Most flights make a stopover before landing in Peru. The main airlines from Europe are: LAN, Air Europa and Iberia via Madrid, Air France via Paris, KLM via Amsterdam. From the USA you can fly American Airlines and Delta Airlines.
The currency used in Peru is the Nuevo Sol (S/.), whilst the US dollar is used for the larger business transactions. A US$ is worth S/2,75 (approx), whilst one euro is S/3,50.
It is very easy to change euros or dollars into the local currency and you will find an exchange office in every tourist street in Peru. The exchange rate applied by banks is not so favourable. Credit cards are accepted in most shops (but the commission is rather high at approximately 7%): Visa, Diners, MasterCard and American Express are the most commonly used. When shopping for arts and crafts we recommend you use cash.
In view of such a challenging trip, we strongly recommend you take out a good insurance policy before traveling to Peru offering protection against theft, accidents, repatriation, loss of valuable objects, delays for international flights. Please ensure you read your insurance policy carefully.
Peru is a tourist destination and you will find many different types of accommodation. Six types of hotels are recognized by law and they are:
- Hotels, the service is recognized by the number of stars that range from 1 to 5. Hotels must have at least 20 rooms.
- Hospedaje, cheap lodgings offering fewer services compared to hotels. Quality depends on the number of stars that range from 1 to 3. A hospedaje must have at least 6 rooms.
- Hostels, offering shared rooms and shared bathrooms and are a cheaper solution.
- Resort, situated in holiday areas such as beaches, the Amazon Forest or the Colca Canyon. They can have from 3 to 5 stars.
- Eco-lodges are environmentally friendly with basic but clean accommodation.
- Apart-Hotels are recommended for longer stays. Normally this type of accommodation offers more services than a hotel and has a greater capacity. Normally they have an admin area and a hotel area.
Advice on hotels
- In all the different types of accommodation the staff speaks English.
- Please note the check-in and check-out times as hotels have different policies. However, should you arrive earlier than the check-in time or you need to leave later than the check-out time, you can, as a rule, leave your luggage with the hotel.
- Breakfast will vary even in hotels with the same number of stars. It can be a self-service buffet in a 5 star hotel or a simpler breakfast in a hostel comprising bread, butter, jam and a hot drink. In hotels with at least 3 stars, there will be a cooked breakfast including eggs.
- You can book on internet, especially for longer trips. At times it is possible to find interesting offers. If you have little time available, the best solution will be to book a package with a travel agency.
- Another possibility is staying with a family but it is not always possible to find room at the required time.
Peruvian food is amongst the best known also internationally and nowadays it is in full swing. Thanks to the different eco-systems, Peru has an enormous variety of different natural foods, some of which are rather special such as alpaca meat, over 4,000 different varieties of potatoes such as black maize, quinoa, just to mention a few. These ingredients have been used by Chinese, Japanese, African and European immigrants to create one of the most original cuisines in the world. Flagship recipes are: lomo saltado, causa limeña, ceviche, cuy chatado, rocoto relleno, arroz verde, arroz chaufa, cicharron de chancho, sopa secca, carapulcra.
Overall, Peru is a safe country, especially in the south and in tourist areas such as Cusco, Arequipa, Puno and Nazca. Of course crime exists here too and to have the latest news you can ask local tour operators to advise you and avoid unpleasant experiences. Crowded places such as bus stations and markets can be the scene of petty crime.
In your hotel, please use the safe. Should the room not have a safe, please leave valuable at with the reception desk.
In Cusco and other tourist cities you will find many unofficial travel agents, please beware as very cheap prices do not mean quality.