Printable travel guide for Peru
Travel Guide

Here you will find travel information and insider tips about Peru that has been cooperatively contributed by other friendly Hospitality Club members. Please become active as well, and share your vast budget travel and backpacking knowledge with other members and the internet community - it is very easy to edit any information here (more info in the Help File). We hope that these Travel Guides will quickly become a great and fun resource. If you want to print this guide out to take with you, we have prepared this Printer Friendly Travel Guide for you. Enjoy!
For Introduction, Top Things to See and Do, Neighboring Countries, Who is coming?, Want more guests!, Hospitality Club Meetings and the geographic navigation please see the main Peru Page.

Basic Facts

Official Country Name: PERU
Capital: Lima
Population: 28 million
Telephone Code: 51
Time Zone: -5.00 GMT
Area: 1,285,215 sq km
Language(s): Spanish (80,3%), Quechua (16,2%), Other (3,0%), Foreign languages (0,2%)
Ethnic Groups:
Highest Mountain: Huascaran (6,768 m)
President: Alejandro Toledo
Government: Democracy
Currency: Nuevos Soles
Exchange Rate: US$1=S/3.30 (Oct 2005)
Health Risks: Should have the yellow fever vaccine to travel to the rainforest
Electricity: 220V
Weights & Measures: gr, kg, m, cm, etc.
Country Name in other languages: Peru, Perou

Attractions and Things to See and Do

Maps

Here you can include references to maps that are somewhere on the internet. Two conditions apply: they cannot be protected by copyright, (or you have to make sure that we are allowed to use them), and you have to make sure that it is ok if we call them up from here. If that is a problem, you can also send us the image file and we will upload it to our server.

Check this map for all the main roads in Peru. Please note that there are almost no roads in the Amazon area.

www.enjoyperu.com/mapa.pdf/00.pdf

Off the Beaten Path and Insider Tips

Suggested Itineraries

1 Day, 1 Week, 2 Weeks, 1 Month ...

Transport

Peru is a very large country, with a very complex geography: narrow coast, mighty Andes in the middle, and vast Amazon region. So, if you see a city not so far away from Lima, it does not mean you will get there quickly.

If you want to go to the main cities in the Amazon basin, you will have to fly there, as there are no roads in most cases (only rivers).
Besides that, you can reach any city by bus. Please ask first how long does it take and add 2 hours to what they say (just in case :).
It might be better if you do an apropiate combination of air and bus travel, specially if you are short on time and/or money. Of course bus costs 1/3 of air travel.

Just to give you an idea:
- Lima-Arequipa: 14 hours
- Lima-Ayacucho: 9 hours
- Arequipa-Cusco: 9 hours
- Lima-Cusco: 22 hours


BY AIR
There are flights and connections from Lima to all the main cities of Peru except for Huancayo, Huaraz and Ica, where you can go by road using inter-provincial buses. Always make reservations in advance. If it is not high season, it will be very easy to get air tickets for the following day.

Main airlines:
LAN Peru (www.lanperu.com)
TACA Peru (www.taca.com)
TANS (state owned) (www.tans.com.pe)
Aero Condor (www.aerocondor.com.pe)

TRAVEL RE-CONFIRMATION
Re-confirm your trip ahead of time. For domestic flights: 48 hours in advance; for international flights: 72 hours in advance.

Lima Airport:
Phone: +51 1 595-0666
URL: www.lap.com.pe

Airport tax (T.U.U.A.)
Domestic flights: USD 5
International flights:: USD 29
Payment to be made in cash before boarding the flight.

BY LAND
Inter-provincial buses
The inter-provincial bus routes covers all destinations in Peru, except for certain cities in the Jungle (no roads, just rivers). Inquire about the comfort levels available depending on the fare paid; and whether or not the service is non-stop (VERY important).

You must be very careful with your personal belongings while on route.

Always pay the highest fare for better buses beacause of safety reasons, as accidents in the roads are common for unsafe and cheap bus lines.

Recommended:
- Cruz Del Sur (www.cruzdelsur.com.pe)
- Oltursa
- Movil Tours

TAXIS AND PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
It is recommended for safety reasons that taxis should be from taxi companies (which are requested by phone) or those authorized by the municipalities (in Lima they are painted yellow with a lighted sign over the roof).

Taxi meters are not used in Peru, therefore the price must be negotiated before going into the taxi. Ask where you are staying about the average fares to your destination. No tips are normally given to taxi drivers.

At airports, it is advisable to hire the services of taxis authorized by the management authority.

Urban buses (the most economical alternative) are of the colors and numbers assigned for the specific route. Most of them travel long treks and they may turn out to be uncomfortable. Inquire before taking them; and do not take them too late at night.

TRAINS
The tourist rail service covers three routes: www.perurail.com
Puno - Cusco- Puno
Cusco - Ollantaytambo - Machu-Picchu


Accommodation

If you do not want to stay with other HC members, or no one is available, here is what other members suggest.

Hostels
In Lima, I would suggest not to stay in downtown Lima. Try better Miraflores, San Isidro or Barranco.
Some good hostels are:
Hotels in Peru - Miraflores,Cusco,Sacred Valley Miraflores - Flying Dog Peru (www.flyingdogperu.com)
Miraflores - Incahaus (www.incahaus.com)
Barranco - Backpackers Inn (www.trekinperu.com)
I've had friends in those places and heard only great comments.
Hotels
Camping
Other Options

Food and Drinks and Local Specialties

Peruvian cuisine has great reputation, and is always included in the top 5 list of the best in the world.
Peruvians are very aware of this, and if we are proud of anything, it is certainly our food. Every region has its own special dishes and specialties, depending on the nearness of the ingredients.
There is also a wide variety of cuisines. Italian and chinese are the most popular ones (of course). You can also easily find well known fast food brands if you don't like real food :)
Vegetarians: I must warn you it is not that easy to find a great variety of vegetarian meals. However, the usual solutions are salads everywhere.

Local Specialties
Just to name a few:
- Seafood (specially in the coast): Ceviche, tiradito, Pulpo al olivo (octopus in olive cream), Shrimps, etc.
- Creole food: Aji de Gallina, Arroz con Pollo, Papa a la Huancaina, Anticuchos, etc.
- Fast food: Bembo's hamburgers (www.bembos.com.pe). This deserves a special mention and encouragement for you to try it out. The most tasteful and innovative burguer ever. You will always remember it, and never regret it! (just don't eat it after 11pm).
- Deserts: whatever with lucuma and chocolate (best combination ever), Picarones, Suspiro a la limeƱa, etc.
- Fruits: Lucuma (a MUST!), sauco, aguaymanto, etc.
- Drinks: Pisco Sour, Algarrobina, Inca Kola :), etc.

Supermarkets
All supermarkets sell prepared food per Kg.
-Wong (www.ewong.com), excellent quality of products and excellent service. I'm quiet sure you will never be in a better supermarket. (It's also a very well known and interesting business management case study, so ask if you are curious.)
-Metro, same owners as Wong, but much cheaper and bigger.
-Santa Isabel, also pretty good.
-Plaza Vea, same owners as Santa Isabel, much cheaper and bigger, better quality than Metro.

Street Food
Don't recommend this at all. Very unsafe!

Restaurants
The best meal can be found in the neigbour's kitchen, and maybe that's the reason there are so many small diners who offer great value "Menu" for lunch. It often includes an entree, main dish, dessert, juice and bread for 5 soles.

If you want to try something fancy, there is plenty to choose from: Astrid y Gaston (best in town for Andean-Mediterranean fussion), Rafael, Punta Sal (Seafood), Salon Capon (Chinese-peruvian a.k.a. "chifa"), etc, etc.

Money and Costs

Currency
There are two currencies in Peruvian economy: Nuevos Soles (S/) and US dollars. US dollars are accepted almost everywhere.

Exchanging Money
The exchange rate is currently S/3.30 per USD (Oct 2005).

ATMs
In Lima you will find lots of ATMs everywhere. You can choose to withdraw US Dollars or Peruvian Soles.

There is an ATM in the airport, located right before passing through customs. It is much safer to withdraw money there before going to the "public" area of the airport.

Outside Lima, expect ATMs in main cities, mainly near the main plaza of the town. Be aware that the further you go from main cities, the less ATMs you will find.

Credit Cards
The most popular one is defintely VISA, but Master Card and American Expess are also accepted.

Tipping
- The person that carries your bags at the airport usually have a per item rate. You should ask him first. If not, 5 soles I guess is ok.
- Restaurants and cafes charge 10% for services, but this does not include the tip. You are expected to leave an additional 10% for the waiter.
- Taxi drivers are not used to receive tips.

Bargaining
Always, and I mean always, bargain with the taxi driver before you get on a taxi.
In food and indian markets, you are also expected to bargain.

Costs
1 bottle 0.5lt Coke = S/2.0
1 bottle 0.5lt water = S/1.5 - 2.0
1 hour at internet cafe = S/3.0
1 public transportation ticket = S/1.2
1 meal at lunch (menu) = S/5 - 7.0
1 capuccino at nice place = S/6.0
1 McDonalds Combo = S/13.0
average taxi rate = S/5.0
taxi from Miraflores to downtown Lima = S/8.0


Visa and Documents and Embassies

Who needs a visa? How to get it? Embassies & Consulates, of the country abroad and in the country from morocco to peru plaise

Borders and Customs

Post and Communications and Internet

Internet Access
In the main cities, is extremely easy to find internet cafes (cabina de internet).

Post, Telephone, Fax ...

Questions and Answers or Forum

Here anything goes, you can post questions you have, and other members will answer you. If you do answer, please send the reply directly to the asking member as well, and try to integrate the information into the categories above. If too difficult to do, just answer right here and a volunteer will integrate in the future. Also, you can put thanks notes in here. Add new questions on top so they show up on the Travel Guide page. Please post messages not related to traveling or the aim of the Hospitality Club into the category Offtopic Messages.

Hospitality Club Meetings

Use this section to add more info if you organize meetings and events (you can add a short note on the main country page). You can also invite other members to parties, sports events, whenever you would like to meet up with someone.

Travelogues

Have you written a story about a trip to this country? Just paste your text in here and share your experience with other members.

Photos

Here you can include photos that are hosted somewhere on the internet. As with maps, you have to make sure that it is ok for us to use the photos here (so they should be either your photos, or you should ask the owner), and that it is allright to call them up from here.

Activities and Sports

Nightlife and Entertainment

Bars
Some of the nicest, coolest and expensive bars are located in San Isidro and Miraflores districts: Las Brujas de Cachiche, Bar O, Bohemia, Astrid&Gaston bar.

If you are looking for some laid back bars, with wooden tables and chairs, good music and lots of beer, go straight to Barranco. There are plenty of bars around the main plaza. All time favorites: La Noche (www.lanoche.com.pe), Mochileros Bar, La Posada del Angel.

Special mention: a bar with social responsability: Voluntarios Pub (www.voluntariospub.org). This place is unique: it combines great environment, music and drinks with volunteerism and social commitment, as all the revenues are donated to non profits. It is run by a civil society organization, and all waiters are volunteers that rotate and come from or help the non profits that receive the funds. It is a great success!

Cafes
Visit Cafe Haiti, the best coffee in town and also a 50 year place, with his own history and personality. It is located in front of Parque Kenedy in Miraflores.

Discos
High end discos: Gotica and Aura in Larcomar (Miraflores). Entrance fee is around USD15.
If you want a more relaxed environment, you can dance at La Noche (dancing starts around 1am), Voluntarios Pub or La Sede (also gay friendly).

Cinemas
The best ones for quality belong to multi cinemas: Cineplanet (www.cineplanet.com) and UVK.
It costs S/15, and Tuesday it's 2x1.
In other smaller cinemas it's cheaper, around S/8.
Check
http://cine.terra.com.pe/terra_cartelera.phtml or
http://www.elcomercioperu.com.pe/EdicionOnLine/cultura/macro/cartelera.asp
for the schedules, addresses, prices.

Population and People

Culture and Conduct or Local Customs

Language and Useful Phrases

There are many Spanish school in Peru, one of the biggest attraction is to learn and travel. 4-8 weeks of Spanish will give you a very strong basic and you will get to know all the major tourist attractions, Here is a list of some of the Spanish schools in Peru: Spanish School Cusco Peru

Events and Holidays

Festivals, Sports, Concerts, Public Holidays...

Climate and When to Go

Check this site run by the Peruvian Weather Service, specially designed for tourists!

http://www.senamhi.gob.pe/prono/pron_peru_tur_ing.php

Geography

Environment and Flora and Fauna

Dangers and Warnings

Tourist Traps

Health

History

Government and Politics

Economy

GDP, GDP per head, Annual growth, inflation, Major Industries, Major trading partners...

Arts

Music, Literature, Theater, Movies ...

Media

Newspapers, Radio and TV, Magazines ...

Religion

Volunteer Opportunities and Work

Organized Tours

What to Bring or Packing List

Shopping

Books and Further Reading

Guidebooks, Travel, History and Politics
Please enter Amazon links to the books - we will put info on how to do this here shortly. This way we hope to get a bit of funding for the running of the club, if someone buys the books you recommend.

Other Information

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Peru (L)

External Links

Official Country Website: Peru Travel Machu Picchu Vacations
Only add really valuable resources here. Also, please ask the webmaster of the site you link here to add a link back to the Hospitality Club. If the link exists, please add (L) behind the URL of the link.

Offtopic Messages

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