Peru Travel Information
Electrical current is 220 volts, 60Hz (Arequipa 50Hz). Two-pronged plugs with flat blades as well as plugs with two round prongs are in use.
Spanish is official language. In areas where they are predominant, Quechua, Aymara and other aboriginal languages also have official status. English is spoken only in major tourist centres and hotels.
Most restaurants add a service charge of 10 percent, which will be indicated by the words propina or servicio near the bottom of the bill. Even if a service charge has been added the waiter can be offered an additional 10 percent for exceptional service; this is also the going rate for tipping where a service charge has not been added. In hotels porters expect about US$1 per bag. Taxi drivers are not tipped (the fare should be set before departure). Tour guides are customarily tipped.
Safety in Peru is improving. Thieves are the biggest problem: be especially cautious in crowded areas, on public transport, in bus and train stations, and in the centre of Lima at night. Special care should be taken in the cities of Lima and Cuzco against street crime and violent crime. There have been attacks on foreigners trekking in the Huayhuash region near Huaraz and trekkers should be cautious and seek advice before setting out. Thieves and muggers also operate in Huaraz and Arequipa.
Women should take particular care to only take taxis that have been pre-booked by a hotel or official company, and travellers arriving at Lima International Airport should be wary of thieves posing as taxi drivers or tour operators. There has been an increase in the number of crimes associated with taxis in the main cities.
Visitors should avoid all political gatherings and demonstrations as these have the potential for violence. Most visits to Peru are trouble-free and the usual sensible precautions should be enough to keep travellers safe.
Do not take photographs of anything to do with the military. Many locals will ask for a tip in return for being the subject of a photograph: in some places, this is people's primary source of income. Homosexuality, although legal, is frowned upon: outside gay clubs, it is advisable to keep a low profile. Visitors should avoid wearing any native Indian clothing as this will be seen as insulting, regardless of intention.
Business in Peru centres on the capital, Lima. Business is usually conducted in a formal and somewhat conservative manner, and it is worth noting that a business visa is needed from a local Peruvian Consulate. Dress should be formal, with suits and ties the norm. Titles and surnames are usually used upon greeting, and handshakes are standard for men and women. Business cards are usually exchanged and it is useful to have them printed in Spanish on one side. Although English is fairly common, it will be an advantage to have business materials translated into Spanish; an effort to speak Spanish will be well received. Women may encounter sexism. Punctuality is important, although meetings are not likely to begin on time. Business hours can vary but are usually from 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday. Some businesses close for siesta from 1pm to 3pm.
The international access code for Peru is +51. Mobile phone operators offer GSM and 3G networks with coverage limited to major towns and cities; there are roaming agreements with most international operaters. Peru is well connected to the internet with a proliferation of inexpensive internet kiosks (cabinas públicas) available in most towns and cities.
Travellers to Peru over 18 years old do not have to pay duty on 400 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco; 3 litres of alcoholic beverages; and gifts to the value of US$500. Items such as sausages, salami, ham and cheese may only be brought in if accompanied by an original sanitary certificate. The import of ham from Italy and Portugal is prohibited. The export of cultural or artistic items from the country is not permitted.