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Practical information Peru

Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Section editor

Peru : Travel Information before you go!

Area

1285220.0

Flights

To compare flights with Easyvoyage, click here.

Jet Lag

The UK is six hours ahead of Peru.

Population

29549517

Airports

Jorve Lavez international airport located in Lima is the first port of call for most travellers as this is the capital. The airport is located about six miles from the city center and a taxi will cost around 5 pounds. It is also possible to get a domestic flight from within Peru to Cuzco airport which is located right in the city. This could be handy for anyone wanting to see Machu Picchu but who doesn't have the time to travel across the country by bus or train.

Security

Thefts and attacks are fairly common in tourist places such as Cuzco or Puno. The usual precautions should be observed in Peru: in the day time, walk with a discreet-looking bag, do not carry a camera on show against your chest for example, and the same thing applies for shoulder bags. Avoid deserted alleyways, day and night. Be careful in very cheap hotels - the rooms, even locked, aren't always safe. No need to become paranoid however.

Languages

Spanish is the official language. Quechua, the language of the Inca Empire, is spoken by millions of Indians and Aymara, another Amazonian dialect, is spoken along the shores of Lake Titicaca. Basic English is taught in most of the country's schools and widely used by tourist service providers.

Required travel documents for

European Union citizens do not require a visa. Your passport just needs to be valid at least six months after the return date. Upon arrival, travellers are allowed six months in the country. On entering Peru, you will need to fill in a form and keep it with you before giving it back when you leave the country. Look after it carefully, because if you lose it you will be charged about US$15.

Religion

Catholicism is now practised by 80% of the population, although it is very much interwoven with the Quechua and Aymara Indian religious practises. Pachamama, the Earth Mother goddess, is still evoked at special occasions.

Currency

The currency is the Nuevo Sol (PEN), which comes in denominations of 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents and 1, 2 and 5 PEN coins and 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 PEN notes. The Euro and US dollar are accepted in most restaurants and some shops. Visa is the most accepted credit card both in restaurants and shops and at ATMs. Increasingly, however, Mastercard is accepted. If unsure, you can check the location of Mastercard and Visa ATMs before you arrive. If possible, travel to Peru with US dollars in small denominations (new and preferably undamaged). Watch out for fake US dollar notes; it is preferable to accept new notes as change during transactions. Bank opening hours are variable, but they are all open from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. The website www.editoraperu.com provides more information on exchange rates.

Local transportation

Flying is a good way of saving time on long distances. A one-way ticket from Cuzco to Lima will set you back about US$150. You should definitely experience a train journey in Peru, especially from Puno, on lake Titicaca, to Cuzco, or from Cuzco to Machu Picchu. The easiest way to travel anywhere in the country is by bus: there are many cheap services, although the journey times are often unpredictable. For example, Arequipa-Cuzco is a 12-hour, 320 mile journey costing US$10. Travellers intending to drive must first obtain an international driving licence. There are plenty of car rental agencies in cities, but the very bad condition of the roads makes driving the hardest way to get around Peru. 4 x 4's are the only vehicles recommended for exploring Peru independently. Watch out for car robbers; it is absolutely necessary to leave your vehicle in a secure garage in the big cities.

Health

Vaccinations against yellow fever, typhoid and hepatitis A and B are strongly recommended. For travellers going to the Amazonian rainforest, a course of anti-malarial treatment is recommended, although there is no risk of malaria at altitudes above 6,561 ft. Only drink bottled water (including when you brush your teeth!). Many visitors to Peru suffer from "soroche" or altitude sickness when they first arrive. The symptoms are strong headaches and a feeling of nausea that can develop into pulmonary oedema. Make sure that you take it easy and drink plenty of water the first few days, and chew on coca leaves like the locals: it is the only effective remedy.

Electricity

220 V. You will need an adaptor.

Tourist numbers

Peru received 2 500 000 visitors in 2011 (this could be due to the hundredth anniversary of the discovery of Machu Picchu) and the country's ancient Inca capital receives 2500 visitors every day. Be warned however, allow plenty of time to buy your tickets in advance as the Peruvian government implemented this limit of 2500 visitors to Machu Picchu in July 2011 and they quickly sell out.

Taxes and tips

Goods and services are taxed at 18%. Service is included in restaurants, but as a tourist, leaving a couple of extra coins (about 10% of the bill) is much appreciated. On your way out of the country, the airport tax for international flights is US$25, payable in local currency, while national flights are taxed at US$4.

Telephone

To call Peru from the UK, dial 00 + 51 + the area code (01 pour Lima, 084 pour Cuzco, 054 pour Arequipa) + the number you are trying to reach.
From Peru to the UK: dial 00 + 44 + the number without the initial 0.

Peru : Useful addresses in the country

Before leaving

Peruvian Embassy:
52, Sloane Street, London, SW1X 9SP. Tel.: + 44 (0) 20 7235 1917Its art and culture department provides information fortourists.
Peruvian Consulate:
52, Sloane St, London, SW1X 9SP.
Tel.: + 44 (0) 20 7235 1917

For further information, visit the website of the Commission for the Promotion of Peru. ("Promperu"): www.peru.info(in English).

At the destination

Peruvian Tourist Office
537, Avenida San Martin in Miraflorés, Lima.
Tel.: 444 39 15 or 447 95 39.
British Embassy
Avenida Jose 1301, Larco, Miraflores, Lima.
Tel.: 221 78 +51 (0)1 617 3000.
Commission for the Promotion of Peru: Promperu
Calle Uno Oeste n°50
Pisos 13 y 14, San Isidro, in Lima.


21 55 79.