are safe and are under the Logde’s responsibility. Lodge will only allow you to take a small backpack on the boat. Please bring a hat, insect repellent, and sun block. We suggest wearing pants instead of shorts since it may be better for hikes. Also, comfortable shoes are a must; boots or tennis shoes are recommended since the terrain may require a little traction.
Cusco 3399 msnm 11152 ft
Sacsayhuaman 3600 msnm 11812 ft
Qenqo 3680 msnm 12074 ft
Valle Sagrado 2850 msnm 9351 ft
Pisac 2950 msnm 9679 ft
Ollantaytambo 2750 msnm 9023 ft
Chinchero 3160 msnm 10368 ft
Maras 3028 msnm 9935 ft
Moray 3176 msnm 10420 ft
Machu Picchu y Aguas Calientes 2400 msnm 7874 ft
Puno 3.820 msnm 9843 ft
Arequipa 2335 msnm 6562 ft
You don’t have to speak Spanish while in Peru. People in Peru are very friendly and when you speak in English people try to help you, so don’t worry about it.
200 volts AC, 60 Hz. Appliance plugs are compatible with both US and European type.
Lima (01), Arequipa (054), Puno (051), Cusco (084), Chiclayo (074), Iquitos (065). Outgoing international code (00).
If you need to call to a cell phone number, you need to know:
To call to a Lima cell phone number: you have to dial first the code 01 then the number 9, and then the telephone number. (i.e.: the cell phone is 9931-0355, you have to dial 019-9931-0355).
To call to other cities cell phone numbers: you have to dial the code, and then the number 9 followed by the code without the cero, and then the telephone number. (i.e: the cell phone is 920-6655, you have to dial 084-984-206655).
Telefonica del Peru offers a fax service throughout the country. Main hotels also have facilities and in the country small public booths and services are found in commercial areas.
Internet cabins are available over the main tourist cities, some hotels also bring this facility. In many hotels in Lima and Cusco you will be able to connect your laptop in your room without any problems. Many hotels do not provide this service but they have one or two computers in their business center for you to use. Some hotels offer this service for free and some charge a nominal fee.
Postal facilities are limited outside Lima. Airmail to Western Europe takes up to one week. First-class airmail from Europe or North America and addressed to PO boxes in Peru usually takes four days or longer. The main post office (Correo Central de Lima) is near the Plaza de Armas and it is open from Monday to Saturday from 8:00am to 8:00pm and Sundays from 9:00am to 2:00pm.
Newspapers are in Spanish. Among the most important ones we have El Comercio, Ojo, Expreso, La Republica, El Peruano, Gestion and Sintesis. The Lima Times is published once a month in English and may be obtained from main hotels or bookstores.
Jan 1: New Year’s Day
March or April: Easter
May 1: Labor Day
June 29: St. Peter and Paul Day
July 28 – 29: Independence Day
Aug. 30: St. Rosa of Lima Day
Oct. 8: Battle of Angamos Day
Nov. 1: All Saints Day
Dec. 8: Immaculate Conception Day
Dec. 25: Christmas Day
During your MachuPicchu visit you can go and trek to the Huaynapicchu. Just make sure to get to the train station on time for your train (only one train per day). Please consult with your guide where to start and get tips on the best way to do it.
There are only 2 scheduled times to enter the Huaynapicchu and only 200 people are allowed per entry. The first schedule is at 7:00am and the second at 10:00am. During high season (June – August) demand for this hike is huge and people stat queuing very early in the morning to catch the first group.
The first bus to Machu Picchu departs Aguas Calientes at 5:30am. If you want to see the sunrise, you have to be in that bus. If you choose to do this, make sure you let your guide know and coordinate a time and place to meet your group later for your tour.
We recommend you leave the majority of your luggage at your hotel in Cusco; they will keep it in their storage room. Bring another set of luggage for your overnight in Machu Picchu and a daypack. During your hike, you have two options (1) carry your overnight luggage and day pack or (2) carry your daypack and we can send your overnight package to your Aguas Calientes hotel. This has an extra cost.
Peru Rail, who manages the trains, will only allow you to bring with you on the train a small bag or backpack of no more than 5kg/11lb. If you need to bring a larger or heavier one, you will have to check them and they go in a different train. If that is the case, please let our operations team know and we will coordinate with your hotel to pick the luggage up for you. Do not worry, we do this with all passengers and your luggage will be safe. The rates for this service are as follows:
* 10Kg 05Kg/11lb and/or 62 linear inches/157cm (height + length + width), it has no extra charge
* From 11kg/24Lb or more, the charge is US$1.80 per additional KG.
* Storage: additionally you can store your luggage in the Ollanta train station. The price is $5.00 including taxes per day or fraction of day, per piece of luggage
* Exceptions: Passengers doing Inca Trail can make use of their exceptional flexibility regime of luggage on board showing the UGM permission.
TipsIt is only allowed to take a backpack of 6 kilos for clothes and other personal belongings. This backpack will be carried by the porter. Besides, you should carry a small backpack for your water, camera, medicine, money and other small things important for you.
LIST OF SUGGESTED WARDROBE FOR THIS TRIP
We recommend wearing layers: a t-shirt or top + sweatshirt or sweater (fleece will be ideal) + warm jacket (rain proof preferable). Bring a hat, scarf and gloves. Small backpack to carry personal things and plastic bags (no trash cans anywhere). Sunscreen and Mosquito repellent, Raincoat and a warm jacket-fleece recommended because is light, Wear layers -weather changes from really hot if it is a sunny day to really cold at night, Hiking boots, Flashlight and water canteen or personal bottle water – Soap and other basic toilet articles (toilet paper), Sunglasses and Hat (it could be very hot).
TipsYou need to bring your sleeping bag. One according to night temperatures. During the Inca Trail nights and early in the morning it can be -5º C. If you prefer, we can rent sleeping bags for you, the cost is about $ 4.00 per night per sleeping and they are for -5ºC. We can make the reservation for you and you can give the money to the tour conductor/guide once you receive them or we can include it in the package price.
In a group tour, your Inca Trail should have no more than 16 people in each group. However, the number of people varies depends on the season. For private groups however, depends on the size of the specific group.
TipsYou do not have to worry by water supply, you carry your regular bottle of water with you and we will refill it in when it’s empty. We usually include nutritious dinners that will help you to have energy while you are hiking. Since you are in Peru, the dishes include Andean ingredients but always keeping in mind you will be walking. Please let us know of any allergies of food or if you are vegetarian.
TipsThe Inca Trail is a challenging trail due to the altitude. However, every day people of all ages and all fitness levels successfully walk the trail. The guides are very conscious of the different levels of fitness and no one is left behind. It’s going to be hard but the beauty of the scenery and the experience itself it’s going to make it worth while.
Yes, we usually include an extra porter to carry all your things so you only have to carry a daypack. We recommend this even for experience hikers so you can maximize your enjoyment. Hiking the Inca Trail is a different experience, tents and things are carried by the porters to get to the base camp ahead of you and have time to have everything ready for when you arrive. Even though the Inca Trail is a only 43km (26 miles) hike (distributed in 4 days), the altitude reached is 4,200m (13,780 feet) above sea level. On the second day of the trek we climb 1,200m (3,937 feet). The Inca Trail is a fairly difficult trek and you should be well prepared and healthy prior to starting it. You have to be moderately fit and take regular exercise.
We strongly suggest leaving a separate suitcase at the Cusco hotel storage room. It will be safe there until you are back from the Inca Trail due to weight restrictions during the trail.
All of our Inca Trail tours are full service. Porters, tents, meals are all provided. You will eat well, sleep well and be guided in a way you never imagined. All you need to do is show up and be excited to walk where the Inca gods walked. Trails usually include a high quality double-occupancy tents, sleeping mattress and camping equipment, a dining tent, kitchen tent, and latrine tent, oxygen bottle and first aid kit. Professional, English-speaking guide and camp staff. Plentiful, nutritious meals (Vegetarian option available). We provide extra assistance to make your trip as comfortable as possible. Altough porters carry all camping gear; passengers can choose to get an extra porter so they only carry a light daypack for items such as cameras, water bottles, and rain jackets. Our private service also provides camping chairs and tables for dining and resting.
We recommend preparing a daypack for all the day tours during your jungle trip. Especially for your first day since as soon as you arrive, and depending on the tour, you will have limited time to unpack your luggage before you start your first tour. Also, to go to your lodge, you will have to take a boat ride and your luggage will be send directly to the lodge and you will continue on the tour. They will only allow you to take a small backpack to the boat.
For the walks in the forest, we recommend you to bring; light clothing, long loose-fitting trousers, long-sleeved shirts, a wide-brimmed hat and walking boots or tennis shoes. Around the lodge, you can wear: shorts, T-shirts and sandals. Early in the morning could be cold, especially when on the river; you should bring along a windbreaker or a sweater.
Come prepared with an impermeable jacket or rain poncho, as heavy rain may fall at any moment.
Sun block, flashlight and batteries, a backpack, a water bottle, sunglasses, pocket knife, passport, waterproof bags, and insect repellent.
For time in the forests (or late afternoon) you will need light sensitive film such as ASA 400. Normal ASA 200 film is fine for use out width the forest, along the river and in the lakes. It is also a good idea to bring waterproof casing for all your photography equipment. Protect your cameras, binoculars, documents and valuables, which could be damaged by moisture in any form. We are in a Rain Forest, we will cross-lakes, walk on muddy trails, embark and disembark from boats so there is a constant threat of moisture/water damage. Wrap things in a plastic bag and only take them out when you are actually going to be using them. A slip, trip, or splash by you or a companion could do damage you’ll regret for the rest of your vacation.
Most of them do not have HOT water, but the weather is so warm that there will be no need of hot water. Also, many of the lodges have no windows; in that case you will have a mosquito net that will cover your bed
Please do not worry about all these recommendations, and enjoy your time in the Jungle. All these tips will help you to have the best time ever. This is a unique opportunity to enjoy a pristine and untouched jungle and see amazing things in just a few days.
Please wear footwear at all times when walking around the lodge complex. Hookworm can be contracted through the soles of feet if walking on infected soil. A multitude of rodent species lives within the forest. Many are attracted to the smell of food. To avoid any unwanted visitors store any food you may have in the safety deposit box in your bungalow.
Botflies. Clothes should not be left to dry outside overnight. The Botfly- tornillo- moths, whose larvae are parasitic, tend to lay their eggs on wet clothing and the eggs hatch on contact with warm skin. All clothing should be hung up inside your room during the night.
Do not walk the trails alone, and do not stray from the marked paths for it is easy to get lost!
When on the trails we recommend that you cover up fully (long-pants and long-sleeves) use repellent and tuck pants into socks.
When walking, keep an eye on the ground ahead of you for snakes and swarms of army ants. If a snake is spotted, do not approach it, inform your guides. The vast majority of snakes are harmless though species identification can be difficult, so better safe than sorry! On no account must snakes be molested. If confronted by a swarm of ants, step gingerly across them, when on the other side check shoes and socks thoroughly before continuing.
Please do not intentionally pursue or unduly disturb any animals you may spot on the trails or in and around the lodge. Remember that we are sharing this environment with them and they demand as much respect as we do. Plants and flowers should also not be taken from their environment.
LEARN SOME SPANISH
While it is not necessary to speak any Spanish at all in order to enjoy a magical and memorable visit to Peru, knowing some simple phrases will give you a chance to interact with locals in ways other travelers can´t. After some basic classes, you won´t be speaking Spanish like Cervantes, but you will be able to manage simple questions and answers and Peruvians will be grateful for your efforts.
Thanks to the Internet, it is now easy to take classes online from the comfort of your home. There is a Lima-based online Spanish school that we know and recommend for Spanish classes online. www.webspanish.com. If you can use as little as 10 hours of your time, they will give you basic preparation for your trip to Peru.