PERU USEFULL INFORMATION
General information about Peru
Here you will see all the information on Peru. From suggestions on the best times to travel, to information on Peru’s culture and history and how to get to and from Peru-,our Peru Facts and Info will help you gain perspective on the country as well as the regions you will be traveling to, helping to make you a prepared traveler
tourists do not need visas; travelers of most nationalities are granted a 90 day tourist visa. All nationalities, however, need a tourist or embarkation card to enter t Peru, issued at the borders or on the plane before landing in Lima. Should you want to, you can extend your visa between thirty and sixty additional days.
Altitude sickness is common in the highlands, but can easily be treated by taking it slow and resting, staying hydrated, and altitude sickness pills are available at any pharmacy. There are very small risks of cholera, hepatitis, and malaria in the lowlands. A yellow fever vaccination is recommended for areas east of the Andes Mountains, but not needed for Lima, Cusco, Machu Picchu, or other places along the coast or in the mountains.
Time: GMT/UTC minus 5 hours
Electricity: 220V, 60Hz
Weights & measures: Metric.
While pickpockets are remarkably ingenious in Peru, this country no longer deserves such a poor reputation when compared with Venezuela, Colombia and even Ecuador or Brazil. As far as violent attacks go, you're probably safer in Peru than in New York, Sydney, or London. Nevertheless muggings do happen in certain parts of Lima such as in the central main shopping areas. However, a few simple precautions can make life a lot easier. The most important is to keep your ticket, passport (and tourist card), money, and credit/debit cards on your person at all times.
Best time to visit Peru
The best time to visit Peru's various regions is complicated by the country's physical characteristics. The desert coast is extremely hot and sunny between December and March (especially in the north), cooler and with a frequent hazy mist between April and November.
In the Andes the seasons are more clearly marked, with rains from December to March and a relatively dry period from June to September, which, although it can be cold at night, is certainly the best time for trekking and most outward-bound activities. A similar pattern dominates much of the jungle, though rainfall there is heavier and more frequent, and it's hot and humid all year round. In the lowland rainforest areas around Iquitos water levels are higher between December and January.
Holidays & Festivals:
February Carnival - Wildly celebrated immediately prior to Lent throughout the whole country.
March/April- Easter, Semana Santa (Holy Week) - Superb processions all over Peru (the best are in Lambayeque, Arequipa, Cuzco and Ayacucho).
June 24 Inti Raymi - Cusco's main Inca Festival of the Sun
July 28 - 29 Peruvian Independence Day - Public holiday with military and school processions.
August 13 - 19 Arequipa Week - Processions, firework displays, plenty of folklore, dancing, and craft markets.
September- End of the month Festival of Spring - Trujillo festival involving dancing, especially the local Marinera dance.
October 18 - 28 Lord of Miracles - Festival featuring large and solemn processions (the main ones take place on October 18, 19, and 28). Read our Newsletter article about the Lord of Miracles Procession and learn how to make the associated dessert the Turrón de Doña Pepa.
November 2- Diá de los Muertos (All Souls Day).
These are just a few of the highlights. Peru celebrates some 3,000 festivals a year throughout the country. Most of them are held in homage to a patron saint, although they have blended with the magical beliefs of ancient forms of worship.
The current Peruvian currency, the Nuevo Sol - whose symbol is S/. - is still simply called a "Sol" on the streets and has so far remained relatively steady against the US dollar.
History & Culture
The first inhabitants of Peru were nomadic hunter-gatherers who lived in caves in Peru's coastal regions. The oldest known site, Pikimachay cave, dates from 12,000 BC. Crops such as cotton, beans, squash, and chili peppers were planted around 4000 BC; later, advanced cultures such as the Chavín introduced weaving, agriculture and religion to the country. Around 300 BC, the Chavín inexplicably disappeared, but over the centuries several other cultures - including the Salinar, Moche, Chimu, Nazca, Paracas, Necropolis, and Wari (Huari) - became locally important. By the early 15th century, the Inca Empire had control of much of the area, even extending its influence into Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile.
Art prior to Spanish colonization concentrated almost entirely upon the production of fine pottery, metalwork, stone-craft, and textiles. The Spanish subsequently introduced their version of urban planning, with cities laid out in checkerboard fashion, and constructed mansions, churches and monasteries which slavishly mimicked Spanish renaissance or the rather phlegmatic Spanish early baroque. Over time, these European styles increasingly showed signs of a native Indian influence, leading to a style known as mestizo.
The main religion is Roman Catholicism, though many Peruvians with indigenous roots, while outwardly Catholic, often blend Catholicism with traditional beliefs. Spanish is the main language. In the highlands, most Indians are bilingual, but speak Quechua as their mother tongue. There are about 70 other languages.
Typical Peruvian dishes are tasty and vary regionally. Guinea pig (cuy) is the traditional dish most associated with Peru, and indeed, you can find it in many parts of the country, but especially in the mountain regions, where it is likely to be roasted in an oven and served with potatoes.
Location & Geograpy
Peru is in western South America and shares borders with Chile (to the south), Bolivia (southeast), Brazil (northeast), Colombia (north) and Ecuador (northwest). It has three major regions: a narrow coastal belt, the wide Andean mountains, and the Amazon Basin. The coastal strip is predominantly desert, but contains Peru's major cities and its best highway, the Carratera Panamericana. The Andes comprise two principal ranges - Cordillera Occidental and Oriental - and includes Huascarán (6770m/22,200ft), Peru's highest mountain. To the east is the Amazon Basin, a region of tropical lowland, which is drained by the Maranon and Ucayali rivers that flow into the Amazon River which is formed in the northern Peruvian Jungle.
Bird and marine life is abundant along Peru's desert coast, with colonies of sea lions, the Humboldt penguin, Chilean flamingo, Peruvian pelican, Inca tern, and the brown booby endemic to the region. Common highland birds include the Andean condor, puna ibis, and a variety of hummingbirds. The highlands are also home to cameloids such as the llama, alpaca, guanaco, and vicuña, while the eastern slopes of the Andes are the haunts of jaguars, spectacled bears, and tapirs. Peru's flora contains a number of hardy and unique plants, including patches of Polylepis woodland found at extreme heights. The vast wealth of wildlife is protected in a system of national parks and reserves with almost 30 areas covering nearly 7% of the country.
Peru has a very wide range of climates, and the best time to come depends on where you want to go. The three biggest areas are the Coast (Costa), the Andes (Sierra), and the Amazon (Selva). Peru has Southern Hemisphere seasons, which means that summer runs from December to March and winter from June to September - but because of it's proximity to the equator, temperatures generally do not vary drastically. The summer holds the most rainfall in the mountains and the jungle, and the most sunshine for the coast, while the winter brings slightly cooler temperatures for all areas and a grey mist over the coast, particularly Lima.
The coastal region, with its long, arid, desert area between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes, has a fairly temperate climate, warmer in the north and a little cooler in the center and south. It very rarely rains, with the exception of the far north, where rain can be frequent in the summer months. Although Peru lies very close to the equator, the cold marine current of Humboldt, or the Peruvian current, brings cold waters from the south, lowering temperatures. Summer temperatures range from 25° to 35°C (77° -95°F) during the day and cool off to 17° to 20°C (63°-68°F) at night. In Lima, a light mist, called guarúa, covers the city during the winter months and temperatures drop, fluctuating between 12°C and 18°C (54°F and 64°F) amidst high humidity. The north coast escapes this heavy fog and experiences mostly warm, sunny days all winter.
The Andes are generally cooler, due to the altitude. The highlands in Peru are best visited during the dry season (winter), from April to October, with May- September being the peak tourist months. During this time, the climate is mostly dry, sunny and warm during the day, with temperatures reaching 20° to 25°C (68°- 77°F). However, it gets very cold at night, with temperatures often dropping to just above freezing. The wet season is from November to March and is milder, with temperatures ranging from 18° to 20°C (64°- 68°F ) and dropping only to 15°C (59°F) at night. These months occasionally experience heavy rainfall in the afternoon.
The Amazon is generally warm and humid, and experiences the same rainy season as the Andes (December through March). There are heavy showers during these months (usually lasting only a few hours), causing rivers to swell. While April through November is the "dry" season, it is always very humid in the jungle and it still rains on a daily basis during this period - just not as much. The average daytime high temperature in the Amazon is between 30° to 35°C (86°- 95°F ) and the average nighttime low is between 16° and 22°C (62° and 73° F). Nevertheless, between May and September, sometimes cold fronts from Argentina can sweep into southwestern Amazonia and push daytime highs down to 9° C (50° F) and the nighttime lows to 5° C (43° F), so during these months it is good to be prepared for cooler weather.
With the distances in Peru being so vast, many Peruvians and travelers are increasingly flying to their destinations, as all Peruvian cities are within a two-hour flight of Lima. There are five airlines currently operating internal flights. The most illustrious and respected is Lan Peru. The other options are Taca Peru, Star Peru and Peruvian Airlines. Most people however get around the country by bus, as these go just about everywhere and are an extremely good value. However, wherever possible, visitors tend to use one of the country's trains - an experience in itself - despite being considerably slower than the equivalent bus journey.
At least one bus depot or stopping area can be found in the center of any town. Peru is investing in a series of terminal terrestres, or terrapuertos, centralizing the departure and arrival of the manifold operators, but it's always a good idea to double-check where the bus is leaving from, since in some cities, notably Arequipa, bus offices are in different locations from the bus terminal. For intercity rides, it's best to buy tickets in advance; for local trips, you can buy tickets on the bus itself.
Peru Rail links most of the tourist highlights of the Andes in Peru and is undoubtedly the most spectacular way to discover the ancient land of the Incas, taking you through scenery of outstanding beauty and to places almost inaccessible by any other means. A choice of main routes is offered - between either historic Cuzco or the Sacred Valley and the legendary Machu Picchu and between Cuzco and Lake Titicaca.
Boat travel is important in Peru's eastern lowlands. Dugout canoes powered with outboard engines operate as water taxis; larger cargo boats are often also available as water transport.
Lima's international airport, Jorge Chavez, is the main hub for flights to the Andean countries from North America and Europe, and has plenty of connections to neighboring countries. Some international flights land at Iquitos, in Peru's Amazon region. Peru's major International Airline is Lan Peru, the only other being Taca. For flights leaving the country there is an airport departure tax of approximately US$30.
INCA TRAIL AVAILABILITY
PERU GOLDEN TREKS & EXPEDITIONS
Travel Agent on line: +51-999580815
HEADQUARTER: El Sol Avenue N° 106 Office 106 (1st Floor) Galerias "La Merced"
Cusco - Peru