Tips for the Traveller - Perú - PDF

Tel: Website: Aracari Travel Tips for the Traveller - Perú 1. General Packing Advice 2. Luggage 3. Arrival and Departure Procedures

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Tel: Website: Aracari Travel Tips for the Traveller - Perú 1. General Packing Advice 2. Luggage 3. Arrival and Departure Procedures 4. Weather 5. General Safety and Hygiene Precautions 6. Specific Health Information 7. Travel Insurance 8. Money 9. Telecommunications 10. Voltage 11. Photography 12. Time 13. Transportation 14. Hotel Facilities 15. Shopping 16. Food and Restaurants 17. Equipment 18. Presents for the Local People 19. Tipping Updated August General Packing Advice A trip to Peru generally includes a variety of activities in different climatic zones, so it can be tricky to know what to pack. Below are some general pointers for packing: Mainly casual clothing: short and long sleeved shirts or T-shirts, rain gear, a fleece jacket, casual, lightweight long trousers or jeans and comfortable walking shoes, ideally with rubber soles. For destinations in the mountains, dressing in layers proves very effective as it is generally warm during the day (and when it is sunny) and cold at night (and when it is overcast). A hat and gloves can also come in handy, though these can be purchased locally. Do not forget to pack essentials such as prescribed medicines, a bathing suit, sunblock and a camera with charger and extra batteries. It is advised to pack a spare set of clothes in your carry on luggage in case there is any delay in the arrival of your checked luggage from your international flight to Peru. If you are planning to travel to the Amazon rainforest or go on a hike during your trip, please enquire about specific packing lists. 2. Luggage In general, soft luggage is encouraged for the whole of your trip. a. Flights: On domestic scheduled flights, baggage allowance is restricted to two pieces of luggage per person with a total maximum weight of 23 kgs/50 lbs. Only small carry-ons are allowed as cabin baggage (restricted to a maximum of 8 kgs/17.6 lbs). LC Peru airlines permit only 12.5 kgs/27 lbs per person. On charter flights there is a limit of 8-10 kgs ( lbs) per person. If you are carrying more weight you will have to pay excess baggage directly at the airport. b. Trains: Each passenger may take one piece of hand luggage (a bag or backpack) aboard the train. The maximum weight and dimensions are detailed below for different train services. i. Hiram Bingham, Vistadome and Andean Explorer maximum weight: 5 kgs/11 lbs; maximum size: 157 cm/62 in (length + height + width). ii. Inca Rail First Class and Executive Service maximum weight: 5 kgs/11 lbs; maximum size: 157 cm/62 in (length + height + width). For those travelling by train to Machu Picchu, the remainder of your luggage will be safely stored until your return to Cusco or the Urubamba Valley, your guide will advise you of specific arrangements. For those travelling by train between Puno and Cusco on the Andean Explorer, the remainder of your luggage will be transported on a separate luggage car. c. Hotels: All the hotels we use have very efficient left luggage services, where you can store your luggage if you go on multi-day excursions and return to your base (i.e. Cusco). This is recommended because trains, helicopters and small aircraft (which you will take on excursions to Machu Picchu, the rainforest, Nazca and other remote areas) only allow small, light pieces of luggage. Please note that tips for bellboys are not included in price. (Average tip for a bellboy: US $2-$3). d. Airport: In the Lima Airport, there is a left luggage office open 24 hours a day that charges US$ per day per item of luggage. 3. Arrival and Departure Procedures a. Passport: A valid passport for at least six months after your entry in Peru is required to enter and depart Peru. Tourists must also provide evidence of return or onward travel. b. Airport Arrival: Upon arrival at the airport from your international flight, please look for our representative who will hold a sign with our logo and your name. Do not accept transfers from anyone else. Our representative will be waiting for you, but if you fail to see him, please wait for him to find you. c. Departure Tax: The airport tax for domestic flights within Peru are included in the price of your ticket. The majority of international flights also include airport tax, however we recommend you check with your international flight provider for more information on its policy. d. VIP Areas: In Lima International Airport and at Cusco Domestic airport, Business Class passengers can have at their disposal a free and private area. Passengers other than Business Class passengers must pay an entrance fee. At Domestic airports other than Cusco, there is no VIP or Business Class Area. e. Visa: Please check with the nearest Peruvian consulate or embassy in your country for the most upto-date information about Visa requirements as it varies by country and entry requirements are subject to regular change. For most countries, a 183 day tourist visa is issued upon arrival in Lima, but it is important that you check before you depart for Peru to ensure that you have no issues with entrance. 4. Weather In a country with so many climatic zones, the weather can be somewhat unpredictable. Nevertheless, there are clear variations between the coastal desert, the Andes mountains and the Amazon rainforest. a. Coastal Desert: Cities on the coast such as Trujillo, Ica and Nazca are hot, sunny and dry year round. Lima and Paracas are humid and can be chillier and overcast at times between May and November. Precipitation on the coast is minimal and rare. b. The Mountains and Highlands: The weather in mountain destinations such as Cusco, the Cordillera Blanca, Arequipa & Colca, Lake Titicaca, Cajamarca, Ayacucho and Chachapoyas varies according to the seasons detailed below: Dry season: April to October - Little chance of rain and generally sunny Daytime temperatures: 18-25º C / 65-77º F Nighttime temperatures: -5-5º C / 23-41º F Although there is little chance of rain during the dry season, it is not unheard of for there to be occasional showers and even the odd unseasonable downpour. Rainy season: November to March - Varying intensity and regularity of precipitation Daytime temperatures: 20-26º C / 68-79º F Nighttime temperatures: 0-10º C / º F Rain falls sometimes in the morning and sometimes in the afternoon for a few hours at a time. There are often a few sunny and dry weeks in the rainy season, the timing of which is difficult to predict. The temperatures are slightly warmer than in the dry season. c. The Rainforest: Destinations in the Peruvian rainforest, such as Manu National Park, the Tambopata National Reserve and the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve share the same dry and rainy seasons as the mountains and highlands. Though there are still opportunities for spotting wildlife during the rainy season from November to March, the opportunities are decreased. 5. General Safety and Hygiene Precautions a. General Safety: Please ensure you do not carry any jewelry or valuable items during your trip. Leave valuables such as passports, credit cards, traveller s checks and large amounts of cash at the hotel when you go on excursions and visits. Be particularly careful in crowds, especially in markets and during processions and festivals. A small purse or bag that zips or fastens fully closed is recommended. b. General Hygiene: i. Aside from first-class hotels and restaurants, you should be careful with the following: raw vegetables, unpeeled fruit, tap water, ice. ii. If you explore independently, please bear in mind that many public toilets do not provide toilet paper, so it is advised to always have some on hand. In addition, please note that toilet paper should not be flushed but should be placed in the bins provided to avoid damaging the sewage system unless otherwise indicated. 6. Specific Health Information In addition to the below advice, we recommend that you visit your health care provider four to six weeks prior to travelling so that they may advise you about your upcoming trip and whether vaccinations, medications or other considerations are necessary in accordance with your personal health and medical history. a. Altitude Considerations: Upon arrival to high altitude, it is possible that you may experience symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), also known as Soroche, which can include headaches, shortness of breath, fatigue and even nausea or loss of appetite. The following steps can be taken to help to prevent or minimize these symptoms: i. Diamox is recommended (but not required) to alleviate altitude sickness. It should be taken a couple of days prior to ascending and a couple of days once at high altitude. ii. The natural and traditional remedy for altitude sickness is coca tea, which should be consumed in abundance during your stay at high altitude. iii. Dehydration is the main cause for symptoms of altitude sickness. Drink plenty of water before you take the flight to a high altitude destination. iv. Throughout your stay at high altitude it is best not to overexert yourself; take it easy upon arrival. v. Before going to altitude eat lightly and avoid heavy meals upon arrival at high altitude. Likewise, drinking alcohol and smoking is not recommended. b. Vaccinations: No specific vaccination is required to enter Peru. Nevertheless, for those travelling to the rainforest, the Yellow Fever vaccination is recommended. Travel in Peru s rainforest regions previously required a Yellow Fever vaccination, and although rules are less strict, it is not unheard of for certification to be requested. The vaccination is normally required or recommended for all rainforest regions around the world. It is valid for 10 years and must be administered at least 15 days before arrival in the rainforest. If you are continuing your travels directly from Peru, please check to verify whether a valid ceritificate of vaccination is required for entry to your next destination. c. Recommended Personal Medical Kit: For your travels throughout Peru and particularly if you spend time trekking, rafting or in the jungle, we recommend a personal medical kit with the following items: Antidiarrhetics (immodium), stomach pain relief (Pepto Bismol), antisthaminics (both capsules and balm), analgesics, band aids and blister plasters, as well as insect repellent. We provide a full medical kit adapted to the different locations: i.e. anti-venom serum in the rainforest, and a full kit to care for muscle pain, skin irritation, cuts in the rainforest and during treks etc. d. Mosquitos: For those travelling to the rainforest, and in other parts of Peru, mosquitos can be a real nuisance. We recommend the following methods for dealing with these and other insects: Insect repellent: The most effective method. We recommend roll on or spray with at least 30% DEET (10% for children). Don t forget your insect repellent for Machu Picchu. Vitamin B12: Taking this vitamin is said by some to cause your skin to omit a faint smell that repels mosquitos but is unnoticeable to humans. Start taking it days before your arrival in the rainforest. Clothing: For non-chemical bug protection, cover up with long-sleeve shirts, long pants and netted hats Additionally, for certain areas of the rainforest, malaria pills are recommended but not required. It is best to consult with your health care provider before you travel. 7. Travel Insurance We strongly recommend you to take out travel insurance in your country when travelling to Peru. Travel Insurance generally protects you (depending on the policy) from expenses incurred due to flight cancellations, theft, lost luggage and general cancellation in the event that you are unable to carry out your trip as a reuslt of illness or other serious, unforeseen circumstances. It can also cover your medical expenses during travel in case of illness or accident. In the UK, we recommend Campbell Irvine ( In the USA, we recommend AIG ( and CSA ( 8. Money Exchanging US Dollars and Euros into Peruvian Nuevo Soles is possible in banks, by official moneychangers on the street (who you can recognize as by their aprons and official IDs), in the airport, in hotels, in money exchange houses and in some shops (in small towns). The exchange rate in all of these is about the same. Hotels tend to give less advantageous rates. The current exchange rate is around 2.78 Nuevo Soles per 1.00 USD, and around 3.90 Nuevo Soles per 1.00 Euro, though rates are subject to regular fluctuation. Please be advised that US $ bills are more difficult to change, especially at shops and restaurants, so it is better to bring smaller bills. We recommend exchanging money in banks, hotels or with official moneychangers. We recommend exchanging traveller s cheques in the airport where commission fees are lower. Please be aware that US Dollar and Euro bills with even minor blemishes may not be accepted, so carrying bills in pristine condition is advised. Note that US Dollars and Euros are both accepted in most shops, restaurants, etc. (except for departure taxes which are payable in US Dollars). However, we highly recommend carrying Nuevo Soles. There are ATM machines throughout the major tourist destinations (Lima, Cuzco, Arequipa, Puno, Trujillo, Chiclayo and Huaraz). For security reasons, we highly recommend you to use ATMs in airports or hotels rather than using ones located on the street for your own security. Visa, Mastercard and American Express are accepted, but American Express and Mastercard are not accepted in all places. When making purchases with a credit card, you may have to pay a 5-6% surcharge and may have to present your passport to make the purchase. Traveller s cheques are often only cashed in local currency (Nuevo Soles). Check your bills both Nuevo Soles and US Dollars as there are fake notes abound. Look at them closely and consult your guide or an Aracari representative if you are concerned that a bill may be false. 9. Telecommunications a. Mobile Phones: Foreign phones, including iphones and Blackberries work in Peru, and there is very good coverage both in cities and surprisingly in some rural rural areas, including Machu Picchu! b. Telephone: If you wish to make international phone calls, you may purchase pre-paid phone cards. Ask our representative for details. c. Internet: In every city you will find cheap Internet Cafés, and most hotels offer Wi-Fi and/or have public computers. d. Mail: You can send postcards and buy stamps usually in the airports, at some hotels and at local shops in Cusco. Mailing a letter or postcard to the US or Europe will cost approximately 10 Soles or US$ Voltage The voltage throughout Peru is 220V. American flat two-pin plugs are fine. Round, European two-pin plugs, three-pronged and polarized plugs will need adapters, which can usually be purchased locally. Many 5-star hotels and international chains in Peru have adapters or have outlets for both European and American plugs. 11. Photography SD Cards of different types are available for your cameras. Most photography shops will download your camera SD card onto a CD Rom or DVD for a modest charge. We can recommend a complete photography shop in Lima and Cusco, where you can purchase print and digital photography materials. Just ask our representatives. As a courtesy, always ask permission before taking photographs of people, particularly locals in more remote areas who may find it offensive. Please be aware that some individuals may expect or request payment for photos. 12. Time Peru is GMT -5 and does not operate daylight-saving system. 13. Transportation a. Taxis: Street taxis can be risky, so it is best to call a taxi company or to ask at the reception of your hotel for transportation to be arranged as they generally have their trusted drivers and companies. b. Airlines: The most reputable airlines that fly domestic are TACA and LAN. There are also smaller ones such as LC Peru that flies to Huaraz, and Sky Airlines that flies some routes in Southern Peru and into Chile. Peruvian Airlines and StarPeru are two other alternatives. c. Roads: The Panamerican Highway, which crosses Peru from North to South, is completely paved as well as the major part of national roads, which lead you to the main cities. Secondary roads are not always paved. 14. Hotel facilities a. Laundry: Fast and efficient laundry services are available in most hotels in the cities of Peru. Such services usually are available from one day to the next. There are also independent laundry shops that do an excellent job at a fraction of the price of hotels. Please ask our representative for details. b. Minibar: Service is generally overpriced especially in 5-star hotels. Prices are listed in Nuevo Soles or US Dollars, and you will be charged at check-out and can generally pay with cash or credit card. c. Telephone: Telephone services are generally overpriced in 5-star hotels. Please ask our representative or your guide for further details. 15. Shopping In markets throughout Peru, you are often expected to bargain. You should try to bargain about 75-80% of the price quoted. You should carry cash as most market stalls will only accept cash (in the local currency), and it improves your bargaining stance. It is best to avoid shopping with credit cards. While they are widely accepted, you may have to pay a 5-6% surcharge and will often be asked to present your passport to make the purchase. Traveller s cheques are accepted in some places but are not particularly welcome. When shopping, we recommend that you carry Nuevo Soles or US Dollars. For shopping recommendations, please ask about our Recommended Shopping list for Lima and Cusco. 16. Food and Restaurants In Lima, you will be able to try a number of high quality dishes in some of the city s excellent restaurants (please refer to our Recommended Restaurants lists). Dining possibilties include creole cuisine, fish and seafood, Chinese food, Japanese and Nikkei cuisine, delicious international fusion dishes and superb desserts made with fresh, local fruits from the varied climates of Peru. A meal in a smart restaurant in Lima with wine: US$40-50 per person. A meal in a nice but casual café in Lima with an alcoholic beverage: US$ Meals in Cusco (and other provincial towns) in local restaurants: US$5-10. And in gourmet restaurants: $ Equipment for Adventure Activities We have a detailed personal equipment list for the rainforest, trekking and rafting. For all of these excursions, our price includes all of the heavy equipment such as tents, cooking utensils and sleeping mats. Details of our sleeping bags: Mountain Hardwear th dimension (-25F) bags and Mountain Hardwear season bags (-15F). For the lighter sleeping bags we provide a hot sac vapor barrier lining and a fleece lining. Items such as water purifiers are not necessary, but some travellers may wish to bring them. There is bottled mineral water available in all of the areas you will visit. During treks you will be provided boiled and purified water. Please be advised that disposable water or soft drink bottles are not allowed into the archaeological site of Machu Picchu. Bring your own reusable water bottle. 18. Presents for the Local People We encourage a sensitive approach with the local people. We strongly discourage you to give sweets or other items to children directly, as it is a practice that tends to promote begging and dependency. We have included a list of items that, in our experience, we know the local people greatly appreciate! These should be given to the schoolteacher, the local priest or nun or the community authorities. They will in turn give them to the children/people in an orderly fashion in front of you. We also recommend that you buy these items locally to avoid weighing down your suitfor a trek or cruise, you might want to save a few items as gifts for the porters or boat men (to give to their families). Cash, candy, cigarettes and alcoh
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