Peru is cradle of ancient civilizations most notably that of Incan Empire that occupied the region of Cusco.
CLIMATE: It will depend much on which part of our country you visit, Peru is divided up into three specific geographical zones and each region has its own climate.
On the coast, winter is from June to September, while in the Highlands, the days are sunny but the nights are cold. From December to March, there is heavy rainfall in the highlands and the jungle, while it almost never rains on the coast.
CURRENCY: Peruvian official currency is the Nuevo Sol (S/.). Although the use of the US Dollar ($) is common in any commercial transaction. We recommend using local currency (bills or coins) in low denominations. Coins of 1, 2 and 5 Nuevos soles, apart from 10, 20, 50 céntimos (100 céntimos = 1 nuevo sol) are in circulation. 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 Nuevos soles bills are also in circulation.
EXCHANGE RATE: 1 US$ = about 3.00 Soles. The best places to Exchange US dollars or Euros (€) are the money exchange agencies, as they give you a good rate, and it is quick and safe.
CREDIT CARDS: Almost all credit cards are accepted. Mainly Visa, Mastercard and, American Express. With debit and/or credit cards, you may withdraw Nuevos soles or US Dollars from any bank or ATM.
BANKING HOURS: In Cusco, banking hours are normally from 9:00 to 5:00 hours, and on Saturdays, from 9:30 to 12:00 hours. Take into consideration that banks in Cusco close at noon for an average of 2 hours.
PASSPORTS AND VISAS: To enter Peru, you need a valid passport and a confirmed return air ticket. Citizens of most countries do not need a visa to visit Peru.
TELEPHONE CODES: Peru (51): Cusco (84). For international calls dial (00 + country code + city code + telephone number).
TELEPHONES AND FAX: In all Peruvian cities you will find Telefónica’s offices, from where you may make low-cost domestic and international calls and send faxes. You may also buy telephone cards in supermarkets and drugstores. At the Lima Airport, you may buy or rent cellular phones with nationwide service during the time of your stay. Consult with Movistar, Claro or Nextel modules. In all the cities of the country, you may easily find Internet booths or Internet cafés, with a very low-cost connection per hour.
NATIONAL HOLIDAYS: January 1st: New Year. End of March or beginning of April: Easter; May 1st: Labor Day; June 24: Inti Raymi (Quechua Sun Festival); July 28 and 29: Peru’s National Day; August 30: Saint Rose of Lima’s Day; October 8: Combat of Angamos; November 1st: All Saints’ Day; December 8: the Immaculate Conception Feast; December 24 and 25: Christmas.
HEALTH: We would recommend you to drink bottled water, eat well-cooked vegetables, and not to eat food offered by street vendors.
We recommend all travelers to always hire a travel insurance policy with health coverage. If you travel to the highlands, we recommend checking your blood pressure first, as the cities are located over 2000 mt.
If you are going to jungle, you must be immunized against yellow fever.
POPULATION: 30 million.
CAPITAL CITY: Lima; population of 10 million.
DENSITY: 23.1 per sqr km
LANGUAGES: Spanish, Quechua, and Aymara are official languages.
INDEPENDENCE DAY: July 28th
TERRAIN: Varies widely between western coastal plains, central Andean highlands, and eastern tropical lowlands in Amazon Basin.
ETHNIC GROUPS: Indigenous (45%), mestizo (37%), European (15%), African, Japanese, Chinese, and other (3%).
LITERACY: 95% in urban areas, 77% in rural areas.
NATURAL RESOURCES: Copper, silver, gold, petroleum, timber, fish, iron ore, coal, phosphate, potash, hydropower, natural gas.
AGRICULTURE PRODUCTS: Coffee, cotton, sugarcane, rice, potatoes, corn, plantains, grapes, oranges, coca; poultry, beef, dairy products; fish.
INDUSTRIES: Mining and refining of minerals and metals, petroleum extraction and refining, natural gas, fishing and fish processing, textiles, clothing, food processing, steel, metal fabrication.
LOCATION: The Republic of Peru is one of the most important tourist attraction points in the world. It has a stunning landscape predominated by the majestic Andes Mountain Range, in whose peaks have its source mighty rivers which go through our mysterious Amazon rainforest, flowing on the Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean.
GEOGRAPHY: Peru is a largely mountainous country located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in South America. It has borders with Ecuador and Colombia in the North; with Brasil and Bolivia in the East, and with Chile in the South and the limit in the west is the Pacific Ocean.
GOVERNMENT: Peru is a democratic republic. The president and members of Congress are elected every five years. The current constitutional president of Peru is Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (2011-2015).
RELIGION: Peru is a religious country; a diversity of beliefs and freedom of worship can be seen from the wide range of festivals and rituals that feature both Catholic fervor and the mysticism of ancient pre-Hispanic cultures.
Roman Catholic: 89%
Other religions: 4%
TRANSPORTATION: In most Peruvian towns and cities, it’s easy to walk everywhere or take a taxi. Using local buses, micros and combis can be tricky but is very cheap.
BUS OR COMBIS: Local buses are slow and crowded but cheap. They charge around 2 and 5 soles depending on the distance.
TAXI: They seem to be everywhere. Private cars that have a small taxi sticker on the windshield and lit company number on the roof are regulated and reliable. They charge around 6 and 20 soles depending on the distance.
DOMESTIC BUSES: The top-end Peruvian bus companies, such as Oltursa, Cruz del Sur, have networks that serve towns and cities across much of Peru. Others are regional in extent but often travel along roads not covered by the larger, more luxurious companies.