Before your trip

Before your trip

Peru

Passport and Visa 

  • Passports must be valid for at least 6 months from the return date of your trip. Enough blank visa pages in valid passports are required for entry and exit stamps. Travelers without the requisite blank visa pages in their passports may be refused entry, fined, and returned to their point of origin at their own expense.  
  • U.S. Resident Aliens need both passport and Alien Resident Card for re-entry to the United States.
  • Carry emergency contact person’s name, address and telephone number with you.
  • Keep travel documents, passport, personal necessities and valuables with you at all time. Leave a copy of the important documents to your family or pack another separately from the original itself. We suggest you scan and email a copy to yourself for easy online access. This will help speed up the replacement process. 
  • Be sure you have all the necessary documents and money before leaving for the airport.  
  • The entry into Peru for U.S. citizens does not require a tourist visa for a stay of up to 183 days. However, For non-US passport holders and for the latest visa requirements please check the Peru Embassy website before traveling www.embassyofperu.org.

Consular Information

The US Department of State provides Country Specific Information Sheets for every country in the world, as well as Travel Alerts and Warnings. Find this information by calling 888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444, or online at travel.state.gov.

Baggage 

  • Baggage charge and insurance are at the owner's responsibility. Baggage allowance varies by airline and is subject to change at any time. For up to date baggage allowance restrictions and fees, always check with the appropriate airline before traveling.  
  • It is recommended that all checked luggage has a lock (TSA approved combination locks are recommended) and use Peony Tours’ red luggage tag. These brightly colored markers help identify you and your luggage quickly.
  • DO NOT pack medicine, valuables or other personal necessities in checked luggage.  Keep them in carry-on bag.
  • Note: Samsung Galaxy note 7 telephones are prohibited on board.
  • Consider packing one change of clothing, one set of underwear and toiletry in your carry-on bag to avoid inconvenience caused by delayed or lost luggage.
  • Baggage allowance on coach: Peony Tours welcomes each passenger to bring one suitcase and one carry-on bag on coach. Due to the limited capacity for luggage storage on the vehicle, Peony Tours does not accept more than one suitcase per person in order to avoid any additional charges for excessive luggage. 
  • Consult www.tsa.gov for USA airport restrictions on baggage and TSA approved locks.  

Health, Insurance, and Medical Matters

  • Travelers are strongly advised to purchase travel insurance prior to departure for your own protection.  
  • It is important to familiarize yourself with any potential health issues or concerns related to your destination, and so we strongly recommend consulting the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for up-to-date information on required and recommended vaccines and medications. Visit them online at wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel or call 800-232-4636. 
  • Vaccinations are not required for travelers coming directly from the United States to Peru.
  • Plan to visit your doctor or local travel clinic at least 4-6 weeks before departure to allow time for any vaccinations to take effect or to fill any prescriptions. Consult your doctor for suggestions on prevention and treatment.
  • If you are taking prescription medication, please pack in your hand luggage sufficient quantity for the duration of the trip and make sure it is fully labeled in original packaging with a doctor’s prescription.  
  • It is not unusual to suffer from altitude sickness in the Andes or tummy problems, despite Peru’s wonderful culinary reputation. Peru’s many climates mean that travelers will face different risks in different areas. While food-borne, as well as mosquito-borne infections happen, many of these illnesses are not life-threatening. However, they can certainly ruin your trip. Besides getting the proper vaccinations, it’s important that you take insect repellent and exercise care in what you eat and drink.
  • During your trip, if you have any medical or health problems, please feel free to notify your tour guide as soon as possible.

Weather

  • Being such a geographically diverse country within the tropical belt, the weather in Peru is determined both by altitude and season. However, it also means that there is almost invariably sunshine somewhere in Peru!
  • Central and Southern Regions (Lima): Two well-defined seasons, winter between April to October, Summer between November to March.
  • Highlands (Cusco): Two seasons, dry season between April to October, and rainy season between November to March.
  • Use a website such as weather.com to find average temperatures and rainfalls during your travel times.

Electricity

Electricity in Peru is 220 volts AC 60 cycles. Some hotels have 110 volts AC or adapters. Travelers are advised to bring international converter and adapters for the trip.

Clothing / Things to Bring 

  • Check the website www.weather.com for weather conditions before you go, and pack accordingly.
  • Daytime attire: Pack comfortable, casual clothing in natural, breathable fabrics. Temperatures will change as altitudes and time of day change, so it’s best to bring shorts as well as long trousers and clothing you can layer.
  • Evening attire: Somewhat smarter clothing is appropriate for evening dining in city restaurants. Formal clothing is not necessary.
  • Comfortable, walking shoes with low or no heels.
  • Sweater or lightweight jackets.
  • Lightweight raincoat or poncho.
  • Swimming suit.
  • Sunglasses, sunblock, and a sunhat.
  • Mosquito repellent.
  • Lightweight binoculars (optional)
  • Simple first-aid kit.
  • Prescriptions and medications (We recommend you carry these in their original bottles and/or packaging.)
  • Charging cables for electronics.
  • Voltage converter and adapter plugs.
  • Note: Laundry service is available at your hotels. 

Arrival Airport Information & Customs

At most international airports, passengers cannot be met inside secured areas. This includes Immigration, Customs halls and Baggage Claim. Your Peony Tours local representative will greet you as you exit these restricted areas; look for the person holding the distinctive Peony Tours signboard. 

Language

The official language in Peru is Spanish. Quechua is the second official language and is widely spoken in the sierra (highlands). English is spoken in major cities and tourist areas.  

Time Zone  

Peruvian time is five hours past Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and is similar to Eastern Standard Time in the United States (except when the U.S. goes on daylight savings time from March to November). At 9:00 a.m. in Peru, it is:

EST 9:00 a.m. the same day

CST 8:00 a.m. the same day

MST 7:00 a.m. the same day

PST 6:00 a.m. the same day  

Currency & Credit Cards

  • The official currency in Peru is the Sol (S/). The currency code is PEN. As of November, 2019, the exchange rate applies: 
  • USD=3.35 PEN (subject to currency exchange rate fluctuations)
  • There is no restriction on the amount of foreign currency or travelers checks brought into Peru.
  • The US dollars may be accepted in many places, however, expect the price of your purchase to go up. Be wary, as there is a large amount of counterfeit US currency in circulation. 
  • Major credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard are widely accepted (Discover, American Express less so) in urban areas. ATM access is limited to the larger cities. When visiting rural areas (coffee regions) you should ensure that you have enough cash to last you until you arrive in a larger city. Banks/ATMs will allow cash withdrawals on Visa or MasterCard. Try to use ATMs located in banks during the daylight hours if possible.
  • Exchange currency only at authorized outlets such as banks and hotels and exchange only what you think you will need during your trip. Casas de cambio (foreign-exchange bureaus) are fast, have longer hours and often give slightly better rates than banks. Ask for billets pequenos (small bills), as S100 bills are hard to change in small towns or for small purchases. Do not accept torn money as it will likely not be accepted by Peruvians. Save all receipts from any currency transaction. You may be asked to produce them when you exit the country, and they are required if you intend to reconvert local currency.  
  • We suggest traveling with some US dollars to be exchanged for local currency and at least two major credit cards. If you have a “Chip and PIN” card, be careful to shield your number from view while entering it on a keypad; never disclose your PIN verbally. Notify your credit card company of your travel plans prior to your departure to confirm your credit line and to avoid any fraud concerns.  
  • We do not recommend traveler’s checks as today they are not so widely accepted as before.  

Food & Drink

  • Do not use tap water for drinking or brushing teeth. Evan “purified” water in open containers should be avoided. It is always preferable and safer to use only bottled or canned water. 
  • Drinks are usually not covered in paid-for meals so you may have to pay for it separately.
  • Regardless of precautions, changes in water and diet can result in mild abdominal upsets and nausea. To prevent serious illness, avoid suspect foods such as uncooked vegetables, peeled fruits, unpasteurized milk and milk products. Beware of any food or drink sold by street vendors.

Shopping

  • Most guests enjoy the chance to purchase items that reflect their destination, and so as a courtesy, your guide may recommend a particular shop or arrange a shopping visit. Please note, however, that these recommendations should not be taken as Peony Tours’ endorsement of the shops, merchandise and/or pricing. You assume all responsibility for any transactions that take place, including shipping arrangements that are made.
  • The decision to shop while traveling is a personal choice and shopping is never compulsory. If at any point during your journey you feel pressured to shop or make purchases, please immediately contact our tour leader or our local representative in Peru.
  • Throughout Peru, prices at hotel shops and tourist shops are generally fixed 19% (IGV, General Sales Tax); however, when shopping at the local markets, bargaining is expected.
  • To avoid disappointment, we suggest the following guidelines:
  1. Compute the exchange rate and thoroughly review credit card receipts before signing.
  2. Take your purchases home with you whenever possible. Airfreight can take many months and actual shipping charges can be excessive. Customs delays, fees and regulations can further complicate the issue. If you choose to ship purchases, we suggest taking a picture of the item(s) and/or marking them in some way to ensure you receive what was purchased. For example, you could write your name on the backside of a rug. Determine if your shipment will be delivered door-to-door or to the nearest customs facility, as is often the case. Most goods shipped from other countries to the United States are subject to Customs duty.
  3. Duty taxes, if applicable, are paid as you re-enter the United States. Regardless of assurances by merchants, these cannot be prepaid on your behalf. Currently, each person is entitled to an $800 duty-free exemption, however, may only bring one liter of alcoholic beverages, 200 cigarettes and 100 cigars.
  4. Keep all sales receipts for items purchased throughout your trip and try to pack all items that you will need to declare together. This will ease the Customs process upon re-entry into the U.S.
  5. Observe U.S. Customs restrictions when bringing in goods from tour. Consult the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website at http://www.cbp.gov for details.

Telephone

Contact your cellular telephone provider to determine if your phone operates on the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) and what, if any, activation may be required. If your phone is not GSM-enabled, you may find that renting a phone specifically designed for use overseas is the most practical option. Peru’s international access code 00, country code 51. 
  1. Calling America from Peru, dial 00 (Peru international access code) + 1 (USA country code) + local area code & number Example: 00-1-XXX-XXX-XXXX
  2. Calling Peru from the US, dial 011 (USA international access code) + 51 (Peru country code) + local area code & number。 Example: 011-51-XXX-XXX-XXX

Internet Access

Most hotels offer complimentary wireless internet services in all areas as well as business center. Consult the front desk for specific details in each property. 

Photography and Etiquette

  • Unless you are shooting a crowded public scene, it is considered courteous to ask permission before taking pictures of local people, especially small children. Please be respectful of local people who do not wish to be photographed.
  • Photography is not permitted at some locations, which may include government buildings, museums, art galleries, private houses, etc. These areas are usually clearly marked. Do not photograph church interiors while there is a service in progress. If in doubt, please ask. 
  • Be sure to pack ample amounts of batteries and memory cards or film for your camera and video equipment, along with the appropriate charging cables. A dustproof case of sealable plastic bags and lens brush are also recommended. 

Tipping

Gratuities are not included in your tour cost.  They are customary, and their purpose is to encourage and reward quality service.  Our tour managers, local guides, drivers, hotel porters and other service personnel do their utmost to make your trip smooth and pleasant. Gratuities are a way of showing your appreciation. However, tips are NEVER mandatory. Peony Tours suggests tipping in the following manner (per guest per day in USD):

Peony Tour Manager: $5

Local Guide: $5

Driver: $2

General Tips

  • Respect other group members, your tour guides and drivers. Refrain from talking when the tour guide is speaking.
  • The safety of travelers has always been our number one concern.  For your safety, you should notify the tour guide ahead of time if you plan to go out at night or roam in the free time alone.
  • Always be cautious when staying at a hotel. Never allow strangers into your room. Keep doors locked at all times.
  • Use the safes where available in your accommodations to secure your valuables, especially passports, medications, jewelry, money, and electronics. If you must carry valuables, keep them on your person at all times. Be mindful of your surroundings and take extra caution in crowds. 
  • Note: On the train journey to Machu Picchu, you will be limited to one piece of luggage weighing no more than 11 pounds and a total dimension (length + width + height) of 62 inches. Please follow the rule.
  • For the protection of your own interests, read carefully your itinerary and hotel information prior to the tour. Leave a copy to your family or friend.
  • A nice and smooth trip counts on every group member's high cooperation.  It is important to follow the indicated meeting time and meeting point.  Use the red round name badge provided by Peony Tours for easy identification.  To make your trip as enjoyable as possible, allow enough time for flight check-in, security screening, and boarding: 2 hours for US domestic travel, 3 hours for international travel. In case of emergency, please contact Peony Tours immediately.

USA / During Office Hours (Mon-Fri, 9 am – 5:30 pm)

Headquarters 626-289-2450

Los Angeles Office 626-289-1010

San Francisco Office 650-259-9983

New York Office 212-973-1998

USA / After Office Hours 626-592-8448