This region features deserts, fertile valleys and beautiful beaches in the north.
In Lima and on the coast in general, December to April are the hottest and sunniest months ( summer ), but it´s warm all over the year on the norhernmost part of the Peruvian coast. From June to October it´s more humid and a light drizzle may occur ( winter ).
A mountainous area dominated by the Andes, where Mount Huascaran soars to an altitude of 6768 meters. Seasons are opposite to the coast. The Highlands have a dry season ( May to October ) and a rainy season ( November to April ), the tempertures vary considerably between day and night: very cold at night and in the early morning (+ 5 to – 7 C ) and warm at noon ( 16 to 21 C ). It is advisable to use clothes that you can change easily. Dry season is ideal for trekking and mountaineering.
A vast region of tropical vegetation and humid, hot climate in the Amazon River Basin. Wet and dry seasons are similar to the highlands, but in the rainforest it may rain at any moment all over the year. Carry always suitable clothes like long cotton trousers and shirts with long sleeves, waterproof boots for walking, hat, waterproof jacket and a bathing suit.
Aprox. 32 millions with around 10 millions in and surrounding the capital, Lima. 52,1 % of the population live on the coast, 36,9 % in the highlands and 11 % in the jungle regions. Peru is a multiracial and multiethnic country, composed of Amerindians 45%, Mestizos 37%, Whites 15%, and 3 % Asians, Afro-Peruvians, and others. Peru has two official languages, Spanish ( spoken by aprox. 80 % as mother tongue ) and Quechua. There are other 46 native languages like Aymara ( spoken around Titicaca lake area ) and the others are spoken by ethnic groups in the Peruvian jungle, some of them threatened by extinction. English is spoken in most hotels and tourist centers.
Peruvian cuisine is delicious and diverse, you may taste exotic fruits, excellent fish and seafood, typical dishes in each department and hot peppery sauces. Try the famous "cebiche" - fresh fish or seafood marinated in lime juice-, or "anticuchos", meat skewer of spicy marinated meat fried over charcoal, or Chifa restaurants which provide Peru's exotic alternative to Chinese cuisine. There are also Andean specialities such as roast guinea pig with peanut sauce, or the Pachamanca, where different meats, potatoes and vegetables are roasted together in pits covered with hot stones. Peruvian beers and wines are good, but the national drink is the "Pisco Sour", made from grape brandy with lime juice and egg white. Also try the tradtional, non-alcoholic "Chicha" made from local purple corn.
Shopping hours are Monday to Saturday from 10:00 to 20:00 hours. Shops and markets in Lima offer a selection of most of Peru's fine handicrafts, such as hand-woven textiles, alpaca and llama rugs, sweaters and shawls, pottery, straw and basketwork and elegant woodwork. The quality of the gold and silver jewellery is excellent.
Daily flights of the national airlines connect Lima with most major cities in Peru. Bus services are also available. The railway network operates on three major trunk lines.
The Nuevo Sol is the official currency of Peru, divided into 100 centavos. At the moment 1 USD = 3,40 Soles
Many hotels, good restaurants and supermarkets accept US dollars. It´s recommendable to change money at “casas de cambio” ( Exchange houses ), where you get higher rates than in banks and you don´t have to stand in line.
We recommend bringing some cash for the first days, because in smaller towns it´s still difficult or imposible to get cash for traveler checks or to use credit cards. ATM cards ( Automated teller machines ) are generally the best way of getting cash quickly in Peru; you can find them in most cities and towns. Visa and master card are accepted in nearly all tourist places ( hotels, restaurants, stores ).
Similar to other South American countries, in Peru you give tips in restaurants ( 5 – 10 % ), hotels and airports ( for porters of luggage, 2 – 3 Soles ).
The safety situation for tourists in Peru has improved in recent years, nevertheless it is important to take some precautions in order to avoid bad experiences:
Before you begin your trip to Peru, you should visit a physician for a check-up and in order go get the latest informations about the recommended vaccinations for Peru ( tetanus, polio, typhus, hepatitits A/B ). For trips to the jungle, especially to Iquitos and Madre de Dios, a yellow-fever vaccination is recommended, but it's not necessary for the tours we offer across the different regions on the coast, highlands and jungle. Don´t forget to buy a mosquito repellent for trips on the coast and to the jungle.
You should only drink bottled water, avoid drinking water from the tap and be careful with drinks with ice. Have your meals and drinks at clean restaurants and avoid eating at markets or from food vendors.
Very few people suffer from altitude sickness during our tours in North Peru, as we don´t stay overnight at places higher than 2800 meters above sea level. Nevertheless we recommend to eat light food, drink coca tea and enough water during the first 2 days, when you travel to Cajamarca and Amazonas ( Chachapoyas ).
Peruvian Embassy GREAT BRITAIN
Address: 52 Sloane Street London SW1X 9SP Londres
Peruvian Embassy USA
Address: 1700 Massachusetts Ave. N.W. Washington D.C. 20036
Telephone: (1-202) 8339860 al 8339869
Fax: (1-202) 6598124 y 7850933