Planning for your Trip

1 - Trip Planning – The stuff you need to know!

Entry Requirements – Visas

Generally citizens from Western Europe, North America & Australasia do not require a visa to enter Peru. You can receive up to 90 days entry on a tourist visa, which is given on entry by airport immigration control.

If you would like to stay longer, you can either apply for a month’s extension at an Immigration office or cross the border into another country and stamp for another 90 days visa.

Language

Peru has two official languages: Spanish and Quechua. Basic English is widely spoken in most towns & cities.

Time Zone

Peru has the same time as the Eastern Standard Time in the United States. Peru is 5 hours behind GMT. (Greenwich Mean Time). Peru does not utilise any daylight saving programs.

Vaccines

A yellow fever vaccination is NOT required anymore, though it is recommended if you are travelling to jungle areas. Our suggestion is that if you are traveling to jungle areas you should discuss malaria protection with your medical advisor.

At the time of writing a Covid-19 vaccine is not required for entry but a negative test, to be taken 72 hours before arrival into Peru, is required as an entry condition.

Covid-19 status updates

Electricity

The electric voltage in Peru is 220 volts, 60 cycles. In most hotel bathrooms, there is an electrical outlet with 110 volts for electric shavers.

Currency

Peru’s official currency is the Nuevo Sol (S/.) There are 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents coins and S/. 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 banknotes. At the time of writing (10/08/21) the exchange rate is 4.08 soles to the US dollar, but this does flux. When changing money, try to obtain the smaller notes as larger notes can be difficult to change.

US dollars are welcome at most good shops, restaurants and service stations at the current exchange rate. The more expensive restaurants and hotels catering for travellers accept main credit cards, including Visa, Master card, Diners and American Express.

ATMs are now common in all larger cities and generally provides you with the option of making your withdrawal either in soles or dollars.

Food & Drink

We recommend only drinking bottled water or water that you can purify on arrival into Peru. It is highly advisable also to stay clear of buying street food until you are accustomed to the food & flavours here and know where to buy the better prepared foods. Hygiene standards vary in many locations so it’s important to be aware of this, it is better to play it safe so you don’t potentially ruin your trip by eating or drinking unhygienically.

InfoPeru

InfoPeru is a traveler assistance service to help tourists. This service has a 24 hour hot line. For assistance call in Lima 421-1227. Outside of Lima, dial 01 first.

Safety tips

While out and about, we suggest you leave your passport and the bulk of your money, credit cards etc in the safe deposit box of your hotel. Only take with you the money you intend to spend. Carry a photocopy of the picture page of your passport for ID purposes

Internet Access

There is public internet access on every corner in virtually most towns & cities. The price is generally about 1 sol an hour or US$0.30. Many cabins now feature software to make very inexpensive international calls via the internet. (The quality of this service varies). In the smaller villages, you will struggle to find any kind of service. It is also possible to pick up a cheap pay & go SIM card on arrival to help you stay connected with friends and family. 

Departure Tax

At all airports, passengers must pay a departure tax: $ 28, for international flights and about $ 5 for domestic flights. This tax must be paid in cash (soles or dollars) before boarding.

Tips

Tips vary and depend on the traveller’s satisfaction with the quality of the service rendered. In most tourist oriented restaurants, a 10% tip is most appreciated. Generally they earn very low rates of pay and so the tip really helps.

Deciding how much to tip the porters, the cook and guide is a difficult moment at the end of the trek. Generally speaking if all the group have been pleased with the service then try to ensure that each porter/muleteer takes home an extra US$10, the cook US$15, the guide US$20 and the assistant guide about US$15. Tipping the guide and cook should be dependent on the quality of the service that you received, and only if you’re happy. Tipping is on a per day basis and to be paid at the end of the activity with the guide/crew.

Toilets

Public toilets are rarely available except in bus stations, restaurants, bars, cafes etc. Public restrooms are labeled WC (water closet), Damas (Ladies) and Caballeros or Hombres (Men). All over Peru, regardless of the standard of the hotel or restaurant, you should throw the paper in the wastepaper basket rather than the toilet.

Things to consider when trip planning

2 - Trek Planning - Come well prepared!

Recommended list of equipment to help with your Trek Planning Trek Ideas


  • Your Original Passport will be required for your trip, take a photocopy with you when you are out and about.
  • Insurance We strongly recommend you take out travel insurance and/or adventure insurance
  • A light day pack with a change of clothes for the whole period of the trek – prepare for a range of changes in temperature & climate
  • Rain wear (Jacket and pants if available) or rain poncho. Plastic ponchos can be bought for about $1 in Cusco.
  • Strong footwear, waterproof trekking boots recommended. Extra socks are a must.
  • Sandals or plastic slip on thongs are also good to give your feet a chance to breath in the evenings if you wish to carry them.
  • Warm clothes, including jacket, fleeces, gloves, scarf and beanie/touk. Thermal clothing is also recommended, especially for sleeping.
  • Sleeping bag (Available for hire also)
  • Head Torch/ Flashlight and spare batteries
  • Camera, films and batteries (batteries consume energy more quickly under cold conditions)
  • Hat or cap to protect you from the sun, rain and cold
  • Sun block
  • After-sun cream or hydrating cream for face and body
  • Insect repellent – minimum recommended 20% DEET – although no malaria risk has been reported
  • Snacks: biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, raw fruits, muesli, etc. (Available on our treks but may you like your own supply also)
  • Non-disposable canteen (Nalgene type) and water for the first morning. We advise you to bring water sterilizing tablets in case you collect water from streams.
  • Your own medical kit with any special medications that you might require, paracetamol etc.
  • Small towel or sarong
  • Bathers/swimsuit (if you intend on swimming in hot springs)
  • Cash – sufficient for your final meal in Aguas Calientes, tips and souvenirs.
  • Walking poles (These are available to hire from us).
  • Binoculars (if you have them)

During the trek we advise you to store your excess luggage at your hotel in Cusco – hotels and hostels should provide you with luggage storage as a courtesy service as part of your stay with them.

• At your pre-trek briefing you will be provided with a small duffel bag to pack clothes required for the trek. Please limit your luggage in this duffel bag to 7kg (15lbs) each person. The mules will carry these bags together with the food and equipment for the trail. The duffel bags are waterproof but it is still advisable to put your things inside a plastic bag within the duffel bag. The approximate dimensions are 60cm by 30cm.

  • Most people carry their own day pack with up to 5kg of their things as part of their trek planning – a change of clothes and wet weather gear etc. However, if you think that you will have much luggage and you want a very light day pack (eg. just camera, sunscreen and water) then its advisable that you hire an extra mule. Please note that you will not have access to these items until the end of each day as the muleteers travel at a different pace than the group.
  • Your sleeping bag is always included in your duffel bag, so allow approx 2 kg of weight. This still gives you 5kg of things, which is more than adequate for a hike of several days.
  • At the end of your trip, please leave your duffel bag in the reception of your hotel. We will come to collect it.

3 - Altitude Management - What to expect!

What to be aware of when you’re planning to head into the Andes

Altitude sickness

One discomfort often faced by travellers in Peru is altitude sickness, locally known as soroche. Typically occurring at elevations above 8,000 feet, altitude sickness is common at the country’s popular inland destinations including Machu Picchu, and can affect any traveler, regardless of physical fitness. Symptoms include headache, nausea, and lethargy, among others.

It’s recommended to bring Diamox tablets with you in case you react strongly to changes in elevation—but know that if you do become ill, your guides, hotel staff, and other locals are extremely well-versed in knowing the signs and caring for travelers with altitude sickness. Taking extra time to acclimatize, getting lots of rest and water, and consuming coca tea and leaves should help.

For treks or climbs above 4,000m we recommend you arrive at least 2 days prior to departure to acclimatise fully before any physical exertion. When planning to arrive in Cusco, it’s often a good idea to stay in the Sacred Valley which is 1,000m lower than Cusco and this helps greatly with the altitude acclimatisation if you’re not used to being at altitude.

For other medical needs, we have our own on-call nurse who will be part of your high-altitude expeditions. It is highly recommended that you invest in travel insurance for emergency and evacuation coverage, especially if you are planning a more active adventure in remote areas.

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