Welcome to a place of mythical beliefs where ancient pageants unwind to the tune of booming brass bands. Peru’s rich cultural heritage is never more real and visceral than when you are immersed streetside in the swirling madness of a festival. Deities of old are reincarnated as Christian saints, pilgrims climb mountains in the dead of night and icons are paraded through crowded plazas as once were the mummies of Inca rulers. History is potent here and still pulsing, and there is no better way to experience it.
How you decide to carry your money in Peru depends on factors such as the duration of your trip and your style of travel. It’s not a great idea to carry large amounts of cash in Peru (dollars or nuevos soles), but it’s certainly a viable option for short visits (up to a week). Otherwise, you can simply withdraw money when needed from ATMs all over Peru. Visa is the most widely accepted debit or credit card in Peru; there will be fees associated with each withdrawal. Traveler’s checks are also an option (ideally in US dollars or Euros) but may be hard to cash in small towns and villages, and the exchange rate can be poor.
There are four options for exchanging money in Peru: Banks, street moneychangers, casas de cambio (“exchange houses”), and hotels. Banks often have incredibly long queues, making any exchange a protracted process. Street changers are handy and offer comparatively fair exchange rates, but changing money in the street comes with its own problems. You need to guard against potentially shady deals and the risk of street theft following the exchange. Overall, casas de cambio tend to be the best option, with good exchange rates, short queues, and a secure environment.
Fake money is a problem in Peru — both nuevos soles and dollars. The problem tends to be worse in certain parts of the country, especially in Peru’s major cities. Spotting a counterfeit banknote can be difficult, so the sooner you become familiar with the local currency, the sooner you’ll be able to spot a fake. You also need to watch out for money scams, such as deliberate short-changing and swindles involving sleight of hand.
Eating and Drinking
- Cevicherías Lunch restaurants serving fresh fish marinated in lime juice, with many variations on the theme.
- Picanterías Informal local restaurants serving hearty portions of Peruvian comfort food.
- Novoandina restaurants Gourmet dining that updates old recipes with new techniques and flavor juxtapositions.
- Pollerías Rotisserie chicken joints found just about everywhere.
- Chifas Usually inexpensive Chinese restaurants, but this wouldn’t be Peru if they didn’t add their own twist.
- Quintas Country-food restaurants serving Andean comfort foods like corn, potatoes and roasted cuy (guinea pig).
- El Mercado Markets serving hearty soups and other comfort foods with brisk, no-nonsense counter service.
The Essentials Food and Drinks from Peru are: Arroz chaufa Fried rice is ubiquitous, Ceviche Raw fish and seafood marinated in lime with onions, hot pepper slivers and other additions, Chicha Drink usually made from fermented blue corn and consumed before it ferments, Cuy Guinea pig is a common Andean delicacy, Potatoes With astonishing diversity and varied presentations among others.
Tipping isn’t particularly common in Peru, but there are certain situations in which a tip is appropriate. Waiters in higher-end restaurants, tour guides and staff in top-end hotels often expect a tip, whereas taxi drivers and staff in small family-run restaurants do not.
Australian Government Travel Advice
The Australian Government provides up to date information on the safety of travelling to various countries, and all travellers should take note of this advice. Liberty Tours recommends that all travellers take out appropriate Travel Insurance to cover the entire duration of their absence from home.
Follow this link for current official assessment:
Advice on health risks and vaccination recommendations can also be found using the same link.
While you can certainly visit Peru during any time of the year – there really isn’t a bad time to go – certain seasons will offer different scenery, options, and of course weather. Peru has a lot of different ecosystems, so there is no consensus on the best times to go, just differences in each region throughout the year. Whether you want a dry Amazon and Cusco, or a sunny Lima, it is all here in our guide to help you plan your perfect trip.
What to pack
Peru’s sun is unusually hot and strong. Pack a straw or other wide-brimmed hat with a chin strap to protect your scalp and face. A bandanna is advisable both for keeping sweat out of your eyes and wiping your face. In colder temperatures, pack a pair of fleece gloves. If it’s going to be rainy, pack waterproof mittens or gloves.