Dear Peru visitor,
On behalf of the staff of EcoAmerica Tours, we wish you a most pleasant experience while traveling with us. You can be certain that we have put a lot of effort and hard work into the planning of your travel arrangements and so will be with your travel execution. It is our goal to have you enjoy a trouble-free adventure.
Before living your city of origin, please take a few moments to review all your documents for accuracy. In addition to your Valid Passport, your will also need our Master Voucher, which will contain your local contact’s information and a chronological list of each one of the services included in your reservation.
Please keep in mind that our Master Voucher might be exchanged at your first point of contact, when applicable, for a series of individual service orders for each and every one of the different travel services contracted, booked, confirmed, and prepaid by our local office.
After deplaning, you will need to go through Immigration and Customs before exiting the airport. Our associates are not allowed into the Immigration/Custom areas. If you are to receive an arrival transfer, please look for our representative with a sign with your name and our company name on it. Our local office and all the operators involved in the handling of your travel arrangements also aim to provide you with the finest possible service, and to make sure that your travel needs are to your satisfaction.
Below, please find a few tips which will come in handy before packing, and through the length of your trip.
Pack wise, pack light! Pack only what you know you will use and avoid unnecessary items, such as hair-dryer, basic toiletries (soap or body wash, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion); the hotels we choose for your program will provide you those items and much more!
Flying within Peru has specific luggage restrictions, depending on the airline. You may want to check with your airline what their policy is.
As for the train to Machu Picchu, please be aware that Peru Rail and Inca Rail have a very strict Baggage Policy on Board (routes to Machu Picchu, either from Cusco or from the Sacred Valley), allowing only one carry-on per passenger as blocking exits is prohibited by law. Your carry-on should weigh up to 8 kilos (11 pounds) and measure up to 45 inches (22 x 14 x 9 in).
If necessary, your hotel in Cusco or in the Sacred Valley (depending on your vacations program) will provide safe storage for the rest of your luggage.
Your trip by train to Machu Picchu: Please be aware that Peru Rail has a very strict Baggage Policy on Board (routes to Machu Picchu, either from Cusco or from the Sacred Valley), as follows:
On the routes to Machu Picchu, the train ticket allows ONLY the transportation of the passengers and their hand luggage according to the following measures and specifications.
Baggage exceeding the measures will not be allowed on board. Blocking exits is prohibited by law.
If necessary, your hotel in Cusco will provide safe storage for your luggage.
1 Bag or Backpack
Maximum Weight: 5 Kg / 11 Lb
Maximum Dimensions: 62 Inches / 157 Cm
(Length + Height + Width)
Are you doing the Inca Trail? If that is the case, you will need to review specific details about your expedition.
Are you climbing Huayna Picchu? Then, you may want to read additional information about your adventure.
It is important to keep in mind that temperatures and clothing needs vary depending on elevation. Packing soft sided luggage with wheels will make traveling around the country much easier. The selected hotels in your program have laundry service available for guests. We have found that traveling light makes for a more enjoyable adventure and in addition to that, international flights may be restrictive!
Even though Lima is an informal and casual city, we recommend men to wear pants (jeans are OK), and ladies should wear skirts, pants or Bermuda length shorts. For the evening meal, men should wear nice slacks, shirt and sweater (sport jacket is optional), and women will feel comfortable in a nicer casual evening attire, and a shawl. Formal attire is only used when conducting business.
The highland areas can be cold, and a sweater is recommended. For the jungle and archeological areas light, loose-fitting shirts and long pants are essential. If you plan to hike in the jungle make sure you bring raingear, and two pair of boots or hiking shoes, since one pair can be worn while the other dries from the previous day use. Sunglasses, and a hat or cap are essential.
For your safety and convenience, we recommend that you exercise caution (as you would in any part of the world) with the handling of large amounts of cash or showing off expensive jewelry. It is a good idea to leave your jewelry at home. Be cautious for pick pockets, especially when visiting the markets. Always make photocopies of your passport, and place the passport in the hotel safe while carrying the photocopy with you all times.
Scan your passport and air tickets (if not the e type). Store this (in an email sent to yourself) in your web based email account. You can also store the details of your emergency ‘lost card’ telephone numbers in your web based email account so you know who to contact if your credit card or ATM card is lost or stolen. This way, even if you lose everything, you have immediate access to your all important information.
We recommend drinking bottled water.
Passport and Visa
Traveling to a foreign country requires a valid passport, regardless the nationality of the traveler. A valid passport means that it should be valid upon entry to a country and for at least 6 months after date of entry. This is very important for you to keep in mind because without a valid passport, any traveler is allowed to leave his country of origin. The normal processing time for a passport is four to six weeks (a longer period exists during certain times of the year), and a passport can be obtained quickly from your regional passport office. Please contact your regional passport office for details.
Citizens from the US and Canada do not require a visa to enter to Peru. Citizens of other countries, please contact the nearest consulate for information on travel documents (i.e. visa, tourist card, etc.) before departure.
The local currency is the Peruvian Nuevo Sol. You can exchange US Dollars at your hotel and in every bank in the city and larger towns. Having with you some small denomination US Dollars bills might be helpful for small shopping and tipping.
NOTE: No one, not even banks, will accept dollar bills that look “old”, or are in anyway damaged or torn.
For your convenience, below you will find a currency converter. Please keep in mind that this is an external third-party tool and it is provided for illustrative purposes only.
Major Credit Cards (American Express, Master Card, and Visa) are accepted in the city and larger towns. Pack your credit and debit cards and keep them in a safe but easily accessible place. Write down their numbers, along with the international toll-free number to call in the event of loss. Do this for every card.
Before you leave, call every card company and advise that you are traveling to Peru and how long you intend to stay there. This is an extremely important precaution. If your card-issuing company does not know you are overseas, it might view any activity on your card as fraud and prohibit you from using it.
The whole electric system of Peru is of 220 volts and 60 cycles. Some 4 and 5 star hotels have additional 110 volts electric systems. Please verify if your electric devices, hair dryer, razor, sound system, battery chargers, etcetera, are auto-voltage; if not, the use of an adapter is highly recommended. For your convenience, most of the hotels have adapters available; please ask at the front desk.
Tipping in the tourist industry in Peru is customary and strongly encouraged among travelers. In general, you may want to know that tipping is expected at sit-down restaurants and bars, porters in hotels and airports, tour guide staff and drivers, trekking guides, cooks, and porters.
In hotels & larger towns, you can tip in either Peruvian Soles or US Dollars, but if it is the latter, please ensure that the bills are not crumpled. When tipping in rural locations, or on treks, Soles might be more appropriate.
- Porters and Bellboys at the Airport and Hotels: $1.00 per bag.
- Restaurants: Gratuity is usually not included in your bill; if it is, it will likely be at an upscale establishment, and it will be listed at the bottom of the ticket as a 10% service charge. If this is the case you may want to tip an extra 10% if the service was to your liking. Generally speaking, it is customary to tip about 10-15% of the total in sit-down restaurants.
- Guides: Tips for tour or nature guides do depend on the level of service you have received. $10 per person would be the amount you would tip for excellent service.
- Drivers: $3.00 to $5.00 per person per day.
- Housekeeping at the cities and urban areas: $1.00 per night.
- Lodges at the Peruvian Amazon: Tipping boxes are provided and a rate of $3.00 per person per day is suggested; this will be shared out between all the staff at the lodge.
- Trekking guides, porters, and cooks: Depending on the number of staff accompanying your group, we recommend that each hiker tip between $10.00 and $40.00.The guide will distribute the tips evenly among the staff members at the end of the hike.
Peru is in the Central Standard Time Zone and daylight savings time is not observed.
The program we designed for you includes all the transportation you need; however, in case of an emergency, your hotel will be able to call a cab for you.
Post offices around the country are open from 08:00 to 12:00 and from 15:00 to 17:00 (schedule varies from region to region).
The national holidays in Peru are: January 1, Holy Week, May 1, June 29, July 28 and 29, August 30, October 8, November 1, December 8 and 25. On these days offices and shops are closed.
In addition to the national holidays, some of the provinces and municipalities celebrate their own Saint Patron Day and there are other celebrations dating from pre-Hispanic times. Some of the most important are:
- January 20 – Marinera Dance Festival – Trujillo
- February 1-14 – Virgen de la Candelaria – Puno
- March (second week) – Wine Festival – Ica
- April 15-20 – Peruvian Paso Horse Festival – Pachacamac (Lima)
- May 01 – Virgen de Chapi – Arequipa
- May (first week) – Qoyllur Rit’i – Cusco
- June 24 – Inti Raymi – Cusco
- Movable (May/Jun) – Corpus Christi – Cusco
- September (last week) – International Spring Festival – Trujillo
- October 18 & 28 – The Lord of the Miracles Lima
Please keep in mind that during these festivities people celebrate, normal activities are put on hold, the main square fills with revelers, and the richest expressions of traditional culture are proudly displayed.
Local Offices Hours / Social (meal) Times
Private offices generally open at 09:00 a.m. and close at 6:00 PM. Shops, depending on their location are open from 09:00 AM and closed between7:00 and 8:00 PM.
Meal times: breakfast from 06:00 to 09:00; lunch from 12:30 PM to 3; 30 PM, and dinner from 7:30 to 10:00 PM.
Direct dial service to the U.S. is available. Fax, cable, radio and television are easily accessible.
Without being too negative, we would like to point out that accidents or sickness can occur while on vacation. Carry with you all the times your basic medical information: blood type, allergies, and medications. Bring with you a full supply of the medications you will need. Most medications are available in Peru, although the particular brand or type may not be available. You will often have to pay for any medical treatment; however, check with your health insurance provider prior to departure to see if they will cover you while on your vacation, and to the extent of the coverage.
When you are traveling to Peru directly from the US or Canada, there are no special immunization requirements. Yellow Fever inoculation is recommended only for some remote areas of the Amazon basin and if your itinerary includes the Peruvian Amazon, we will provide you with specific information and recommendations. If you have specific health concerns, you should speak to your personal physician before traveling.
In case your itinerary includes visiting countries such as Brazil and/or Costa Rica after visiting Peru, you need to know that Yellow Fever inoculation is mandatory. The immigration authorities in these two countries might be very strict and deny your entry if you fail to present the vaccination proof.
Legal Services are available. It is better to contact your embassy or consulate for any assistance. Leave a copy of your passport at the hotel’s safe.
The official language is Spanish, but various indigenous communities speak Quechua which is also considered an official language. English is spoken in almost all tourist areas.
Because Peru has such a diverse geography, weather conditions vary from season to season and region to region. If it’s warm on the coast it can be very cold in the mountains and you can find completely different weather in the jungle. On the coast winter lasts from June to September. During this period, the mountainous areas are often sunny and warm during the day but cold at night. This is tourist season and the best time to visit most regions. Heavy rains in the mountains and jungle last from December to April. It hardly ever rains in Lima and most of the coast. However there are some places, like Tumbes and Piura, which have tropical climates.
Don’t let the thought of bugs get you down. Many areas of the US have more bothersome insects than Peru. This is not to say they aren’t there, but you can have an enjoyable vacation and not have a bug ruin your adventure. The right type of protection and common sense can make your trip worry-free.
When entering the forest, wear light weight cotton long sleeve shirts and long pants. Cover all exposed skin surfaces with insect repellent. Avoid being outdoors at dusk, as this is when many of the insects feed. Using these simple tips will make your trip enjoyable. Please remember that not every bug is out looking for you, but they are there (especially if you are visiting them in their home: the rain forest). Don’t let them ruin your adventure!
Exit Requirements, Airport Taxes, and Tax-Free Shopping
To exit Peru you will need to show your valid passport with an entering stamp and return the Andean Immigration Card that was handed to you when entering the country
During your permanency in Peru is absolutely forbidden to acquire and to try to take out of the country archaeological or valuable historical artistic objects. The non-fulfillment of this norm is reason of penal sanctions. Peru has international agreements with most of the countries for the confiscation of these objects when they are taken out of Peru. Avoid taking risks.
What to Bring Recommendations – Summary
The following is a general list of those items that we, at EcoAmerica Tours, have found to come in handy while traveling.
- Casual resort wear including men’s long pants for dinner time in the city. Some 4 and 5 star hotels require this attire at their A La Carte or Specialty Restaurants
- Cotton or synthetic blend socks
- Cotton shirts, some long and some short sleeved
- Light sweater or sweatshirt
- Lightweight water resistant hiking boots
- Lightweight water resistant jacket or poncho
- Long pants (cotton or synthetic blend; avoid jeans since they do not dry fast)
- Shorts (cotton or synthetic blend)
- Sun hat or baseball cap
- Tennis or walking shoes
- Warm jacket (for higher elevations only)
- Antibacterial ointment (i.e. Neosporin)
- Cortisone cream
- Imodium A.D.
- Insect repellent
- Moist wipes
- Prescription medication
- Solarcaine lotion or gel
- Backup prescription eyewear and medication (if needed)
- Camera with fresh batteries and large capacity memory card (or lots of film)
- Day pack or fanny pack for nature walks and a plastic water bottle
- For natural history enthusiasts, we suggest you bring a field guide
- Insect repellent (waterproof)
- Lip balm or lip protectant ((waterproof)
- Resalable plastic bags in assorted sizes to keep your cosmetics and/or toiletries from spilling
- Small flashlight or headlamp
- Sunscreen or sun block (waterproof)
- Swiss army knife
- Travel alarm clock
- Valid driver’s license
- Valid Passport (original and photocopy) of everyone in your party
- Waterproof disposable camera
Traveling with small children? here are some additional recommendations
- An interesting book or a coloring book with crayons and color pencils
- Some table or electronic games to play
- Rubber boots and a lightweight poncho
Dress in Peru, for the most part, is very casual. Temperatures and clothing needs vary depending on elevation. Packing soft sided luggage with wheels will make traveling around the country much easier. Most hotels have laundry service available for guests. We have found that traveling light makes for a more enjoyable adventure.
When packing remember that on almost all domestic flights and the train ride from Cusco to Machu Picchu there is a weight and volume restriction, and these days, international flights may be restrictive too!
Last but Certainly not Least: To Enjoy the Most While Vacationing
An open mind and tolerant spirit will be your best allies for a successful trip wherever you go. Your attitude towards new, unfamiliar experiences plays a key role in how much you will enjoy when visiting a foreign country.
Try to speak at least the basic words in the language of the country you are visiting: the local people will appreciate your efforts and shows your interest for the country.
To have a closer approach to the country you are visiting, establish contact if possible with the communities near the hotels you are staying at.
Even if you do not understand certain situations or people’s behaviors, do not judge them based on a first impression.
Be spontaneous and friendly: people notice it.
Be positive and especially patient with the unexpected: remember that language and cultural barriers do exist.
Do not expect things or people to be like they are at home: the magic of traveling relies on discovering the world’s differences.
Since the information provided above has been collected from several sources and even though we attempt to keep it updated, it tends to change, and we cannot guarantee its accuracy.