Before the trip - To take - About the flight and the arrival -
About money and currency - About health and comfort -
About security - Security in Lima - About local transportation -
About the departure and after getting back
- Update, if you haven't, the B.C.G. vaccine.
- Vaccine against the yelow fever before travelling (at least 2 weeks). It
is recommended for Peru. Keep on your bags the vaccine report, just
in case. it is not painful and has not side effects.
- Get a vaccine for A & B hepatitis (not obligatory but recommended) at
least 3 months before travelling. It hasn't side effects neither.
- Have a valid passport for at least 3 months (6 recommended) after the departure
- Get eventually an international driver licence. Only to use in case of car
rental for tourism.
- Take with you one or two extra luggage labels, for the extra luggage that
wasn't there at the arrival...
- Plan only to bring with you one or two photo films, the rest can be bought
in Peru, cheaper and same quality. You can also take your films to
the local photo shop. It's cheaper.
- You don't need a visa for a stay not longer than 3 months.
The objective of this page is not to tell you what to bring but
to see if you forgot something (is it the same thing?).
For the plane In the suitcase
On you, during the stay
or walking shoes even if you are not a walk fan. In Machu Picchu for example,
it is indispensable.
Casual cloths or jogging
Jacket, pullovers. Even
if you travel in summer. Altitude nights are cold; on the coast for late evening
boat rides for example.
Raincoat or K-way if you
go to the mountain, especially during the rainy season (from December to April).
However, in these places they sell "protections" for a few soles.
Bathing suit for hotel
pools or the beach. For women, topless is not recommended.
Anti mosquito lotion.
Specially in summer and for the Amazon. Think of taking a strong one because
insects are very voracious.
Lotion for Sunburns
Disinfectant for little
wound; sometimes the closest pharmacy is kilometers away.
Imodium or equivalent. You will be certainly sick, in general only once and
for two or three days.
Lotion for insect stings
An extra pair of glasses
just in case.
Sun block lotion. Take
a strong one (45) for the first days of exposure.
Altitude medicine (Coca
9CH or coramine glucose) if you plan to go over 3.000 meters.
Beach towel. High standing
hotels lend it, others don't.
Why ? An old trick for after "toilettes" in case of traveller's tummy
is to throw a lighten match in to the WC; this naturalizes the odour.
Flight ticket. Important!
Vaccine report to justify
the yellow fever vaccine.
Padlock and keys. In case
of breaking it or to take more bags on the way back. Prefer Visa, but MasterCard
Dictionary. Prefer this instead of electronic translators, not so practical
and a little to tenting.
Suitcase labels for extra
bags on the way back.
Tourist guide (or a print
of this site... (?!)
Holster. It is a little hot but it's the most practical way if you carry important
documents or an important amount of cash.
Lamp for rare blackouts.
Watch. A cheap one.
Passport valid at least 3 months after the arrival date.
International Drivers License
if you plans to rent or borrow a car.
Rucksack very important
for all day walks or for handcraft markets (in general we buy a lot).
Extra bag in he suitcase,
an extra place for souvenirs.
Candy. If you wish to do
a smart thing when you go to distant villages, always carry some to distribute:
a personal satisfaction and 30 happy children are worth 3 soles.
Do not take (banned, or dangerous)
- Foodstuffs, fruits, legumes, plants and seeds
- Your great jewellery
- Photo films (they are cheaper here)
- National ID or Drivers license
- Cell phone
- A raincoat in Lima. Sometimes we see tourists walking around with them or
with umbrellas because the sky is grey. This makes everybody laugh because
Lima is often cloudy but it never rains.
- Take with you important things and spare clothing for 1 or 2 days, in case
your luggage doesn't arrive at the same time; it could happen.
- Take a pen with you to fill customs forms. In this matter, it is better
to not declare anything (cash or valuable objects).
- Maximum baggage weigh varies, but in general it is 30 kg; however, if you
pass through or come from the United States (any airline) 60 or 70 kg per
person are alowed (kids included, except babies), divided in two baggages
maximum. Beyond an US$ 18 per kg will be billed. Check it on your plane ticket
anyway. For example, in some periods, Air Iberia limits it to 20 kg. Personal
experience: One day I had an over weigh of 40 kg, I paid only 10 kg, but...
once in France, the airline refunded the payment with a check. You can always
- On your way to or back, if you make a stopover the same day, you can forward
your luggage directly from a country to another. You have to insist on it
at the counter desk, it is possible. Then check the label of your luggage
that has to have two codes: one for the departure city and another for the
arrival (Lima's code is: LIM).
- If you make stopovers during the travel, you can also check your boarding
pass for the whole trip at once; it is often possible and you can avoid formalities
and enjoy the free time.
- Paranoiac ones could check if their luggage already "forwarded"
is still at the delivery baggage area. It happens (not often) that the luggage
does not continue the trip automatically.
- if you have to choose, prefer rigid luggage. There was a time (not quite
finished) where material, plastic or leather luggage were cut with a knife
to steal its content.
- Above all, keep safetly the form distributed in the plane (immigration form),
and stamped at the arrival to the airport in Lima ; it is indispensable
to leave the country. However, if you loose it, you can always get a duplicate
with your passport at the Foreign Affaires Office, Division of migration
(downtown in Lima). Price: 22 soles.
- At the arrival, a random luggage search is made. For that, on the way out
before going through the door you have to push a button and look at the light;
a green light: you can go without the search, a red light: the search begins...
An advice, if you get the red light open your baggage yourself and go on alone
with only one of your bags (if you are accompanied). The rest of your luggage
will be maybe spared.
- Put labels on every suitcase with your address in the US and in Lima,
but not easily visible.
- Think of hiding the cash in different places, on you, keeping always
some of it accessible for stopovers.
- Lock your registered luggage and keep the key in an accessible place.
- Take always your passport with you, even when you are not travelling, if
necessary the international drivers licence. The best is to learn the passport
number because you are often going to be asked for.
- If your luggage is lost or damaged, ask immediately for an employee to acknowledge
the problem. He will anyway give you report.
- Check if the given notes (change, exchange) aren't fake.
- Prefer cash over traveller checks to travel. In fact, they are difficult
to change in Peru.
- Get an international credit card, now there are cash dispensers anywhere
in Peru. Notice that Visa cards are the most accepted ones.
- Most of the time (in restaurants, hotels, bars, stores, etc.), dollar is
accepted (check however the exchange rate); for other places (small stores,
handcraft, etc.), only the Sol is accepted. So, think about taking with you
both, Soles and Dollars.
- Bargaining is a rule, even in some stores with printed prices.
- For domestic flights, you have to pay at the airport a 12 soles tax, for
- Peruvian currency is the New Sol (Nuevo Sol - S/.) and the
exchange rate varies everyday.
- Once arrived, get a little bottle of water, for the thirst by night for
- Do never drink running water. However, don't make a phobia of it; for example,
it is useless to wash your teeth with mineral water.
- Altiplano's dry air dry out lips and mucous membrane, think of taking
- Take from hotel some toilet paper, it could be usefull during excursions
or trips for sudden diarrea spasm.
- Peru is near the equator; so sunburns happen very fast. Don't
be confident if you do'nt feel the heat: when it comes, it is too late. So,
if are not tanned yet, you will have to take a sunblock lotion with a high
protection level at the begining (45 for exemple) and go down et baisser progressively.
If you haven't follow my advice know that tomato slices calm the burns.
- Pay for your flight ticket with a credit card, this allow you and your family
to benefit of a multiple risk insurance (repatriation, medical fees, some
cash in case of loss, etc.).
- In distant places, do not take open beverage bottles; tenders could put
in running water.
- Keep with you some Imodium or equivalent because diarrea spasm are
- Sockets have often two dimensions (flat american and round european ),
and are 220 V and 60 hertz. Think of taking an adapter just in case. But appliances
made for a different frequence (50 hertz for exemple) and which have a clock
system (some alarm clocks, VCRs, appliances with engins, etc.) can not be
used correctly (overheat, hour difference).
- 3 days before going to altitude, take a preventif treatment, for example
homeopathy based on cocaine. Don't take the shots(!!) but the Coca 9CH capsules.
- 5 hours befores going to altitud take an aspirin (for preventiion).
- People suffering of nose bleeding will take instead of the aspirin products
based on paracetamol in altitude.
- Against cholera, a very good hygiene is the best precaution. Do not take
the vaccin, effective only at 40%; it makes you seak and destroys the yelow
fever vaccin. If you get it, know that 20 liters of water with salt and sugar
could make you feel better.
- If you need a haircut, take your own razor.
- Once here, keep the money on your body in different places.
- Never take out a wad of bank notes on the street, it's too tempting...
- Don't carry big amount notes (up top 20 soles is enough), usually the stores
don't have any change.
- Do not «show» your jewelry or expensive watch when walking around.
The best thing is to take only a cheap watch.
- In Lima, avoid (particularly at night) the following districts: Ate,
Callao, La Victoria, Rímac, San Juan de Lurigancho, Surquillo (See
Security in Lima).
- The common way to try to steal something is to distract you; for example:
pour over you a drink, have a little collision with a car or something else.
In this case, be more than vigilant.
- Peru has always little earthquakes; they are daily but only a few are felt
by humans. On this subject, know that:
- An earthquake can last few seconds but sometimes 1 minute et and half.
Never question yourself about: "Do I have time to leave ?" or
"It's moving", run ! ("Run, Forrest, run !").
- Peruvians use 2 words to describe this: Temblor and Terremoto. The first
one shakes things and you can feel it, nothing more; the second causes
damage. Remember those words if someone shouts them because some people
are more sensitive than others, so, they feel it before.
- As I'm not a seismologist (sorry for them), I could say that earthquakes
are by peaks. Until the second, there are not a lot of consequences, even
if it is strong. From the third, you will go in the next seconds to a
terremoto. Run !
- Of course you will have some doubts at the beginning, during the first
seconds (the feeling of passing out could mistake you); try to check visually:
a rocking painting, a lamp or chandelier moving, a filled glass, etc.).
- Run but where ? If you have enough time, to a clear place (crossroads
for example). If your name is not "Forrest Gump", to
an area reserved to these occasions (see below), under a door, or at least,
under a table. But never against a wall, under or in front of a glass,
at the edge of an empty space or under an electric line.
- You need to know that the earthquake effect could be felt few minutes
after it ends; it's normal and it goes away quickly.
- Point out that earthquakes that wake up are big; in conclusion, if one
of them wakes you up, it means that there was one or more peaks before.
Don't question yourself and run, little Forrest !
- Public or decent buildings have security areas. Without turning paranoid,
spot them while entering somewhere, this could safe your life. Those areas
are indicated by the following sticker:
Lima is a very big city, with almost 10 million inhabitants. Some
places aren't very interresting, others unavoidable. In addition, some districts
(distrito) are prohibited in terms of security. The map bellow summarizes
- Taxis don't have a taximeter, even in big cities. So, discuss (and bargain)
the price before getting in the cap. Pay when getting out.
- To give you an idea of the price, the "rate" of a cap is about
50 cents per kilometer, 5 soles minimum. Some cities are big and the price
could go to 25 soles during the day and 40 at night; it is the limit for an
hour and a half trip.
- At night, prefer yellow caps that have ID number on the front glass for
security reasons. Check if windows could be opened; in fact, someone I know
has being kidnapped in a taxi with neutralizing gas.
- Most taxis have a sticker on the front glass; don't panic if the driver
puts it on when he sees you and takes it out when you leave: in fact, anybody
could be a taxi driver but in some places this is forbidden or restricted
(airports, malls, etc.)...
- Personally, I do not recommend to take the taxis model Tico, the are not
at all safe in case of an accident.
- In town, there are different kinds of transportation: taxis, collectivos
(they are like taxis but they group the clients all the way long) and minibuses
(micros). Don't look for bus stops or micros in good shape, they don't exist.
- Roads have being considerably improved and there are almost no more sewers
without cover... If you need to rent a car, think of air conditioning (even
in winter) because it's safer to keep windows closed (for safety and against
pollution). Except for certain places in the inner land, rent 4x4 is not necessary.
- Think of confirming your flight back at least ten days before the departure
date (in order to keep the reservation).
- In case of health problems (up to 4 months after your return), tell your
doctor about the trip.
- After checking your luggage and before going to the boarding gate, you must
pay an airport tax ($28.24 in dollars); this is obligatory and the sticker that
proofs it (on your ticket) must be visible.
- Keep with you the bills of purchased local pottery to certified that they
are not authentic and that they don't belong to the national patrimony. You
could be asked for them at the airport.
- Don't forget the form distributed in the plane (immigration form), and stamped
at the arrival to the airport (it is a sort of visa to leave the country)...
- You must know that taking out of the country pre-Columbian antiques and
original Inca art is forbidden without special authorization. You risk a penalty
and sometimes temporary imprisonment. But if you don't know the right people
(and pay the "big" price), all you can find are reproductions, even
if the salesman swears that his great statuette is 600 years old...
- Entrance of foodstuffs, flowers, plants and animals to the arrival country
is generally forbidden; meanwhile, the risk is small, and the consequences