The currency of Peru is the "nuevo sol" (ccurrency sign: S/.), worth US$0,30 - 0,26€ approx.
Banknotes: S/.10 – S/.20 – S/.50 – S/.100 – S/.200
Coins: S/.1 – S/.2 – S/.5
Cents: 1c – 5 c – 10 c – 20 c – 50 c
In 2014, the exchange rate is (changes every day and can have a variation of 10-15%):
1 US$=S /. 3.25 approx.
1 €=S /. 3.90 approx.
Some shops, restaurants and hotels accept the US dollar (never for small purchases), but the change is usually unfavorable for the buyer.
Some craft stores accept the euro and is easily changed in casa de cambio (currency exchange).
ATMs are easy to find in all coutry, sometimes with information in mutiple languages, accepting most of cards (Visa, MasterCard, Dinner, etc.).
ATMs limit amounts to S/.400 (100€ or US$120) or S/.500 (130€ or US$150) per operation, but you can make several withdrawals followed, obviously each withdrawal generates fees.
Shops, banks and currency exchange DO NOT ACCEPT foreign banknotes (dollars, euros, etc.) that are not in good condition, very old, damaged (albeit slightly) or marked with ballpoint pen.
The most accepted in Peru is VISA, but now easily MASTERCARD, AMERICAN EXPRESS, DINNER are also accepted in many stores and hotels and in all ATMs.
The shops, many restaurants and hotels accept credit cards as payment, but often with an extra (usually 10%) in many shops, the merchant can not cover the very high fees charging by the Peruvian banks.
Salaries are generally very low in Peru and tips are customary.
Hotels – minimum of US$1 or 1€ per bag.
Restaurants and bars – average 10%.
Guides and Tour leaders – minimum US$2 or 2€ per day / person.
Taxi – The price is negotiated before boarding the taxi that not have taximeter and tips are voluntary.
Peruvian handicraft is one of the most varied, can be found for all tastes and is made in Peru.
The major Andean center for the processing of alpaca fiber is located in Arequipa, but we can find many stores offering varied clothing in all country.
Reference prices (2016):
100% alpaca sweaters – from US$60 to US$110 – 55€ to 100€
Baby alpaca sweaters – from US$65 or 60€ (average US$100 or 85€).
You can find articles over $100 or 100€, it depends on quality, designs and possible hand embroidery, but in any case are 2-3 times cheaper than the same in Europe, Japan or USA.
Alpaca clothing in handicraft markets
It is necessary to consider that alpaca fiber is one of the finest in the world. Garments made of 100% alpaca are sold only in stores.
In all tourist sites of the country, thousands of street vendors and all craft markets, offering dresses presented as "100% alpaca" (sometimes labeled) at incredibly low prices, such as sweaters from $8 (6€) and scarves $3 (2€). These items are obviously pure blend of sheep wool, llama fiber and synthetic, which sometimes includes a bit of the famous alpaca fiber.
In the handicraft markets (as well as some stores), also find the false and intermediate quality garments made from a blend of wool and synthetic with including alpaca fiber (up 40%).
In both cases, all vendors certify offer the real alpaca fiber and tourist buy a lot for its colors, typical design and low price, most of bad quality.
THE WORLD'S FINEST FIBER
It is classified as the finest of all animal fibers measuring 12 micrometers in diameter, (17 for Kashmir). Because its short length of maximum 3 cm (1 in), the vicuña only produce 300 grams (10 oz) of wool every 2 years (10 times less than alpaca).
The value of vicuña wool is very high, due to the scarcity of this animal (less than 200,000 in total) and the low yield of wool. Thus, the price of shorn wool is US$500 per kilogram, 50 times higher than Alpaca fiber, 150 times higher than llama and 400 times higher than sheep.
It is almost impossible to find vicuña clothing in Peru, the entire production is exported to the luxury market. Sometimes we can find scarves or sweaters in some stores. A scarf costs US$500.
Peru is the world's largest producer of silver, for it is a multitude of articles prepared with this precious metal. The Peruvian silver is of very good quality, objects and jewelry with original designs, following ancient traditions of ancient civilizations.
The silver is alloyed with another metal (usually copper) and by law the minimum standard of silver purity in Peru is 925/1000, but mostly offered in stores with 950/1000, which is indicated by a stamp on the jewelry.
Some vendors offer jewels "alpaca" which is very similar to silver and obviously cheaper. It is an alloy of zinc, copper and nickel.
Peru is the fifth largest gold producer in the world and like silver ancient Peruvians used it a lot for ceremonies and building decorations.
Prices of gold jewelry are not particularly low in Peru, but all are offered in 18 and 24 karat quality. What makes so special Peruvian gem, are their particular designs and expertise of the bench jeweller.
In all handicraft markets in the country you will find a huge variety of jewelry, with typical Peruvian designs, often inlaid with semi-precious stones such as turquoise, blue sodalite with white veins, Andean opal with a nice play of color, brown tiger-eye, light green serpentine, blue or light blue lapis lazuli.
In Peru also highlights the Spondylus (Mullu in Quechua), a shellfish from the coast of Peru and Ecuador venerated by the people of the pre-Inca cultures such as the Moche culture (I to VI century AD), considered the food of the gods. It was used in all ceremonies and had currency value in Incas times. The shell of red or orange is used from time immemorial in jewelry.
From $4 to $13 (3€ to 10€), Peruvian cotton is of very good quality.
In Peru you can also negotiate the price in shops and handicraft markets. In some stores (for exemple some alpaca stores) bargaining is not practiced.
In any case, rebates will not pass 10 or 15%, sometimes 20% (depending on the items). You should not haggle articles of 1 or 2 soles.
The shops, supermarkets and most craft stores are open everyday of the year. Usually start late, 10:00/11:00 am, close late (9:00/10:00 pm) and open non-top apart in the city of Arequipa where many shops close between 2:00 and 4:00 pm.
Country calling phone: +51
Peruvian area codes for each region (national subdivision) are 2 digits long except for Lima and Callao.
Call within the same area (department) - dial phone number of 7 digits in Lima and 6 digits in the rest of the country.
Call in other area (department) - 0 + area code + phone number
Calling Peru from abroad - + 51 + area code + phone number
Calling abroad from Peru - 00 + country code + phone number
Prepaid phone cards
In many shops, farmacias and boticas, sell prepaid cards from S/.5 to S/.40 (US$1.70 to US$14) from different phone companies permitting national and international long distance calls.
You can use these cards from any public phone or landline, for example in hotels, but some of them charge a minimum amount for the connection.
Now you can call abroad from any coin-operated public telephone at affordable prices (average S/.1 per minute).
In many cities and tourist places are locutorios (call centers) where you can make national and international long distance calls at very low prices.
Public internet booths
We can find "cabina internet" in all cities and even in villages. Prices range from S/.1.00 (US$0.35) to S/.2.50 (US$0.80) per hour.
Some public internet booths also propose national and international calls at low prices.
Many hotels have internet available, sometimes free.
Now Wi-fi is offered at many hotels and tourist sites.
The national mail service SERPOST is very serious and efficient but expensive: sending a postcard costs S/.6 (€ 1.90 or U$2.30 - price in 2014). Sending in an envelope coast S/.7.
International Delivery time: 1-2 weeks.
To buy stamps
Some stores sell stamps, rarely where postcards are sold, or in the Serpost offices.
Security and safety
Peru have not big problems of insecurity despite the great poverty in the country. Most of Peruvians are honest, but like around the world, there is delinquency and fraudsters. So a tourist always is an easy prey for thieves and you need to be careful.
Better do not leave money or anything of value with easy access in the rooms.
Bars and restaurants
Never leave your bag or backpack unattended on the back of your seat for example.
The tourist areas are protected by the tourist police and no presents specific risks, but you should always take care of thieves and pickpockets.
No tourist districts - is recommended to be very vigilant, especially at night.
Some travel guide books recommend using the "official taxis" with a roof signs. But it is not so simple.
In Lima mainly, many people make the occasional taxi service by necessity and obviously without license, using its own vehicle and putting a sticker on the windshield.
An official cab should have the number plate painted on the sides of the vehicle. In Cusco, a group of black and yellow squares is painted on the doors of the car.
These marks on the vehicle are not a 100% guarantee and unfortunately there are false taxis assaulting passengers via accomplices climbing along the way. They are EXCEPTIONAL CASES, but exist.
There are also Taxis Remises that with a phone call come to your hotel, home or restaurant.
Taxis in Lima airport
It is the place of predilection for false taxis, waiting passengers directly into or outside the airport.
We recommend using the official taxi service located in the exit of the arrivals area as "Taxi Green" (the cheapest), "CMV Taxi Remisse" or "Mitsui Taxi Remisse".
A habit that have all Peruvians is to lock the door and not to show bags or other valuables in the seats.
It is not recommended to take tap water, you can easily find bottles of water, but you can use tap water to brush your teeth.
Relatively unknown, the Peruvian cuisine is classified among the best in the world with an incredible array (491 typical dishes - Guiness Book), gourmet or home cooking, each region has its own specialties.
However, some tourists looking for low prices, which can turn hazardous in certain cases, with horrible food or worse causing digestive problems.
To prevent bad experiences
Unless a trustworthy person recommend a specific place, avoid street food and very cheap restaurants (menu less than S/. 10), be careful with higien and clean and try to determine the type of clients in the restaurant: families, well-dressed people, office workers or with uniforms, often can inform us.
What to eat and drink in Peru?
It is always difficult in a foreign country to decipher menus in restaurants.
Does the dish spicy, sweet, salty, contains ingredients that I do not like?
Peruvian cuisine is varied and is one of the best in the world. Do not pass an unforgettable gastronomic experience, there is a dictionary of Peruvian dishes: PERU MENU.
Maps and guides
It is difficult to to find good maps of Peru.
The best are from CERMAL EDITIONS, in major Peruvian booksellers:
- The most accurate (distances, routes).
- The most updated (every year), the road network develops rapidly in Peru (about 2,000 km / 1,200 mi of new roads every year).
- Plans of Lima, main avenues, Miraflores district, Historic centre, Arequipa historic centre, Ica, Cuzco, Macchu Picchu and Inca Trail.
Map/guide PERU TOUR
Guide consisting of 12 maps and planes of the main tourist routes and cities
With useful information
Distances and times of trip
Description of the sites and major cities as well as the circuits.
Peruvian tourism office (Promperu) has several bureau calling Iperu.
610 calle Jorge Basadre – San Isidro
Larcomar Shopping Center – Miraflores (central patio)
Casona Santa Catalina – Santa Catalina 210
Plaza de Armas – 110 portal de la municipalidad
Plaza de Armas – corner with pedestrian street.
103 avenida El Sol, tourist galeries – oficina 102
av. Pachacútec – cuadra 1 – oficina 4
You can also find an Iperu bureau in the Plaza de Armas (Main Square) of Ayacucho, Chachapoyas, Huaraz, Iquitos and Trujillo.