Best Time to go: Region-dependent., but the best time to visit most regions is June – August.
Best For: Cultural Exploration, Tropical Rainforest
Few destinations have as much to offer visitors as Peru, an astonishingly varied country. Here you`ll find panoramic mountain ranges, vast deserts, beautiful beaches and tropical jungle, not to mention fantastically rich history, archaeology, wildlife and enduring indigenous cultures.
Puff your way around one of the world`s most famous mountain treks, the (literally) breathtaking Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. This ancient trail passes through snow-capped mountains, cloud forest and a string of 12 Inca ceremonial centres, including Phuyupatamarca and Wiñay Wayna.
On 30 August, marvel at the religious processions honouring Lima`s patron saint, Santa Rosa de Lima. Go to Cajamarca`s Carnival, famous throughout Peru for its annual celebrations that last for an entire month. One word of warning – the traditional Cajamarca Carnival greeting is to be soaked with water.
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Capital: Lima (LIM)
Currency: Nuevo Sol (PEN). US Dollars (USD) may also be accepted.
Language: Spanish and Quechua. Many dialects are also spoken. English may be spoken at some hotels.
Dialling code from SA: +51
Time Zone: UTC / GMT – 5 (7 hours behind South Africa)
Side of the Road: Right
Plugs: 220 volts AC, 60Hz. Flat and round two-pin plugs are used.(in Arequipa 50Hz)
Drinking Water: All water should be regarded as being potentially contaminated. Bottled water is available (agua con gas is carbonated; agua sin gas is plain).
Health: There are adequate and well-equipped medical facilities, however visitors are required to pay for these services. Comprehensive health insurance is recommended. Avoid blood transfusions.
Customs: Avoid wearing Native Indian clothing, as this is seen as insulting. Public displays of affection between same-sex couples should be avoided (homosexuality is legal).
Local Offences / Laws: Photographing airports, military bases, the surroundings or high tension electric towers and police stations is illegal. In some churches and museums it is forbidden to take photographs or make video recordings. Ask beforehand. Peru is very strict against transportation of illegal drugs. It is illegal to buy original pieces of work of National Cultural Heritage such as pieces of pre-Hispanic ceramic, textiles, paintings, etc. If you have bought a reproduction, you need to obtain a certificate from the National Institute of Culture, a government agency that protects the nation’s cultural heritage. This institute has offices in all major cities of Peru and at Lima International airport. All exports of protected plant and animal species, whether alive or dead are strictly forbidden. This includes items which are manufactured with these species (eg feathers) unless authorised by the Natural Resources Institute (INRENA).
Travel Tips / Warnings: Altitude sickness is common in cities that are high above sea-level. Take necessary precautions and remedies (coca is a local remedy). Precautions should be taken if travelling to the jungle. Peruvians are not confrontational, therefore visitors should refrain from displays of anger.
Duty Free: The following items may be imported by visitors over 18 years of age into Peru without incurring customs duty:
• 20 packs of cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco.
• 3L of alcoholic beverages.
• Gifts or new articles for personal use up to a value of US$500. If importing sausages, salami, ham or cheese, a health certificate from the manufacturer is required.
Prohibited Imports: Unlicensed firearms and narcotics.
Prohibited Exports: The export of artistic or cultural articles is prohibited. Taking protected plant and animal species out of Peru is also prohibited – this can include products containing seeds and feathers.