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Peru - Travel Information

One of the main characteristic of Peru is diversity. Nature, history and rich culture makes Peru a fascinating and a beautiful country. Over the years, Peru was under different rullers, from ancient cultures such as the Nasca and Inca, and up to the colonially Spanish occupation period.

The extremely dry climatic conditions along Peru's coastal strip enables excellent preserving conditions, which leads to rich archeology.

Peru's nature and sceneries are beautiful, from snowy peeks, through the dry wilderness, and on to the wild jungles and rain forests of the Amazonas.

Peru's Geography

Peru is situated on the west cost of South America, between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Peru is divided into 3 main areas: the coastal strip, the Andes Mountains and the rain forests. The coast strip is the smallest among the three, and most of the population lives there. In addition, the Pan-American Highway, which is the most important road in the country, passes through it. The rain forests are about 2/3 of the country's land, but only 5% of Peru's population lives there.

Peru's population is about 28 millions, and the land size is about 1.3 million sq km.

The official language in Peru is Spanish, however a big portion of the population speaks local languages (Quechua for example) as their first language.

Technical information

International phone code: 51
Electric current: 220V

When to travel to Peru

For mountain's treks, the best season (the driest one...) is June-August. It is possible to go on treks throughout the year, but in January-April the trails could be muddy because of the rains.

For those who travel in Peru's coastal strip, the best season is December-March. During the rest of the year the sky are covered with haze.

In Peru's jungles the wet season is December-April, therefore it is best to travel there between April to October.

In summary, a tour between May and December will let you taste everything, without experiencing extreme weather.

In and Out

Most nationals do not need visa to visit Peru. Upon arrival, most nationals are granted a 90-day stay which can be extended at immigration offices with payment. To avoid the payment you can leave Peru and return, even after one day, and you will receive another 90-day visa.

Peru's border crossing with the surrounding countries is simple, involving minimum bureaucracy.

Travel costs in Peru

Peru is relatively cheap for traveling. About $500 to $700 per month will be sufficient for most backpackers. Of course the budget depends on special expenses such as rafting, flight over Nasca lines, a jungle tour, treks etc.

The local currency is called Nuevo Sol ($1 = 3.20 Sol, updated for July 2006), and the currency is pretty stable.

Some tips regarding money in South America:

  • Take most of your money in Traveler Checks, preferably American Express. Leave at least
    400 Dollars unused until the end of your trip. This is safety money in case of a robbery.
    The exchange rate and commission on traveler checks are relatively high.
  • Write down your traveler checks details in your private e-mail, including emergency
    phone numbers for communication, in case your bags are stolen.
  • For daily use, draw money from ATMs using an international credit card. The ATM
    commission is per transaction; therefore draw each time a big amount of money.
  • Try to pay with credit card instead of cash - usually you will pay no commission.
  • Try to keep $200 in a hidden place, in a $100 bill and other smaller bills in case
    you reach a place with no ATMs (rare).

Landing in Lima

Many travelers start their trip in South America in Lima's international airport. Here are some tips to those who land here:

  • Don't exchange money at the airport - only about $20 for transportation to the city.
  • Don't listen to "official" tourism representatives that tell you that the hotel where
    you want to stay is full, and that they have another offer for you.
  • Take a taxi to the hotel that you chose prior to your arrival to Peru. Today taxis in the
    airport are regulated, and there is an organized Taxi line and fixed rates to all destination.
    These rates are published on a board. If you really need to save money, you can go outside
    the airport and bargain with an "unofficial" taxi (not recommended if it is your first visit).
    Be aware that the prices that you are required to pay are in Sols and not in Dollars (should
    be around 20 Sol for a taxi to the city) and agree on the price before you enter the taxi.


  • Make a photocopy of your passport and entrance visa. Don't carry your passport with you
    (if possible). Only the immigration police is authorized to ask for the original passport and
    even then you can ask to present it in a police station.
  • Do not underestimate anyone. The main danger in Peru is theft. The person that looks
    harmless might be the thief.
  • Watch out at night. Don't carry valuable things on you at night, specifically in the bigger

(Last update: August 2006)