Fun Facts From Globus Tours
- The avocado, potato, and tomato are originally from Peru
- The weeping willow is originally from Peru and is the basis for Aspiri
- Caral, north of Lima, is the oldest discovered city in the Americas (3000 years BC)
- The Incans would put peanuts in caskets to help in the afterlife
There are hundreds of reasons to visit Peru. Among them are the epic scenery, the people of Peru who still channel the spirit of the ancient Inca civilization, the coastal areas and Ballestas Islands where you can see penguins, sea lions, and exotic birds, Peruvian cuisine – some of the most exotic, flavorful and adventurous in the world – the varied landscapes from dry desert to ocean to the snow-capped Andes, and Peru’s Amazon, which contains some of the most unique forms of wildlife; its densely-packed rainforest holds adventure and visions you could not imagine. But it comes as no surprise that the top reason to visit Peru is the captivating and mysterious Machu Picchu. Experience it all from the capital in Lima to the ancient Inca ruins and the ever-puzzling Nazca Lines, where ancient markings – drawings of animals and geometric figures – remain mysteriously etched in the soil, stretching up to 1,000 feet long.
Chiclayo & Trujillo
You no longer have to travel to Egypt to see the Pyramids; they are at the doorstep of Lima, Peru! Although these pyramids are not constructed of the same material as those in Egypt, leaving a less defined pyramid shape, they hold many similarities to the Egyptian shrines. Seeing the pyramids along with visits to local museums shows you the full picture of the secrets these tombs once held, including reconstruction and recovered artifacts. A visit to this region provides this rare opportunity to see remnants and ruins from the 1st century, but that were discovered as recently as 1987. Chiclayo, with its many archeological sites and Trujillo, the city of eternal spring – with its massive and elegant metropolis walls, will surprise and delight you.
When you’re ready to escape the cities, head out to Peru’s dense Amazon jungle. Puerto Maldonado is an obligatory stop along the way to gain entrance to the national parks and reserves located in the area, and it has been, at certain moments, an important exporting site for rubber, wood, gold, and petroleum. From here, you will venture into the Amazon basin where you will find orchids, kapok trees, caoba trees, and Mauritanian palm trees that grow up to thirty meters tall. This is also home for a large variety of species such as toucans, macaws, parrots, egrets, tapirs, turtles, river otters, and black caimans, two species on the brink of extinction. Here you will stay in rustic but comfortable accommodations where well-educated naturalists will introduce you to, the Amazonian wildlife. Adventurers are wanted here as you traverse the area in search of the largest and most endangered otter species in the world, motor down the Tambopata River to scope out a wide assortment of wildlife, visit nearby native communities, hike to the forest canopy tower, and witness slash-and-burn farming in this deep and remote part of the world.
In northern Peru, you will also find another part of the Amazon basin that is covered by dense vegetation and primary and secondary jungle. Here you will find Iquitos, the main port city on the Amazon River and the largest city in the Peruvian jungle. Different indigenous people groups like the Cocama, Huitoto, and Bora first inhabited the area. Then came the Jesuit missionaries who founded the city. The end of the 19th century brought about the greatest economic glory for the Iquitos due to the rubber industry. The economic bonanza meant that luxurious buildings like the art nouveau Palace Hotel and the Iron House, designed by the famous French architect Gustave Eiffel, were constructed there. The Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, the largest reserve in Peru, is located approximately 110 miles from the city and is home to numerous plant and animal species, many of them in danger of extinction like the charapa river turtle, the giant river otter, the black caiman, and the river dolphin.
Puno & Lake Titicaca
The city of Puno at 12,565 feet, which lies on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, is considered the folklore capital of Peru. In the outskirts, you can visit the spectacular Chullpas de Sillustani, a complex of impressive burial towers built by the Kollas. Lake Titicaca is a great spot to visit for the landscape and indigenous people of the area. Cruising around the lake, you can see panoramic views of the magnificent Andes and see the fascinating islands, made entirely of reeds. The Uros Indians live on “floating islands” that they have artificially made entirely of totora reeds and they even navigate in their traditional boats also made out of totora reeds. The nearby island of Taquile is also known for the kindness of their residents, their ancestral skill in weaving, their pre-Columbian constructions, and lovely countryside. This intriguing part of Peru provides the rare opportunity to observe the native life of those who live off the lake and carry on their distinct traditions. Once at the center of the Inca Empire, Peru’s allure is endless. Its complex geography includes Andean mountain ranges, plummeting valleys, beaches, lowlands, desert, a perspiring Amazon jungle, lovely people, extraordinary food, and memorable cities. Once you’ve experienced the Peruvian ruins, cities, and countryside you will feel you’ve stepped back in history, had a taste of the divine, and gained a distinct perspective in the world.
The main port of entry for Peru is the capital city of Lima and while it is populated by over 7 million people, it is the perfect place to start a Peruvian journey. Lima is a wonderful introduction to the soul, history, and cultural vibes that pulsate through the country. In the heart of the city, architecture and history converge with local food markets, merchants of all manner of Peruvian goods, and a lively nightlife. Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, cultural encounters, ancient history, or creative cuisine, you can find it in Lima.
Nazca Lines & the Ballestas Islands
Lima is also not far from Paracas which serves as a home base to visit the Ballestas Islands and the Nazca Lines. The Ballestas Islands consist of an archipelago with many caves and arches formed by erosion over time and are home to hundreds of bird species, sea lions, and other sea mammals. You might even have the opportunity to spot whales or dolphins here. And whether it is before or after a visit to Machu Picchu, the traces of ancient civilization are even more enhanced by a trip to see the Nazca Lines by air. These lines are carefully etched into the grounds of the Nazca Desert and still hold fascination for visitors, historians, and archaeologists. There are many speculations, but the most accepted theory comes from the German mathematician Maria Reiche, who dubbed the land the “astronomical calendar” of the ancient Peruvians. No definite answer exists but if you visit, perhaps you can conjure a theory of your own!
Machu Picchu & the Sacred Valley
Machu Picchu is one of the most sought-after destinations in the world and on your journey there, you’ll need to sit back and prepare yourself for the awesome and overwhelming experience. The light of Machu Picchu seems as though it has control over the skies. In the early morning as fog lifts and shadows recede, the sun loosens its glow on the peaks one by one. If you can be in position to watch it creep across the ruins at this peaceful and profound time of day, it is truly an experience beyond belief. To stand on this peak and keep a watchful eye on the immaculate ruins – all at once, the fascination, the pictures you’ve seen, the stories told, and the spirit of lost civilization come alive and wash over you. At sunset there is a glow that hushes the valley and brings a gentle close to the sensations and the stories that were revealed during the day. This mystical mountain and its ruins are the highlights of Peru. Tucked in and neighboring Machu Picchu is the lovely Sacred Valley of the Incas. Mother Earth is cherished here and a quiet mystery hovers over the ruins and temples of this lowland notch. Luxurious accommodations are available here to help you appreciate the beautiful setting! This is a place meant to inspire fun and life during the day, followed by peaceful rest at night. Apart from the numerous ancient ruins like Ollantaytambo, Kenko, Puca Pucara, and Sacsayhuman, which you must visit, the people here are friendly and warm, adding to the allure of this stunning spot in Peru. You’ll also want to check out the Pisac market to scope out some of the local wares of Peru. Make a mental note when heading for Peru to leave space in your suitcase for an alpaca sweater!
The Spanish Colonial styles and flavors in Peru can be best captured in Cusco – just south of the Sacred Valley. The city of Cusco, the ancient capital of the Incan Empire, was placed on the World Cultural Heritage List by UNESCO in 1983, and is without a doubt one of the most important destinations in Peru. There are Incan buildings waiting for you to discover them among its cobble-stoned streets, ones like the Koricancha and the palace of Inca Roca as well as Andean Baroque structures from the Colonial Period, like the Cathedral and the Church of the Company of Christ. In addition, you can visit the picturesque neighborhood of San Blas where the best artisans in the area have set up their workshops. This magical city also has an exciting nightlife with cafes, restaurants, and bars for all tastes.
Arequipa & Colca Canyon
Arequipa is an exceptionally picturesque city with its sillar volcanic stone buildings and the Mount Misti volcano as its backdrop. The Palace Armas is the heart of the city and it is dominated by an impending cathedral of white stone. In fact, Arequipa is known as the white city, as from an aerial view, it is cluttered with the angelic color and sits quietly among the volcanic scenery. The city is just as impressive at night – the white buildings come out with radiance and fill the main square with a soft glow. Outside of Arequipa, the deep dredges of Colca Canyon are well worth a visit. Sign up for a day-long trek (and work off all that fantastic food you’ve had in the city) for views that will outdo the Grand Canyon. The ravine is dotted with lots of little villages where you can mingle with the locals, the llamas, and watch the massive soaring condors overhead. You can even stay in the canyon at a laid-back and relaxed hotel – you’ll want to give yourself time to rest after trekking around one of the deepest canyons in the world.
VISAS, PASSPORTS, AND OTHER ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
A visa for your visit to Peru is not necessary for US citizens. If you hold a passport from another country, check with your local consulate about requirements for travel to Peru.
All passengers traveling internationally are required to have a passport. Most countries require that the passport be valid for at least six (6) months beyond the conclusion of your trip, so please check the expiration date carefully. It is also recommended you have a minimum of three blank pages in your passport when traveling, as many countries require blank pages. Please carry proper identification (your passport) on you and do not leave it in your suitcase or hotel room. Most countries have laws that require you to carry your passport with you at all times.
The country code for Peru is 51. When calling to Peru from overseas, dial your international access code (011 from the US/Canada), followed by the country code, area code, and phone number. Phone numbers in Peru are 7-9 digits in length. Dialing from the US/Canada: 011 51 ### ### ###.
The official currency of Peru is the Nuevo Sol (S/)
1 Nuevo Sol = 100 céntimos (cents)
- Banknote denominations (S/): 10, 20, 50, 100
- Coin denominations (céntimos): 10, 20, 50, 1S, 2S, 5S
You will rarely see centavos due to their insignificant value. It is handy to have small denominations in change.
The US Dollar is also widely accepted in Peru by many hotels, shops, taxis, and restaurants. Be sure to have on hand small bills and making change can be a problem especially in smaller villages and cities. Traveler’s checks are extremely difficult to exchange in Guatemala. Their use is not recommended
For the most current exchange rates, please go to our website at Globusjourneys.com/Currency.
Credit cards are accepted in Peru, and you should have no problems using them in larger shops and restaurants. Visa and MasterCard are the most accepted. Smaller shops may ask you to pay in cash or have a minimum amount required to use a credit card.
Traveler’s Checks are extremely difficult to exchange in Peru. Their use is not recommended.
Counterfeiting is common in Peru so if you want to look like a savvy traveler, do not hesitate to scrutinize monies received and reject any note or coin (especially the 5 sol coins) that looks suspicious, just like any Peruvian would do. All bills have a watermark and security stripe, and the large number on the extreme right denoting the denomination of the bill will change from purple to green when viewed at an angle. You should not accept damaged bills, as they may not be accepted in stores; you will need to go to a bank to replace them.
- Mon. – Fri.: 9:30 AM – 4 pm
- Sat.: 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM
- Sun.: Closed
BUDGETING AND SHOPPING
The following budget guidelines are just approximate values or starting values for meals and are per person. Actual prices will vary widely by restaurant and city within a country but below are some averages as provided by our experienced personnel.
- The approximate cost of a soft drink/mineral water/coffee is US $1.30.
- An average lunch consisting of a salad or sandwich and a soda or water starts at approximately US $6.
- Dinner at a mid-range restaurant with dessert and a non-alcoholic beverage starts at approximately US $33.
In open street markets, try not to touch items unless you are interested in purchasing them. If you would like to take photos, please ask permission. Most vendors are happy to have their picture taken with the item you have just purchased. If you are being confronted by vendors, smile, say nothing and then shake your hand low to say no. This is polite and they understand. For many people, saying “No” means I want it at a lower price and they will follow you in attempt to bargain.
In many areas of South America, bargaining for purchases is normal. First, ask for a price. Offer an amount slightly below what you wish to pay. It is important to be polite and smile while bargaining. In most cases, bargaining will not save you a lot of money. Keep different value bills folded and separated in different pockets, that way you can pull out the exact money you need, and sometimes this can close the deal. Opening a wallet or purse to pull a roll of bills out can lead to negotiation problems. Always finish the transaction with Thank You and a smile.
Tipping in restaurant is not common, though we do recommend a small tip be left for services. A tip of 5-10% is acceptable.
- For a taxi, a tip is not customary.
- Tip hotel staff 1-2S for room or bar service.
ELECTRICITY AND ELECTRICAL OUTLETS
Voltage for outlets is 110/220V. North American voltage is generally 110V. Therefore, you will need a converter for your travels. Adapters will be necessary to adapt your plug into the outlet, but these may not convert the voltage, so both devices are necessary. Outlets in Peru are adaptable for US/Canada and European plugs and look like:
To help you plan, below are average low and high temperatures for Peru:
To convert to Celsius, subtract 30, then divide by 2. While not exact, this simple formula will give a close estimation.
Ceviche is found in many South American countries, but it is most attributed to Peru. It’s rumored that Peru does ceviche better than the rest! Rice, Creole dishes, chicken, pork, sheep, alpacas, fish, and tropical fruits are also very common in Peru. In restaurants, always ask if they have menus in English, as many establishments will. Drinking Water Bottled water is how many people drink water even at home. Never ask for tap water for many reasons. Ice is rarely used as well.
Bottled water is how many people drink water even at home. Never ask for tap water for many reasons. Ice is rarely used as well.
CUSTOMS AND CULTURE
Greeting and Interaction
- The best way to address people when you do not know their name is to simply use “Señor” (male) or “Señora” (female).
- It’s normal to introduce yourself with a polite greeting of “buenos días/tardes” (good morning/ afternoon or evening)
- Greeting customs in Central and South America also incorporate a lot of personal contact. Women will generally greet other women by kissing once on each cheek, right to left. Men will also kiss women on the cheeks when greeting them, but handshaking is reserved for between two men.
- People here have a tendency to stand relatively close to each other when they are talking. Although you might find that this is perhaps a little too close for your liking, you should just accept that this is normal behavior, and trying to create more space between you and your counterpart could be seen as rude.
Ladies should always travel with tissue. If public restrooms have toilet paper, it is sometimes rationed. Hand sanitizers are recommended to bring with you as some bathrooms may not have hot water and soap. In some public restrooms you are required to pay a small fee.
FEW WORDS OF THE LOCAL LANGUAGE
¡Hola! Hi!, ¡Buenos Dias! Good morning!, ¡Buenas Noches! Good evening!, Me llamo _______. My name is _______., ¿Cómo se llama usted? What is your name?, Mucho gusto. Pleased to meet you., ¿Cómo está usted? How are you?, Bien, gracias. ¿Y usted? Fine, thanks. And you?, Mas o menos So-so, ¡Hasta luego! See you later!, Adiós. Good-bye., Por favor. Please., Vivo en ________I live in _____________, (Muchas) gracias. (Muy amable.) (Many) thanks. (Very kind.), De nada. You’re welcome., Lo siento. I’m sorry., ¿Me permite? May I?, Disculpe. Excuse me. (To get someone’s attention.), Con permiso. Excuse me. (For leaving or passing through.), Perdón. Excuse me. (For sneezing, arriving late, etc.), ¡Salud! Gesundheit! (When someone sneezes.) Cheers! (For toasting with drinks.), ¿Me pasa _______ por favor? Could you please pass me _______?, Sí. Yes., No. No., Gracias Thank you, No entiendoI don’t understand, No hablo español I don’t speak Spanish,¿Habla inglés? Do you speak English?, ¿Dónde está el baño? Where is the bathroom?, Está cerca? Is it near?, Está lejos? Is it far?, Siga recto. Go straight ahead., Gire a la derecha. Turn right., Gire a la izquierda. Turn left., Nescito esto. I would like this., Una mesa para dos, por favor. A table for two, please., La carta, por favor. The menu, please., La lista de vinos, por favor. The wine list, please., primer plato appetizers, plato principal main course, postre dessert, Quisiera algo para beber. I would like something to drink., Un vaso de agua, por favor. A glass of water, please., Una Cerveza. Beer, Una Copa de vino tinto/blanco Glass of red/white wine, La cuenta, por favor. The check, please., Incluye la propina? Is the tip included?, Desayuno Breakfast., Comida lunch, Cena dinner, ¡Buen provecho! Enjoy the meal!, ¡Salud! To your health!, Está riquísima! It’s delicious!, Plato. plate, Tenedor. fork, Cuchillo. knife, Cuchara. spoon, Servilleta. napkin, Hielo. ice, Sal. salt, Pimiento. pepper, Azúcar. sugar, Sopa. soup, Ensalada. salad, Pan. bread, Mantequilla. butter, Pollo. Chicken, Carne. Beef, Cerdo. Pork, Quisiera la carne poco cocida. I like my steak rare., Quisiera la carne a medio cocer. I like my steak medium., Quisiera la carne bien cocida. I like my steak well done.
Cero. Zero, Uno. 1, Dos. 2, Tres. 3, Cuatro. 4, Cinco. 5, Seis. 6, Siete. 7, Ocho. 8, Nueve. 9, Diez. 10, Once. 11, Doce. 12, Trece 13, Catorce 14, Quince 15, Dieciseis 16, Diecisiete. 17, Dieciocho. 18, Diecinueve. 19, Veinte. 20, Cien. 100, Mil. 1000.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE COUNTRY INFORMATION
Additional country-specific information for US citizens can be found on the US Government’s website www.travel.state.gov. Here, you can find the most up-to-date information about destination descriptions, passports/visas, safety and security, transportation, travel local laws, alerts/warnings, vaccinations, and more. For citizens of other nations, we recommend you consult your local consulate for travel information, regulations, and requirements.