. Time Zone - -5h GMT
. Measurement System - Metric system: meter and kilometers (1 meter equals 3.2 feet while 1 kilometer equals 0.625 miles) also kilos (1 kilo equals 2.2 pounds)
. Electricity - 220 volts AC (Pariwana Hostel owns 110 volts adapters at the hostel)
. Currency - Nuevo Sol (S/.) but people call it Sol or Soles. US Dollars are also acceptable in most places at the daily rate of exchange.
Peru has two official languages, Spanish and Quechua. Spanish is the most spoken language in Peru, while Quechua is mainly spoken by the people of the Andes. Aymara, although not recognized as the third official language, is spoken by the people around Puno.
Peru is full of internet café or just internet booth rentals. You can rent a computer for 1 or 2 soles an hour. But remember, you will have great connection for free internet surfing in all Pariwana Hostels.
Altitude sickness (known as Soroche):
You won’t need to be worry about your health here in Peru if you follow Pariwana Hostel indications.
If you land in Cusco, Puno, Arequipa or any other city located in the high Andes, above 2,500 meters (8,000 feet), and coming from a sea level, remember you have had a sudden change in the air pressure and the amount of oxygen you are breading. Travellers should take it easy for the first day or two. Consider bed-resting and/or sleeping as soon as you arrive to Pariwana Hostels Also during the first day(s) stay away from grease food. Consider eating a diet de pollo on the first day (chicken noodle soup, available in Pariwana Hostel restaurants-bars). I f you are ascending gradually by bus, assume it would be a harsh ride, hence you should consider some pills as Soroche Pills in order to acclimated easier. You can also take this pills if coming by plane.
You should not get any symptoms of the altitude sickness if you follow the above advice, however if you don’t you might get headaches, dizziness, diarrhea, nauseous and fatigue. Some people feel really bad, some other dont... it is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.
Food and water:
• Water –Tap water is not recomedable anywhere in Peru. You should purchase bottled water which is available at convenient prices in most stores. Ask for sin gas (still water) unless you prefer con gas (carbonated water) Alternatively, you can boil your water or purchase sterilization tablets.
• Food – Don’t be scare of Peruvian food, actually you should have the complete opposite feeling: expectations over it, and yes we are not afraid on raising the bar. Remember, there are many reason of why it is considered world class. Only remember, it could be spicy, but you should always be able to ask for milder version or suggestions on non-spicy dishes. For the rest you should be good. Check our blog entry on Peruvian food and too seasoned, or too spicy?
• Regarding food up in the mountains (Cusco, Puno Arequipa or others cities), remember following our advice and keep away from heavy grease plates in your first day on the altitude. That will not help you avoid the altitude sickness, and the altitude sickness came accompanied with heavy stomached problems.
• Farting too much in Cusco and other cities located at high altitude levels? That's normal, enjoy it, but don't forget that in Pariwana Hostels you are often sharing rooms with other fellow travelers, and they might not enjoy it as much as you.
There are no vacinations required if you are travelling to the coast or mountains of Peru. However, if you plan on travelling to the jungle at altitudes below 2,000 m. (6,500 ft.), a yellow fever vaccination is necesarry This vacination should be taken at least 10 days prior to your access into the jungle. If not, it will not be effective.
As Latin flavor people, we are friendly and always predisposed to share our warm essence with foreigners. Unfortunately, there are some people that like to take advantage of candid visitors. While in Peru, you should take similar precautions as in any other big cities in the world (don´t reglect your personal belongings and also avoid walking alone in empty areas). As your local friend, Pariwana will tell you where are the unsafe areas in the city so you can avoid them.
How much weight I need in my backpack?
Each transportation company manages its own policies but the average luggage weight requirements available for domestic flights without paying extra charges (we know you hate those ones) are 2 luggage/bags/backpacks that do not exceed 23kg/50.83 pounds. Some companies give some exceptions when showing their UGM permission for the Inka Trail
During your stay in Peru you should be aware of holidays as some touristic spots might be closed or at especial rates (meaning, more expensive).
Main holidays in Peru are:
|New Year Day
St. Paul & St Peter
All the Saint Day
Inmaculate Conception Day
(depending of the year)
July 28 & 29th
Additionally, there are some other local holidays, depending on the destination.
Peru has pretty much all climate zones concentrated in our single country. For this reason,
depending on where are you travelling you should consider different clothing alternatives.
• North shore (Mancora, Piura, Trujillo, Chicalyo and others): Consider light summer attire
as this region has year round summer weather.
• Central and southern shore (Lima, Ica, Tacna and others): The summer in this region is concentrated between December and March; for the rest of the year consider fall attire, as we doubt you would consider our winter as anything close to the northern hemisphere winter
• The mountains (Cusco, Puno, Huaraz, Cajamarca, Arequipa and others): This region has an stable weather year long: sunny days and quite chilly nights, although from December to March there are daily exporaditic heavy rains and eventual hailstorms. Don´t forget your winter clothing.
• Jungle (Iquitos, Manu, Tambopata, Tarapoto and others): The jungle is hot and humid, and the rainy season is also concentrated from December to. March. Don´t forget your light raincoat and also consider dressing in layers to avoid mosquito bites and dangerous plant contact.
Where is Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu?
It is difficult to understand you option to get into Machu Picchu (Train or trek or walk through the train rails) if you don’t understand where everything is located. Below you will find some important info to understand the geography of the area:
Where everything is: Machu Picchu is 130 km away from Cusco. Cusco is 10 or 20 kilometers west away from of the Urubamba River. This river forms the Urubamba Valley also known since the Inca times as the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
Coming from Cusco to the valley, if you keep going north you will eventually hit the town Aguas Calientes. This town is a small village located on the right margin of river Urubamba just below Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu (Old Mountain in Quechua) is the name of mountain in which the citadel is located.
Wayna Picchu (New Mountain in Quechua) is the name of mountain in the back of Machu Picchu. (If you check the typical picture of Machu Picchu you should identify it as the peak mountain in the back of the citadel)
How to get to Machu Picchu
Getting to Machu Picchu should be as exciting as enjoying your day in the lost city of the Incas.
Depending on your agenda and time limitations, you should decide on either
a) Trekking the famous 4-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (now there is also alternative 2- or 1- day treks), or
b) Taking a train and do the one day visit (either sleeping or not in Aguas Calientes).
In any case, in order to get to Machu Picchu you should first arrive in Cusco and then go to Aguas Calientes. Departing from Lima, take the 1-hour flight or the 20 hour bus into Cusco. There is an average of 10 daily Lima-Cusco flights from 6.00 am until 3.00 pm, and also plenty of buses leaving at all schedules.
If you are interested on learning more about your options into Machu Picchu, please refer to our blog entry on this topic
Don’t forget to (for an experience hassle free):
• Use repellent when you are traveling into the Amazon or any environment where mosquito will be around
• Always carry some cash in Soles, specially when you are outside the cities
• If you need to exchange money, do so in banks, exchange houses, or in our reception. Avoid changing dollar
in the street
• Bring comfortable shoes and cloth
• A hat and/or sunblock to protect you from the sun’s strong rays in the mountains and from the heat of the
jungle (also for Lima during the summer)
What can you buy with 1 US dollar?
• A pack of cigarettes (20 cigarette pack of local brands and 10 pack for international brand)
• A notebook and a pen
• A Large size bottle of water (3liters)
• A basic hamburger at a fast food chain restaurant
• A small souvenir at handicraft market (you will really need to use your bargain abilities for this!)