Peru Travel Information
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.
Travellers heading to Peru will need a yellow fever certificate if they're entering from an infected area. They should also remember that Peru experiences some outbreaks of the disease. Travellers will need to receive vaccinations for certain regions, though not for Cuzco, Lima and Machu Picchu.
They won't officially need any other vaccinations, but are advised to take precautions if travelling to jungle regions. Immunisation against typhoid is sensible. Malaria is a year-round risk in the lowland areas (except Lima and the coastal regions to the south), and dengue fever is on the increase. Vaccinations for hepatitis A and hepatitis B are recommended as well, and incidents of bat-bite-transmitted rabies have been reported in the Puno and Madre de Dios provinces, and near the border with Ecuador. Visitors should have a course of rabies injections and not sleep in the open if they plan to spend time in these areas.
Diarrhoea and altitude sickness are the most common ailments for visitors. As precautionary measures, travellers should only drink bottled water, avoid drinks with ice, and be wary of street-vendor food. Healthcare is good in the major cities, particularly at private clinics rather than public hospitals. It's expensive, though, and health insurance is essential. Screening for HIV is inadequate and visitors should avoid blood transfusions.
The zika virus is a factor, though rarely at elevations above 2000 metres (6500 feet). For this reason, Cuzco and Machu Picchu should be zika-free. Travellers should still protect themselves from mosquito bites.
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.
Most visits to Peru are trouble-free and the usual sensible precautions should be enough to keep travellers safe. That said, thieves remain a problem. Travellers should be especially cautious in crowded areas, on public transport, at bus and train stations, and in the centre of Lima at night. Visitors should take extra care in Lima and Cuzco, where there's a risk of street and violent crime.
Foreigners have also been attacked while trekking in the Huayhuash region near Huaraz and should seek safety advice before setting out. Thieves and muggers operate in Huaraz and Arequipa as well.
Women in particular should only take taxis that have been pre-booked by a hotel or an official company. Travellers arriving at Lima International Airport should be wary of thieves posing as taxi drivers or tour operators.
Visitors should avoid all political gatherings and demonstrations, as these have the potential for violence.
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.
The international access code for Peru is +51. Wifi access is available in most hotels, modern restaurants and cafés.
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.
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