We present you the list of Frequently Asked Questions about your travel in Peru, together with the detailed answers. We hope it will provide you with the solid knowledge about the country and let you enjoy your stay to the fullest. We wish you all the best while preparing for your journey! Let it be a beautiful preparation period before the unforgettable adventure.
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions about Peru
To begin with, Peru is a difficult country when it comes to answering any kind of questions. The answer, in almost every case, will be dependent on the various aspects or different perspectives. In fact, every answer could begin with the words “it depends…”. In order to avoid any misunderstanding and chaos we try to provide you with the most consistent answers possible. Keep in mind however, that the answers and advice may vary a lot depending on the context or your travel preferences. Our advice are based on several years of experience living in Peru, guiding the tourists, learning the local customs and culture. Enjoy our FAQ session!
1. What is the best month of the year to travel to Peru?
It is not that straightforward to choose the one and only best month for traveling to Peru. Why is it so, that there is no clear answer to that question? In Peru, you can find three completely distinctive parts when it comes to weather and climate, namely the coast (la costa), the mountains (la sierra) and the jungle (la selva). Each part is characterized by completely different climate and, what is more, you can find distinctive microclimates within each of them. Consequently, there is no such a month that could be considered the best one when it comes to travelling to Peru.
In order to fix this problem, you need to simply ask yourself one question: “What do I want to do in Peru”? As long as you are able to answer this question, you are safe and ready to choose the best time of the year to visit Peru! If you seek to find the detailed answer to this question, please read our article: “What are the best months for visiting Peru”? Remember that there is nothing worse than spending your ideal vacation at the time when your favourite activities are impossible to undertake.
2. Is Peru safe?
It is another book-size topic. In fact, it mostly depends on our behavior and attitude while travelling in Peru. Personally, I think that whenever you decide on travelling, it is always worth taking special precautions. Especially, when travelling to countries we have little knowledge about or the ones with different culture or language. In Peru, attitudes towards many issues or behaviour in particular situations in Peru might be way different that the one we are familiar with in Europe. Sometimes, even for me, it is really difficult to understand particular customs. One might find it hard to accept some things in Peru that in one’s country of origin are forbidden or viewed discourteous. What are the rules that you should get familiar with before coming to Peru? Please find all the necessary information in our article: “Security in Peru. Frequently Asked Questions”.
3. How should you manage your money and currency exchange?
The currency in Peru is Nuevo Sol. You can exchange one dollar for around 3.2 – 3.45 soles depending on the time of the year. It is very difficult to buy soles in Europe and that is why it is best to bring dollars or euros to Peru and exchange them on the spot. You can exchange your money basically in every Peruvian city, most often around the main squares (Plazas de Armas). Keep in mind that the banknotes you bring with yourself (euros or dollars) need to be in very good condition, so that you can exchange them without any problems. In case they are crushed or broken, you may find it difficult to get a good exchange rate or it might be impossible to exchange the money at all.
4. Should you exchange dollars or euros at the airport in Lima?
Firstly, try to exchange as little money as possible at the airports, as the exchange rate is not very favorable. Then, it is best to search for the exchange offices in the city centers of Lima or Cusco. Keep in mind, that you may find it difficult to encounter exchange offices in smaller cities. However, there is no reason for panic! You can easily pay for various services or products directly in euros or dollars – expect the slightly higher exchange rate when paying directly with dollars or euros.
5. How do ATMs work in Peru?
They are widely available and functional. You can withdraw the money either in soles or in dollars. Almost all of the ATMs will charge you a commission. Moreover, you can expect withdrawal limits of around 500$ per one withdrawal or per day. Similar to exchange offices, it is advisable to withdraw the money in big cities like Lima, Arequipa or Cusco.
6. How to get to Machu Picchu?
There is many different ways of getting to Machu Picchu. You can choose from cheaper or more expensive options, the ones involving more sporty activities or more luxury ones, more interesting or fastest possible. It all depends on your preferences. Before choosing the particular option take into consideration:
- How much time do you have?
- How big is your travel budget?
- How fit and willing to undertake physical activities are you?
- What are your travel preferences in general?
Information about Machu Picchu and the most important points you can find in the following articles: “Salkantay trek, Inka Jungle Tour or maybe train tour. What to choose to reach famous Machu Picchu?”
7. How to find cheap flights to Peru?
Generally, cheap flights to Peru do not exist. At least if your understanding of “cheap” corresponds to mine. For me, worthwhile offer is the one that allows you to travel to different corner of the world for around 500USD without spending long hours on the airports and changing planes. When it comes to flights from Europe to Peru, it is rather impossible. Of course, there exist promotions or special offers but they are extremely rare. The cheapest flights from Europe you should find from Madrid, Barcelona, Frankfurt or Amsterdam. Keep in mind that very often, there exist little to no direct flights departing from many European countries. Obviously, you should not give up! With little effort, you can find the tickets from Europe to Peru for about 700USD. Just be patient and review the flight search engines often. One of the advantageous options might be a flight with the transfer in USA. Bear in mind, that you will need US visa in order to make the transfer possible. There is also good news when it comes to domestic flights in Peru. In May 2017 the new cheap airline was founded and it offers the flights as cheap as 20$. All the details about domestic flights you can find in one of my other articles: “Cheap flights within Peru and possible pitfalls”
8. Internet connection in Peru – is it available everywhere?
Internet connection in Peru is definitely much slower than in Europe. However, it is available in almost all hostels and hotels. Naturally, you may find it hard to find internet connection in small villages or towns. Whenever you need access to Internet you can search for internet cafes that are widely present in all big cities of Peru and open till 10pm. Oftentimes, you can connect to Wi-Fi at many regular cafes or restaurants.
9. How much does the food cost in Peru?
Generally, prices in Peru are a little bit lower than in Europe. Obviously, the comparison depends on the country you are coming from. Price of a main dish in touristy restaurant may cost anywhere from 35 to 60 soles. On the contrary, the local restaurants may well serve good quality lunch for around 15-25 soles. The most local places offer lunch menu for no more than 5-10 soles. Fruits are in general very cheap, but the prices also depend on the season of the year. Sweets are also generally cheaper than in Europe. Big bottle of water (2,5l) costs around 3-3,5 soles. Keep in mind that the closer the touristic attractions, the higher the price. In general, street food is extremely popular in Peru. For no more than one sol you can buy various products like ready-to-eat peeled fruits or delicious local beverages. Find out more about this topic in one of my other articles: “Peruvian treats almost for free”.
10. Vaccination in Peru – is it necessary?
Before coming to Peru I advise you to check the information on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of your country of origin. It might also be useful to check the website of the Embassy of your country in Peru in order to seek for additional information. Currently, there are no obligatory injections for tourists coming to Peru. There exist recommended injections in case of visiting the jungle. The decision on whether to take an injection is the personal one and unfortunately, I cannot give you any final advices when it comes to this decision. The ultimate advice I can give you, is to visit your doctor and seek the professional advice depending on your health and preferences.
11. How much does it cost to send the package to Europe?
Sending the package from Peru might be considered a challenge. It is possible, but may take some time. Primarily, when sending things from Peru, you need to provide your passport. Secondly, make sure to make a copy of your passport in order to leave it at the post office. Lastly, remember that the package will be supervised several times on its way to Europe, namely at the post, then in Lima and just before entering the country of your choice. Bear in mind, not everything is eligible for sending by post! It is best to ask directly the post staff member about the products you can ship to Europe. Interestingly, anything that come out as a powder, like cacao or lucuma cannot be send without the receipt.
12. Is Western Union transfers common in Peru?
Definitely, yes! Western Union is one of the most popular and most comfortable means of transferring the money. You do not need to use your credit card when using Western Union nor looking for ATMs and worry about carrying big amounts of cash. This type of a service is mostly available in big cities. How does it work in practice? Before coming to Peru, just arrange with your friends or family the frequency of transferring the money, may it be once a week. This method is really fast and convenient!
13. Is it easy to buy hygiene products like toilet paper or shampoos?
Definitely, yes! You can buy all hygienic products in local shops or supermarkets in every Peruvian city. It makes no sense to take bigger amount of shampoos etc. from home. You can easily buy those products in small sachets on the spot. In big cities, you can buy any particular product you are looking for. However, it might be problematic to buy special sport or trekking equipment. Keep in mind, that even if found it might be more expensive than in Europe. That is why, I advise you to equip yourself properly before going for an adventure in Peru.
14. Where can I do my laundry?
Laundry rooms are available everywhere in big cities. It is particularly easy to find them in Cusco. Many hotels and hostels serve as agents when providing this type of service. If you insist on doing it on your own and saving couple of soles you can search for the laundry rooms on your own and pay anything between 3 and 8 soles per kg (depending on the place and whether you choose express option or regular one). How does it work in practice? You simply take your laundry with you in a plastic bag and leave it in the laundry room for the agreed period of time (2-24 hours depending on your preferences). There are no self-service laundry rooms.
15. Do I always need to keep my passport with me?
When travelling with local means of transport, you should not be asked to show your passport, the copy should be enough. Anyways, I do recommend carrying it always with you. Just in case. In addition, when travelling with long-distance buses most probably you will be asked to show your passport, and this time copy might not be sufficient. Moreover, you will need your passport in the following situations: Machu Picchu – Train ride from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes and back – Bus ride from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu and back-passport controls at the airports.
16. Is travel insurance necessary?
Travel insurance is not obligatory, but in my opinion, it is extremely important to have one. In case of any emergency it may turn out to be very useful and allow for lowering the medical costs. From my experience, many people tend to make serious mistakes when choosing their insurance option. Most often the cheapest options do not cover all the medical costs, like transportation to your country of origin or insurance in case of an accident in high mountains. In order for the insurance to be sufficient for Peruvian realities it must amount to minimum 100 000 USD. What is more, the insurance must cover the accidents that may happen on the heights above 2000 m above the sea level. Whenever you suffer from chronic diseases, make sure your insurance include the additional clause taking into account your special conditions.
The above list of questions was prepared based on the most frequently asked questions of our readers. We would like to provide you with the most updated and useful information. Please contact us in case you have any additional questions or doubts. We are happy to answer them and make your trip as safe and pleasant as possible!