FAQs

Dear Traveler,

We are including everything we know in this section of  Frecuently Asked Questions, tips for your trip, facts and  some relevant information for you to have the best travel experience in Peru.  It is updated reasonably regularly, but if the information you’re looking for isn’t here, please send us an email to info@exoticmax.com

How safe is Peru?

When visiting Peru use your common sense, Latin America in general has a bad reputation for thefts from travellers,  the average traveler carries money and possessions which could probably feed a large family for the better part of a year, however, if you don’t want to subsidize the local economy involuntarily, you should pay close attention to your belongings at all times.Take always a photocopy of your passport and the address of your hotel.

Basic precautions include:

Do not flash money, jewellery or expensive watches around or valuables (passports and cards) along the streets.

  • Leave valuables at the safety box  of the hotel room or at the front desk safe, some safes are electronic others need a key, request safe key at the front desk.
  • Do not leave your daypacks or luggage unattended, there are no official lost and found offices in Peru,
  • When carrying a shoulder bag or camera in crowdedareas, carry it in front of you. Put the strap across your body, not just over one shoulder.
  • When sitting in cafes or restaurants, make it difficult for someone to snatch your bag or camera by putting the leg of your chair through the strap (and sitting in such a way as to make it difficult for thieves to get at it).
  • Watch out for pickpockets in a crowded areas, or for any attempt to distract you by bumping into you, or thrusting something
  • A newspaper, a piece of cardboard with something written on it, etc. – into your line of vision. Another favorite trick is to spray you with something unpleasant. While ‘helpful’ passers-by try to clean you up, their friends are busy cleaning you out.
  • Women alone should be especially careful, as women seem to be considered easier targets than men.
  • Don’t go to isolated areas alone. Be very careful after dark. If you have doubts, ask locals, other tourists or the police if an area you intend to go to is safe.

How fit do I need to be to come to Peru?

The fitter you are, the more you will enjoy it, conversely, the less fit you are, the less you’ll enjoy it. (See more details down below in TIPS FOR YOUR TRIP AND FACTS)

What about altitude?

  • The altitudes of the sites we visit are between 2000m (6500 ft) and nearly 3800m (12000 ft) . Some problems with the altitude would be feeling short of breath and some dizziness or lightheaded which is relatively common and is not, by itself, cause for concern.
  • In case  you show severe symptoms of  mountain sickness you should seek medical advice or descend to a lower altitude as quickly as possible.
  • Coca tea is also popular in Cusco for relief from the symptoms of high altitude.

(See more details about altitude sickness down below)

What’s the weather like?

  • The dry season is from May to September, temperatures in June, July and August can fall below freezing during the nights and early mornings. During the spring, September to December, there are likely to be early afternoon showers (sometimes accompanied by electrical storms) of short duration, and it may be cloudy and overcast. Nights during this season are clear (which means cold at high altitude).
  • The rainy season is from December to May. There is likely to be heavy rain for two to three hours every afternoon, as well as the possibility of light showers that continue over a longer period. Walking conditions are difficult, and streams may become impassable.
  • Note that just as anywhere else in the world, these are general tendencies. You could have a dry day in December, you could get rained on in July. Note also that there’s a wide variation in temperature, dependant on altitude and time of day, It can vary by up to 25 degrees Celsius, so it can be quite warm during the day at low altitudes and below freezing higher up during the night.

What should I take for this trip?
Among the things I would suggest as essential are:
Waterproof clothing
Comfortable footwear
Light clothes for warm weather
Warm clothes for chilly weather, including a windproof jacket and a sweater or fleece
Insect repellent
A good daypack
HANDY ITEMS
Toilet paper (most public toilets in Peru do not provide T.P.) a flashlight, a knife and a basic first-aid kit, plus money (in a money belt or neckpouch hidden inside your clothes) and anything you need to record the trip – camera, film, sketch pads and notebooks etc.

What kind of clothing and footwear should I take
DRESSCODE
See the weather section for more information, but in general it is good to have layers. A tshirt and comfortable pants for walking, plus a long sleeve shirt/sweater/jacket for when it cools off are essential. It’s important to have a poncho or rain jacket even if it is not rainy season because it’s always possible it will rain here. Because of the altitude, nights are cold in any season, so be sure to bring layers for the evening.

  • Clothing comfortable for walking in
  • Hiking pants or jeans
  • Comfortable walking shoes or boots and socks
  • A hat for the sun
  • A beanie or warm hat for the night
  • Gloves are useful for cold nights

WHAT ABOUT WATER?

  • Tap water may not be safe for you as you are not used to it, water in most cities and towns of Peru is potable although safe to brush your teeth but for drinking it is better to get bottled water that you can find in grocery shops and supermarkets
  • There are water shortages
  • At most restaurants  water  is not included, you order and pay for it.

TIPS FOR YOUR TRIP AND FACTS

HOW TO GET THE BEST TRAVEL EXPERIENCE IN PERU?
Important facts and information you should know

-Make sure your Passport is valid for the whole trip until your return back to your country, Make photocopies of your passport, travel protection plan and airline electronic tickets or air codes that show up in your air itinerary information and keep separately from originals.

HOTELS:
Water temperature and pressure vary, water shortages occur even in the best Hotels
Internet wi-fi service is limited or slow in some hotels.
Power cuts occur, that is when a little flashlight becomes handy, especially at nights.

TAXI CABS:
Taxi cabs may not be safe in Lima, radio taxi cabs ordered by the hotel are safe and there is also some applications you can download like “Easy Taxy”, “Taxibeat” or “Uber” in your cell phone, anyway negotiate the fare before you get on the cab.

CURRENCY – MONEY and MONEY ISSUES                                                                                                          

  • Peru´s currency name is SOL (singular) pronounced “soul” (sun in Spanish), plural SOLES (S/.) and the rate varies, now aprox. USD $1 = S/.3.25  Soles ( Suns), Banks and hotels have the lower rates and in Machupicchu even lower. There are Peruvian coins of 0.05, 0.10, 0.20, 0.50, 1, 2 and 5  Soles. 1 sol equals 0.30 USD cents aprox.
  • A single USD $ 1 one-dollar  note by itself is exchanged at a lower rate, they are exchanged at around 2.5 soles. In Urubamba and Machupicchu you get even a lower rate
  • USD $ notes that are a little deteriorated or with a little torn at the edges are neither accepted nor exchanged at banks, hotels or restaurants.
  • USD $ notes you bring must be in good condition, (better crispy new), lately people in Peru and banks are more choosy and fuzzy about them.
  • Money exchange shops or money exchange people on the streets give you a lower rate for deteriorated USD $ notes -American USD $ metal coins are not accepted anywhere.

ATM machines are available in most of the places we will be staying and usually they provide a maximum withdrawal of USD 200 per day. ATM’s dispense either in American money USD$ or Peruvian Soles (S/.) at your choice, ATMs charge bank commissions. About Peruvian money here you are two links where you can see our coins and notes so you can get familiar with the currency: http://www.limaeasy.com/money/peruvian_money.php

http://www.google.com.pe/search?q=peruvian+money&hl=es&prmd=imvns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=Np9PT8rZLomftwfziMjFDQ&sqi=2&ved=0CDEQsAQ&biw=894&bih=449

And here is a link to learn how to identify and tell the difference between the good bills from the fake:

http://howtoperu.com/2011/02/26/fake-money-in-peru/

BANKS and ATM machines
If you click on the link down below, you can see some banks in Miraflores area, Lima, most banks open Mo-Fri from 9 am to 6pm and Sat 9 am to 1 pm, (some banks close at 12:30 pm on Saturdays) you need your Passport for transactions in all banks.
ATMs  are open 24/7

https://www.google.com.pe/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=banks+in+miraflores+lima+peru&rflfq=1&rlha=0&rllag=-12113169,-77042475,2251&tbm=lcl&tbs=ls:-1,lf_od:-1,lf_oh:-1,lf:1,lf_ui:3,lf_pqs:EAE&rlfi=hd:;si:;mv:!1m3!1d5008.0455610920435!2d-77.0305024189575!3d-12.126512644063933!3m2!1i946!2i493!4f13.1

You can click on the link below to see a map, there are money exchange shops in Miraflores where you can get a better change, you need your passports for doing money exchange operations.

https://www.google.com.pe/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=money+exchange+in+miraflores+lima+peru&rflfq=1&rlha=0&rllag=-12118810,-77027659,534&tbm=lcl&tbs=ls:-1,lf_od:-1,lf_oh:-1,lf:1,lf_ui:2,lf_pqs:EAE&rlfi=hd:;si:;mv:!1m3!1d5008.055179395096!2d-77.02727676318057!3d-12.126000496372471!3m2!1i946!2i493!4f13.1

Can I use American money (USD$) cash?
USD$ cash  is accepted in hotels and most restaurants, also at souvenir shops and handcraft markets.

Credit cards
T
he most accepted cards in Peru are VISA and Master Card.  They are accepted in Hotels, most restaurants and souvenir shops. Make sure you bring emergency phone numbers in case of lost cards. Personal checks are not accepted in Peru.

What to pay with Peruvian money Soles S/. cash
Use soles S/.  for taxi cabs, at grocery shops, for paying fees at museums & atractions, at post office  and for mailing letters or postcards.
If you get soles, ask for smaller denominations, small change  “sencillo” peruvian coins since it is difficult to get change in small towns.

DIFFICULTY & TERRAIN
If you are in good physical condition, our walks are easy, if you are not, our walks can be hard work and strenous. In the altitud it is harder because the air is thin.
The Andes mountains are jagged, there are some steep gradients along the trails with irregular shapes and sizes of steps , there is no handrails,  challenging for the ones with fear of heights and hard for the travelers with physical limitations.
A  WALKING STICK is very useful to keep a good balance, it is a third leg!

FRIGHTENING STREET TRAFFIC and how to be ready to face it:
Along roads and streets, traffic is chaotic, drivers sometimes stop to yield for pedestrians, be very careful to cross roads, check traffic lights although they can be sometimes confusing when there are pedestrian lights that may not be syncronized so watch in every direction, if it is a two way street, cross the streets half way, then watch in the other direction and when there is no cars coming, continue on to the other side, some drivers may scare you but eventually they stop. Along the roads and sidewalks watch your steps, there are pot holes, some sewers have no lids.

WATER, RESTAURANTS: FOOD and DIGESTION:

  • In most restaurants of Peru they don´t provide bread or butter, you have to order also.
  • Vegetarian food options are limited in most restaurants.
  • Tipping at is between 10 and 15 percent.
  • Most restaurants don´t know what vegan nor kosher food is
  • Main food ingredient  spices (garlic, onions, cumin, peppers of different kinds, oregano, parsley, marigold, ginger…) that can upset your stomach so in order to keep your GI system healthy, eat light.
  • For stomach upset or diarrhea drink lots of water or any electrolyte drink to avoid dehydration, bring ELECTROLITES in powder and DIGESTIVE PILLS like enzimes or peptobismol.

ALTITUDE SICKNESS AND DEHYDRATION FACTS:

  • At high altitudes there is less pressure of the atmosphere so bodies expand, the brain expands and it pushes against the skull, that pressure produces a headache, the altitude sickness pills usually diamox ( a diuretic and antibiotic) releases the water in your brain so the pressure goes down and your  headache diminishes.
  • Most people get sick from taking diamox or any other altitude sickness pills, they can cause dehydration or an allergy to the chemicals like sulpha. People taking high blood pressure pills do not need to take altitude sickness pills unless your doctor says so then you can take them.
  • Altitude sickness specialized doctors do not recommend taking the altitude sickness pills, unless you have a splitting headache, any way the decision is yours and your doctor´s.
  • Coca tea is an alternative medicine that prevents altitude sickness, it is a vase constrictor, available in most places.
  • Drinking lots of water can wash away your electrolites and you can get dehidrated, water is a diuretic also, so watch your consumption of water and the color of your urine. (Water by itself doesn´t re-hydrate you)
  • Drinking the enaugh amount of water will keep yourself healthy and you will be fine.
  • Alcohol is a vase dilator, it can trigger altitude sickness, not recommended in excess.
  • Eat light to adjust to new food, it prevents from altitude sickness and upset stomach, the GastroIntestinal system becomes very sensitive at high altitude and digestion slows down, it produces more gas, reduces lung capacity to breathe (so you get less oxigen) bring peptobismol and digestive pills like enzymes to take after meals Keep your GI system healthy.
    IMPORTANT: Do not wait until you get very sick to see a doctor, the sooner the better to prevent it so you won´t miss any of our tours and adventures.

TOILET FACILITIES:
Restrooms are found in the atraction sites, some of them charge one sol, others are for free. most of the free ones do not provide toilet paper so have always your toilet paper or tissues handy, you can bring along some toilet paper from our hotels, most of public toilets do not have toilet seats, others are just holes in the ground, in places where there are no toilets be ready to use nature : behind a rock, tree or bush and practice hovering!, this is an adventure.     Do not throw toilet paper in the toilet basin, (they get stuck) use the bins provided.

ELECTRICITY: In Peru electricity is 220Volts / 60 Hertz You may consider bringing a 110v – 220v electrical transformer and/or adaptor. Check your electrical appliances inputs. you can bring plug adaptors: In Peru we use both flat and round prongs. Nowadays modern appliances and gadgets inputs are for between 110 and 220 V. Power cuts, outages or shortages might occur.

This is a fun documentary to promote Peru that was made in Peru, Nebraska:

 

With my best wishes for you to enjoy your trip in Peru also tell us about your expectations so we can help you meet them, remember we can always customize your journey, so again, do not hesitate to contacting us

Sincerely yours,

Boris Cardenas
General Manager
Exotic Max
By
MaxGroup
info@exoticmax.com

operaciones@exoticmax.com

Mobile phones:
51- 1- 992 771 063
51- 84- 984 741 692

Guido Bernal
Sales Manager

51-1- 984745861