- VISA FOR ENTER PERU
ENTRY AND EXIT REQUIREMENTS:
A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and depart Peru. Tourists must also provide evidence of return or onward travel. U.S. citizens do not need a visa for a tourist stay of 90 days or less. U.S. citizens remaining in Peru more than 90 days must pay a monthly fee to extend their visa for up to three additional months, for a total of six months. U.S. citizens, including children, who remain in Peru over six months without obtaining a residence visa will have to pay a fine in order to depart Peru. Visitors for other than tourist or family visit purposes must obtain a Peruvian visa in advance. Business visitors should ascertain the tax and exit regulations that apply to the specific visa that they are granted. U.S. citizens whose passports are lost or stolen in Peru must obtain a new passport and present it, together with a police report of the loss or theft, to the main immigration office in the capital city of Lima to obtain permission to depart. An airport tax of $25 per person must be paid in U.S. currency when departing Peru. There is also a small airport fee for domestic flights. For further information regarding entry requirements, travelers should contact the Peruvian Embassy at 1625 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite 605, Washington, DC 20036; telephone (202) 462-1084 or 462-1085; Internet http://www.peruemb.org; or the Peruvian Consulate in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Patterson (NJ), San Francisco, or San Juan
Peru is a varied and diverse country due to the climatic, natural and cultural diversity of its regions. It is 1,554 miles (2,500 km) long, and has 3 natural regions: Coast, Mountains ( sierra ) and Jungle.
The Mountains (Machu Picchu, Cusco, Puno, Titicaca Lake)Mid April – October. This period is the dry season, with hot, dry days (20-25°C) and cold, dry nights, often hovering just above freezing, particularly in June and July. May is perhaps the best month with the countryside exceptionally lush, yet with superb views and fine weather. You’ll find the flowers in full bloom, the grass green and the streams full. Peru’s peak season is from June to September. You’ll find Cusco a pretty cosmopolitan city with tourists from all over the globe converging on Machu Picchu. The famous pageant of Inti Raymi, the Inca festival of the winter solstice (24 June) draws thousands of visitors to Cusco, so its best to arrive early or make hotel reservations in advance.
November – Mid April This is the wet season with most rain in January and February. It’s usually clear and dry most mornings with outbursts of heavy rain in the afternoons. The daily temperatures are typically 18°C with only a small drop at night, 15°C.The Inca Trail is much less crowded during this period and there’s a more abundant fresh water supply, but of course be well equipped for the rain. You’ll also find some roads may become impassable particularly when trying to visit villages off the beaten track. Many of Peru’s major festivals such as Carnival and Easter Week take place during this period.
The Coast. ( Lima, Trujillo, Nazca )
December – April This is summertime on the coast where the weather is hot and dry and ideal for swimming and getting a tan. Temperatures on average range from 25 – 35°C.
May – November From May to November the temperature drops a bit and you’ll find blankets of sea mist engulfing the coast from the south right up to about 200 km north of Lima. At this time of year only the northern beaches near Tumbes are warm enough to provide pleasant swimming.
The Jungle ( Puerto Maldonado , Iquitos )
April – October This is the ‘dry’ season with daily temperatures averaging 30-35°C. However cold fronts from the South Atlantic are common when the temperatures can drop to 15°C during the day and 13°C at night. The dry season is the best time to visit the jungle regions … there are fewer mosquitoes and the rivers are low, exposing the beaches. It’s also a good time to see nesting and to view the animals at close range, as they stay close to the rivers and are more easily seen. November – March This is the wet season, hot and humid, when you can expect heavy rain at anytime. It only rains for a few hours at a time, so it’s not enough to spoil your trip. Wellington boots are a must though, as some of the jungle trails can become small rivers.
IMMUNIZATIONS Medications and Hygiene
Assuming that you are not going into the Amazon tributaries, the altitudes experienced in the Andes may have an adverse effect on you if you are not used to such heights. A visit to your physician prior to coming to Perú is recommended. Diamox is a good medication for altitude sickness. You may also want to discuss with your physician other medications such as antibiotics to take along with you as well as the following immunizations:
” Hepatitis A
One recommendation for visitors is to drink bottled water only even for things such as brushing your teeth. One observation regarding Perú is the unavailability of toilet paper in almost all public places. Major hotels and most restaurants will have some, but do not be surprised to go into a public bathroom, such as at Machu Picchu, and find that toilet paper is either unavailable or available only for sale. Bring an ample amount of tissues that you can take around with you on your journeys. If you are going into the Amazon tributaries, it is recommended that you let your physician know beforehand. A current yellow fever vaccination is a must ( you will be required to show it to the Health Ministry representatives), also anti malarial medications should be discussed. And bring plenty of D.E.E.T. with you. It is probably best to call your State Board of Health for recommendations on medications for the Amazon.
On reaching heights above 3000m, heart pounding and shortness of breath are a normal response to the lack of oxygen in the air. However, for some visitors these symptoms can deteriorate into a conditions known as Soroche (or acute mountain sickness) when you can start to experience headaches, loss of appetite, extreme tiredness, sleeplessness and often nausea. Symptoms usually develop within the first day at altitude, but may be delayed by up to 2 weeks. To prevent Soroche, try to take things easy as soon as you arrive. Once settled in your hotel room have a lie down for a while and drink plenty of fluids. Don’t plan any strenuous treks until you’ve acclimatized for a few days. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes and heavy food. Drinking mate de coca (an infusion of coca leaves – and perfectly legal in Peru ) may help. If symptoms become more severe and prolonged it is best to quickly seek medical attention and make arrangements to descend to a lower altitude. On recovery one can re-ascend slowly or in stages.
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Laying over in Lima Airport (Chavez):
In many cases due to international flight arrivals and departures, and connecting internal flights within Perú, it may be necessary to spend many hours at the Lima airport waiting for your connection. In some travel books you will read that the Diner’s Club, located on the second floor of the airport, will allow card members to pass the time in their lounge, and for non card holders, a fee of $6.00 U.S. will get you in. This is only partly true. The Diner’s Club will allow members only. Non members may not get in at all. This lounge is strictly closed to card members. So if you are not a card member what do you do? If you are traveling with all your luggage, there is a luggage locker at the far left end of the airport that will hold your luggage for about $3.00 U.S. for 24 hours. But be careful. There is a room where many bags are held behind the counter in plain sight. Demand a locker for your bags. Each locker needs 2 keys to open and they are located in the concourse of the airport away from prying eyes. The baggage room attendant has one key and you are given the other. This is still not 100% fail-safe but is preferable to the back room storage. If you have time to spend waiting for your connection and are not a Diner’s Club member, there is a pleasant little restaurant/bar located on the second floor all the way to the left of the Diner’s Club (above the baggage holding area) with couches where you can stay as long as you want to in relative comfort as long as you eat or drink something there.
Money Exchange and Carrying Money:
When you arrive in Perú it is best to do so with U.S. dollars. While most western currency can be exchanged for Peruvian Soles rather easily, any shop, restaurant, or business will take U.S. dollars as payment. This can not be said readily of all other western currency. Be prepared however to receive your change in Soles. It is a good idea not to use bills in excess of $10-$20.00 U.S., as you might find it difficult for the merchant to change anything larger. There are money changing booths almost everywhere in every major Peruvian city in the Plaza de Armas and their hours and rates are usually better than the local banks. But be aware, regardless of what western currency you are carrying you will find that when you exchange it, the money changer will look it over with a fine toothed comb. Not so much to judge its authenticity, but to examine the condition of the bill. You will find it difficult if not impossible to exchange bills, regardless of their authenticity, if they are not in pristine condition. That means no torn edges, no tape, no missing pieces, no writing, and/or no stamp marks on them. Do not take bills to Perú that do not meet these conditions or you will wind up taking them back home with you. When you exchange your money for Soles, tell the money changer not to give you bills larger than 50 Soles as these are sometimes hard to get change for. 10 Soles bills are the easiest method of payment in Perú. If you find it necessary to carry travelers checks, be aware that they are not as easy to exchange and some banks may require a surcharge to change them. Some money exchange locations may not even take them with a surcharge. Carry only as much money as you think you will need for the worst case scenario of your outing. If necessary, go the Plaza de Armas more than once a day to change money as you need it.
Taxis as Transportation:
It is recommended that you have your hotel call a taxi for you when you plan to leave for several reasons. First, all reputable hotels, such as The Orquidea, have a working relationship with at least one radio dispatched taxi company. They know the taxi company and will set the rate for you before you leave. This leaves little chance of being overcharged. Secondly, it is not uncommon, when you just hail a taxi from the street, to have one rate agreed upon, only to find that the rate has changed when you reach your destination, or the driver doesn’t have enough change when you get there. Some street taxis may also try to pick up other fares during your trip which you didn’t bargain for. While this is not the general rule, it does happen, so let your hotel arrange for your taxi service.
One of the things that are immediately apparent upon arrival to Cuzco and other major cities in Perú is the plethora of cabs and mini buses. They are small by western standards but can still hurt you if you are not careful. There are some traffic lights and stop signs, but don’t expect everyone to use them. These little guys have the right of way at all times and sorry will be the traveler that doesn’t recognize it at once. In fact, horns will blow at you if you are just walking down the street on the sidewalk for no apparent reason. When strolling around, especially in the evening, always be very careful at intersections. Many of the headlights don’t work and not very many drivers have figured out what a turn signal is or how to use it. It is kind of quirky and adds to the charm of Perú. While we have never experienced anything even resembling a troublesome situation, you cannot help but feel for the little children on the street. When we go to Perú, we bring with us pencils, writing tablets, and little toys such as bubbles, troll dolls, and matchbox cars to give to the children. These gifts are much appreciated and will draw a crowd faster than anything I have ever seen. There is nothing quite so priceless as the face of a child with a new toy they have never seen before. This is preferable to just handing out a few Soles, and will give you something to remember forever.
Internet and E-Mail:
Times have really changed in Perú regarding the ability to communicate with folks back home. 1 year ago, you could find a few internet places with 28.8 modems that would work but would seem to take forever to transmit data out of the country. Today, internet cafes are common and they all seem to have DSL or ADSL fast connections. Explorer, Netscape, and Hotmail are readily available at every internet stop. Expect to pay about 2 1/2 Soles for 1/2 hour of internet time, more than enough to keep in touch with the folks back home on a daily basis if you wish. First time visitors to Perú will be intoxicated by its beauty and diversity. I have seen no other place in the world with as many natural wonders and treasures as I have found in Perú. From the amazing Amazon and its countless numbers of birds and natural wildlife, to Andean pre colonial cities like Cuzco and Arequipa, to the ancient temples of Machu Picchu, to the pristine waters of Lake Titicaca near Puno, to the largest canyon in the world, I can think of no other country that contains as much to see in so small a geographic area. Perú gets into your blood, and once there, you will go back.
INCA TRAIL PRE-DEPARTURE INFO
YOU SHOULD BRING -Personal sleeping bag and mattress -Back pack, trekking shoes -Water bottle, flash light, hat -Personal clothing for trek -Insect repellent – Water treating tablets/liquids
Essential are walking boots (and I mean boots, no track or basketball substitutes as the trail sometimes is slippery and your feet and legs will be tired), warm and weatherproof cloth (like 2 synthetic underwear/shirt, a skiingshirt, a sweater and a Goretex-Jacket), thin and thick socks (I always wear a thin sock and then over it a hicking sock, both cotton and both preworn, not fresh from the store or the washing) and a cap or hat. You won’t necessarily need lipstick, but sunprotection and something against mosquitos you become handy. A good, comfortable backpack with hipbelt and rainproof cover. Good sleeping bag. Water treating tablets/liquids. Some first aid stuff, toilet paper, a flashlight, Leatherman or Swiss Army knife. Camera (UVA/UVB filter for lens), spotting glasses? Films 400ASA speed. Everything you don’t need should be left behind. Many hostels and hotels in Cuzco will let you leave stuff with them.
AMAZON JUNGLE PRE-DEPARTURE INFO
Climate. Temperatures range between 30 to 37o C during the dry season (May to October) and 28 to 33 o C in the rainy season (November to March). Cold spells called “Friajes” come from the South Pole and are frequent from June to August. Friajes will lower the temperature to 9º C for 2 or 3 days.
Sickness prevention. Similar to requirements to visit any tropical region, you must receive a Yellow-fever vaccination before visiting the Madre de Dios region. Keep your card available upon your arrival to the Puerto Maldonado airport because you will be required to show it to the Health Ministry representatives.
Personal clothing and equipment. Depending how long you plan to stay, you will need light, drip-dry cotton clothing (one set per day), 2 long-sleeved shirts and pants, hiking boots, a raincoat, sunglasses, hat, swimsuit and a sweatshirt or lightweight jacket. Bringing insect repellent, high factor sunscreen, personal medication, water bottle, binoculars, flashlight and spare bulbs and batteries, pocket knife, and a camera with plenty of film (our programs are specially dedicated to photographers) will increase the enjoyment of your visit.
WHAT TO BRING
· Good binoculars
· Camera gear (ASA 50, 100 and 200 recommended)
· Two or three pairs of long cotton pants
· Four pairs of absorbent cotton socks
· Rain suit or long poncho (100% waterproof – test before you leave home)
· Three or four long-sleeved cotton shirts
· Two or three T-shirts
· Sunscreen lotion (high factor)
· A bottle or canteen to carry water on outings
· A hat that will not come off in windy boatrides
· One pair of shorts
· Two pairs of sneakers or hiking boats (with good gripping soles)
· Insect repellent (Skin-So-Soft for river, and 20% or more Deet for forest)
· A photocopy of your passport
· A large, bright flashlight
· Personal toiletries and medications