Travel Tips Peru

Useful travel information to Peru

Some Facts about Peru

Official Name: Republic of Peru.

Capital: Lima.

Country Population: 28 millions +


Spanish is the official language of Peru; Quechua and Aymara are spoken in many highlands regions by indigenous groups. During your travels in Peru you will find that most people working in the travel industry (airlines, hotels, et cetera) speak English as a second language. You should find little trouble getting around most of the common tourist locations; however knowing a little Spanish goes a long way, particularly in dealing with clerks at kiosks and in stores. If you don’t know any Spanish, it’s a good idea to bring along a phrasebook.

Religions: An important percentage of Peruvians are Christian (Roman Catholic).

Time Zone: 5 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-5 GMT).

Health: For the latest health information and vaccine recommendations for Peru, contact your physician, travel clinic or visit the Center for Disease Control website:

Altitude Sickness (Soroche)



Part I : Prepare yourself for travelling to high elevations
Basic Concepts

At high elevations, the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere, percentage-wise, is the same as at sea level. But when barometric pressures diminish, so does the pressure of oxygen present in tissues (thereby causing Hypoxia). This physical phenomenon explains why the quantity of oxygen molecules per breath inhaled is lower at higher elevations than it is at sea level. Faced with this type of challenge, individuals evolve acclimatization procedures that engage most of their systems: respiratory, blood & circulatory, renal, and nervous. The evolved physiological mechanisms tend to normalize the amount of oxygen in their tissues. For there to be normal activity, an adequate supply of oxygen must first be secured. Peripheral chemoreceptors, or nerve endings, serve as sensors of the amount of oxygen that enters into the bloodstream.

Nerve endings swiftly react to changes of oxygen pressure in arterial blood, and inform the nervous centers that control breathing and cardiac cycles. This information brings about a progressive increase in pulmonary ventilation, which can be observed during the first few days at high elevations (3 to 5 days). This process is called “Ventilatory Acclimatization.” Concentrations of Noradrenaline and Adrenaline in the blood increase. This brings about a rise in cardiac frequency, regardless of whether the individual is in repose or working out. If the exposure to high altitudes is long enough, the first adaptation strategies – respiratory and cardiovascular adjustments – give way to less strenuous mechanisms – mainly an increased production of red blood cells – that improve the transport of oxygen from the environment into the tissues.

Adaptive reactions to high elevations may cause certain disorders, however, either by the over-functioning or under-functioning of the mechanisms involved in the acclimatization to high elevations. These disorders can and should be avoided, by following the recommendations set forth in the second part of this brochure. The time and quality of the acclimatization process varies from person to person. It has nothing to do with previous physical training, or the number of times a person has been in high elevations. If you have to travel to elevations higher than 3,500 meters (11,480 feet) above sea level and have to stay there, it’s very important to prevent the onset of two distinctive pathologies produced by high elevations: pulmonary edema or brain edema.

These pathologies can manifest themselves in people intolerant to high elevations – mainly the first week – but can be avoided by being aware of what their initial symptoms are, and stopping them from fully developing.


  • Acetazolamide (NC.Diamox)1 tablet every 12 hours, 24 hours before the trip. Half a tablet every 12 hours until the third day in high elevations
  • Paracetamol 1 tablet every 8 hours, in case of headache.
  • Ibuprofen 1 400 mg pill before the trip and in case of headaches that don’t lessen with Paracetamol, take one Ibuprofen every 12 hours after meals (it may produce stomach ache).

In case of continued altitude sickness, seek medical help. You must receive oxygen or bepromptly removed to a lower elevation.

Part II: General recommendations for people traveling to high elevations

The day before your travel:

  • Sleep well.
  • Don’t eat foods that are hard to digest.
  • Don’t drink alcoholic beverages.

The day you arrive:

  • Refrain from strenuous physical activity.
  • Drink at least one liter of water a day.
  • Eat small quantities of food, preferably carbohydrates.
  • Wear appropriate clothing to stay warm.
  • Complete rest is recommended for people with altitude sickness scores higher than six points (see below).
  • Don’t take sleeping pills or tranquilizers.

The second to the fourth day after your arrival

  • Refrain from strenuous physical activity.
  • Drink plenty of liquids, commensurate to your physical activity.
  • Don’t eat foods that are hard to digest.
  • Wear appropriate clothing to stay warm.
  • Don’t take sleeping pills or tranquilizers.

During your first four days in high elevations refrain from any strenuous physical activity. If you feel like you are choking or are breathing noisily, your lips and/or ears turn purple or blue (cyanosis), you have a persistent cough and your sputum is foamy or pinkish in color, you may be developing a serious pulmonary edema caused by the high altitude. If that is the case, immediately seek medical help You need oxygen or to be promptly removed to lower elevations. If you feel fatigue or acute weakness, feel nauseous (sometimes vomiting explosively), and have a severe headache that pain relievers won’t ease, you are probably developing a brain edema. If you don’t have a headache, but feel extremely tired and have difficulty keeping your balance, you may also be developing a brain edema. Immediately seek medical help. You need oxygen or to be promptly removed to lower elevations.

Symptoms and Indications of Altitude Sickness (soroche)

Headache1 point
Nausea or lack of appetite1 point
Insomnia or difficulty sleeping1 point
Dizziness–vertigo1 point
Headache that pain relievers won’t ease2 points
Vomiting2 points
Difficulty breathing when lying down3 points
Extreme fatigue3 points
Lessening volume of urine3 points

Score Intensity of Altitude Sickness

1 to 3 Light

4 to 6 Moderate

More than 6 Severe (complete rest is recommended)



Medical Recommendations for the Amazon:

Yellow Fever Inoculations

Yellow fever inoculation is recommended for travel to Tambopata.



Leishmaniasis is present throughout the rainforests of southeastern Peru. It is a skin lesion caused by a protozoan transmitted by a certain kind of small biting fly. There is no vaccination against it but it is curable in every case. The selected cure, injections of pentavalent antimony (Glucantime), is uncomfortable. Leishmaniasis is also very easy to prevent by wearing long-sleeved shirts, pants, and repellent on exposed skin at all times, and sleeping under mosquito nets. If you are interested in receiving.

For a complete information on leishmaniasis contact us before your trip.


Malaria is present but extremely rare. If you wish to take medical precautions against malaria consult your physician or a specialist in tropical medicine.


In case of emergencies we have a first aid kit that is equipped to deal with most cases that may reasonably arise in the area. Our guides are all certified by the Red Cross, which means they are prepared to deal with foreseeable emergencies (broken bones or snake bites, for example) but not complex emergencies (such as an appendicitis). For snake bites, we have extractors and an antivenom at the lodges. In case of evacuation, we need to travel by boat by to Puerto Maldonado.

During the day, evacuations take about 20% less time than our regular boats. During the night, evacuations take about 30% more. In Puerto Maldonado there is access to a state clinic.

Currency and Money Exchange:

Peruvian currency is known as the NUEVO SOL, written as (S/). It comes in bills of 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 nuevo soles, and coins of 5, 10, 20, and 50 centimos, 1 sol, 2 soles and 5 soles. The latest exchange rates can be found at US dollars are welcome at many shops, restaurants and service stations at the current exchange rate. When changing U.S. dollars, use new or undamaged bills, as torn or heavily crinkled bills are not accepted. Most establishments accept major credit cards, including Visa, Master Card, Diners Club and American Express, but there is often an additional charge; you may want to inquire about this before ordering or purchasing anything with a credit card. Although they may be exchanged at banks and hotels, the use of traveler’s checks as a form of payment is not as common; ask if they are accepted before using them.

If you have Peruvian currency left over at the end of your trip, you can exchange them for dollars at the airport or use them to pay your departure tax.


Peru Plug Adapters and Outlet Shapes:

Electricity in Peru is 220 Volts, alternating at 60 cycles per second. If you travel to Peru with a device that does not accept 220 Volts at 60 Hertz, you will need a voltage converter. Outlets in Peru generally accept 2 types of plug:

Flat blade plug
Two round pins

If your appliances plug has a different shape, you may need a plug adapter.

Peru GSM Freqency (ies)

Peru uses the GSM 1900 GSM frequency.

When travelling, make sure that your phone supports the GSM frequency of the country you’re traveling to. Usually the supported GSM frequencies are printed on the box of your phone as well as its manual.


Most of the hotels have business center with easy and fast access to Internet. In the five stars you can find wireless Internet. Wherever you go, you will find an Internet café where you could check your email and surf the net.


What to bring with you?

All around Peru:

• Identity documents / Passorts : It is mandatory to show your passport and TAM (Tarjeta Andina de migración – White sheet given at Lima airport upon arrival) at every hotel. Foreign citizens, staying no longer than 30 days are exempt of paying 18% IGV (Sales tax) for lodging, as long as they show their passport and stamped TAM when checking in at each hotel.

  • Camera, binoculars, flashlight and batteries (are consumed faster in cold climates)
  • Toilet paper
  • Small towel and cleaning implements (wipes)
  • Personal Kit (Any Medicine you take regularly)
  • Water bottle
  • Snacks (energy bars, dried fruit, chocolates, cookies, etc.)..
  • Cash

Tambopata – Puerto Maldonado

  •  Good binoculars
  •  Camera gear
  •  Tight-weave, light colored, long cotton pants
  •  Long sleeved, tight-weave, light colored cotton shirts
  •  Ankle-high hiking boots and sneakers
  •  Flashlight with batteries
  •  Sunblock lotion
  •  Sunglasses
  •  Broad-brimmed hat
  •  Rain suit or poncho
  •  Insect repellent
  •  Small denomination bills
  •  Small daypack

Luggage is hand-carried at various stages in the trip for long distance. We strongly recommend you limit your weight to 15 kilos (32 pounds a piece).

If you are visiting other destinations in Peru that require different kinds of clothing, you can always pack separate bags and safely leave them at our offices in Puerto Maldonado on the first day so we won’t be carrying them around uselessly. Your bag will be waiting for you at the airport the day you leave.



  • Warm clothes (especially for the night) during the day, always carry a jacket on hand as there could be sudden weather changes.
  • Scarf, gloves, wool hat
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Sandal for relaxing moments
  • Bathing suit (For the thermal baths of Aguas Calientes, if staying overnight)
  • Sun hat, sunblock
  • Insect repellent in Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu
  • Moisturizer for face and body

Train Luggage Policy:

Peru Rail has implemented a strict baggage allowance on board their trains, mainly from Ollantaytambo, the measures accepted are:

Carry-on Baggage Allowance

Each passenger may take

1 bolso o mochila 05kg/11lb

62 pulgadas lineales/157cm

(alto + largo + ancho)

1 bag or backpack 05kg/11lb

62 inches/157cm (length +

height + width)

Baggage that exceed the measures will not be allowed