Supplementary general information
Tourist information and addresses:
In every significant touristic city in Peru there is an office of "el ministerio de turismo". In Lima this office is located at half a square of the Plaza de San Martín in Jirón de la Unión 1066, the street is also known as Jirón Belén. The place is open from 9h to 18h and closes Saturday on 13h. They can offer you a free magazine of "Peru Guide tours ". With a little bit of luck you'll find an English-speaking staff. In the same street a bit further there are some other places to obtain advice about hotels, transport and local tours like the Inca Trail for example. But don't overrun. The best place to find information about Machu Picchu is of course Cusco. There is an office of the ministry of tourism in Cusco at the Plaza de Armas.
If you should arrive in the tourist and beautiful district of Miraflores in Lima, you can always knock the door of Aventura Latino Americana. Mr. Guy Vanackeren and his sympathetic wife Carine Beckers offer information in English, French, Spanish and Dutch. You can find the office of Aventura Latino Americana in Avenida Mariscal la Mar, 146 in Miraflores (Lima 18) or call them on (51-1) 447.96.85. You can also send them an email and let them know about your questions. They are also willing to let your post coming in on their address and reconfirm your fly-back ticket. Remember that reconfirmation has to be done at least 72 hours before you're flight and that company are sometimes difficult or impossible to reach during weekends and holidays.
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A classic address to obtain information is the South American Explorers Club. You'll find up-to-date information about everything in Peru: detailed Peru map, addresses, useful tips, travel reports, weather conditions, trips for the adventurer or for business and 5-star excursions. Who wants to obtain information has to pay a fee of $30 a person and for couples $40. You find them in Republica de Portugal 146, Lima. Office hours are from Monday to Friday from 9h30 to 17h.
Money and other kinds of valuables:
Somewhere between earth and the gold of our labor you find the common finances of the world. Travelling is an expensive hobby at location and before. Getting a good backpack, walking shoes, suitable dresses, all kinds of handy tools and of course your ticket. The question is always: "How much money do I need on this holiday and how do I keep it save?" The answer depends on three factors: length of your holiday, the country where you are going to and the wanted luxury. National currencies in Peru are the Nuevo Sol and parallel the US dollar. De Sol can fluctuate so it is difficult to say how much you get for a dollar.
How much money do you need to travel in Peru?
This depends on the formula of your holiday. If you choose for an organized holiday and want to eat every day in luxury and buy lots of souvenirs, count on $150 a day a person. The other extreme is the budget traveler. If you are satisfied with local menu's of 10 Soles, cheap hotels of S./15 and don't spend any extra's, you should do with $30 a day in average. Peru is a very big country (more than 1.2 million square km) so transport is a money magnet.Peru travel information .
International credit cards:
It is strange that in travel books about Peru the use of a credit card is dissuaded. We can actually advice using credit cards in Peru, especially Visa. Try to avoid Dinners Club and company, American Express will do. You can access money with Visa and American Express at cashpoints in every big and middle big city in Peru. Especially Visa is common in Peru. You can pay in the better shops and restaurant, in hotels and tourist offices all over the country with these two cards (visa & AE). If you insert the card in a cashpoint, a menu let you make the choice between Spanish and English and you can select US$ or the Nuevo Sol. Rates are good. The dollar is a bit cheaper because of the better rates on the street to change them to Nuevos Soles.
Banks open generally from 9am to 6pm from Monday to Friday, Saturday from 9am to 12pm, especially in Lima. In the provinces banks often close from 1pm to 3pm. Avoid going to a bank on Friday or Saturday morning. Expect long queues because this is payday for many people. Cashpoints are generally less crowded, so getting money with a credit card goes quicker. Remember you need your passport to get money out of a bank or a exchange office, but not for a cashpoint of course.
Post and telephone
The central post office in Lima is found on half a block form the Plaza Mayor in the street left from the presidential palace. It's a long and crowded gallery and halfway on the right hand side you'll find the post office. Who has a prepared travel scheme can give following easy to remember addresses to family and friends. On the envelope they have to write your full name (for passport check afterwards) and "Correo Central, Lima, Peru" or if you will be next week in Cusco: "Correo Central, Cusco, Peru", or "Correo Central Arequipa, Peru", etc. Even the smallest places have their correo central. A taxi can bring you there. Generally they are situated on the Plaza de Armas or a block away. Sending letters from all over the world to Peru takes about 5 to 10 days. Sometimes letters are received after two working days, but only in Lima and maybe Cusco (in case you lose your money and family has to send money for example). Opening hours are the same of the banks.
For the moment is the only Telephone Company in Peru the Spanish Telefónica (yes, they're still here :=). Calling abroad is possible in city or town in Peru, with public phone or in a telephone office. ALWAYS ask the price a minute before calling. Recently Telefónica has dropped prices for calling abroad to 60%. For example calling to the States cost now less than 3 soles a minute and Europe less than 5 soles. Telephone cards are common and public phones accepting them as well. Sending faxes are generally around S./10.
Maybe the easiest and cheapest way to let everybody know how you are doing are the public Internet cabins. They are cheap (S./6 to even S./3 an hour) and are getting very common in Peru. In Lima and Cusco you can find them everywhere. So, before going on holiday, join one of the free Internet services like Yahoo or Hotmail.com and let everybody know from time to time how you are doing.
We actually dissuade everybody renting a car in Peru. First of all the rates are relatively expensive, secondly public transport is really cheap (it's cheaper renting a taxi all day than a car, the price is normally S./15 an hour or less) and driving in Peru is dangerous if you are not used to the crazy traffic. Many roads in Peru are from bad quality and in a city like Lima of 7 million people it is easy to loose your way.
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