Peru

FAQ

How safe is Peru?
Peru has a stable government and tourism has boomed in recent years. With the added tourist dollars, the government has made a concerted effort to keep travelers and their valuables safe. There have been no terrorist attacks in Peruvian tourist areas in over a decade and the activities of the Shining Path are generally assumed to be isolated to a remote area of the Department of Ayacucho that most travelers would never visit.

Travelers should take the same precautions that they would in a major city in the US or Europe. Pay attention to your surroundings and take common-sense precautions such as not going into unfamiliar areas alone, especially at night, not carrying huge amounts of money with you or wearing expensive jewelry.
Petty theft is common in busy tourist areas such as airports, markets, and other tourist sites so be aware of your valuables and don't leave them unattended. Monetary scams also sprout up occasionally so beware of any offers that sound too good to be true.

What type of food is typical of Peru?
Staple foods in the highlands include potatoes, corn, rice, and meat dishes, often with a spicy sauce. In jungle areas, fresh fruits, fried plantains, and other vegetables are also common. Though vegetarians can be easily accommodated in all areas, options typically leave out the meat rather than adding vegetarian mainstays such as tofu, beans, or nuts.

How concerned should I be about the altitude?
Altitude affects each traveler differently and until you have visited an area with high altitude, it is impossible to predict how your body will react. It is recommended that you take at least 3 days at high altitude with mild activities before travelers begin hiking. This time allows your body to begin acclimatizing (though full acclimatization would take several months) and provides travelers a good indication of how they will feel once they begin hiking (as altitude symptoms are generally the worst in the first day or two at elevation).

Commonly mild altitude symptoms are: fatigue, headaches, or light-headedness during their first day or two at elevation. Many hotels at altitude have oxygen available for travelers feeling the effects of the elevation.

Severe altitude sickness is rare. In this case, the best treatment is to go down in elevation as soon as possible.. Many severe cases of altitude sickness are the result of a pre-existing condition that is aggravated by the altitude. It is important to ask your doctor whether or not travel to high altitude is advised, especially if you have a pre-existing heart or lung condition such as high blood pressure, asthma, angina, etc. You might also want to ask your doctor about prescription Diamox, a diuretic that many travelers swear by to help them adjust to the altitude more readily.

What time zone is Peru?
Peru is five hours behind GMT (same as EST). They do not observe daylight-savings time so during these months (April-October), Peru is on CST.

Do I need a converter/ adaptor for the electricity?
Peru uses 220 volt, 60 cycle electricity. Travelers will require a voltage converter for 110 volt devices. Plugs are typically the 2 pronged flat type found in the US, though some facilities have been noted to use the 2 rounded prongs instead.

Is the water safe to drink?
The tap water is generally not safe to drink in Peru. Bottled water is readily available at tourist sites, hotels, and restaurants. Don't forget to use bottled water when brushing your teeth as well! Ice is not always made with boiled/ bottled water. Order your beverages without ice ("sin hielo") or ask your tour leader if the ice is safe in a particular restaurant.

Should I bring cash or Traveler's checks? Are ATMs available? Can I use credit cards?
Most travelers bring a small amount of US cash with them and withdraw from ATMs as they need it along they way. ATMs are readily available in the larger towns and cities. Travelers can withdraw US dollars or local currency at fair exchange rates. Traveler's checks are fine, but they can be more difficult to exchange and you will usually receive a poorer rate or be charged an additional fee. Credit cards are accepted only in the larger restaurants and stores. Although it is helpful to bring a credit card along for emergencies, don't count on using it for most purchases.

What immunizations are recommended/ required?
No immunizations are currently required for visiting Peru. Hepatitis A and Typhoid are recommended. Yellow fever and malaria preventatives are also recommended on Amazon journeys. For the most current information, please consult your doctor.

Do I need a visa/passport?
Travelers will all need a passport valid for at least 6 months after they depart. Currently, citizens from the US, Canada, Scandinavia, Western Europe, Japan, Latin America, South Africa, South Korea, and the Caribbean (except Cuba) do not need a visa. Australians and New Zealanders also do need a visa. Travelers from other nationalities should check with the Peruvian Embassy for visa information. Entry requirements change with surprising frequency. It is each traveler's responsibility to check with the consulate for the most up-to-date visa information.

How much money will I need for my stay in Peru?
That is difficult to say as it depends on your lifestyle while staying in Cusco. Just to give you an idea: Public transport in Peru is very inexpensive. A taxi in Cusco will charge you US$0.60 during the day and US$ 0.90 after 10pm. A ride on a public bus in Cusco costs US$0.20.

An average meal (set menu) in a restaurant will cost you about US$2.00. A beer or a coffee in a bar will cost between US$1 and US$3, depending on where you go.

What is the Visitor’s Ticket exactly?
This is a Ticket which allows you to visit 15 different places in and around Cusco and the Sacred Valley. It is a good investment because it saves you almost half of the money than if you bought the entrance fees separately. You can buy it at the first place you visit or at the public ministry. The ticket is valid for 10 days. With an ISIC Card you can receive a discount.

Will I have access to internet in Peru?
Internet cafes are common and most of them have DSL or ADSL fast connections. Explorer, Netscape, and Hotmail are readily available at every internet stop.
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