Peru might be the most versatile country in all of South America, with top-notch surfing beaches in the north-west part of the country.
The Amazon jungle to the east, world-class mountain hiking in Cordillera Blanca mountain range in the central part and of course Machu Pichu, one of the eight wonders of the world in the southeastern part of the country.
If you want to visit a beach during your visit to Peru, be sure to check out this post about the best beaches in Peru.
I recently visited South America for the first time, after I found a cheap ticket to Peru from Europe. And as always while travelling, so do I neither do any research about the place I am going to or use any guidebooks. I just book the ticket and hope for the best.
So here are a few essential things that I learned from travelling around Peru.
Arriving At Jorge Chávez International Airport In Lima.
There´s a new Airport Express Bus from the Aiport to the district of Miraflores; the bus leaves the airport every hour between 7.00 AM and midnight. The journey takes about 1hour, depending on the traffic.
Price is 25 Soles, but you get a 10% discount if you screenshot the add inside the airport and show it to the ticket counter.
Free WIFI is offered on board A taxi will cost you 60/70Soles.
There´s ATM´S “everywhere” in the bigger towns and cities and Peru, but there´s a bit of difference between the banks, some charges you withdraw fees, others have a very low withdrawal limit.
The most common withdraw limit is 400 Soles (130 USD), while others let you withdraw up to 700 Soles (225usd). Some ATM´S also let you withdraw USD.
Most Banks will also charge you a 5USD fee when withdrawing money.
I found that BCP and HSBC were the only banks where not charing a withdrawing fee.
At Lima Airport is there four banks, the Scotiabank, BBVA Intercontinental, BCP, and GlobalNet.
Both I and other travellers I travelled with had sometimes problems withdrawing money from ATM´s, it said that monthly withdrawing limit was met, even so, we didn´t have a limit. “From A Peruvian Newspaper: In the second half of 2017, BCP really started messing with foreign cardholders by introducing a monthly withdrawal limit of 700 Soles.
So I recommend you to pay more expensive things like hotels and tours etc. with your bank card.
Don´t get your Sim Card at Lima Airport; it will cost you a ridiculous 7 USD a day.
You have two options for getting a Sim Card in Peru, the cheap options are to get a local sim card, but you will then need to have a local address, a hotel address is not good enough.
If you have a local friend that can help you so is that the option.
Then the sim card will only cost you 5Soles (1.5usd) and another 5 USD for 25GB internet package.
If you don’t have a local address will you have to get a “Tourist Sim Card from Entel” for 20 USD, that includes 2GB internet and free Facebook and Whatsapp uses. It will cost you 12USD to refill it with another 1GB of data.
Entel claim you should have 4g network coverage all over Peru, but I never managed to get that, not even in Lima or Cusco, but overall so was the network coverage good.
February Is Not A Good Month.
A mistake I did with not doing any research before my trip, is that if I had would I have known that February is low season in Peru.I’m used to travelling around Asia during the low season, over in that part of the world so does low season means, lower prices, fewer tourists but not any other differences between high and low season travel.
Are you planning to go hiking While in Peru? Check out this great post about Hiking Peru – A Detailed Guide
In Peru, February meant that a lot of travel agencies and trips don’t run.
The every popular Inca Trail to Machu Pichu is closed, Salakay Hike (one of the reasons I wanted to visit Peru) is closed.
And not even PeruHop the most popular travel agency in all of Peru operate during the month of February. So If you can, better avoid February.
Stick To A Hostel Chain.
There are a few hostel chains around Peru, like the Pariwana, Kokopelli, Wild Rover plus a few more, when you check into any of the hostels will you get a wrist bracelet, keep it and you will receive a discount upon check-in in with the same hostel in the chain in other locations.
ETC, I stayed with Kokopelli in Lima, and I received a 20% discount on the price when I also stayed with Kokopelli in Cusco.
Everything Starts Early.
Get ready to get up early in Peru; about every tour starts around 4/5 AM. Doing a day trip to the rainbow mountain from Cusco, get up at 3.30 am. Taking the morning train to Machu Pichu, get up at 4 am. While I’m normally a morning person so did It take a toll on me after getting up at around 4/5 am every day for ten days.
Do Your Homework when it comes to Domestic Flights.
Like the rest of South America so do Peru lack a competition between low-cost airlines like Europe and Asia, but things are improving with VivaAir Peru, Star Peru and LC Peru.
VivaAir is owned by Irelandia a company that also owns Ryanair in Europe and Tiger Air in Asia, so it´s no surprise that VivaAir charges extra for everything. ETC: If you haven’t printed your boarding pass yourself before check-in will you have to pay a 12USD penalty fee.
On both my domestic flights, so did they check the size of the carry on luggage on people, and if your bag is bigger than the allowed size will you have to pay.
As everyone now so is Spanish the language in Peru, and by no means do I speak any Spanish. I actually managed to get four strong cocktails instead of a local beer when I tried to order in a small bar in Cusco. Ended up as a great night:)
But even with that mistake, so did I find Peru to be a super easy country to travel with extremely limited Spanish knowledge. A lot more people than I expected spoke English, and everyone I meet was super friendly and helpful, so I can easily say that Peru is just as easy to travel around as South East Asian countries like Thailand, Cambodia etc.
If you been following my blog for a bit, will you know that I always carry my Dji Mavic drone with me.
And all the standard drone rules apply in Peru.
Do not fly your drone over people crowds of people.
Do not fly your drone over airports or military areas.
Only fly during daylight.
Always have your drone in sight.
While it´s strictly forbidden to fly over archaeological sites in Peru. Sites like Machu Pichu, But flying in Cusco city and Lima is allowed, I saw a few drones in the skies in both cities.
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