The official currency is the Nuevo Sol (1 US$ = 2.65 NS/. 1 € = 3.80 NS/.). American dollars and Euros are widely accepted in the whole country but it is recommended to have small bills. Money can be changed at banks or casas de cambio (exchange houses).
To keep in mind: No one, not even banks, will accept dollar bills that look “old”, or are in any way damaged or torn.
CREDIT CARDS & TRAVELLERS’ CHEQUES
Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Dinners Club are all valid and you can withdraw cash at most ATM’s all over the country. There is often an 5-10% commission for credit card charges. Credit cards are not commonly accepted in smaller towns so go prepared with cash.
Some banks and most exchange places accept traveller’s Cheques (American Express, Visa and Citicorp) and the exchange is in soles (lower rate than cash) or if required in dollars (1-4% commission).
VISAS, PASSPORT & DOCUMENTS
No visa is necessary for most citizens. You must have a valid passport (valid for at least 3 months after the visit). On your entry into the country you must fill in an immigration form. This is a very important form that you will need in order to leave the country after your trip (staple it to your passport!!!).
We recommend you make 2 sets of photocopies of your documents before traveling, one left at home and the other one separate from the originals in your luggage (in case of loss). A travel insurance policy is indispensable. Ask your travel agent for information.
The general sales tax in Peru is 18%. This amount is normally included in the product cost already. Some services like hotels or restaurants may charge this tax additional though. Airport taxes are US$5.00 for national and US$28.00 for international flights.
Due to the high altitude of Cusco (3300m/12000 ft) some passengers experience altitude problems (soroche/altitude sickness = tiredness, low blood pressure, upset stomach, headache, dehydration and agitated heart beat). We recommend that you take your time to acclimatize before any physical effort, drink a lot of water, eat light and control your alcohol intake in the beginning of your visit. People with heart problems should consult their doctor.
The tropical sun might feel very gentle but it can burn you easily. Ultra-violet rays are particularly powerful at high altitudes: wear a brimmed hat as well as sunglasses and use a high-factor (45+ factor) sun screen.
Vaccines are not required to enter Peru but for rainforest visits it is necessary to carry a yellow fever certificate of vaccination. Malaria can also be a problem in this region (consult your tropical specialist about the best prevention according to your personal needs).
PRECAUTIONS & DIETS
The best way to enjoy a trip is to begin it rested and in good health. The most common health disorders are upset stomachs caused by unwashed or uncooked food. For this reason be careful buying food from street vendors and stay away from unpeeled fruits/vegetables. Tap water should not be drunk anywhere unless it has been boiled or treated with iodine.
As in every other tourist place, theft is a problem. It is much more common in big cities than in the countryside. We recommend you always check about unsafe places and avoid them. Carry around only the quantity of money you need. We also advise that you change money in official exchange houses or banks rather than in the street.
WEIGHTS & MEASURES
Peru uses the metric system for all weights and measures. Here’s a table to help you convert to the imperial system.
|To Convert:||Multiply by:|
|Centimeters to inches||0,4|
|Meters to feet||3,3|
|Kilometers to miles||0,6|
|Kilograms to pounds||2,2|
Peru uses 220 volts. Encantada Casa Boutique Spa provides both 110 and 220 volt outlets.
Most stores are open from 9.00 a.m. to 9.00 p.m. Monday-Saturday with a long lunch break between 1-4 p.m.
The centre of Cusco is quite small and possible to explore on foot. Taxis in Cusco are cheap and recommended when arriving by air, train or bus and especially when returning to your hotel at night.
FESTIVALS & EVENTS
Two of the major festival dates are Carnaval, which is held over the weekend before Ash Wednesday, and Semana Santa (Holy Week), which ends on Easter Sunday. Carnival is celebrated in most of the Andes and Semana Santa throughout Peru. Another important festival is Fiesta de la Cruz, held on the first of May in much of the central and southern highlands and on the coast. In Cusco, the entire month of June is one huge fiesta, culminating in Inti Raymi, on June 24th, one of Peru’s prime tourist attractions. Another national festival is Todos los Santos (All Saints) on November 1st, and on December 8th is Festividad de la Inmaculada Concepcion.
Apart from the festivals listed above, the main holidays are: January 1st, New Year, January 6th, Bajada de Reyes, May 1st, Labour Day, July 28-29th, Independence (Fiestas Patrias) and December 24-25th, Christmas.
You can find internet cafes at every corner in Cusco. Our hotel offers free Internet service and Wi-Fi for our clients.
For the organization of tours in and around Cusco contact our travel agency Culturas Peru