Hikers walking in the Salineras de Maras, region of Cusco

Peru Travel Guide

Practical information

10:49:38
Language(s)
Spanish
Currency
Peruvian Sol
Time zone
GMT -5

Peruvian history and culture

Evidence of human life has been found in Peru since 1500BC with village patterns and distinct cultures emerging during this time, however humans are documented to have been around for hundreds of years prior to this, as far back as 9000BC. The first known early civilisations, such the the Chavin, left behind stone carvings of religious figures, often involving the jaguar. As these civilisations disappeared a second wave rose, including the Paracas and the Saliner who brought with them sophisticated weaving and kiln-fired ceramics. The Paracas then developed into the Nazcas who created huge drawings or 'biomorphs' in the desert, stretching up to 365m in length in places. These giant pictures were interspersed with lines, some up to 30 miles long. It is questioned why these drawings were made, who were they for? The overall effects of the pictures can only be seen from a height that is unlikely to have been achieved by these people and only from a few towers dotted around the surrounding area. Just one of several mysteries that shroud the Peruvian past. 
In the 13th century, the Inca Empire grew, basing themselves around the Andes and forming a network of trade between urbanised centres such as Macchu Picchu and Cuzco. The Spanish overthrew the Inca rule in 1532, capturing emperor Atahualpa and colonising Peru, draining their natural riches and trading them to make money. The Spanish treated the Peruvians as a workforce, however, when the rest of Southern America were making claims for independence Peru stayed loyal to the Spaniards. However, due to influences from leaders in Argentina and Venezuela Peru eventually became independent in 1824. Over the next few decades, wars ravaged Southern America, with the countries all vying to claim territory and land. Peru allied with Bolivia during this time due to cultural  similarities. As these wars drew to an end, a period of strong rule ensued, beginning to rebuild the country, until the Wall Street Crash of 1929 brought this all to an end. Over the next 50 years, Peru experienced political chaos as groups fought to become leaders. It was during this time that narco-trafficking became rife, particularly in rural areas. Then in 1990, Alberto Fujimori, a Peruvian descendant came to power. He restored some stability and financial growth began to occur once more, however in 2000, evidence of embezzling, trafficking and human rights violations came to light which quickly caused him to step down as a leader. Since then the country has been much less corrupt, however, there has been some political unrest and financial instability with the elections of multiple leaders. 
Peruvian culture is a lively mix of it's Spanish and native traditions. Their unique culture is represented through their clothing, arts and language. It is now split into two main peoples; the Quechua and the Aymara, although most Peruvians will be descended from Inca roots. Peru is famous for it's colourful weaves, rich foods and Pisco sours, reflecting the energetic characters of it's people.

Time Zone

The time zone in Peru is GMT -5

Languages

Spanish

Although Spanish is the most widely spoken and understood language in Peru, there are other official languages. These include Quechua and Aymara.

Useful Phrases

  • Hola – Hello
  • Buenos días – Good morning
  • Buenas tardes – Good afternoon
  • Buenas noches – Good evening
  • Adiós – Goodbye
  • Hasta luego – See you later
  • Hasta mañana – See you tomorrow
  • Buenas noches – Good night
  • Qué tal? – How are you?
  • Estoy estupendo – I am great.
  • Estoy mal – I feel unwell.
  • Estoy un poco cansado – I am a little tired.
  • Estoy exhausto – I am exhausted.
  • Estoy enfermo – I am sick.
  • Cuál es su nombre? – What is your name?
  • Mi nombre es… – My name is…

Currency

Peruvian Sol

The Peruvian Sol can be purchased in advance, although US Dollars are also widely accepted in larger establishments. If you want to change money when you arrive we can take you to an ATM or foreign exchange bureau. When changing money, request small denominations (10’s, 20’s and 50’s) as the larger notes can be hard to spend. If you withdraw money from an ATM, you are likely to receive 100 sol notes.

If you are relying on a credit or debit card for emergency funds, make sure you tell your card issuer that you will be using it abroad, or you may find that it won't work when you really need it.

USD
PEN

Electricity

There are 2 types of electrical sockets in Peru – type A (2 flat pins) and type C (2 round pins) – and are 220v, 60Hz. Many sockets will accept both types of plug, but it is worth taking an adapter with you to be on the safe side. 

Weather

The weather in Peru varies greatly depending on where you are. The low laying costal lands are mainly desert and hot and dry all year round, temperatures can reach as high as 45˚C.
As you move inland and reach the highlands of the Andes, there is a wet season (November to March) and a dry season (April to November). Finally you have the Amazon jungle which is humid and warm all year but has a rainy season from late November through to March. 

Safety and Security

Your safety and well-being is always the number one priority at Kandoo Adventures.


We operate all our travel destinations in accordance with the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advice, which publishes travel advisory notices for British nationals. We also closely follow the advice of ABTA (The Association of British Travel Agents) which provides support to UK tour operators.  


In addition to this, our extensive, directly-managed operations in each of our destinations, provide us with detailed knowledge and up-to-date information, which enables us to make informed decisions and operate our trips safely.

We always recommend that you regularly check the FCDO's travel advice, in order to keep up to date about the country you are planning to visit.

If you are not a UK resident, we would recommend that you visit your government's travel advisory website for further information:



Alternatively, you may wish to visit our Travel Updates page or seek further information from the World Health Organisation.

Lost or delayed luggage

We recommend that you wear your walking boots to travel and pack as many essential items as possible in your carry-on luggage. If your luggage is delayed we can then do our best to kit you out to start the trek on time. In the event that your luggage is delayed or lost, our procedure is as follows: 


  • Establish what items are missing and a contingency plan for each critical item
  • If it reaches 6pm on the evening before starting the trek and your luggage has not arrived we recommend buying and/or hiring items immediately as a precaution
  • We will take you to a shop where you can buy toiletry items, e.g. toothbrush. You will be able to find everything you need in Cuzco.

We will do everything we can to help if your luggage is lost or delayed. Be sure to check your insurance policy coverage for lost luggage cover.

Colca Canyon landscapes

Geography

Peru is an extremely varied country in terms of landscapes and geography. There are three main regions: the costa, the sierra and the selva (the coast, the mountains, the forest).

The coast is a dry desert all year round where you can find the famous Nasca lines.

The mountains are the set of cordilleras that cross the country (the best known being the Cordillera Vilcanota and the Cordillera Blanca). In this region, we find the greatest tourist sites in Peru: Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca, Cusco, the Ausangate trek, and of course, Machu Picchu).

The last region, the forest, constitutes the largest part of the country. It is the Amazon rainforest, which stretches from the north tot he south of the country, from the Amazon river which passes through Iquitos, to the Tambopata river south of Puerto Maldonado.

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