Peru FAQ

Here I accumulated all the most frequently asked questions about traveling Peru.

Arriving

In general, no, if you will go to the main tourist areas like Lima, Cusco or Arequipa.
However, if you are planning to Amazonian areas in the north of Peru, you will need a vaccination against yellow fever.
The good news here is that you can make it after arrival to Peru and absolutely for free in vaccination center in San Isidro, Lima.

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/qgUxaBFqa552
Hours: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. (Sunday 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.)
Web: rslc.gob.pe

The safest and cheapest way is to use airport express bus, it goes directly to Miraflores district, the price is $8. A second option is to use Uber of Cabify, the price will be about $19. And the third option is to use a taxi, the price will be also about $19.

Caution!!! Airport district is one of the most dangerous in Lima, so don’t try to use local official or unofficial buses or minibusses (combi). If you want to take a taxi, use one of the desks before entering the public hall.

Taxi drivers in airport public hall or outside an airport may appear gangsters and you have a lot of chances to be robbed.

The fanciest, quietest and safest areas in Lima are an ocean shore districts called Miraflores and Barranco. Lince may be acceptable, but avoid walking there at night time.

Lima is a 10 million population megapolis. It divides into several districts, and a life in different districts may vary in times. Some districts are clean and well cared, with a high level of security, while others are below the level of poverty. This is because each district has its own budget and tax rate, district municipality here play an important role.

Read more here.

General

Lima

Lima is on an ocean shore and humidity is high there, that means in cold time you will really feel cold and in warm time extremely hot!

The coldest time here is from July to September, with a temperature about +12-16C (53 – 60f). So, don’t plan to walk in the shorts and flip-flops and bring some warm clothes.

Hot summer starts in December and lasts until April) and it is about 26C+ (79+) both hot during the day and at night. This is the best time to visit Lima because the main Lima’s carnivals and public events take place exactly at this time of the year.

Cusco

Cusco is high in the mountains, so be prepared for hot sunny days and frozen cold nights.

Vice versa to Lima, the best time to visit Cusco is autumn (May-June) and spring (September-October). You will have sun and +15C (59f) during day and +3C (38f) during the night.Winter (July-September) also will work, but that will be a colder option.

What’s wrong with summer here?
Summer in Cusco (December to April) is a rainy season, and the rains may be a real problem on your way to Machu Picchu and the rest archeological sites. In case of strong rains, tours are canceled, roads are closed. I suggest you not to visit Cusco at this time.

Off course your tips will be very welcomed in any restaurant)
However, here people usually leave tips if they liked something especially and want to thank the staff, otherwise not.

Be caution!!! In some restaurants, I’ve seen the cheat that I’ve met previously in Panama city. When the waiter brings you the bill, you can see with big characters final price with a 10-15% of tips (service/service fee etc.) included and a bit above, with small letters your bill without these tips/service fees etc.

You are not obligated to pay an amount with tips included. Tips and service fees are always optional! And if you are confused, just ask your waiter about an extra line in your bill.

Lots of public places in Peru now offer free public WiFi. However, my suggestion will be to buy a local sim card.  

While using internet on your own sim card may be pretty costly abroad, most of the Peruvian operators offer a prepay sim cards. And the good news is that mobile internet here is pretty cheap! 300 MB with unlimited Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp will cost you about $3.

Yes, your friends and relatives won’t be able to reach you via phone call, however, your phone number in WhatsApp, Viber or Telegram will be still the same.

In addition, you will always have all necessary services and tools for your trip.

I can recommend one of three top operators Claro, Movistar and Entel.

Safety

No, It is legal in Peru and Bolivia but prohibited almost everywhere else by Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.

So, enjoy it in Peru, but leave it also in Peru (if you don’t want to go to jail in your country=)

In general, not, it isn’t.

Unfortunately urban violence has increased here last years, however, you may keep yourself safe and enjoy the capital of Peru if you will follow my safety tips:

– stay in a save district

– don’t walk in the street with a smartphone in the hand, neither speaking nor googling anything (especially outside of Miraflores, Barranco, and San Isidro)

– don’t wear expensive juneberry, unless you are going out at night by taxi or Uber.

– don’t join conflicts at bars, discos and any other place with locals. As it happens in any other country, there are some guys who are looking for a fight or conflict at night. The difference is that here it won’t be just a fist fighting, they will probably use knives and guns.

– be caution of pickpocketing in public transport and crowded places. Don’t wear your cellular or money on the back pocket of jeans or in your handbag.

– try to avoid private lines of busses and minibusses (combis). Use a blue line official bus and metro (Metropolitano) to go to the historical center and Uber or Cabify for rides across Miraflores, Barranco, and San Isidro.

– if you are using taxi, Uber or Cabify for a night ride or to go to some not safe district, close the locks of the doors. Sometimes gangsters may try to open a car door to rob you.

To make your trip nice and wonderful, you should make it safe (safety first!). Here are my tips on how to stay safe in Peru, in general:

– most of the street robberies are made by motorcycle gangsters. Backseat riders hitting the victim and robbing cellular, camera, bag or backpack

– don’t resist if you became a victim. Here gangsters won’t wait a lot before injuring or even killing you for your gadget or bag. So, don’t forget that your life and health has much more value.

– if you rent a car, don’t leave anything it while you are out.

Transportation

I won’t recommend you to look for trains in Peru. They are not so new and comfortable, and the worst news is that they are in times slower then busses. The main problem is a bad condition of rails that don’t allow trains to ride faster.

The only exception here are trains to Machu Picchu. They are more than fancy and it is a definitely the most comfortable and fast way to go to Machu Picchu. But the problem is the price. As there is no way to reach Machu Picchu by car, the only way is a trekking or fancy train.

#inside: don’t try to search for cheap train tickets to Machu Picchu, as there are only two train companies – Peru Rail and Inca Rail and their high prices are regulated by the government.

The best and the only prices you may find are on their websites:

www.perurail.com
www.incarail.com

The good news is that there are several alternatives to reach Machu Picchu without this overpriced trains or to use them just for one way.

There are several bus companies in Peru.

More premium and in times more comfortable is PeruBus. They offer comfortable bus with large leg space and USB chargers, so if the price difference is not high, it’s better to try this one.

#inside: in a night bus, attach your ticket to the cover of the front seat. This way controllers won’t wake you up during the night.

Don’t put your bag with money, documents and other valuable items neither to the luggage nor to the upper rack. It’s better to keep it below your legs.

Try to avoid unofficial busses and mini busses. They won’t cost you cheaper, you may win some dozen of minutes to get a faster ride. However, they are neither safe nor comfortable.

Planning to go by bus mountainous areas (Arequipa, Puno, Juliaca or Cusco), be prepared for a serpentine curly road with significant altitude differences. With an altitude of 3800+ meters above the sea, you may be injured by altitude sickness.

The solution is to buy soroche (in Spanish: sorojchi) pills at any Peruvian pharmacy or coca leaves at any market (you may prepare a tea or just chewing coca leaves).

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