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Travellers Tips

TRIP PREPARATIONS

Know Before You Go

Although most of the planning and preparation is taken care of for you, there are still a few things you should know and some details you should take care of to ensure your comfort, safety and peace of mind. Please review the following information before your departure to ensure that any surprises along the way will only be pleasant ones.

Getting Ready to Go

Passports and Visas

It is each traveler’s responsibility to have a passport valid for at least 6 months after the date of travel and a visa if required.

International Entry & Visa Requirements for U.S. Passport Holders.

Countries listed below require specific visa and/or other entry documentation in addition to a U.S. passport. All other countries (not listed) require only valid U.S. passports.

ARGENTINA – U.S. and Canadian Citizens arriving Argentina at Buenos Aires Aeroparque Airport (AEP) or Buenos Aires Ezeiza International Airport (EZE) are required to pay an entry fee of $160, payable online in advance.

  1. Visit https://virtual.provinciapagos.com.ar/ArgentineTaxes/ and sign up;
  2. Complete the form and credit card information;
  3. Print the payment receipt; and
  4. Present the printed receipt at Immigration Control upon arrival.

Important: You MUST carry the printed receipt with your passport as this is the only way to prove payment.
Passengers who are not U.S. or Canadian citizens should check with the appropriate consulate.

Please note that there is also an international airport departure tax of $29 which may or may not be included in your ticket price; if not included, this will be payable locally upon departure.

BOLIVIA – Visa required. May be obtained upon arrival or in advance by mail or in person at Bolivian consulates in the U.S. Upon arrival, the $135 visa fee is payable in cash only and must be accompanied by a visa application form with a 4cm x 4cm color photograph, a passport with a validity of not less than 6 months, evidence of a hotel reservation or a letter of invitation in Spanish, proof of economic solvency (credit card, cash, or a current bank statement), and an International Vaccination Certificate for yellow fever. Contact the Embassy of Bolivia at 4420 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Suite #2, Washington, D.C. 20008; Telephone: or 232-4827; Website: bolivia-usa.org. There are Bolivian Consulates General in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Oklahoma City, and Seattle.

BRAZIL – Visa required. Contact the Brazilian Embassy at 3006 Whitehaven Street, NW Washington DC 20008-3634. Phone . Website: http://washington.itamaraty.gov.br/en-us/. Note that those living outside of the this region must contact the consulate of their jurisdiction. There are Brazilian Consulates General in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Hartford, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and San Francisco. Two days following your initial booking and deposit, you will receive complete information via email about obtaining a visa to Brazil.

CHILE – U.S. Citizens are required to pay an entry fee of $160 which is collected upon arrival in US dollars and payable by credit card or cash upon entry into the country. This fee cannot be paid in advance. Currently, the fee is only charged at the Santiago International Airport.

For the specific country/region you are visiting for more details. IMPORTANT: Passengers who are not U.S. citizens must check with the respective consulate or a visa agency to determine what personal identification is required. Passengers who enter, leave and then re-enter the same country on their itinerary should check if they require a double-entry visa. Passport applications are available at most U.S. Post Offices, as well as at regional Passport Agencies. Passengers requiring visas, whether obtained in advance or locally upon arrival, should ensure that their passport has unstamped visa pages.

Peru – Passport information must be submitted 30 days prior to departure. This information is necessary to issue Machu Picchu train tickets.

Trip Preparation:

A little pre-planning can make your trip go a lot smoother. Several weeks before your trip, make a list of what you will need to take with you. Make sure your personal documents (passports, visas, driver’s license) are in order and that you have enough prescription medications to last through the trip. We suggest that you make photocopies of passports, visas, personal ID and any other important travel documents and pack them separately from the originals. Pack a list of medications including dosage and generic names. If you lose the originals while traveling, you’ll have copies for easier reporting and replacement. You may consider bringing a small supply of over the counter medications for headaches and/or anti-diarrhea pills. We recommend that you pack a portable alarm clock. Avoid placing valuables such as cameras in your checked luggage.

Aguas Calientes – For your convenience, it is recommended that you pack an overnight bag for your stay in Aguas Calientes. Due to limited space on the trains to Machu Picchu, the remainder of your luggage will be stored in Cuzco.

Cell Phones & Calling Cards

You may wish to carry a cell phone while traveling. Check with your cell phone provider if your phone will work in the destination(s) you are visiting. U.S. service is dominated by the CDMA technology standard, while most of the world uses the incompatible GSM standard. Some U.S. providers do offer GSM, but you may incur high international roaming fees. With GSM, however, you can often choose to have your phone unlocked and then add a local SIM card for lower fees. If you can access the Internet as you travel, you can take advantage of email or a Skype Internet telephone (VOIP) account for the best value. Alternatively, you may investigate renting a cell phone before you leave or buying an inexpensive phone locally.

When calling the U.S. from a foreign country, you may also use a prepaid calling card; normally, the only additional charge (besides the prepaid long distance charges) is a local fee of a few cents and possibly a connection fee if you are using your card at your hotel. It is best to check with the hotel’s reception desk prior to making phone calls to avoid unexpected charges.

Making Telephone Calls from One Country to Another

When dialing a number from one country to another, you should proceed as follows: dial your country’s Exit Code + destination Country Code + Phone Number.

For most countries, the exit code is 00. For Brazil, please consult with the local telephone company. If the international number you wish to call starts with a 0 (zero), you must drop this starting digit when dialing the number.

Wireless Internet Access

Passengers traveling with WiFi enabled devices (such as a personal computer, smartphone, tablet, or digital audio player) may be able to connect to the internet via a wireless network access point (or hotspot). WiFi access in hotels often involves a fee which, in some cases, can be very expensive. Passengers requiring internet access can often locate free WiFi hotspots such as libraries or coffee shops. Hotspots can often be located and planned in advance via an online search. Planning ahead may help avoid unnecessary fees.

Staying Healthy While Traveling

All travelers should familiarize themselves with local conditions, such as high altitude or required immunizations, which could affect their health. We recommend you consult with your personal health-care provider, the Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov) and/or theWorld Health Organization (http://www.who.int/en/) for their recommendations.

There are several easy steps you can take to stay healthy while traveling which may help prevent contracting an illness while away from home.

  • Watch what you eat. Try new foods in modest quantities, and depending upon your destination, you may want to avoid street foods, salad bars, raw vegetables and fruits, unless they have thick peels like bananas or grapefruit.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink bottled water and avoid consuming ice cubes made with tap water.
  • If you have allergies to foods, medications or insect bites, or have any other unique medical issues, consider a medical alert bracelet and/or a physician’s note detailing required treatment should you become ill.
  • Wash your hands regularly and carry hand sanitizer.
  • Where appropriate, pack sunscreen and insect repellant (for both active and warm destinations).
  • You may also want to bring a small first-aid kit with bandaids, antibiotic cream, pain killers, bug bite cream, digestive aids like antidiarrheal or anti-bloat medications, antacids, and cold medicine. This is in addition to any prescription medications which should be adequate for the entire trip.

Notice on Aircraft Cabin Insecticide Treatment – Please note that some countries may require aircraft cabin insecticide treatment for in-bound foreign flights. A list of such countries is available at: http://www.dot.gov/office-policy/aviation-policy/aircraft-disinsection-requirements.

Peru – While no inoculations are required, vaccination against yellow fever is recommended, especially if traveling to the Amazon or onward to Bolivia. Please consult your physician before traveling to Peru.

You may encounter mosquitoes in both urban and rural areas, especially during wet seasons. Travelers are encouraged to bring insect repellant and consider wearing clothing that adequately covers arms and legs.

Traveler’s diarrhea caused by contaminated food or water, often resulting in dehydration, is common. Take care to follow these steps to avoid or reduce the symptoms.

  • Drink only bottled water.
  • Avoid unpasteurized cheeses and unpeeled or unwashed fruits and vegetables.
  • Eggs, meat and seafood should be properly and fully cooked.
  • Please note that the popular Peruvian alcoholic beverage, Pisco Sour is often made with uncooked egg white.
  • If you have contracted diarrhea, let your stomach rest. Do not eat for several hours or until you are feeling better.
  • Drink bottled or boiled water and rehydration beverages containing electrolytes (sports drinks) frequently and in small amounts.
  • Resume your diet with simple and bland foods, such as crackers, rice, bread, potatoes, or bananas, which usually will help slow diarrhea.

High Altitude Illness:

Altitude illness occurs when there is a lack of oxygen in the air at high altitudes, including Cuzco (11,000 feet) and Puno (12,600 feet). Altitude illness will affect some travelers, with no apparent regard to age, gender or physical condition. Symptoms may include headache, loss of appetite, dizziness and trouble sleeping. For some it will pass within a few hours, however for many the condition if gone untreated may last for several days. We urge you to read and follow these suggestions in order to reduce the chances and/or severity of altitude illness.

  • Prior to departure, speak with your health care provider. They may recommend the medication acetazolamide (Diamox), which has been found to reduce the symptoms if taken a day or two before you depart.
  • Stick to a light diet the day before traveling to a high altitude. Foods found easy to digest include fish, chicken and hot liquids. Avoid fried foods, beef, lamb and caffeinated or alcoholic beverages.
  • Drink plenty of water before and during your stay.
  • Upon arrival take it easy. Allow your body to adjust by lying down for 10-15 minutes. Rest as much as possible during the trip. Over-exertion can exacerbate the symptoms.
  • Oxygen can be beneficial, and is easily found in airports, hotels and pharmacies.
  • For headaches, over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve) have been found to be helpful.
  • Coca tea and wild mint (Munia) may ease the symptoms.
  • A diet high in carbohydrates, breads, cereals, grains, and pasta can also help alleviate the symptoms.
  • Once again, we highly suggest you consult your personal healthcare provider before making the decision to travel to any high altitude destination and before choosing any course of treatment.

Climate & Clothing

Peru – The sun is strong, particularly in the higher altitudes. Please bring a sun hat that has a circular brim all the way around (not a baseball cap) and sunscreen. Bring comfortable, cushioned walking shoes for the hard cobblestone streets, a sweater, clothes you can layer and an all-weather jacket. Remember that during your trip you will be traveling between regions and will need to be prepared for all weather conditions. Please check to which season and region(s) you will be traveling and pack accordingly. Winter months (May – October) are cold. During those periods you will need a warm jacket, gloves, a hat and a scarf. Some religious sites may require modest dress to enter (no shorts, short skirts, or sleeveless tops).

Peru’s climate varies by season and region. The coastal region (Lima) has two clear seasons, summer (December – March) and winter (May – October). Summer temperatures in this region can reach 80°F. Winter is generally damp and chilly, with temperatures dropping to 53°F. This region sees little rain, but can see mist and drizzle during the winter. The coastal area of Ica (Paracas, Nazca) enjoys warm dry weather throughout the year, with average temperatures around 75 – 80°F. The highlands region of Peru (Cuzco, Puno, Urubamba, Machu Picchu) has a dry temperate climate that also experiences two distinct seasons. The dry season (May – October) consists of sunny days and cold nights with very little rain. The rainy season in the highlands runs from December to March. Temperatures can change drastically during the day in this region, sometimes varying as widely as highs around 65°F and lows of 35°F during the same day. The jungle region (Amazon River) is tropical and humid. Throughout the year temperatures range from mid to upper 80s during the day and drop into the 70s during the night. The summer months (April – October) are considered the dry season, though despite this name it should be remembered that it rains two-thirds of the year in the rainforest. The rainy season (November – March) sees frequent showers and high river levels.

Peru Average Temperatures:

City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dic
Lima Low 68 70 70 67 63 61 61 61 59 61 63 67
High 79 81 81 76 72 70 67 67 67 70 72 76
Urubamba Low 46 46 46 43 39 36 34 37 41 45 45 46
High 68 68 68 70 70 68 68 70 70 72 72 70
Cusco Low 43 43 43 41 36 32 32 32 36 40 41 43
High 65 65 67 67 67 67 67 67 68 70 70 70
Puno Low 39 38 38 34 29 25 21 25 30 34 37 38
High 61 61 61 63 61 61 61 61 63 65 63 63
Aguas Calientes Low 45 45 42 41 37 34 32 36 39 43 43 45
High 66 66 66 68 68 66 66 68 68 70 70 70

Book & Film Recommendations

Many of our guests enjoy reading about their destination – either in advance of their trip or while traveling – as a way of adding context to their visit. Whether reading a traditional guide book, learning about the history and culture, or simply enjoying a fictional novel set in the destination, a good book can add greatly to your experience. Similarly, a good movie set in your destination helps set the mood before you travel. We asked our Tour Managers and staff to recommend books and films which past guests may have enjoyed. The following does not constitute an endorsement of any authors, books or films listed, it is merely a collection of guests’ recommendations.

PERU: Books

Machu Picchu:

  • Lost City of the Incas by Hiram Bingham (1948)
  • Machu Picchu Sacred Center by Johan Reinhard (2007)
  • Turn Right At Machu Picchu by Mark Adams (2011)
  • Machu Picchu: Unveiling the Mystery of the Incas by Richard L Burg (2008)
  • Incas: Book 3: The Light of Machu Picchu by A.B. Daniel (2003)
  • The Steamer Trunk Adventures #2: The Ghosts of Machu Picchu by R.M. Garcia (2006)

Nazca Lines:

  • The Nasca Lines by Johan Reinhard (1986)
  • Nazca: Eighth Wonder of the World by Anthony Adams (2001)
  • Nazca by Steve Rogoff (2003)

General Peruvian Life / Exploration:

  • The Peru Readers by Orin Starn, Carlos Ivan Degregory, and Robin Kirk (2005)
  • The Art of Peruvian Cuisine by Tony Custer (2003)
  • Eight Feet in the Andes: Travels with a Mule in Unknown Peru by Dervla Murphy (2003)
  • Conversation in the Cathedral by Mario Vargas Llosa (1975)
  • Aunt Julia & the Scriptwriter by Mario Vargas Llosa (1977)
  • The White Rock – An exploration of the Incas heartland by Hugh Thomson (2001)

Incas:

  • The Conquest of the Incas by John Hemming (1970, reprint 2003)
  • Narrative of the Incas by Juan de Betanzos (originally from 1550s, not discovered and published until 1980s)
  • The Secret of the Incas by William Sullivan (1997)
  • Incas: Books 1&2 by A.B. Daniel (2002-2003)

Other Archaeology/sites

  • Lost Tomb of Viracocha by Maurice Cotterell (2001)
  • Temple by Matthew Reilly (2002)

PERU: Films

  • The Secret of the Incas (1957)
  • The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)
  • The Royal Hunt of the Sun (1969)
  • Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

ABOUT YOU FLIGHTS

E-Tickets & Check-In Procedures

Please review the flight itinerary included in your documents. Print and carry a copy of the air itinerary which contains the record locator (airline reservation number) and e-ticket number(s). At check-in, be prepared to provide your government issued identification (valid passport required when travelling internationally) and your e-ticket itinerary/ ticket numbers to the agent in order to receive your boarding pass.

If your flight itinerary displays a flight as “Operated By” another carrier, you should check-in at the desk of the “Operated By” airline. When you arrive at the airport, check the airport monitors for updated check-in desk listings.

An e-ticket (electronic ticket) represents the purchase of an airline seat. This form of ticket has replaced almost all formerly provided paper tickets. The e-ticket exists only as a digital record in the airlines computers. In most cases your reservation will be confirmed solely on the basis of your government-issued identification. However it may still be necessary to present the e-ticket itinerary which contains your specific reservation code and ticket number(s). Once confirmed, your luggage will be checked-in and a boarding pass provided.

Advance online check-in is available on some airlines. If available, you may enter your airline confirmation number or Flight Ticket Number at the airline’s website, and print the boarding pass on your home printer within twenty-four hours of departure. Airlines without advance online check-in require you to present your identification and e-ticket numbers at the airport self-service kiosk or check-in counter.

When e-tickets cannot be issued, you will receive paper tickets.

If your tour program includes foreign domestic flights, and those tickets are not included together with the e-ticket itinerary in these documents, a separate voucher(s) confirming those services will be included. You will receive those tickets at your destination from a Terra Quechua Peru representative.

Airline Flights

Please check in at least three hours prior to the scheduled departure time to allow for security steps for international flights. For domestic flights, please check in at least 2 hours prior to the scheduled departure. Many airlines do not permit check-in less than one hour prior to the scheduled departure time. Certain carriers do not allow baggage “interlining,” and luggage must be checked separately for each flight. When you check your luggage, we recommend that you verify where your luggage is being sent. If you are connecting from a domestic flight which is delayed for any reason, causing you to miss your international flight, you must ask the airline for assistance in getting you to your destination. Since all airline tickets are issued on special fares which carry restrictions and penalties if changed, you must have the airlines responsible make alternate arrangements on your behalf as Terra Quechua Peru no authority or control over airline activities and policies. Do not leave the airline check-in desk until an alternative itinerary has been confirmed for you.

Passengers are recommended to reconfirm their flights 72 hours prior to departure, and to reconfirm seat assignments, special meal requests and frequent flier numbers, as applicable. In the event of an airline schedule change, Terra Quechua Peru will make every effort to inform passengers of the schedule change and new flight schedule prior to departure. Terra Quechua Peru is not responsible for schedule changes including, when applicable, changes in routing and/or the number of stops in the itinerary.

Airline Luggage Restrictions

Most international airlines are consistent with regard to the number and weight of the pieces you may check and bring onboard
Airline Seats
Airline seats are confirmed whenever possible. Some airlines and/or fare types do not allow for pre-seating and require this be done at airport check-in only. Even when seats are pre-assigned however, you may wish to contact the carrier one to two weeks prior to departure to reconfirm your seats. In many cases there are equipment changes after your initial booking which can cause airplane seating reconfiguration.

Airline Tickets

Most airline tickets are issued using special fares which cannot be changed or canceled without incurring additional cost. Should you lose or misplace your tickets while traveling, you should immediately notify the airline. In most cases they will have you complete a Lost Ticket Indemnity Form, and for a fee, issue replacement tickets.

Peru Domestic Flights

Please note that you may only bring a total of up to 50 lbs of luggage per person on flights within Peru. This weight restriction may differ from your international carrier’s and is subject to change.

A passport or picture ID is required to board all flights in Peru including the Nazca Lines overflight.

ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE

Arrival & Departure

Arrival Procedures

Upon arrival, please complete immigration formalities if necessary and claim your luggage. If your program includes airport arrival transfers, check your voucher for specific instructions, as they vary with every destination. In most cases, you will be met after collecting your luggage or passing through Customs by the local representative who will be holding a Terra Quechua Peru sign and/or a sign with your name on it. In some instances you will be instructed to walk a short distance to a transportation counter. The company’s name and location will be printed on your voucher. If for any reason you do not connect with the Terra Quechua Peru transfer personnel, go to the Tourist Information Desk and ask them to page the Terra Quechua Peru Travel representative or phone the number on your voucher.
Entry Fees / Departure Taxes
Are required as follows: Peru taxes of up to $11 for each domestic flight may apply.

Transfers

Due to local traffic and other extenuating circumstances, we ask that you allow 30 minutes from your scheduled transfer time for our representative to arrive. This includes hotel, airport transfers. Such possible delays are taken into consideration in scheduling transfers and you should therefore have no concerns about arriving late for your tour, flight. For transfers from a hotel, let the hotel reception desk or concierge know that you are waiting for a transfer. In the case of a missed transfer, reimbursement for your out-of-pocket expenses will be considered provided you obtain a written statement from the hotel’s front desk verifying the length of time you waited, and the time you left the hotel, and a receipt for your transportation with time and date.

About Your Escorted Tour Participants in Peru

Please note that the number of participants may vary during your tour as we accommodate travelers arriving at different points in the itinerary. Upon arrival at your first destination, you will be invited to join a welcome orientation with your Tour Manager and will meet your tour companions.

About Your Accommodations

Hotels

Terra Quechua Peru has carefully selected each hotel based on overall quality, location, price, food, service, and cleanliness. All rooms are standard rooms with two single beds and private facilities, unless you have specifically requested and paid for an upgrade. Room selection is strictly at the discretion of the hotel management. We reserve the right to make hotel substitutions with those of equal standard.

Hotel Check-in/ Check-out

Check-in time is usually 4pm or later. Check-out time is 12 noon. If you will be arriving early in the day or departing in the evening, hotels will usually allow you to store your luggage in their luggage room. Ask at the front desk if the hotel can check you in earlier, or let you stay later.
Peru Hotels – Some travelers my experience temporary altitude discomfort in areas of Peru at high altitudes. Oxygen is available at the front desk of hotels, though not available for rooms unless there is an emergency. If desired, small disposable portable oxygen pumps can be purchased locally for around $15.

At Your Destination

Eco & Sustainable Tourism

We support global efforts to create a more eco-friendly world, intolerant of any forms of cruelty, abuse and intentional environmental destruction. To that end we ask that our clients maintain a watchful eye as they travel, and report any abuses they may encounter. One of the many benefits of tourism is the shared cultural knowledge and ultimate elimination of negative behavior through education. We rely on your good feedback to enable this element of symbiosis. As you travel to and learn about foreign cultures, we ask first and foremost that you practice tolerance and respect for local customs.

About Your Sightseeing

To ensure a pleasant and fair experience for passengers on our escorted tours, there is a mandatory seat rotation policy on our motor coaches which will be organized by your Tour Manager. When travel dates coincide with religious holidays and national celebrations, some monuments and sites may be closed, sometimes without prior notice. On these occasions, escorted touring itineraries may be amended to reflect these closures. Occasionally, during holidays and certain periods, and/or due to other unforeseen circumstances including weather conditions, there may be last-minute changes, sometimes after arrival, which may affect the sequence of the tour and locations visited. National monuments and tourist sites regularly undergo renovations, which can obscure the monument’s view. No tour will be canceled due to renovations, however Terra Quechua will decide based on the conditions whether to amend an itinerary.

Motor Coaches in Peru – Please note that motor coaches in Peru are not air-conditioned, with the exception of motor coaches in Lima. Air-conditioning is unavailable and considered unnecessary on coaches in the highlands region (Cuzco, Puno, Urubamba, Machu Picchu) where the temperature ranges between typical highs around 60-65°F and lows of 30-40°F. To view Peru average temperatures, please see
Peru Average Temperatures.

City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dic
Lima Low 68 70 70 67 63 61 61 61 59 61 63 67
High 79 81 81 76 72 70 67 67 67 70 72 76
Urubamba Low 46 46 46 43 39 36 34 37 41 45 45 46
High 68 68 68 70 70 68 68 70 70 72 72 70
Cusco Low 43 43 43 41 36 32 32 32 36 40 41 43
High 65 65 67 67 67 67 67 67 68 70 70 70
Puno Low 39 38 38 34 29 25 21 25 30 34 37 38
High 61 61 61 63 61 61 61 61 63 65 63 63
Aguas Calientes Low 45 45 42 41 37 34 32 36 39 43 43 45
High 66 66 66 68 68 66 66 68 68 70 70 70

Land Only Passengers (Escorted Tours)

Your tour manager will contact you after your arrival at your hotel. Passengers who have not purchased arrival transfers from Terra Quechua should proceed directly to the hotel for checkin. The details of the hotel can be found in your documents.

Independent Activities – Terra Quechua itineraries may contain suggestions for activities for your leisure time; these suggestions do not constitute a recommendation nor an endorsement of any specific service provider and the decision to participate in any such activities should be made independently and with due consideration. Terra Quechua is not responsible for any activities not expressly included in its programs. Caution should be exercised when selecting certain activities that may require physical strength, coordination or exertion. Particular care should be taken when considering animal rides, such as on mules or horses

Currency

We suggest getting a small amount of currency for the first country you’re visiting before you leave the U.S. It is a good idea to carry a chart with you to help you convert U.S. dollars to the local currency. It’s also a good idea not to carry too much money. Many countries have ATM machines that accept most U.S. ATM cards, but be sure you know your ATM password in numbers-the keypads on foreign ATMs don’t always have letters. ATM machines will only dispense cash in local currency. Check with respective consulates to learn current currency allowances and requirements. Use your credit card whenever possible. Should you decide to carry cash or travelers checks, exchange them at banks where the rate is more favorable than at hotels or exchange bureaus. Please note that many banks and most vendors will not accept or exchange $100 bills. We suggest to carry $20 bills or smaller.

Peru – The Nuevo Sol is the currency of Peru. Most tourist areas accept and exchange U.S. dollars. Torn or slightly damaged bills will likely not be accepted by Peruvian stores and restaurants. Be sure to bring crisp and new U.S. dollars. It is recommended to carry a Visa card. MasterCard is not always accepted in restaurants and shops.

Credit Cards

While credit cards are accepted in most destinations, it is advisable to carry local currency. Inform your credit card company that you are traveling to avoid your card being blocked for security reasons.

Most US-issued credit cards rely on magnetic-strip technology rather than embedded microprocessor chips which are increasingly common overseas. These “chip-and-PIN” cards require users to punch in a personal identification number (PIN) instead of signing for a purchase. For example, many automated ticket kiosks, such as those commonly found at train stations, gas pumps and parking garages, don’t accept cards without a chip and PIN. Most cash registers are equipped to handle American cards but if you encounter difficulties, offer an alternative credit card or politely insist that the cashier keep trying to swipe the credit card. ATMs typically recognize and accept US issued debit cards. For travel to Europe, should you anticipate using ticket kiosks or purchasing train tickets locally, you may consider buying tickets and other basic purchases prior to departure.

Shopping

Most people enjoy bringing home at least one souvenir from the countries they visit. However, some find any amount of shopping to be too much while others never find enough opportunities.

We have built into our Escorted itineraries a few shopping stops at recommended spots. These stops are designed to enhance your experience by providing an opportunity to see first-hand quality locally-crafted merchandise which you may not be able to find alone. Shops are checked to ensure the quality and authenticity of the products they offer, and we limit guides from visiting other locations. In some cases, we plan these stops to provide an opportunity to use clean bathrooms and to stretch your legs.

While shopping independently, we advise you to exercise care and common sense when making any purchase. Always get a formal receipt. And remember that, just like in this country, if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is!
Peru – Peruvians are friendly, serious, honest and traditional people. When shopping for Peruvian handicrafts including pottery, textiles and wood carvings it is not uncommon to negotiate the price down by 20-40 percent.

Your Safety is Very Important

Prior to your trip, if you are traveling overseas, we strongly recommend that you visit the website of the U.S. Department of State at www.travel.state.gov, specifically the section which addresses International Travel. You should read the tips for foreign travel and travel warnings for the country or countries that you plan to visit.

It is also important that you do not allow your common sense to take a vacation while on your trip. Here are several tips which, if followed, will save much potential hardship:

  • Be aware of potentially dangerous places and situations as you would be at home. Avoid wearing expensive jewelry and carry your valuables concealed in inside pockets or hidden pouches. Your objective is to avoid drawing attention and to blend in with the crowd
  • Don’t put all your valuables (money, credit cards, passports, etc.) in the same place (in case one wallet is stolen, you should have other valuables and identification in another safe place)
  • Do not leave valuables laying loose in your room. Use the hotel safe. Keep copies of your passports, credit card numbers and travelers checks numbers in the hotel safe
  • Credit cards are generally accepted everywhere and are safer than traveling with large amounts of cash
  • Do not pack valuables (cameras, computers, jewelry, etc.) in your checked luggage. Keep hard-to-replace valuables with you in your carry-on bag
  • Keep wallets safely tucked into front trouser pockets and/or wear a money pouch inside your clothing
  • Carry handbags close to your body, shoulder bags the cross-body method with the bag in front of your body.

Peru – While we recommend that you apply reasonable caution and common sense when traveling in any country, please be aware that in Peru, there are significant issues with theft in public places. Always keep valuables in a safe place and avoid walking alone. We recommend that taxis be reserved via the hotel concierge desk when possible. As in most parts of the world, be aware of your surroundings and keep to well-lit and populated areas.

Tourist Street Scams

Pickpockets and thieves can destroy an otherwise wonderful holiday. Be mindful of these precautions to help avoid being scammed or robbed:

  • Remain alert and cautious. Be wary of any unusual contact or commotion in crowded public places, including train stations, markets, subways and tourist sites;
  • Be especially careful when traveling independently, or leaving your tour group to explore on your own. Try not to travel alone, especially at night. Avoid narrow alleys and poorly lit streets;
  • Use only official taxis and check the change you receive from all taxi drivers and vendors;
  • Beware of pickpockets often working with an accomplice who will distract you by spilling something on you, dropping a wallet or other seemingly valuable object, or tripping and falling down in front of you;
  • Beware of aggressive street vendors who may approach you offering a demonstration which may end with you being pressured to purchase an item or act as a distraction for another pickpocket;
  • Don’t tip beggars;
  • Wear the shoulder strap of your bag across your chest;
  • Carry modest amounts of cash (US dollars) in small denominations so that you can avoid flashing large bills when paying for small items;
  • ATM machines can be a convenient way to carry less currency. However those machines too can be used for robbery. Be wary of anyone who can look over your shoulder when inputting PINs. Another scam involves rigging the machine with a plastic insert which makes your card retrieval difficult; the thief then removes your card after you walk away;
  • If you are confronted, do not fight back – give up your valuables. If your possessions are lost or stolen, report the loss immediately to the local police and keep a copy of the official report for insurance claims.

Local Emergency Phone Numbers

Peru

  • General Emergency: 01

Languages

Peru – Spanish is the local language. Quechua is spoken in some areas as well. English is generally spoken in tourist areas.

Electricity

Please note: The U.S. uses 120 volts and you can purchase a converter and transformer at most hardware stores for your 120V appliances.
Peru – The voltage used is 220 volts.

Code of Conduct

Peru – Shaking hands is the standard greeting. Visitors should observe normal courtesies. The atmosphere is generally informal and casual dress is appropriate. Please demonstrate respect for the cultural artifacts of the indigenous peoples.

Gratuities

Tipping is always a matter of personal discretion. For your convenience, please use the summary below as a guideline for recommended gratuity amounts. Gratuities may be paid in U.S. Dollars or local currency equivalent. Please be aware that tipping is considered by many locals to be a part of their normal remuneration and some may approach you for additional “compensation.” There is no need to be intimidated by the request, nor should you feel pressured to pay more than recommended. If you become uncomfortable by any behavior you encounter, please advise your tour manager or phone our local office. Numbers are provided in your documents for your convenience.
Suggested Tipping: Peru, Ecuador & Galapagos

Tour Manager (Coordinator; may or may not act as a guide): $6 per person per day
Tour Manager helper: $1 per day
Driver (Provides chauffeur services and limited assistance with luggage) : $3 per person per day, $2 per half day
Local Guide (Offers in-depth information at specific locations. There may be one or many guides along a tour program): $3 per person per day of sightseeing, $2 per half day
Peruvian Amazon Cruise: Crew: $15 per person per day
Housekeeping: $3 per room per day
Hotel porters and wait staff: Included
Peru – Gratuities are appreciated and expected for good service in restaurants and other places that cater to tourists.
Peru – While it is generally safe to eat fully cooked meats and vegetables, care should be taken to avoid undercooked meat and uncooked fruits and vegetables. Because tap water is not potable, visitors should only drink bottled water or water that has been boiled and filtered. Avoid ice, as it is usually made from tap water.

Peru Holidays 2017

  • Jan 1 New Year’s Day
  • Mar 28 Holy Thursday
  • Mar 29 Good Friday
  • Mar 31 Easter
  • May 1 Labor Day
  • May 30 Corpus Christi (Cuzco Only)
  • Jun 24 Cusco’s Day
  • Jun 29 St. Peter & St. Paul Day
  • Jul 28 Independence Day
  • July 29 Fiestas Patrias (Homeland Celebrations)
  • Aug 30 Santa Rosa de Lima Day
  • Oct 8 Battle of Angamos
  • Nov 1 All Saints’ Day
  • Dec 8 Immaculate Conception Day
  • Dec 25 Christmas

Machu Picchu Trains

Due to very limited storage space, only one small backpack / daypack / handbag per passenger is permitted onboard trains to Machu Picchu. This applies for overnight stays as well. Additional luggage will be transported to and held at your hotel in Cuzco for no additional charge. Passengers who wish to bring extra luggage on the train will be charged an additional fee directly by the train operator; this extra luggage will follow in a separate train.

A passport or picture ID is required to board all Machu Picchu trains.