Living in Peru


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  1. Peru Facts
  2. Arriving into Cusco
  3. Entrance and Exit Requirements
  4. Weather & Climate
  5. US/CAN Embassy Information
  6. Tipping & Money
  7. Festivals & Celebrations in Peru
  8. Holidays in Peru

Peru Facts

  • Capital City : Lima
  • Area : total: 1,285,220 sq km
    land: 1.28 million sq km
    water: 5,220 sq km
  • Coastline : 2,414 km
  • Elevation Extremes : lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Nevado Huascaran 6,768 m
  • Population : 29,546,963 (July 2009 est.)
  • Languages : Spanish (official), Quechua (official), Aymara, and a large number of minor Amazonian languages
  • Currency : Nuevo Sol
  • Time Zone : GMT -5 hours
  • Religion : 90% of people in Peru belong to the Roman Catholic religion
  • Electricity : 220V, 60Hz
  • Country Telephone Code : +51

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Arriving into Cusco

  • Upon arrival into Cusco the effects of the high altitude are usually felt pretty quickly. You will most likely experience a little dizzyness, shortness of breath, and headache. Please drink lots of water upon arrival, you may also ask for some coca tea upon arrival to your hotel.

  • Some people do purchase Sorojchi Pills, although we do not advise taking them. There have been reports of bad reactions with this pill. We suggest you drink lots of liquids (no alcohol, or pop), eat light, and get lots of rest the first day.

  • Foreigners usually have a tough time digesting foods for a couple days, for this we suggest going to any good pharmacy and purchasing Digestase pills, these are specifically for the digestion of food, and will help in preventing upset stomach. If you are prone to getting stomach aches, we also suggest purchasing Plidan Compuesto (for strong stomach aches), or Nifurat (upset stomach and diarrhea), always good to have if trying foods at locations that may not be so safe or clean.

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Entrance and Exit Requirements

  • A valid passport is required for entrance and exit from Peru. Additionally tourists must also be able to show evidence of return or onward travel. U.S.and Canadian citizens may enter Peru for tourist or business reasons for up to ninety days without obtaining a visa. Keep in mind that the actual amount of time authorized is determined by the Peruvian immigration officer upon entry into Peru. After admission, travelers may apply to extend their visa for an additional three months. Persons who remain beyond their period of authorized stay without obtaining a visa extension or a residence visa will have to pay a fine to depart Peru. Visitors for other than tourist or short-term business visit purposes must obtain a Peruvian visa in advance.

  • Visitors from other countries please visit your embassy website or contact them directly.

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Weather & Climate

  • Peru's peak tourist season is from June to August, which is the dry season in the Andean highlands. It's also the best time to go if you're interested in hiking or mountain climbing.
  • The climate varies, on the coast winter lasts from June to September. During this period, the mountainous areas are often sunny during the day but cold at night. Heavy rains in the mountains and jungle last from December to April. It hardly ever rains in Lima nor most of the coast, except for Tumbes and Piura, which have tropical climates.
  • Although Peru's seaboard is situated well within the tropical zone, it does not display an equatorial climate; average temperatures range from 22°C (70°F) in January to 10°C (50°F) in June in Lima, on the coast. At Cuzco, in the sierra, the range is only from 12°C (54°F) to 9°C (48°F), while at Iquitos, in the Amazon region, the temperature averages about 32°C (90°F) all year round.
  • Current weather in Cusco Peru CLICK HERE
  • Current weather in Lima Peru CLICK HERE

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US / CAN Embassy Information

  • The U.S. Embassy is located in Surco, Monterrico, a suburb of Lima, at Avenida Encalada, Block Seventeen; telephone 51-1-434-3000 during business hours (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) or 51-1-434-3032 for after-hours emergencies; fax 51-1-618-2397, or 51-1-618-2724 (American Citizen Services Unit); web site -
  • The Canadian Embassy is located at Bolognesi 228, Miraflores
    Lima 18, Peru; telephone 51-1-319-3200, After Hours Emergency Contact Information call collect: 613-996-8885 / 613-944-1310, General Email:, Hours of Operation : Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 8:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., 1:15 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Wednesday: 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. (January and February the Embassy closes at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday and Friday.)

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Tipping & Money

  • Peruvians in general are not good tippers. Some restaurants add a service charge of between 5% and 10%, which will be indicated by the words 'propina' or 'servicio' near the bottom of the bill. 5-10% is also the normal tipping rate at decent restaurants. Most smaller restaurants do not expect any tip, although it would be nice to give a little extra depending on the food and service. In hotels porters expect about US$0.50 per bag. Taxi drivers are not tipped (the fare should be set before departure), taxi rides can cost anywhere from $1-$5, rarely ever exceeding $5. Tour guides are customarily tipped.

  • Costs in Peru are lower, on average, than those in developed countries, but higher than those in many neighboring countries. Lima and Cuzco are the most expensive. If you're on a tight budget, you can scrape by on around US$15.00 to US$25.00 a day, but if you want to stay in a bit more comfort and eat out at restaurants, you'll have a better time on around US$50.00 to US$75.00 a day.

  • American dollars are widely accepted at most stores, although you will get better exchange rates changing at currency exchange outlets, and can also be exchanged at the airport or your hotel. It is best to bring $ US or € EUR for exchanging into Nuevo Soles. Carry Peruvian currency with you for remote areas or for shopping in small shops. Current approximate exchange rate : 1 USD = 3.10 NUEVOS SOLES; for exact current exchange rate visit XE Universal Currency Converter

  • ATM machines are widely available and usually charge you a service fee of $2-5 USD per transaction. Most common banks are BCP (Banco de Credito), Scotia Bank, Banco Continental, Citi Bank, and InterBank, all trustworthy and reliable.

  • Sample Price Guide ($USD):
  • Bottle of beer : 355ml - $1.50 - $2, mediano 700ml - $2 - $3.50

    Bottle of water : 700ml - $0.50 - $0.80

    Taxi rides : $1 - $5 avg.

    Souvenier T-Shirt : $3 - $10

    Average Meal Prices : low - $2 - 5$ ( many good restaurants in this range ), med $5 - $10 ( you eat very good at this range ) , high $10 - $30 ( usually high quality food in a nice restaurant ), gourmet $30 - $100 ( fine dining )

  • local telephone call : $0.10 - $0.15

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Festivals & Celebrations in Peru

June and July are the most interesting months to visit Cusco because there are a lot of celebrations and traditional dances such as : Corpus Christi religious festival ( ), Inti Raymi (June 24), "Virgen del Carmen" (July 15-19) with exhibitions of allegorical masks specially in the city of Paucartambo (250 km from Cusco) , and much more... Here are some of the celebrations:

Inti Raymi - In Cusco on June 24, you can experience Inti Raymi (Adoration to the Sun), a traditional Inca celebration where indigenous people display their colorful costumes and there is a variety of food, dance, and songs.
Corpus Christi - Corpus Christi comes alive in June, this date is unforgettable. Few years after the arrival of Pizarro. The people of Cusco begin to celebrate this festivity, in honor of The Holy Sacrament, known in the Catholic World as Corpus Cristo. The Inka Garcilaso had already given news about it in his work “comentarios reales”. Fifteen saints and virgins from the different districts come together in the Cathedral to salute the body of Christ, which is kept in a fabulous box made out of solid gold that weighs 26 kilos and 1.20 meters high. Corpus Christi is done in the Main Square of Cusco.
Virgen del Carmen - Four hours from Cuzco, in the town of Paucartambo, thousands of devotees hold festivals in honor of the Virgen del Carmen, known locally as Mamacha Carmen, patron saint of the mestizo population. The gathering, that raises the curtain on these days of celebrations is held in the main square, where troupes of musicians play their instruments while richly dressed choirs sing in Quechua. The setting gives way to a series of ingenious choreographies that portray events in Peruvian history. For five days, dance companies in various costumes (Doctorcitos, Waca Waca, Sarjas) take to the streets to accompany the Mamacha throughout the entire procession through the main square, the church and the city streets.
Virgen de la Candelaria - The festivity of " Virgen de la Candelaria" is celebrated every year from 8 to 14 of February in Puno ( 1\2 hour by airplane from Cusco to Juliaca) .It's a very interesting traditional celebration with a lot of dancing in which the dancers show decorated and authentic masks. The most famous is the "diablada" (devil dance) .
Semana Santa - Holy week in Cusco is celebrated between the second week of March and the first week of April, the date can change. The celebration of the holy week in Cusco is unique, in where you can observe all of the believers come together, as well as the tourist and foreigners. Holy week is commemoration that is celebrated in the entire catholic world in memory of the resurrection and death of Christ. In Cusco, this celebration is associated with the Lord of the Tremors, protector of the city. The image of the Taytacha of the Tremors, the name in Cusco, is very impressive because the hard expression of pain and suffering it has. The worship dates from the colonial time, when in 1650 an earthquake almost destroys the city and the people of the city decided to bring out the Christ in procession on the streets.


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    January 1- New Year's
    February 2-Candlemas
    February- Carnival
    March/April- Holy Week
    May 1- Labour Day
    June- Corpus Christi
    June- St. John the Baptist Day
    June 29- St. Peter and St. Paul Day
    July 16-Virgen of Carmen
    July 28/29- Independence Days
    August 30- St. Rosa of Lima
    October 8- Battle of Angamos
    October 18- Lord of Miracles
    November 1- All Saint’s Day
    November 2- All Soul’s Day
    November 5- Puno Day
    December 8- Immaculate Conception
    December 25- Christmas


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