Aware of the complexity of describing a country as vast and multicultural as Peru, we will try to offer in this post – in a succinct way – some generic data of interest that may be useful before starting our trip.
Peru has three clearly differentiated zones: Coast, Highlands, and Jungle (the latter represents 60% of the national territory). Bathed by the Pacific Ocean, it borders Ecuador and Colombia to the north, Brazil to the east, and Bolivia and Chile to the southwest.
The great variety of climates allows it to have a large number of natural resources and inputs for its renowned cuisine. Peru has 28 different types of climates and a total of 84 out of 104 microclimates. The country is also the richest in the world in marine resources, and its sea bathes 900 thousand Km2.
WHAT VACCINATIONS DO I NEED?
Peru is located in the South American tropics and the diseases that occur in the warm part of the country are comparable to those of the African or Asian tropics, especially those caused by mosquito bites such as malaria, yellow fever and dengue fever. If you travel to any destination in or around the Peruvian Amazon (Loreto, Madre de Dios, San Martin, Ucayali, Amazonas and the jungle of Junin, Ayacucho, Cajamarca, Pasco, Puno, Huanuco or Huancavelica) we recommend vaccination between four and eight weeks before starting the trip, as the immunity of the compound begins to work at least after 10 days.
Do not make the classic mistake – as in the case of this writer – of getting vaccinated in Lima a week before traveling. If you are in a hurry you can get vaccinated at the Jorge Chavez airport for S/ 84. If you have time you can get vaccinated in Lima at these centers free of charge. www.minsa.gob.pe/portada/Especiales/2016/fiebre_amarilla/
When you get vaccinated in your country of origin they should send you an international vaccination certificate, which can be used for administrative purposes. I have never been asked for it in areas affected by malaria or dengue fever, but it would be good to carry it with you as a precaution. It is valid for 10 years.
CHANGE OF CURRENCY IN PERU
The Peruvian currency was renamed since mid-December 2015 from “Nuevo Sol” to simply “Sol” (S/ or PEN). The current exchange rate as of today (02/March/2017) is S/ 3.43 to the Euro and S/ 3.26 to the US Dollar. Check the exchange rate on the official website of the Central Reserve Bank of Peru (BCR): www.bcrp.gob.pe or on online converters such as themoneyconverter.com.
When traveling, travel insurance can be purchased to cover loss, theft, casual accidents or illness, some of them with 24-hour telephone numbers that can help you in case of any inconvenience. Let’s look at the fine print, as some of them do not cover activities such as scuba diving, motorcycling or hiking. Some companies such as STA Travel offer policies with good value for money.
HOLIDAYS IN PERU
Something to take into account is that on public holidays, banks, offices and many of the attractions will be closed, so it would be good to check these dates in advance. The most important is July 28, Independence Day, which if it falls on Thursday will have a bridge until the following Monday. These are the most important dates:
- New Year’s Day (January 1)
- Good Friday (March/April)
- Labor Day (May 1)
- Inti Raymi or ‘Feast of the Sun’ (June 24)
- St. Peter and St. Paul’s Day (June 29)
- Independence Day (July 28)
- Santa Rosa de Lima (August 30)
- Combate de Angamos (October 8)
- All Saints’ Day (November 1)
- Immaculate Conception (December 8)
- Christmas (December 25)