Peru: Useful Information
Mountainous terrain, vast coastal deserts and steamy, tropical rainforests
- Although Peru has its own currency, the Nuevo Sol, US dollars and Euros can be changed in many hotels and most banks.
- Visa is the most widely accepted credit and debit card, but American Express and Mastercard credit and debit cards are also accepted in many places in Peru.
- ATM machines in Peru can be used to obtain cash. Visa and Visa Electron Plus being the most common ones.
- Travellers’ cheques are accepted in some banks, but not in some small towns. Always buy travellers cheques in US dollars, rather than sterling, as you will find it virtually impossible to cash them otherwise. The exchange rate for travellers cheques is likely to be 1.5% to 2% lower than for cash.
- Payphones in Peru accept both coins and ‘phonecards to make national and international calls. Nearly all telephones are operated by the Spanish company Telefonica.
- Voltage supply is 220 volts and 60 Hertz. There are three types of plug in use: a) with two flat parallel pins, b) two flat parallel pins and a round earth pin and c) unearthed with two round pins.
- Letters posted in Peru generally take about a week to two weeks to reach North America and rather longer to reach destinations in Europe. Sending mail in Peru is relatively expensive.
- Internet Access is widely available in Peru, with even the smallest villages having at least one internet centre.
- Illegal drugs carry severe penalties. Even possession of a small amount carries a prison sentence. Coca leaves however, are legal and are widely used in the mountain regions.
- There is no English language newspaper published in Peru. The Lima Times, which is now a magazine, is published in English bi-monthly.
- Peru has 7 terrestrial television stations. Cable TV provides access to some English language channels.
- There is malaria and dengue fever in some of the lowland parts of Peru, as well as Chagas' Disease. You should take anti-malarial tablets to protect against malaria and use, or take, a mosquito net to protect against all three insect borne diseases.
- Peru is 5 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time.
- Tap water is definitely not safe to drink. Either you will need to purify the water with tablets, or drink bottled water, which is freely available.
- Peru is overwhelmingly a Catholic country. The other denominations in the country are principally evangelical Protestant. In many areas the indigenous peoples adhere to their traditional religious rituals and customs.
- Peruvian shops can open and close at various times, often taking extended lunch breaks. Hours of businesses will be shorter, or even non-existent over weekends, especially in smaller towns.