Peru has no official tourist offices abroad, but you can get a range of information from its embassies in Britain, Europe, North America and Australia and New Zealand. However, you’ll probably find that most tour companies can supply better, more up-to-date information.
In Peru you’ll find some sort of tourist office in most towns of any size, which can help with information and sometimes free local maps. Quite often, though, these are simply fronts for tour operators, and are only really worth bothering with if you have a specific question – about fiesta dates or local bus timetables, for example. The South American Explorers’ Club is probably your best bet for getting relevant and up-to-date information both before you leave home and when you arrive in Lima. It is a non-profit-making organization founded in 1977 to support scientific and adventure expeditions and to provide services to travellers. In return for membership (from $40 a year, depending on the type of membership), you get four copies of the magazine South American Explorer a year, and you can use the club’s facilities, which include an excellent library, access to the map collection, trip reports, listings, a postal address, storage space, discounts on maps, guidebooks, information on visas, doctors and dentists, a network of experts with specialist information, and an “emergency crash pad”. They have clubhouses in Lima, Cusco, and their main office is in the US, at 126 Indian Creek Road, Ithaca, NY 14850 (tel 607/277-0488, fax 277-6122, www.samexplo.org, explore@ samexplo.org), plus there’s a clubhouse in Ecuador at Jorge Washington 311, Quito (tel 02/225228); postal address, Apartado 21-431, Eloy Alfaro, Quito, Ecuador.
A Peru Guide booklet is available free from hotels and travel agencies in most major cities; it has a few good city maps and gives recommendations for hotels and restaurants plus other useful information for Lima, Arequipa, Cusco, Huaraz, Chiclayo, Ica/Nasca/Paracas and Iquitos.
Maps of Peru fall into three basic categories. A standard road map should be available from good map sellers just about anywhere in the world or in Peru itself from street vendors or librerías; the Touring Y Automovil Club de…
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