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Travel Advice for Peru

Climate

Peru’s climate can be divided into two seasons - wet and dry - though this can vary depending on the region. Temperature is mostly influenced by elevation: the higher you climb, the cooler it becomes.
Peru has 84 of the 104 ecosystems worldwide, but three marked regions:

Coast and surrounding areas - Lima, Paracas, Trujillo, Chiclayo, Tumbes, Piura

The coastal region of Peru is cool for its latitude and quite dry year-round. Temperatures are warmest during the summer months (December to March), with hot and humid days of around 29°C (84°F) and cool nights of just below 20°C (68°F). Winters (from April to November) are not too cold but extremely humid.

Highlands (Andes) - Cusco, Puno, Arequipa

The highlands have a rainy season (November to April) and a dry season (May to October), when the days are clear and sunny but very cold at night especially at altitude. Dry season is therefore ideal for trekking and for mountaineering. Daytime temperatures will generally be between 16°C- 21°C (60°F and 70°F), although in the intense sunlight of midday it can feel warmer. Night time temperatures can fall as low as -7°C (20°F).

Rainforest (Selva) - Iquitos, Puerto Maldonado

Although the Amazon Jungle is consistently humid and tropical, with significant rainfall year-round, it too experiences two clearly different seasons. During the dry season (May to October), temperatures reach 30°C – 38°C (86°F and 100°F) during the day. From November to April, there are frequent rain showers (which last only a few hours at a time), causing the rivers to swell.

Best time to visit

The best time to travel to Peru depends on the specific regions and activities you plan to engage in during your visit.
Dry Season (May to September) is generally considered the best time to visit the most popular destinations of Peru, including Lima, Cusco, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca (Puno), Colca Canyon (Arequipa) and the jungle (Iquitos or Puerto Maldonado.
Bear in mind that the Inca Trail (Cusco, Andes) remains closed in February (rainy season).

Currency

  • It is advisable to carry USD cash for the initial days, including some 1 USD bills for tips at restaurants, drivers, or at luxury hotels where assistance with your luggage is provided.
  • US dollars are widely accepted in many hotels, shops, restaurants, and bars in Peru. Some establishments may also accept Euros.
  • While street money-changers, known as 'Cambistas,' may offer fair rates, caution is advised to avoid receiving counterfeit bills. It is recommended to ask your guide for assistance.
  • For a more secure environment, we recommend going to a 'Casas de cambio' (exchange houses).
  • An alternative to obtain cash are ATM or so called 'cajeros' that can be found in most cities (but not in smaller towns)
  • Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted, while American Express and Diners Club may be less commonly accepted.
  • Alternatively, you can exchange your USD at banks or hotels, although this option may offer less convenient rates and/or incur in transaction fees.

Tipping

  • Porters at hotels and airports usually expect a tip of USD 1 for every 2 pieces of luggage.
  • In most restaurants, a tip of 5-10% is considered sufficient, unless the service has been exceptional.
  • Taxi drivers do not typically require tipping, as fares are negotiated before the journey.
  • At the end of a tour, it is customary to offer a token of appreciation to tour guides and drivers.
  • The average tip is around USD 20  for guides and USD 10 for drivers per service, depending on the length of the service and the group's satisfaction.

Top Restaurant Recommendations

Lima

  • Central $$$$ - Haute cuisine ft. ingredients from Peru's diverse ecosystems
  • Maido $$$$ - Nikkei/Japanese-Peruvian fusion
  • Pescados Capitales $$$ - Seafood & ceviches
  • Osaka $$$ - Nikkei/Japanese-Peruvian fusion
  • Lady Bee Bar $$ - Sustainably-minded Peruvian style cocktails & tapas for savvy foodies
  • Limaná $$ - Superfood, healthy restaurant
  • Siete $$ - Mediterranean with Asian twist
  • Casa Tambo $ - Peruvian cuisine

Cusco

  • Mauka $$$ - Cusquenian cuisine by Pia Leon
  • Map Café $$$ - Peruvian fusion cuisine
  • Morena $$ - International ft. regional produce
  • Campo Cocina Andina $$ -  Contemporary Cusquenian cuisine
  • Pachapapa $ -  Contemporaty Cusquenian cuisine

Arequipa

  • Zig Zag $$ - Stone grilled meats & fish, regional cuisine with Swiss twists
  • La Plaza Bar & Grill $$ - Local food
  • La Benita $ - Local cuisine, picanteria
  • Nowhere $ - Craft Beer Brewery & tapas

Visas

Most travelers do not require a visa for touristic visits no longer than 90 days, to check if it is required take a look at this list here (if you see a 'Si' under the 'Turista' column then a visa is required)

Immunizations

  • Recommended vaccinations for Peru include: diphtheria, tetanus, polio, typhus, hepatitis A/B, and rabies.
  • A yellow fever vaccine is strongly recommended for trips to the Amazon (Puerto Maldonado or Iquitos) and required for travelers arriving from yellow fever-infected countries in Africa or Latin America.
  • The yellow fever certificate is valid 10 days after vaccination and remains valid for a period of 10 years.
  • The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends taking anti-malarial drugs if traveling to the northern parts of Peru and Iquitos in the Amazon.
  • It is important to consult with your doctor for the most up-to-date information and advice on vaccinations and anti-malarial medication for your specific travel plans in Peru.

e-SIM Cards

Peru is served by five major mobile network operators that provide 4G services:

  • Claro
  • Movistar
  • Entel
  • Bitel

As of now, 5G services are only available in the main cities of the Peruvian Coast for households/local companies with fixed plans. According to the local authority Osiptel Claro offers the fastest mobile speed.
These providers offer prepaid SIM card packages that can be purchased at their official stores, authorized resellers, and even kiosks in major cities. Bring your passport for registration purposes.
However, buying a prepaid SIM card at Lima Airport, particularly at the stand in the arrival hall, is significantly overpriced.
If you are in a rush and have a device that supports e-SIM, you can visit the user-friendly website:

They provide detailed instructions on how to purchase and activate your e-SIM card. Holafly uses Movistar in Peru.
Additionally, Entel also offers e-SIM cards, but this option requires a visit to one of their physical stores.

Time zone

GMT -5 hours

Taxis

  • In larger cities, you have the option to use taxi-hailing apps such as Uber or Cabify.
  • However, for safer alternatives, you can consider using Taxi Satelital, which allows phone reservations or booking through their app, or Green Taxi (Whatsapp).
  • Both Taxi Satelital and Green Taxi offer fixed fares based on the distance traveled.
  • While it is possible to find local taxis outside the airport, it's important to exercise caution as some drivers may attempt to take advantage of foreign travelers.
  • Street taxis are usually cheaper but less secure, and they may try to overcharge.
  • It's worth noting that Peru does not have taximeters, so having a basic knowledge of Spanish is helpful for negotiating the fare in advance. Additionally, taxi fares typically increase by 35% to 50% after midnight and on holidays.
  • In Cusco, registered taxis are generally white and display the license plate number on the side of the car.

Electricity

  • Outlets in Peru provide 220 volts at a frequency of 60 Hz (50 Hz in Arequipa).
  • The outlets have a two-prong configuration that accepts both flat and round prongs.
  • If you want to use a 110-volt appliance, you will need to purchase a power adapter.
  • Some higher-end hotels in Peru may have outlets compatible with 110-volt appliances.
  • Plug types commonly used in Peru are compatible with both European and American plugs.

Altitude Sickness

  • When properly arranged, there is only a marginal risk of altitude sickness for a healthy person traveling to the Andes.
  • It is important to take enough time to acclimatize, especially in Andean cities like Cusco (3,360m/11,023ft) or Puno (3,827m/12,556ft).
  • Avoid physical exertion during the first few hours after arrival.
  • It is recommended to avoid consuming alcohol during the acclimatization period.
  • Eat light meals and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
  • Local coca tea is highly recommended for alleviating symptoms of altitude sickness.

Top Restaurant Recommendations

Lima

  • Central $$$$ - Haute cuisine ft. ingredients from Peru's diverse ecosystems
  • Maido $$$$ - Nikkei/Japanese-Peruvian fusion
  • Pescados Capitales $$$ - Seafood & ceviches
  • Osaka $$$ - Nikkei/Japanese-Peruvian fusion
  • Lady Bee Bar $$ - Sustainably-minded Peruvian style cocktails & tapas for savvy foodies
  • Limaná $$ - Superfood, healthy restaurant
  • Siete $$ - Mediterranean with Asian twist
  • Casa Tambo $ - Peruvian cuisine

Cusco

  • Mauka $$$ - Cusquenian cuisine by Pia Leon
  • Map Café $$$ - Peruvian fusion cuisine
  • Morena $$ - International ft. regional produce
  • Campo Cocina Andina $$ -  Contemporary Cusquenian cuisine
  • Pachapapa $ -  Contemporaty Cusquenian cuisine

Arequipa

  • Zig Zag $$ - Stone grilled meats & fish, regional cuisine with Swiss twists
  • La Plaza Bar & Grill $$ - Local food
  • La Benita $ - Local cuisine, picanteria
  • Nowhere $ - Craft Beer Brewery & tapas

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