Country guides South & Central America
Electrical current is 220 volts, 60Hz. Two-pronged plugs with flat blades as well as plugs with two round prongs are in use.
Spanish is the official language. In areas where they are predominant, Quechua, Aymara and other aboriginal languages also have official status. English is spoken only in major tourist centres and hotels.
The official currency is Sol (PEN), divided into 100 céntimos. Visa is the most widely accepted credit card, but all major international credit cards are accepted in many, but not all, establishments. Outside of big cities, facilities may be more limited. US Dollars are the easiest currency to exchange and plenty of restaurants, hotels, and shops in the main cities accept dollars for payment. Casas de cambio (exchange bureaux) often give better rates than hotels and banks and can be found in any town on the tourist circuit. ATMs are available in the main cities.
Most restaurants add a service charge of 10 percent, which will be indicated by the words propina or servicio near the bottom of the bill. Even if a service charge has been added, the waiter can be offered an additional 10 percent for exceptional service; this is also the going rate for tipping where a service charge has not been added. In hotels, porters expect about US$1 per bag. Taxi drivers are not tipped (the fare should be set before departure). Tour guides are customarily tipped.
Travellers heading to Peru will need a yellow fever certificate if they're entering from an infected area, and are advised to take precautions if travelling to jungle regions. Immunisation against typhoid is sensible, as are precautions against malaria, dengue fever and zika virus. Vaccinations for hepatitis A and hepatitis B are recommended, as well as a course of rabies injections if journeying into the wilderness. Diarrhoea and altitude sickness are the most common ailments, so travellers should only drink bottled water, avoid drinks with ice and be wary of street food. Healthcare is good in the major cities, particularly at private clinics rather than public hospitals, but travel insurance remains essential.
Most visits to Peru are trouble-free and sensible precautions should be enough to keep travellers safe. There have been a few incidents on treks through the Huayhuash region near Huaraz and should seek safety advice before setting out. Travellers should only take official taxis as thieves can pose as drivers or tour operators.
Visitors should not take photographs of anything relating to the military. Many locals will ask for a tip in return for being the subject of a photograph. In some places, this is the primary source of income. Homosexuality, although legal, is frowned upon. Gay travellers should keep a low profile outside gay clubs. Visitors should avoid wearing any native Indian clothing as this will be seen as insulting, regardless of their intentions.
Business centres on the capital, Lima, and is usually conducted in a formal and somewhat conservative manner. It's worth noting that foreigners will need a business visa from a local Peruvian Consulate.
Dress should be formal, with suits and ties being the norm. Titles and surnames are usually used upon greeting, and handshakes are standard for men and women. Business cards are usually exchanged and it is useful to have them printed in Spanish on one side, though English is fairly common. In fact, any effort to speak Spanish will be well received.
Women may encounter sexism. Punctuality is important, though meetings are not likely to begin on time. Business hours can vary but are usually from 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. Some businesses close for a siesta from 1pm to 3pm.
Travellers over the age of 18 do not have to pay duty on 400 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco; 3 litres of alcoholic beverages; and gifts to the value of US$500. Items such as sausages, salami, ham and cheese may only be brought in if accompanied by an original sanitary certificate. The import of ham from Italy and Portugal is prohibited. The export of cultural or artistic items from the country is not permitted.
The international access code for Peru is +51. Wifi access is available in most hotels, modern restaurants and cafés.
Passport & Visa
All travellers require passports, return or onward tickets, all documents required for onward travel and proof of funds. If travelling for business purposes, a visa is required. Visas cannot be obtained on arrival. It is highly recommended that passports have at least six months' validity remaining after the visitor's intended date of departure from the travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.
US nationals do not require a visa for touristic stays of up to 183 days. A passport valid for 6 months from the arrival date is required.
British nationals do not require a visa for touristic stays of up to 183 days. A passport valid for 6 months from the arrival date is required.
Canadian nationals do not require a visa for touristic stays of up to 183 days. A passport valid for 6 months from the arrival date is required.
Australian nationals do not require a visa for touristic stays of up to 183 days. Holders of APEC Business Travel Cards validated for travel to Peru do not require visas for stays of up to three months. A passport valid for 6 months from the arrival date is required.
South African nationals do not require a visa for touristic stays of up to 183 days. A passport valid for 6 months from the arrival date is required.
Irish nationals do not require a visa for touristic stays of up to 183 days. A passport valid for 6 months from the arrival date is required.
New Zealand nationals do not require a visa for touristic stays of up to 183 days. Holders of APEC Business Travel Cards validated for travel to Peru do not require visas for stays of up to three months. A passport valid for 6 months from the arrival date is required.
PROMPERU (Commission for the Promotion of Peru), Lima: +51 1 616 7300 or https://www.peru.travel/biddingbook/home_en.html911 (General); 105 (Police); 106 (Ambulance).
Embassies / consulates in other countries
Peruvian Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 833 9860.
Peruvian Embassy, London, United Kingdom (also responsible for Ireland): +44 20 7235 3802.
Peruvian Embassy, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 238 1777.
Peruvian Embassy, Canberra, Australia: +61 2 6273 7351.
Peruvian Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 12 440 1030.
Peruvian Consulate, Dublin, Ireland: +353 1 567 6951.
Peruvian Embassy, Wellington, New Zealand: +64 4 213 8943.
Embassies / consulates in Peru
United States Embassy, Lima: +51 1 618 2000.
British Embassy, Lima: +51 1 617 3000.
Canadian Embassy, Lima: +51 1 319 3200.
Australian Embassy, Lima: +51 1 630 0500.
South African Embassy, Lima: +51 1 612 4848.
Irish Honorary Consulate, Lima, Peru: +51 1 222 5252.
New Zealand Embassy in Chile (also responsible for Peru): +56 2 2616 3000.