What to Expect – Peru

Location

Peru is located in the western and central part of South America. Its territory borders Ecuador and Colombia to the north, Brazil and Bolivia to the east, and Chile to the south; covering an area of 496,224 square miles. Additionally, the Peruvian maritime domain covers as many as 200 nautical miles in the Pacific Ocean.

It is the third largest country in South America and one of the 20 largest countries in the world.

Geography

Peru is an extremely diverse country, with 11 ecological regions and 84 of the world’s 117 different types of “ecosystems”. It has a huge variety of scenery thanks to its geography, which also provides it with a wide range of natural resources. The country has 3 main regions according to the traditional method of dividing the country by altitude: coast, mountains and jungle.

Time zone

Peru has one time zone -5h, GMT

Electricity

Electrical current is 220V, 60Hz AC. Standard outlets accept round prongs, some have dual-voltage outlets which take flat prongs. Even so, your adapter may need a built-in surge protector.

Communication

Telephone/cell phone: in Peru you will have good coverage in its main cities. You can get easily a local SIM card at the airport once you arrive. If you are heading to remote towns or trekking around the mountains it is very likely that the signal is poor on non-existent.

You can find the official tourism information offices addresses and numbers here. For 24 hours assistance call (511) 5748000.

Health Tips

It’s not unusual to suffer from altitude sickness in the Andes. Peru’s many climates mean that travelers will face different risks in different areas.

Lima has high-quality 24-hour medical clinics. Rural areas may have the most basic medical services. You may have to pay in cash, regardless of whether or not you have travel insurance.

We suggest you carry an international insurance.

Climate

Coast:

Characterized by a narrow band of deserts and fertile valleys alongside the Pacific Ocean. The fertile valleys spring from the rivers that flow down from the Andes mountain range itself, as opposed to the lower-lying sierra, and into the sea. The coast has a warm-temperate climate, without extreme heat or cold but with high humidity and dense fog that makes it feel extremely cold in winter. In the summer there is very little fog and temperatures reach 30°C. In the north, the coast is hot almost all year round, with a short rainy period in November and December. The central and southern coast has two distinct seasons, winter (April to October) and summer (November to March).

Highlands:

This is the mountainous region of Peru, where the Andes mountain range dominates the landscape and contains various ecological regions and altitudes. The northern Andes are lower and more humid than the rest, while the central Andes are the tallest and steepest, and it is here where you find the country’s highest peak, Huascarán, at 6,768 meters above sea level. The southern Andes are wider, and are also known as the altiplano, or high Andean plateau. The sierra has two seasons: summer (April to October) with sunny days, cold nights and little rain – this is the perfect time to visit; and winter (November to March), when it rains heavily. During the day, temperatures can reach 24°C, and at night they can fall to -3°C.

Jungle:

Located in the east, this is a vast region of plains covered by vegetation in the Amazon River basin, which begins at the confluence of the Marañón and Ucayali rivers. It is Peru’s largest region, and consists of highland jungle, or ceja de montaña – the mountain’s eyebrows, (over 700 meters above sea level), which is characterized by its cloud forests, and lowland jungle (less than 700 meters above sea level). Like the sierra, the jungle has two distinct seasons. From November to March it rains frequently, while from April to October it is fairly dry, making this the ideal time to visit as the rivers subside and the roads are easily accessible. There is high humidity all year round. Occasionally, between May and August, there are “friajes” or “surazos”, cold snaps caused by winds from the extreme south of the continent, during which the temperature can fall to between 8 and 12°C. Information about the weather of the country’s different regions can be found here.

Spending Guide

In Peru, the following items cost approximately:

  •         Breakfast: $10-15
  •         Lunch: $15-25
  •         Dinner: $15-25
  •         Beer/glass of wine: A beer at the supermarket ($1), a beer at a bar ($3), a glass of wine ($10-12)
  •         Bottle of wine: $20 or more
  •         Soft drinks: $1 at the supermarket, $3 in restaurants

Insects

If you travel to the rainforest you must bring insect repellent and use it all day. It is recommended to follow your guides instructions while you trek or sail around Peru.

The best prevention is wearing long sleeves, long pants, hats and shoes (rather than sandals). Use insect repellent with DEET. Protection usually lasts about six hours. Children aged two to 12 should use formulas with no more than 10% to 30% DEET, which lasts about three hours.

Insect repellents containing certain botanical products, including eucalyptus oil and soybean oil, are effective but last only 1½ to two hours.

If sleeping outdoors or in accommodations where mosquitoes can enter, use a mosquito net with 1.5mm mesh, preferably treated with permethrin, tucking edges under the mattress.

Safety Tips

Take normal precautions in Peru, keep your passport at all times with you, beware of pickpockets, and use certified taxis while you travel around big cities. Keep your Travel agent in contact and if you have doubts of any place contact the official tourism offices

Shopping

In Lima the best shopping malls are Larcomar and Jockey Plaza. If you want local artisan workpieces or Peruvian art you can find some nice stores in Barranco and San Isidro. In smaller cities you will find locals selling their art crafts and textiles everywhere near the tourist spots.

Tipping

It is not mandatory to tip in Peru, however most of the tourism and restaurant related personnel expect a kind tip. 10% of the total amount of your meal is appropriate.  It is not necessary to tip taxi drivers.

Currency

The “Nuevo Sol” (S/.) is the official currency of Peru.  There are notes of the following denominations: 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 soles. Coins are 10, 20 and 50 cents, as well as 1, 2 and 5 Nuevos Soles. Countless shops, restaurants, hotels and gas stations accept US Dollars. It is possible to exchange currency in banks and currency exchange agencies. There are also “cambistas” street currency exchangers, but the safety of the transaction is not guaranteed. Currency exchange agencies are regularly open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, from Monday to Friday, and half day on Saturdays Most cities in the country have ATMs connected in most cases to Plus (Visa), Cirrus (MasterCard/Maestro), American Express and other networks. You may withdraw Nuevos Soles or US Dollars, although the exchange rates tend to be less favorable.

Exit Requirements

Travelers’ passports should be valid for at least six months beyond their departure date.

Tourists are permitted a 183-day, non-extendable stay, stamped into passports and onto a tourist card called a Tarjeta Andina de Migración (Andean Immigration Card). Keep it – it must be returned upon exiting the country. If you will need it, request the full amount of time to the immigration officer at the point of entry, since they have a tendency to issue 30- or 90-day stays.

Airport Security

Due to Peru’s travel requirements and security measures, it is forbidden to carry sharp items such as scissors, pliers, blades, etc. in your carry-on baggage. For international flights, all liquid, gel and aerosol containers in carry-on luggage must not exceed 200 ml (6.76 oz).

Forbidden items shall be discarded by security personnel at the airport. Find more information about restrictions here.

Protected flora and fauna species

Biodiversity is one of Peru’s most valuable assets. Unfortunately many flora and fauna species are in danger of extinction due to unauthorized exploitation and trafficking.

Peruvian legislation forbids and punishes the removal, transportation, commercialization and export of wild flora or fauna species, live or dead, without the corresponding authorization.

Requirements concerning the export of fauna species.

Archeological and Historical Patrimony

All original items belonging to the National Cultural Patrimony are protected by Peruvian legislation and their commercialization and export is forbidden.

With regards to replicas of pre-Hispanic and colonial objects (ceramic, jewelry, stones, wood, textiles, paintings and others) it is necessary to obtain permission (“Certificate of export of goods not listed as National Cultural Patrimony”) from the Ministry of Culture.

Purchase receipts or other document issued by the seller indicating that the item is not listed as National Cultural Patrimony are not valid

Water

Tap water in Peru is not safe to drink. Instead, boil water or use water filters as well as bottled and water-purification pills.

Altitude:

  • Airport Shumba 750 msnm
  • Jaén 730 msnm
  • Bagua Grande 450 msnm
  • Pedro Ruiz 1300 msnm
  • Achamaqui 1700 msnm
  • Chachapoyas 2350 msnm
  • Nuevo Tingo 1969 msnm
  • La Malca 2933 msnm
  • Leymebamba 2203 msnm
  • San Bartolo 2807 msnm
  • San Pablo 1918 msnm

Distances:

Lima-Jaén: 1070 km (665 mi), approx.

Jaén-Chachapoyas: 192 km (120 mi), approx.

Climate:

Temperature / Months

 

Jaén-Bagua Grande:

  • Maximum 32°C (90°F) / Sept-Feb
  • Minimum 18°C (65°F) / Mar-Aug

 

Pedro Ruiz-Achamaqui:

  • Maximum 28°C (82°F) / Sept-Feb
  • Minimum 14°C (57°F) / Mar-Aug

 

Chachapoyas:

  • Maximum 23°C (73°F) / Sept-Feb
  • Minimum  8°C (46°F) / Mar- Aug

   

Nuevo Tingo-La Malca (Kuelap):

  • Maximum 21°C (70°F) / Sept-Feb
  • Minimum 5°C (41°F) / Mar-Aug

 

Leymebamba-San Bartolo  (Revash):

  • Maximum 24°C (75°F) / Sept-Feb
  • Minimum 8°C (46°F) / Mar-Aug

 

San Pablo (Gocta):

  • Maximum 28°C (82°F) / Sept-Feb
  • Minimum 14°C (57°F) / Mar- Aug

Seasons

RAIN:

  • Jaén-Bagua Grande: Dic-may
  • Pedro Ruiz-Achamaqui-Chachapoyas-Nuevo Tingo-La Malca (Kuelap) Leymebamba-San Bartolo (Revash) : Oct-may

 

Insects and arachnids:

The use of repellents is recommended for transfers and excursions.

Also be careful with spiders

 

Safety Tips

In Cajamarca and Amazonas there is a presence of the National Police of Peru. On the road it is usual to find the Highway Police. There are also organized “ronderos” groups that take care of the roads.

Health Tips

In Cajamarca and Amazonas there are modern hospitals that are part of the Health System of the Peruvian state. There are also several clinics.

Water

It is recommended that they bring water bottles so that they will be filled with water that will be provided in the buses.

Local Customs & Culture

In the city of Jaén you can taste one of the best coffees in the world.

In Amazonas there is a lot of traditional food, such as “Beef jerky with Mote (boiled corn)”, “Tacacho (based on fried plantain or sancochado) with beef Cecina”

Shopping

In Jaén they can buy coffee and handmade chocolate.

In Amazonas it can be crafts of different attractions. There are also artisans in Chachapoyas, Nuevo Tingo and Leymebamba, where you can buy Souvenirs.

Altitudes:

Conococha Lake: 4100m

Llanganuco Valley (Chinancocha): 3900m

Recuay: 3400m

Refugio Peru (Pisco): 4665m

Huaraz: 3090m

Moraine Pisco (pass): 5000m

Carhuaz: 2650m

69 Lake: 4600m

Yungay:  2500m

Cebollapampa camp: 3900m

Caraz: 2290m

Portachuelo de Llanganuco: 4750m

Cañón del Pato: 1820m

Llaca Lake: 4600m

Chimbote: 4m

Shallap Lake: 4250m

Huarmey: 7m

Wilcacocha Lake: 3700m

Chavin de Huantar: 3140m

Huascarán Mountain: 6768m

Chacas: 3360m

Distances:

Lima – Caral–174.2km (108.2mi), aprox.

Caral – Huaraz– 247.7 km (153.9mi), aprox.

Lima – Huaraz–402.5 km (250.1mi), aprox.

Lima – Chimbote–427.5km (265.6mi), aprox.

Huaraz – Carhuaz–33.6 km (20.8mi), aprox.

Huaraz – Yungay–56.6 km (35.1mi), aprox.

Huaraz – Caraz– 69.2 km (42.9mi), aprox.

Huaraz – Chavin de Huantar                                  109 km (67.7mi), aprox.

Huaraz – Chimbote                                                 208.6 km (129.6mi), aprox.

Huaraz – Chacas                                                      109.9 (68.2mi), aprox.

Huaraz – Yurraccoral                                             91.6 km (56.9mi), aprox.

Huaraz – Portachuelo de Llanganuco                   100.6 km (62.5mi), aprox.

Huaraz – Llaca                                                          22.2 km (13.7mi), aprox.

Huaraz – Wilcacocha Lake                                     26.6km (16.5mi), aprox.

The annual temperature ranges from 22 ° C (71 ° F) to 6 ° C (43 ° F), and the climate in Huaraz has two well-defined seasons: Dry season, from May to September, its climate is called “Andean Summer”, the weather is pleasant at this time of the year, with bright sunny days and cold nights. Wet season, occurs between the months of October to April, the sun shines in the mornings and it rains in the evenings, receives between 500 to 1000 mm of annual rainfall.

   The least amount of rain occurs in June. The average of this month is 2 mm. Most of the precipitation here falls in March, averaging 128 mm.

–  Temperatures are highest on average in September; around 14.1 °, C. July is the coldest month, with temperatures averaging 12.6 ° C.

–  The variation in the precipitation between the driest and wettest months is 126 mm. throughout the year; temperatures vary by 1.5 ° C.

Huaraz phone Code:

Dial 043

Public administration

Working hours of shops: Mon – Sun 09:00-22:30.

Banks working hours: from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm.

Money Exchange

In the center of the city there are exchange houses, where you can exchange dollars and euros, do not change the street.

Dangers & Annoyances

Time to acclimatize is important. The altitude here will make you feel breathless and may give you a headache during your first few days, so don’t overexert yourself. The surrounding mountains will cause altitude sickness if you venture into them without spending a few days acclimatizing in Huaraz first.

Huaraz is a generally safe city that experiences little crime. However, there has been a small spike in robberies on the periphery of town in recent years.

Always check for safety updates when you arrive in town. The Policìa de Turismo and iPeru offices are good places to inquire.

Health

Clínica San Pablo North of town, this is the best medical care in Huaraz. Some doctors speak English.

Water

Is recommended to drink a lot of Huaraz in this altitude (3090m). You bring water bottles so that they will be filled with water in some hotels.

Shopping

Many shops around the city offer good quality local handicrafts with prices varying according to quality. Most of the stores are open from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm. The public market is open all day.

Cultural events and adventure activities

Without having fixed schedule to provide you, we suggest that you check with the National Institute of Culture (INC) and the Centro Cultural de Huaraz for current and upcoming cultural events. Some bars and restaurants also offer shows with Andean music.

Monday and Thursday, are special market days, which attract a multitude of local people selling and buying products.

   
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