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Leaving for Peru

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Practical A to Z

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Practical A to Z


Peru is located in an active earthquake zone and tremors are frequent. Consult the Foreign Affairs website (www.ukinperu.fco.gov.uk) for advice about what to do in the case of tremors.

Eating out

Opening times

Unless indicated otherwise, restaurants are typically open all day long from 9am until late in the evening.


Markets, booths, stalls and pavement carts sell a wide range of local snacks.


The voltage in Peru is now 220V, however some sockets are compatible with standard US plugs. Take an adaptor.

Embassies and consulates

British Embassy – Torre Parque Mar (22nd Floor) - Avenida Jose Larco -1301 Miraflores - t 01 617 3000 - www.ukinperu.fco.gov.uk

Irish Embassy – Ireland does not have an accredited office in Peru and travellers are requested its embassy in Mexico City - t 00 52 55 5520 5803 - www.irishembassy.com.mx

Getting around

By bus

Ideal for long distance journeys and much cheaper than air travel.

By train

Primarily suitable for tourist journeys.

By truck

Only for hardened backpackers. A small contribution may be requested.

By mini bus and combis

Microbuses go to the most out-of the-way corners of towns for a single, very cheap price, but no network map is available. Combis, small vans with seats, follow the same itineraries of the microbuses and are in theory faster.

By taxi

Neither the moonlighting or the professional taxistas have meters, so it is best to agree on the fare before getting in.

By boat

In the Amazon, this means of transport is sometimes the only way of getting to the more isolated villages.



The most common illness encountered by tourists is turista (diarrhoea). Hepatitis and dysentery are endemic in the Amazonian regions. The rainy season encourages the multiplication of mosquitoes, which carry dengue fever and malaria. At high altitudes, nobody is immune from altitude sickness or soroche, which can cause nosebleeds, headaches and minor depression.


It is preferable to drink mineral water and in isolated areas, boil the tap water or add purifying tablets.


Lima and the major towns of Peru are home to large numbers of chemists, generally open 7/7 until very late at night.



The currency is the Nuevo Sol (Sl), subdivided into 100 centimos or centavos.


Foreign currency can be changed in exchange offices and from street moneychangers (who wear a jacket marked with a large double crossed S). If you run out of sols, dollars (and euros to a lesser extent) are widely accepted. Don’t accept large, damaged or torn banknotes.

Credit cards

Lima and other major towns are well equipped with ATMs. Credit cards should only be used as a last resort or to pay for a large expense due to the high commission charges.

Traveller’s cheques

Traveller’s cheques are not very competitive from an exchange point of view (10% commission) and are practically impossible to change outside the large towns.


A night in good 2-star-category hotel costs around Sl60, a meal in an ordinary restaurant Sl15 and a bottle of mineral water Sl4.


Propina is an integral aspect of daily life in Peru.


Only the major towns have post offices. Mail takes a long time to reach its destination and never less than two weeks.

Public holidays

1 January – Día de Año nuevo

Easter Thursday – Jueves Santo

Good Friday – Viernes Santo

Easter Sunday – Domingo de Pascua

1 May – Día del Trabajo

13 June – Corpus Christi

24 June – Día del Campesino, día de San Juan Bautista

29 June – Día de San Pedro y San Pablo

28-29 July – Fiestas Patrias

30 August – Fiesta de Santa Rosa de Lima

8 October – Commemoration of the battle of Angamos

1 November – Todos los Santos

8 December – Fiesta de la Inmaculada Concepción

25 December – Navidad


Far more than the remaining pockets of Shining Path and MRTA rebels, pirañitas (street thieves) are a genuine danger to travellers: pickpockets, bag snatching and tactics which involve blocking the pavement or distracting your attention while someone goes through or cuts off your backpack. Finally, armed muggings and thefts have taken place in outlying suburbs and some trekking paths.



Bartering should be carried out selectively depending on the situation.


Peru’s craft industry, one of the richest of Latin America, offers wonderful souvenirs: gold and silver jewellery, hats, leather goods, statues, musical instruments, wool, masks, mate burilados, mirrors, tablecloths, tapestries, altarpieces, etc.


To call Peru from abroad

Dial 00 + 51 + area code (without the first 0) + number of the person.

To call home from Peru

Dial 00 + country code (UK 44, Ireland 353) + number of the person without the first 0.

Local calls

Within the same region – Dial the number of the person.

To another region – Dial 0 + area code + number of the person.

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