Peru Location: In the central and western part of South America facing the Pacific Ocean on the West.
Area: A total of 496,220 square miles, divided into three main geographic areas: the Coast, the Highlands and the Jungle.
Population: 24.5 million of the following ethnic strains: Europeans, Oriental, African, Indoamerican. In Lima: 7.5 millions.
Languaje: Spanish with 80% literacy rate.Quechua is also an official language. Aymara is spoken by people around lake Titicaca and dozens of languages are spoken by the native inhabitants of the Amazon basin.
Religion: Roman Catholic: 95%. Protestant and others: 5%.
Winter (May-October) average: 14ºC / 57ºF
Summer (November-April) average: 27ºC / 81ºF
Temperatures range from 18ºC / 64ºF during the day to 3ºC / 37º F at night. The rainy season lasts from December to March.
Hot and humid, with sporadic rains all year round.
– Currency: The Sol, broken down into 100 centimos. US Dollars are accepted in Peru’s larger cities. Credit cards widely accepted: VISA, Diners, Master Card, American Express. Travel checks may be cashed in main hotels. US Dollars exchange can be made at hotels and banks.
Entry Requirement: Valid passport; citizens of few countries require visas. Yellow fever inoculation required for those visiting some areas of the Amazon basin. Passengers traveling through Peru to Brazil also require yellow fever vaccine.
Voltage: 220 volts. Major hotels have 110 volts outlets.
Government: Democracy where the President and Legislative Chamber are elected every five years.
Entertainment, Gambling, Eating: Some Lima hotels have casinos, while hotels in Cusco often feature folklore shows.Restaurants of Lima’s districts of Miraflores and San Isidro offer a variety of cuisine ranging from traditional Peruvian “Criolla”, to International. Bars and night clubs with live music, criollo, black and Andean music are a specially popular in the bohemian district of Barranco.
Time: GMT-5 hours (No change during the Summer).
SECURITY – PERU
– Take normal precautions against pickpockets – Carry a copy of identification documents. Keep originals and your valuables in the safety deposit box of your hotel and make sure to list down what you deposit and verify the responsibility assumed by the establishment. – Carry valuables discreetly. Do not carry large amounts of cash. Keep an eye on your bags and luggage. – Do not carry suitcases, bags or sac packs on your back. – Do not exchange money out in the street. – Do not walk around late at night through areas with poor lighting or without a companion
TELEPHONE – PERU
– International and long distance national calls can be made from public pay phones. Country and city codes are normally shown in the telephone booths. – To make an international call, dial: 00 + country code + city code + telephone number. – To call from one city to the next, dial: 0 + city code + telephone number. – Public phones take coins as well as cards, which are sold in stands and supermarkets. Make sure you are buying the card corresponding to the telephone company of the phone you want to use. No collect calls can be made from pay phones. – To obtain telephone information, dial 103 (service is in Spanish)
INTERNET – PERU
– The main cities in the country do have public Internet booths. – The average cost per hour is US$ 1
HEALTH MATTERS – PERU
– Only drink bottled or previously boiled water. – Be careful with raw vegetables and fruits. – Avoid eating from street vendors. – Rest on the first day of your arrival to the Highlands, and consume light meals to prevent altitude illness (soroche). Drinking “coca tea” is recommended. – If you travel to the Highlands or to the Jungle, make sure to carry insect repellent and a raincoat.
– To obtain medical services, contact the staff of your hotel or travel agent. – If you wish to take travelers’ insurance, contact your favorite travel agency.
BANKS – PERU
Banking hours in Peru are normally from Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. In addition, most banks open for the public half day on Saturdays. In the streets of the main cities there are teller machines installed by the different banks.
MONEY EXCHANGE – PERU
EIt is recommended that money should be exchanged in hotels, banks and authorized money exchange offices (Service hours: 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., approximately). The exchange rate against the US Dollar is variable. Inquire before changing your money. For exchanging other currencies inquiry at money exchange offices
NIGHTLIFE – PERU
Most of the cities of Peru have a wide variety of night life entertainment. Information about places of interest can be obtained where you are staying. If you wish to enjoy typical Peruvian music, you can visit the so-called “peñas”. In Lima, the most popular discotheques, pubs and night clubs are in the Districts of Miraflores, San Isidro and Barranco. In other cities they are normally found in city centers (main square and vicinity).
FOOD AND BEVERAGE
– Peru Peruvian cuisine offers a great variety of dishes typical of the Coast, the Highlands and the Jungle. Always first ask about their ingredients, since some dishes can contain hot pepper or be highly spiced. You will also find establishments where international food is prepared. As far as drinks are concerned, try the very Peruvian Pisco (grape brandy) in any of its various recipes, as well as “chicha morada” (purple corn juice) “chicha de jora” (fermented red or yellow corn juice)and agüaje juice, made from a tropical Jungle fruit.
Useful Information – Inca Trail, Treks and Cusco
WEATHER IN CUSCO
Cusco has a temperate climate with year round temperatures fluctuating between 14º – 16ºC, with warm days and cold nights. The rainy season in Cusco is from December to March.
Machu Picchu has a semi-tropical climate, with warm and humid days and cold nights. The rainy season in Machu Picchu is from November to March, so be prepared.
The wet months are January to April, when roads are often closed by landslides or flooding.
The best months for visiting Machu Picchu are from April to October.
WE RECOMMEND YOU TO:
– Use boots during treks and sneakers during long walks.
– Drinking lots of liquids on long excursions, specially during the Inca Trail
– Always taking an umbrella or rainwear.
WHAT TO BRING
– Hiking boots, sneakers and shoes.
– Long pants or slacks
– Long-sleeved shirts.
– Several T-shirts
– Sweaters and a jacket.
– Rain wear (you never know when will rain even if its the dry season).
– Insect Repellent and sun block (sun is always stronger in such altitude).
– Personal toilet items.
– Personal first Aid kit.
– Wash kit, water bottle and water purifying tablets.
– A light backpack.
– Change of underwear.
– Gloves, scarf, wool socks and a hat or cap.
– A towel and toilet paper.
The tap water in most of Peru is potable, but the chemical content varies from place to place. To avoid problems, we recommend that you always drink bottled water.
Because you are visiting Andean areas, don’t forget to take precautions to avoid altitude sickness if you are prone to it. Be sure to try a hot tea or an infusion of coca leaves on arrival at altitude. During your first day move slowly and eat lightly, resting the first couple of hours.
Cusco City: 3,360 m.a.s.l.
Machu Picchu: 2,400 m.a.s.l.
Urubamba Valley: 2,850 m.a.s.l.
Inca Trail highest point: 4,200 m.a.s.l.
The Inca Trail is part of the Machu Picchu Sanctuary, a protected area of 32,592 hectares, managed by the National Institute of Natural Resources, INRENA. Every visitor must obey park regulations prohibiting littering, cutting or damaging trees, removing or damaging stones of ruins and the Trail, removing plants, killing animals, lighting open fires or camping in the archeological sites (Only authorized campsites can be used).