More info

PERU TRAVEL INFORMATION FROM ACCESS CULINARY TRIPS

ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE TRAVEL INFORMATION

Arrival Airport
Please plan to arrive at Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM) in Lima on Day 1. We recommend that you arrive no later than 3PM on Day 1 of the tour in order to join the group welcome orientation and optional dinner. Your driver will be waiting for you with an Access Culinary Trips sign once you’ve claimed your luggage and cleared customs.

Please note that you will be given a customs declaration form and landing card to fill out upon arrival and must keep these documents until your departure on Day 9 from Lima.

Departure Airport
On Day 9 of the tour, we will provide a group transfer to the Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (CUZ) in Cusco. We will not know the transfer time until we have received the final flight information from all guests. We will notify you in advance should there be a wait time longer than three hours from your flight’s scheduled departure time. In this case, you may choose to wait for the included group transfer or we can arrange in advance of your trip a private car and driver for an additional cost.

Pick-up & Drop-off Information
Group airport transfers at the specified airports in Peru on the group travel dates, are included. If you would like a private transfer, to be picked up or dropped off on a different day, or brought somewhere other than the airport, please contact us.

Flights

  • We do not book international flights to or from Peru for our clients. If you would like assistance with purchasing your flights, please let us know and we will forward your contact information and trip details to our travel agent partner.
  • Internal airfare from Lima to Cusco on Day 4 is included in the trip price. In order to give our guests greater flexibility with their travel plans after the tour, the flight from Cusco to Lima is not included and will need to be arranged by the guest.

Notes: Please contact us if you would like to arrive before the tour begins or stay after the tour ends, and would like assistance with accommodations, airport transfers, etc.


TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS FOR PERU

Travel Insurance
Travel medical insurance, including emergency evacuation coverage, is compulsory for all our trips. We strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance that includes cancellation protection so that you will be covered in the event that you are unable to attend our trip (due to injury, illness or other unforeseen circumstances). Please do not attend any of our trips without purchasing appropriate insurance coverage and providing the details to Access Culinary Trips.

We do not provide travel insurance for our clients. Additional details are on our website at: http://www.accesstrips.com/company/insurance/

Passports & Visas
Travel to Peru requires a valid passport (most countries require a minimum of 6 months validity) and a visa (which is free and issued at the point of entry for US citizens). To learn more about visa and entry requirements for Peru, please check out the Embassy of Peru website at: http://www.embassyofperu.org/ or consult your local travel agent. Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documentation.


HEALTH & SAFETY IN PERU

Emergency Contact
If your friends or family need to contact Access Culinary Trips due to an emergency while you are on the tour, please have them refer to the pre-departure email that is sent out three weeks prior to departure, which will have specific contact information relevant to your trip. If you need to contact Access Culinary Trips while traveling, please also refer to the emergency contact information in the pre-departure email.

Health Requirements
Guests with preexisting medical conditions are required to disclose this information prior to traveling with Access Culinary Trips, and all guests with preexisting conditions are required to provide a note from a doctor clearing them for travel to Peru. The US Department of State recommends that travelers with medical prescriptions consider bringing small additional amounts of prescribed medicines as well as a copy of the prescription and a letter from the prescribing physician explaining the need for prescription.

We strongly recommend that all of our guests visit a travel doctor before embarking on international travel. Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure that you receive any necessary vaccinations before traveling on your trip with us. If there is a chance that you may be pregnant during your trip, please discuss your travel plans with your doctor.

Please be aware that you will be traveling in very high altitude areas, and altitude sickness is a possibility at elevations higher than 8,000 feet (Lima is located at roughly 5,000 ft, and Cusco at roughly 11,000). It is very difficult to anticipate how much or little altitude may affect individuals. Prepare yourself by drinking adequate amounts of water and be conscious of any alcohol, tobacco and sleeping pill intake during the first 24 hours. You may also choose to bring over the counter or prescription altitude sickness medication. Always discuss taking such medication with your doctor before traveling.

Please carefully review the health information section of the following webpage for up-to-date health information, including information on the quality of medical care, the availability of medications and the necessity for vaccinations in the destination country: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/peru.html.

Fitness Requirements
Our trips are open to anyone who wants to explore our exotic destinations through cuisine. Unfortunately, Peru does not yet have adequate facilities for disabled travelers and the accommodations and restaurants may not have elevators. Although our Peru culinary tour is not an exceptionally active trip, there is quite a bit of walking, including some on uneven pavement. The altitude in Cusco and the Sacred Valley is the biggest physical challenge, but with proper rest and acclimatization, it should not hamper your enjoyment of the tour.

Safety & Security
To maximize your safety during our tours you should exercise common sense and caution at all times. We recommend that you always stick to set travel arrangements, and avoid unknown areas. We also recommend that you wear minimal jewelry and that you keep valuable items (including cell phones) safely stored. Always keep a copy of your passport, airline tickets, and credit card numbers separate from where you keep the originals.

For more information on safety and security in Peru, please review the safety and security section of the following webpage: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/peru.html

Note: As a rule, do not drink tap water or use unfiltered ice in Peru. We strongly recommend buying bottled water. Eating uncooked or unpeeled fruits and vegetables can also be a potential risk if they have been washed in tap (unfiltered) water. Please eat street food at your discretion.

Age
Children ages 12 and up are welcome on group trips. Children under 12 are welcome on private tours. Please contact us with any questions.


CURRENCY, BANKING & SPENDING MONEY IN PERU

Peru’s official currency is the nuevos sol (S/), divided into 100 centavos. Coins are issued in denominations of 5, 10, 20, and 50 centavos, and banknotes in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 soles.

U.S. dollars are accepted throughout Peru, however you should only bring bills in good condition. You can exchange U.S. dollars at the airport, banks, or money changing offices. Automated teller machines (ATMs) are also a convenient way of getting cash in Peru; they’re found in most towns and cities, although not on every street corner. ATMs allow customers to withdraw money in either Peruvian soles or U.S. dollars. Screen instructions are in English as well as Spanish.

Peru is still very much a cash society. In villages and small towns, it could be difficult to use credit cards. Make sure that you have cash (both soles and U.S. dollars) on hand. If you pay in dollars, you will likely receive change in soles, so be aware of the correct exchange rate. U.S. dollars are the easiest foreign currency to exchange. Currencies other than U.S. dollars receive very poor exchange rates.

Note: We do not recommend exchanging money using street vendors as counterfeit banknotes are common. Merchants and consumers across Peru vigorously check the authenticity of money before accepting payment or change. (The simplest way: Hold the banknote up to the light to see the watermark.)

For the latest currency exchange information please go to: http://www.finance.yahoo.com/currency.

Spending Money
Meals:
All breakfasts, four lunches, and three dinners (including the one dinner prepared in the cooking class) are included in the trip price. Please plan to bring at least USD $5-$15 per lunch and USD $15-$30 per dinner for those meals that are not included – but this can vary considerably based on where you choose to eat. Also remember to bring money for snacks, drinks, and bottled water.

Tipping: Most restaurant and bar bills include a 10% gratuity. It’s customary to add an extra 10% if the service has been satisfactory. Most Peruvians only tip one or two Soles at small “mom and pop” restaurants that do not add a tip to the bill. At bars, expect to tip about 1 sol per drink. Be sure to check your bills for included gratuity!

You might be interested in taking photos of the locals, such as women in traditional clothing with their llamas. Please ask before taking pictures and oftentimes, these people will expect a tip of one-two soles. Bathrooms also often have fees, which are usually about .50 PEN (Peruvian centavos) or .15 cents. Taxi drivers usually do not expect tips. Bellboys and porters expect about 2 soles per bag (approximately 70 cents).

Discretionary tips to your tour staff for good service are very much appreciated. We recommend $15-20 USD per person, per day for the guides (approx. $80 USD for the Lima guide & $120 USD for the Cusco guide) and $5 USD per person, per day for the drivers (approx. $20 USD for the Lima driver & $30 USD for the Cusco driver).

Other expenses: You should also plan take spending money for incidentals such as internet cafes, souvenir shopping and nightlife.


PERUVIAN CULTURE

The ancient land of the Incas is a dazzling demonstration of a rich and complex history situated within a modern context. Peru’s vibrant Andean culture is a distillation of Indigenous, Spanish, African and Asian influences. While Machu Picchu has no close rivals as the top destination in Peru, its gastronomic identity has become, for many, a must on any trip itinerary.

The Peruvian people are just as vibrant as their history. As a people, the Peruvians are incredibly hospitable and warm. You may notice that most Peruvians kiss each other on the cheek in greeting, and are always willing to stop to provide directions, chat, and ask a question often heard in exchanges, “De donde eres?” or, “Where are you from?”. The Peruvians are also very proud of their history; often, taxicab drivers and random passersby on the street may know just as much about their country as your tour guide!

While Spanish is the official language of Peru, other indigenous languages are officially recognized as well – Quechua, the language of the Inca, and Aymara, the Tiahuanaco language spoken around Lake Titicaca. Regarding language and terminology, it is important to keep in mind that certain terms used to refer to the indigenous peoples, such as “nativo” (native), “indo” (Indian) and “tribú” (tribe) can offend some. It is safest to stick with “indegina” (indigenous).

Our tour explores both Lima and Cusco, two cities each vibrant and unique but remarkably distinctive from one another. Lima, where we will spend three days and three nights, is known to be much more metropolitan. It’s busy, sprawling streets are studded by art galleries, newly constructed condos, and of course, the restaurants which proffer Peru’s world-famous cuisine.

Cusco was the foremost city of the Inca Empire and an archaeologist’s dream. It balances its ancient identity with a bustling cosmopolitan pace. Women in traditional garb and bowlers hats amble down the cobblestone corridors of the city, locals walk their pet llama down alleys colored by traditional weavings, all presided over by Incan temples and elaborately appointed cathedrals. We will explore Lima for two days and two nights!

Peruvians, like many South American countries, are also on “Latin time,” meaning they often arrive late for social engagements, and by and large do not demonstrate the same urgency and punctuality we are accustomed to in more westernized cultures. Do your best to slow down and enjoy the Southern pace of life – you are on vacation, after all!


PERU’S CLIMATE

Peru is located south of the Equator, which means its seasons run opposite of the Northern Hemisphere.

Peru has three distinct geographical regions: the coast, the mountain highlands and the jungle. We visit the coast and the mountain regions on our tour.

Coast
Lima, one of the driest city capitals in the world, only gets rain about seven days. During the summer months (December through April), you can expect daytime temps between 73°F to 80°F. During the winter months (May through November), the daytime temperatures dip a bit to 63°F to 70°F. During both seasons, you can expect nighttime temperatures to drop about 5-10 degrees.

Mountains
Summer (wet season) generally lasts from November to mid-April, with January & February seeing the most rain. You can expect mild daytime temps in the high 60’s and nighttime temps to drop into the 40’s.  Winter (dry season) lasts from mid-April to October. The average daytime temperatures still hover in the high 60’s but nighttime temps can drop into the 30’s.

Note: Please check specific weather for your dates before you travel. You may consider a website such as Weather.com.


ELECTRICITY & COMMUNICATION IN PERU

Electricity in Peru is 220 Volts and 60 Hertz (cycles per second). Most American electrical appliances are 110 Volts and 60 Hertz. We recommend you bring a universal power adapter.

Many hotels, resorts, airports, cafes, and retailers are now offering wi-fi. You can also expect to see internet cafes or booths, called “cabinas” in every city and many small towns.

Note: The @ symbol is difficult to find on a Latin American keyboard. To type the @ symbol, keep a finger on the “Alt” key, and then press “6” and “4” on the number pad to the right.

Most US cell phones will not work in Peru, unless you have a specific international plan. Contact your cellular provider to see what options you have in terms of international calling plans.


WHAT TO TAKE ON YOUR PERU TOUR

There will not always be someone available to help you carry your bags so you should only bring as much as you can carry on your own up a flight of stairs. Also, luggage space will be very limited in our vehicle and we encourage you to pack as lightly as possible.

Baggage Restrictions
On the internal flight from Lima to Cusco, checked baggage is limited to 50 lbs (23kg) per person (or additional fees apply). Carry-on luggage is limited to 17 lbs (8kg).

On the trains to/from Aguas Calientes, you are allowed to bring 1 overnight bag or backpack not to exceed 11 lbs (5kg) or 62 inches (length + height + width). Your remaining luggage will be stored at your hotel in Cusco.

We strongly recommend using TSA approved luggage locks on your bags and to hand carry valuables.

We suggest that you bring the following items:

Clothing & Equipment

  • Season specific casual clothes
  • Dress clothes for upscale restaurants
  • Bathing suit (some accommodations may have a pool)
  • A pair of comfortable walking shoes
  • Hiking clothes and shoes (they can get quite dirty/dusty)
  • A jacket (light or heavy, depending on season)
  • 1 small overnight bag or backpack (for the night in Aguas Calientes)
  • Power adapter and converter for 220v, 50 Hz
  • Toiletries
  • Toilet paper and hand sanitizer (for public restrooms) Note: No paper products can be put in any toilets in Peru.
  • Hair dryer
  • Sunscreen, sunglasses and hat
  • Insect repellent
  • First-aid kit with lip balm, aspirin, band aids, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, any extra prescription drugs you may be taking
  • Toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, soccer or volleyballs with pins and pumps (optional gifts for Peruvians in Cusco and Sacred Valley)

Travel Documents

  • Passport (with photocopies)
  • Travel insurance (with photocopies)
  • Airline tickets (with photocopies)
  • Credit and/or debit card and/or cash (MasterCard and Visa are the most commonly used; American Express and Maestro cards are difficult to use in Peru.)
  • This document, printed

RECOMMENDED READING LIST

Click here to check out our recommended reading before your tour!


FINAL NOTES ON YOUR PERU CULINARY TOUR

This is a tool meant to help you decide what you should bring on your upcoming trip. It is by no means comprehensive. While we do our best to be as thorough as possible, we cannot foresee every possible condition. If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

The information contained in this document is provided in good faith. Due to the nature of travel, details in this document may change. You should thus use the above information as an indication only and not as a contractual obligation on the part of Access Culinary Trips.