Practical travel information
Drinking water
Drinking tap water is not recommended. Bottled water is widely available. If your stomach is sensitive, use bottled water when brushing your teeth too.

As a rule of thumb, it is generally not advised to eat street food. Hygiene is far from ideal in street stands. Often, these kitchens don’t have a water-connection to clean silverware. It is usually better to only eat pealed, cooked or baked food. Your tour conductor will guide you towards restaurants with good standards, where it is possible to eat anything you like.

Travel pharmacy kit
The most common condition for travelers in Peru is diarrhea. Provide medicine that allows you to travel for longer periods of time without any inconvenience.
Roads are much bumpier than in your home country so it is good to take some medication against travel sickness with you. The impact of the sun is tricky in the highlands. Remember to pack effective sunscreen and pack a hat to avoid a sun stroke.
One can catch a cold anywhere in the world, but especially in the highlands of Peru, where it can get terribly cold at night. Remember to pack your cold, cough, and sore throat medicine. Better still: avoid trouble by packing clothes that are sufficiently warm and rainproof. Dressing in layers has proven to be the best method for traveling in Peru. If you’re sensitive to dry, dusty air, pack a nose spray and eye drops. Last but not least, a mosquito bite salve will certainly come in handy.

No vaccinations are officially required for travelers to Peru. However, vaccinations against diphtheria, hepatitis A and B, polio, rabies, tetanus and typhoid fever are recommended. A yellow-fever and malaria vaccination is strongly recommended for trips to Puerto Maldonado or Iquitos. Even if you have been administered these vaccinations in the past, make sure they are still up to date before leaving home.

Cusco and Lake Titicaca both sit at an elevation of more than 3000 meters. At some point of your trip, there is a definite possibility of encountering altitude sickness. We therefore recommend a visit to your doctor at home, in due time before your departure. Slight nausea, dizziness and headaches can be a first warning sign. Altitude sickness occurs when the body takes in less oxygen in thin mountain air. Let your tour conductor help you. When symptoms are mild, they can be managed by getting plenty of rest and taking a couple of breaths from an oxygen bottle. Otherwise, your tour conductor will gladly set up an appointment with a doctor for you. The best advice is to avoid putting strain on your body, to eat light meals, and drink plenty of water and tea.

Unfortunately, pickpockets have become common. The best advice is to make a pickpocket’s job hard by avoiding temptations or easy targets. It is recommended that tourists do not wear expensive jewelry and that they store their camera after shooting pictures. Exercise caution at crowded places. Another way to make sure nothing happens is to stay with the group at all times. In case you do get robbed, it’s better to be safe than sorry: be sure to carry copies of your important documents, like your passports and flight tickets. Keep the copies separated from the original. Also, don’t carry all your money in the same place. Store part of it in the hotel safe, and carry part of it in a money bay hidden under your clothes. At any rate, avoid having large amounts of money on display.

Sporadic robberies in taxis have been reported in the past. Please ask your tour conductor, restaurant or hotel staff to book a taxi for you. This may cost you a little more, but this way you will arrive safely at your destination.

Always be very careful, especially when walking. Even if the light hits green, make sure all cars are really standing still before your start walking. Traffic can be very daunting and chaotic, especially in Lima. Traffic regulations are rarely respected. As far as giving right of way goes, it’s the law of the jungle.

Peru uses the ‘Nuevo Sol’, which is divided into 100 centimes. The Nuevo Sol generally trades to 1 dollar=3 soles, or 1 euro= 4 soles. Dollars or Euros can be changed in almost any hotel, and currency exchange offices are very common in towns and cities. High end shops also accept US-dollars and the Euro is gaining popularity. Change will be given in Nuevos Soles. Quality restaurants and shops also accept credit cards, usually Visa and Mastercard. In larger cities, many ATM’s are available. You will be able to withdraw money with your foreign bank card, provided you know your pin code. Holding on to your pennies (centimos) is a good idea since change is often unavailable at small markets and craft stands. When you need change, the shopkeeper needs to get it from other vendors at the market. You’ll avoid having to wait for change if you carry the exact amount in coins. Also, small markets are an excellent place to dig up your bargaining skills.

Although it is not very common for Peruvians to tip, tips from foreigners are not only welcomed but also expected. Thanking for good service in a restaurant is polite. Your tour conductor and bus driver will welcome your appreciation.

Buyers beware: Not all alpaca products on the market are real alpaca! How can you tell fake from real?
First, you should know that alpaca is an expensive natural fiber with low lustre. So the lustrous scarves and sweaters, that are sold dirt cheap, are probably made out of sheep or synthetic wool. They are definitely not alpaca. If you can afford a quality piece, better head straight to a specialty shop. Your hotel concierge or tour conductor will be happy to show you where to find one.

It is illegal to export archeological finds or products manufactured from protected animals. Don’t let dubious vendors sell you any products that look like archeological finds. These will be confiscated at the toll booth and you may even have to pay a serious fine. Handcrafted replicas are a better option. There are many beautiful ones on the market, and taking them back home is no problem.

In Peru and Bolivia, carrying coca leaves with you is not illegal. Much like black tea, coca-leaf tea is a powerful stimulant. It’s also very helpful in battling altitude sickness. But it is strongly forbidden to take the leaves back home, even if they come as sweets or tea.

All outlets are 200 Volt. Power connections are available even in remote areas, like your jungle lodge. Peru uses different plugs, so make sure you bring an adaptor with two narrow rectangular plugs, and a universal adaptor.

Placing phone calls from your hotel is often expensive. The easiest way to make a long-distance call is to purchase an international calling card. They can be used from any phone (rates vary for landlines, telephone booths or cell phones). Phone booths usually offer the best price per minute for calls to Europe. If you own a tri-band phone and your net provider has a partnership agreement with a Peruvian provider, you can also use your European cell phone. Your local cell phone provider can offer you more information.

Free access is often possible from your hotel business center. You can also drop in at one of the internet booths, widely available in larger towns and cities. The connection is often fast and inexpensive.