#travel to peru
What to Know When Traveling to Peru
Peru’s rocky landscape is home to a vibrant local culture as well as exotic sights and sounds. (Photo: andes in the peru image by Galyna Andrushko from Fotolia.com )
Once a part of the Spanish empire, the Republic of Peru attracts tourists for its cheap prices and temperate South American weather. Though it s a tourist hot spot, Peru can be a dangerous locale. For a safe and relaxing Peruvian vacation, familiarize yourself with Peru s security issues as well as political and local customs regarding topics such as travel requirements and transportation.
All visitors must have a passport that s valid through the date of departure from Peru. U.S. citizens do not need a travel visa unless they are traveling to Peru for business or education or are planning to stay in Peru for 91 days or more. To obtain the appropriate visa, contact the Consulate General of Peru in Washington, D.C. at (202) 462-1081.
Upon arrival, you will receive an Andean Immigration Card, which documents your date of arrival. Keep this card on you at all times. You must present the card upon departure.
Vaccinations are not required for travel to Peru, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC does recommend the yellow fever vaccine if you are traveling through Peru s rural jungles or plan to visit any area of the country east of the Andes.
Standard recommendations for all South American travel include vaccines against rabies, typhoid, hepatitis A and B as well as routine vaccinations such as those for the flu and tetanus.
Peru is budget-friendly compared to typical North American standards, according to Frommer s guidebook to the country. Haggling for the price of goods and services is common. For the cheapest prices, avoid Peru s peak travel seasons which include the winter months of December and January as well as major holidays like Easter.
Exchange your money to the nuevo sol before you leave for Peru to avoid the costly finance charges imposed by the country s hotels and ATMs. Cash is dominant; credit or debit cards are not accepted except at major retailers and hotels.
Call the U.S. Department of State at (888) 407-4747 to obtain the latest travel safety information regarding Peru. The country is home to terrorist groups and occasional civil unrest, some of which may be targeted at Americans, according to the Department of State. Restricted Peruvian provinces that should be avoided include Tocache, Satipo, Pampas and Huanta, as of February 2010.
Armed robberies, rape and violent crimes against Americans are rising, according to the U.S. Department of State. Major crime hot spots, which are also tourist attractions, include downtown Lima, the Plaza de Armas and the Acho Bullring. While in Peru, you can dial 105 to report a police emergency or 116 to report a general emergency.
Buses are the most common method of transportation once you arrive in Peru, according to Lonely Planet s Peruvian guidebook. Fares change often and vary according to the bus company but are listed at each local bus terminal. Note that buses are not always on schedule, especially during Peru s rainy weather season from January through April. Lonely Planet advises against traveling overnight on buses, as this is when crime is at its peak.