In Travel tips Peru I’ll tell you everything you need to know before your trip to this amazing country in South America. Which ATM do you have to use to get money? What about transportation? What about altitude sickness? I’ll answer all of your questions in this article.
This article is also available in Dutch.
To enter Peru you need a passport that’s valid for at least six more months and has at least two free pages. With many passports, you won’t need a visa for Peru, but make sure to check this before you leave on this website.
The local currency in Peru are Peruvian Soles, but you can also pay with US dollars. In Lima, you can pay with your credit card in most places, but don’t count on paying with your credit card in other towns. A lot of places (restaurants, hotels) advertise with Visa or American Express, but check before you order, because sometimes these signs are just a decoration. Make sure to bring cash everywhere you go.
To get cash, you can use an ATM of one of the larger banks. I preferred BCP, this was the only place that allowed me to get 700 soles every time I used the ATM (the others won’t give you more than 400 soles). I also didn’t have to pay additional costs when I used this ATM. ATMs aren’t available everywhere, so check for ATMs before you go to another destination.
Peru is a big country (about 30 times the size of The Netherlands) and everywhere you want to go is far away. The mountains are very impressive as well, so it might take a while to go from one place to another. Within cities, it’s best to take a taxi (don’t forget to negotiate a little), but for a long distance, it’s best to book a bus ticket or a plane ticket.
You can take a bus to most places in Peru. And they’re very luxurious! Traveling by bus in Peru is pretty much the same as traveling by plane. You have to go to a specific station (every company has it’s own), you have to check your bag, and you have to reserve a specific seat. During the bus ride, you’ll get a meal, and sometimes you’ll also have a personal entertainment system. In the most luxurious buses, you can decline your chair 160 degrees, so you’ll be lying almost flat. Which is perfect if you’re on a night bus, then you’ll also get a pillow and a plaid. For an 8-hour bus ride, you’ll pay something between €15-€30. Not too bad right? There are several bus companies to choose from, so research them before you book.
I only used Cruz del Sur, which is one of the fancier bus companies, and I really enjoyed my time in their buses. Travel times were perfect, and the staff was very friendly. If you’d like to check out some of the other companies, check the website or app RedBus.
Taking a domestic flight is way faster than taking the bus, but it’s also more expensive (and less luxurious). It’s kind of difficult to pick the right airline because all of them have bad reviews. Don’t just pick the cheapest, because there probably will be a high fee for checking your bag. Make sure to check the reviews of the airlines on your route, you can do this on Tripadvisor.
I used LATAM Airlines for a flight from Cusco to Lima. This was one of the more expensive options, but also one of the safest. Because of the Cusco’s location and altitude, there can be quick changes in the weather, which make a lot of airlines cancel or postpone their flights. LATAM has some the best airplanes, that are equipped with the right instruments, so cancellation won’t happen that often.
A lot of airlines have some sort of ‘Gringo-tax’ for non-locals. Some search engines don’t see the difference, so you might find lower prices for your flight on flights.google or Skyscanner. If you book those flights, you probably have to pay a big fine at the airport. So make sure to check the airlines’ official website from a different country than Peru (you can usually change it on the website).
Read more: The perfect itinerary for a month in Peru
Where to stay
There’s plenty of accommodation in Peru. You can sleep a low budget hostel, or in a luxury hotel, anything is possible. Booking something last minute is usually not a problem, there’s always something good available. I always use Booking.com, because I just love their app and having all my bookings in one overview.
What to eat?
Peru is famous for its fantastic food. Famous dishes you simply have to try are:
– ceviche (raw fish in a lemon sauce with sweet potato)
– lomo saltado (stir-fried beef with vegetables and rice)
– aji de gallina (a creamy sauce with chicken, potatoes, eggs, and rice)
– andes cuy (guinea pig, I didn’t try this myself, because I just couldn’t…)
And if you like cocktails: make sure to try the famous pisco sour at least once. It’s awesome!
You can use public wifi in many places, mostly in hostels and hotels. It might not be as great as you’re used to, but it’ll work well enough to get your social media updated.
Personally, I always bring my sim card of the English mobile operator 3. This is a sim card, which works in 71 (!) countries, so it’s perfect if you travel to multiple countries. If you’re ever in England, make sure to buy one of those (cheap) sim cards.
Altitude sickness is something you have to prepare for when you’re traveling to Peru. Whatever you do, don’t underestimate this! Most people experience some symptoms of altitude sickness when they’re traveling to an altitude of 2500 meters (8200 feet). You can feel really tired (you’ll be exhausted by climbing some stairs), and might experience some dizziness or nausea.
When you’re traveling to a higher altitude (for example, Lake Titicaca, Cusco, and Huaraz), make sure to plan a rest day, before engaging in activities. Drinking (a lot of) water is always good, but you can also try the best remedies according to locals: coca tea and coca candy. Whatever you choose, make sure to take your time.
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