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Peru - Useful Information

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We welcome you to this country of many dimensions and exciting adventures. Travel back in the past as you visit the cultural centers of the pre-Columbian civilizations, enjoy modern Lima, and ponder the mystery of futuristic Nazca. And, of course, it is always fun to bargain or trade with the natives for an alpaca wool sweater or an exotic blowgun. To make your trip most enjoyable, we offer the following information.

A valid passport is required of all U.S. citizens. Others should contact the Peruvian consulate for entry requirements.

We suggest that while touring or shopping you leave your passport and the bulk of your money in the hotel; only take with you the money you intend to spend or exchange at that particular time. It is also helpful to take a copy of the picture page of your passport to carry in your wallet because it is sometimes needed to exchange traveler's checks. This copy can also be useful in the event your passport is lost or stolen.

Health - For Altitude Health Tips, please click health tips
A yellow fever vaccination is not required anymore. Some travelers do have gamma globulin before departing and carry their own medications for stomach upset.

Currency And Exchange Rates
The currency of Peru is the NUEVO SOL. Bills are for 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 Nuevos Soles. Coins are for 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents of a Nuevo Sol. And also coins for 1, 2 and 5 Nuevos Soles.
Two exchange rates exist in Peru, the official rate and the parallel or black market rate. Although the parallel exchange is not officially legal, its use is very widespread. Dollars and traveler's checks may be exchanged at banks at the official rate, at most hotels (exchange rate somewhere between the official and the parallel rates) and on the street at the parallel rate. Traveler's checks command a slightly lower rate than actual currency. The exchange rate fluctuates, so check with local tour guide upon arrival in Peru for current rate issued.
Major credit cards are accepted at most hotels, restaurants and in many shops; however, credit card purchases will be billed at the official rate of exchange not the parallel rate.

Tips And Taxes
As in most countries, taxes are unavoidable and tips are given on the basis of the quality of service rendered. The amounts suggested for tips in this section are a guideline for appropriate tips for average to good service. Note: It is helpful to carry a small quantity of US $1 bills for tips and easy change.
Hotels: A percentage service charge will be added to all room service bills. This percentage varies from location to location but will be stated on the actual bill. Bellboys and maids are generally tipped for their services on the average of $1.00 per bag portage and $ 1.00 per room per night of accommodation as a room tip for the maid.
Restaurants: As a general rule there is a percentage sales tax and a percentage gratuity added to all restaurant bills. These taxes and gratuities vary from location to location, but the percentages being charged are always printed on the bill. It is customary to leave an additional tip so that the total percentage of gratuity comes to 15 - 20% for good to excellent service.
Tour guides and drivers: On group tours, the average tip for a tour guide traveling with the group is $7.00 to $12.00 per day of travel. When the guide is not traveling with you the suggested tip is $3.00 to $5.00 per person for full day tours and $1.00 to $2.00 per person for half day tours. The driver's tip is usually half of what is given to the guide. For private car tours, guides generally receive $5.00 to $7.00 per full day and $3.00 per half day.
Airport departure taxes: On international departures there is an exit tax of $25.00. Within Peru, passengers must pay about $5.00 airport security tax for each domestic flight.|
All taxis should have a red and white "Taxi" sign in the windshield. There are no meters so settle on a price prior to entering the car. Taxis at many hotels and at the airport have higher, set rates than those you may hail on the streets, they are better and much more reliable. Taxi cab drivers do not expect a tip.

Imported Items: Items not made in Peru are much more expensive than elsewhere and often not available for purchase . Some of these commonly needed items include film and camera equipment, insect repellent, sun screen, contact lens solutions and binoculars. A word to the wise, if you use these items, bring them from home.

Souvenirs And Such
The best buys in Peru are silver and gold jewelry as well as a wide variety of handicrafts such as hand-woven shawls, llama and alpaca furs, sweaters, rugs and blankets, wall hangings, ceramics, woodwork, straw and leather items. Hint: That extra expandable suitcase really comes in handy when it is time to return to the U.S. with all your bargain purchases.

Photographs: It is customary in many Indian populated areas to give a small tip to the subject of your photographs. These tips can be monetary or souvenir type items such as a ball point pen. In addition, items such as cosmetics, pens, T shirts and pocket calculators often can be traded in the Indian markets for native handicrafts.

Arid Coastal Areas: (Most important tourists centers - Lima, Trujillo, Ica, Nazca, Paracas) In general the climate is temperate to warm throughout the year with very little rainfall. The highest temperatures in this area are around 85 F and lowest around 50 F. June through October are the coolest months in Lima with the weather being somewhat humid and foggy.
Sierra or high elevation valleys: (Tourist centers - Cuzco, Puno, Machu Picchu, Arequipa, Huancayo, Huaraz). Most days are mild and sunny (79 F highest temperature) with cool to cold nights (32 F coldest temperature). There is a dry season from May through November and rainy season from December through April. Machu Picchu is the warmest of the tourist centers mentioned above with the highs averaging 75 F and the lows averaging 55 F while Puno is the coldest (66 F/32 F). Puno often receives light snow during the rainy season.
Jungle: (Tourist centers - Puerto Maldonado, Iquitos) The climate is hot and humid (100 F/70 F) with frequent rains year round. For more information please visit Posada Amazonas page or Tambopata Reserach Center page.

Dress informal for destinations outside Lima. For most destinations you will want to dress in layers for climatic changes. The cosmopolitan city of Lima calls for a bit dressier clothing: Sport outfits for day wear, dresses and jackets for dinner in fine restaurants.

Useful items to include in packing list
Medium weight jacket for cool evenings (all year, higher elevations)· Lightweight plastic raincoat / umbrella
Small flashlight (jungle excursions)
Mosquito repellent (jungle excursions/Machu Picchu)
Sneakers or hiking boots (jungle walks/Machu Picchu)
Extra pair of sneakers (jungle excursions - these may get wet)
Suntan lotion, sunscreen, wide brimmed hat and sunglasses (Machu Picchu, jungle excursions)
Warm jacket and heavy socks (Excursions to Puno)
Binoculars, camera, batteries and plenty of film
Windbreaker or sweatshirt style jacket (Machu Picchu)
Small backpack (Machu Picchu, jungle excursions)


You will want a small bag for excursions to Machu Picchu and the Amazon. We suggest one of the fold-up, expandable types -- can be carried in a larger suitcase, it is perfect for overnight and handy to carry souvenirs when you pack to return home.

Time Differences
The hour in Peru is the same as Eastern Standard Time in the United States. Daylight savings time is not observed.

Electric Voltage
The electric voltage in Peru is 220 volts, 60 cycles and the electrical outlets require a connector with 2 small round prongs. Although some major hotels also have outlets with 110 volts and others have adapters for use, we find it much more convenient to bring our own.

Peru has two official languages, Spanish and Quechua. English is spoken in most hotels, tourist shops and major visitor centers.

Business Hours
Banks: 9:00am/6:00pm Monday - Friday. 9:00am/12:00pm on Saturdays
Shops: 10:00am/1:00pm and 4:00pm/8:00pm Monday - Saturday
Dining And Entertainment
Lima: The following restaurants in Lima offer excellent international and Peruvian cuisine. Seņorio de Sulco with out question the best place to experience the world famous Peruvian Creole cuisine, Malecon Cisneros 1470 (final Av. Pardo) Miraflores (Phones 441-0389 or 441-0183); Tunupa - Lima is also a a great choice for a large variety of Novo Andean cusine. Miguel Dasso 159, San Isidro (Phones 421-4383, 421-4215). For these two restaurants we will provide compliemntary drop-off after a tour, or complimentary pikc-up before a tour of Lima. Ambrosia is the finest in Lima and perfect for couple looking for privacy, pricy and elegant, it is located at the Miraflores Park Plaza Hotel, phone 242-3000; Jose Antonio in Bernardo Monteagudo 200, San Isidro is also a god choice for the Peruvian Creole cuisine (Phone 264-0188). Must try: Pisco sour, conchitas a la parmesana (parmesan scallops) and Peruvian ceviche. The folkloric show on Friday nights at the Sheraton is a must, it is rich and entertaining, and it includes a delicious dinner buffet; but if you are not in Lima on a Friday night the other option is The show of "Danzas de las Tijeras" and "Peru Negro" at Sachun are impressive, they are part of a folk and Creole show very popular among Limeņos our favorite after-dinner show. We do not recommend Sachun for dinner, the food is not the best and the service is slow, just enjoy the show and a Peruvian beer or pisco sour. (Phones 442-8425, 441-4465). After the Peru Negro and Danzas de la Tijeras the show gets uninteresting for the foreign visitor.
Cuzco: Tunupa Casual place with a great folklorical show from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., exceptional Andean and Creole buffet dinner for $15, located on Plaza de Armas, Portal Confituria 233 (Phone 252936), La Retama and Andean Grill, both also at the Paza de Armas have a pleasant and an excellent cusine. La Retama is at Portal de Panes 123 2nd Floor (Phone 226-372), Andean Grill is at Portal de Panes 147 2nd floor (Phones 243-422, 226-780). Must try: The lomo saltado (small pieces of tender meat cooked with onions and tomatoes will make a rich sauce, mixed with potatoes and served with rice on the side).

For quality alpaca products we suggest two stores in Lima. Alpaca Av. Larco 859 in Miraflores, Phones 447-7163, 446-1687 and La Casa de la Alpaca Av. La Paz 665 in Miraflores, Phone 447-6271. In Cuzco Alpaca Collection Santo Domingo 299, by the Hotel Libertador, Phone 23-6581.
While In Cusco
Meet your transfer representative in the baggage claim area or outside this area, not all the times they are allowed in the baggage claim area.
You will be provided with your "boleto turistico" which allows you to enter all the sites visited on all the tours and some sites you may want to visit on your own. You must always carry this "boleto turistico".
Your train ticket to and from Machu Picchu indicates the departure times from Cuzco and from Puente Ruinas (Machu Picchu train station) or from Aguas Calientes (the town just before Puente Ruinas). If you transfer representative is delay, grab a cab and go to the train station to Machu Picchu on your own, it is five minutes from all hotels. Do not go to the station for the train to Puno.
What To Bring For The Inca Trail:
Personal sleeping bag and mattress.
Back pack, trekking shoes.
Water bottle, flash light, hat, sun block, insect repellent.
Personal clothing for trekking.
Recommended Reading:
The Conquest of the Incas by John Hemming ISBN 0-15-622300-7

Health Tips For A Safe And Fun Visit!

Please Review The Following HEALTH TIPS For A Safe And Fun Visit.
Welcome to Summit County! At the high elevations of the Colorado Mountains, everyone's affected by altitude to some degree. As you go to higher altitudes, the barometric pressure decreases, the air is also thinner and less oxygen is available. The air also dryer and the ultraviolet rays from the sun are stronger. At elevations of 8,000 plus ft., your body responds by breathing faster and more deeply, resulting in shortness of breath, especially on exertion. Many people develop mild symptoms of headache, nausea, trouble sleeping, and unusual tiredness, which we call acute mountain sickness or AMS. These symptoms usually go away in a day or two. If symptoms are severe, persist or worsen, you should consult a doctor. A short visit to a physician may save the rest of your vacation.
A more serious condition is called high altitude pulmonary edema or HAPE. This condition is recognized by a wet cough, increasing shortness of breath, and the feeling of fluid building up in your lungs. other symptoms may include disorientation or confusion, if you feel any of these symptoms developing you need to seek medical attention immediately. HAPE is easy to treat but can be life threatening if left unattended.

The effects of high altitude can be decreased by following these recommendations:

Increase Fluid Intake - drink two or three times more fluid than usual, water and juices are adequate hydration is the key to preventing altitude illness. You should drink enough fluids to urinate every two hours.
Avoid alcohol and minimize caffeine on your day of arrival and one to two days thereafter; be very careful if consuming alcohol, and remember, at this altitude, you may be much more sensitive to the effects of alcohol and sedatives.
Decrease salt intake - salt causes your body to retain fluid (edema), which increases the severity of altitude illness.
Eat frequent small meals high in carbohydrates, low in fat, and low in protein.
Moderate physical activity and get plenty of rest.
Medications and oxygen can help you feel much better. Diamox is prescription drug which prevents the unpleasant symptoms for many people. Recent experience suggests that a small dose of Diamox suffices: 125mgs the morning before you are to arrive at altitude, again that evening, and each morning and night for two days after arrival. It is generally a well tolerated medicine with few side effects. It should not be taken by anyone who is allergic to sulfa.
Some people may experience a tingling sensation in their fingers, toes and around their mouth. You may also notice a subtle change in your sense of taste, especially carbonated beverages may taste flat. As with any medication, take only as directed and discuss any potential side effects with your physician.
Spending 1-2 nights at a modest altitude of 5000 - 6000 ft. decreases symptoms when you go higher.
Sunburn: The sun's ultraviolet rays are much more intense at this altitude and are multiplied by the reflection of the snow. Burns can occur within twenty minutes without proper protection. It's important that you protect your face and other exposed skin with a minimum factor 15 sunscreen. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside and reapply every 2 hours for maximum protection. Blisters may need medical attention. Wear good quality sunglasses or goggles to prevent eye burns.
Frostbite: Frostbite is caused by cold exposure when ice crystals form in the skin. The most common sites are fingers, toes, nose and ears. The skin initially gets numb, hard and pale. Rewarming causes pain and tingling with color changes. Blisters occur in severe cases. Prevent frostbite by dressing in layers to keep warm and dry. Risk increases with re-exposure of frostbitten areas to cold. Ibuprofen 200mg three times daily helps limit injury. Seek medical attention for blisters, severe pain or large areas of injury.
Injuries: If injured while on vacation, please do not use heat. Apply ice 15 minutes out of each hour and elevate the affected area for 48 hours. Seek medical help if you have concerns. Take acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin for pain.

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