Frequently asked questions about Peru
What is the best time to travel?
The best time to visit is from May to October. Although temperatures are lower during this period, showers are rare. In the mountain areas you should count on brief showers occurring throughout the year.
What are the best festivals and when do they take place?
<p>Peru is a Christian country so almost every festival is related to Christianity. Some of the most important are: New Year (1st January), Maundy Thursday and Good Friday Labour Day (1st May), Inti Raymi, Sun festival Cuzco (24th June), St Peter and St Paul’s Day (29th June), Independence Days (28th and 29th June), Battle of Angamos’ Day (8th October), All Saints’ Day (1st November), Immaculate Conception Day (8th December) and Christmas Day (25th December).</p>
Can I pre-book transfers and extra nights?
Yes you can pre-book arrival transfers and extra nights with Shoestring.You can add these on to your booking form.
What about my passport?
You need a passport that is valid for at least 6 months from the date of your departure. You are responsible for having a valid passport and visa when you travel.
Do I need a visa?
At present a visa is not required to enter Peru but you are responsible for having a valid passport and visa (if required) when you travel. Please check the embassy if you do need a visa for Peru and check here for info about the current situation. Make sure you inquire at least a month before departure so that you do not run into time problems.
Do I need vaccinations or malaria tablets?
Please click here
for questions regarding vaccinations or malaria tablets for this country and then contact your GP or a specialised health clinic to make an appointment to get your injections and pills. Please make sure that you arrange this at least six weeks before departure to allow time for a full program of injections. Two weeks should suffice for people who have already had a few injections. You are responsible for having the right protection when going on tour.
What is the recommended currency for Peru?
The official currency is the Nuevo Sol (PEN) divided into 100 céntimos. There are approx 6.5 Nuevos Soles to the pound. Travellers cheques may be difficult to exchange in small towns and villages so travellers are advised to bring cash. US Dollars are the easiest currency to exchange and plenty of restaurants, hotels and shops in the main cities accept dollars as payment. Casas de cambio (exchange bureaux) often give better rates than hotels and banks and can be found in any town on the tourist circuit. ATMs are available in the main cities.
What kind of clothing and other stuff is practical to take?
Bring along warm clothing including a fleece, sweater or jacket. By day, it will mostly be sunny, so thin, cotton clothes and shorts are indispensable items. However, please note that extra warm clothes are a must for this trip, especially in the summer season (May to October) when temperatures may drop as low as -15°C at night. Gloves, hat and/or a scarf should be part of your packing items! An umbrella and a light waterproof jacket might also come in handy, the former protecting against both the rain and the blazing sun. You need a good pair of worn-in hiking boots with good tread and a pair of flip-flops. Other important items are sunglasses, sun cream, toiletries, a first-aid kit, a hat/scarf, a (video)camera and sufficient film/videos and spare batteries, a torch, towel, a pen-knife, a lighter, an alarm clock, writing equipment, books, passport, money, copies of your passport and travel insurance.
What kind of luggage should I take?
We advise you to bring a weekend bag or backpack. A solid suitcase is inconvenient if you have to carry it yourself on and off trains etc. Also, bring along a small backpack or shoulder bag for hand luggage. A thin money belt, to be carried underneath your clothing, is also advisable for storage of valuable documents. Remember to put some clean clothes in your hand luggage, in case your main luggage is delayed. For example, any medication and your toothbrush should be in your hand luggage. Check that your luggage is not too heavy: any more than 12 kg is an unnecessary hindrance.
What is the situation with electricity in Peru?
Please click here to check what voltage and plugs are in use in Peru. You could also consider taking a universal electric plug adaptor.
Which travel guides and maps?
If you want to take a travel guide or map, we suggest you click on Lonely Planet.
What is the accommodation like?
We will stay in twin rooms in mid-range hotels with en-suite facilities.
How is accommodation arranged if I book alone?
If you book alone you will share your room with a fellow traveller ( from the same sex when possible ) unless you have booked a single room.
Do I need a sleeping mat or sleeping bag?
Unless you go on the optional Inca trail trip, you will not need a sleeping mat or sleeping bag.
What can I expect for camping facilities?
On the Inca trail you sleep in two-man tents. Local porters will carry the cooking equipment, tents, provisions and fuel for the duration of the trek. You yourself will carry a small backpack containing everything you need for the trek and a sleeping bag.
Do I need to take a mosquito net?
Mosquitoes are not a real problem in Peru, so this will not be necessary.
Do they cater for vegetarians in Peru?
The main dishes in Peru always have meat or fish although you can always ask for arroz (rice), frijoles (beans) or one of the many fruits they have.
What kind of transportation is used?
We use private transportation for this trip, mainly well-maintained buses. Some transfers may be done using public transport. You will take a flight from Cuzco to Lima and a train from Cuzco to Aguas Calientes.
Is Peru dangerous?
Theft does occur in the cities. A simple way of avoiding pickpockets is to store money and important documents close to your body, ideally in a money belt. Have some cash to hand so you do not have to search for it in the middle of the street. Keep an eye on your possessions and on what is going on around you. Robberies tend to take place in the places you should avoid anyway, like dark alleys and deserted beaches.
Stay away from people offering drugs and do not go anywhere with ‘plain-clothes policemen’ who don’t show proper identification. Your belongings will be reasonably safe in your hotel room, but do not leave valuables behind. If you use your common sense and stay alert, you shouldn’t have any problems.
What local customs do I need to keep in mind?
In Peru it is customary to start with a greeting and to inquire about someone’s well being. You will often hear "Buenos dias ¿cómo está?" On meeting and saying goodbye, men and women give a short kiss on the cheek to all women, even if they hardly know each other. Indigenous people do not kiss, but sometimes give a weak handshake. Politeness is highly appreciated. Peruvians have a different notion of privacy to what we are used to and subsequently can get very close to you, invading your personal space. They emphasize the importance of being well dressed and therefore do not expect tourists to be dressed scruffily. Shorts are not actually considered improper. However, in less touristy regions long trousers are more appropriate. In reality, most of the time it will be too chilly for shorts anyway. It is considered offensive to call someone of indigenous descent an Indian: indigena is preferred.
What other activities and sports could I do?
You have an optional hiking trip called the Inca trail which lasts 2 days. For the real hikers, nature and culture lovers the 42 kilometre long Inca trail forms a true challenge. The trek is tough, but thoroughly enchanting. You will be accompanied by a local guide, who will stay with the group during the entire trek which passes through a number of truly wonderful Inca ruins. The trek starts near the holy Urubamba River. By the end of the afternoon, you arrive at Machu Picchu, where you stay overnight in the village of Aguas Calientes at the foot of Machu Picchu. The following day you will have plenty of time to visit the ruins, led by the guide. At the end of the afternoon you will return to Cuzco by train.
How are communications in Peru?
The international access code for Peru is +51. City/area codes are in use, e.g. (0)1) for Lima. A mobile phone operator provides a GSM 1900 network with coverage limited to major towns and cities. Peru is well connected to the internet with a proliferation of inexpensive internet kiosks, called cabinas pública, available on street corners in most towns and cities.
What is the time difference?
Please check the world clock in order to find out the exact time in Peru.