Peru’s official currency is the Nuevo Sol (S/.), divided in 100 cents (1 S/. = 100 céntimos or centavos). There are 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent coins and S/. 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 banknotes. In big supermarkets and good restaurants US dollars are also accepted; change will be given in Nuevos Soles. Acces/Mastercard, Diners Club and Visa are all used in Peru with Visa being the most widely accepted. Note that credit card use becomes more limited outside the main cities. American Express Traveler's Cheques are the most widely accepted, but still hard to change and often banks ask for hefty fees.
Both Spanish and Quechua are the official languages of Peru, but Quechua is only spoken in rural areas in the Andes. Around Puno, Aymara is also spoken and there are many different languages and dialects in the jungle areas. In main cities such as Lima and Cusco, English speakers are easily found.
The hour in Peru is the same as Eastern Standard Time in the United States. Peru is 5 hours behind GMT (-5 hours Greenwich Mean Time). Peru does not observe daylight saving time.
220V alternating current. Bringing a multi-adapter is recommended. Plugs are either two flat pins (as in the US) or two round pins (as in Germany), the flat being the more popular plug.
Service charges of 10% are added to all bills. Additional tips of 5% are expected.
WHAT TO PACK
For Lima and the coast area, bring summer clothes for the warmer months and a sweater or coat for cooler evenings. For the Amazon region (Puerto Maldonado and Iquitos), long-sleeved light clothing, preferably cotton, raincoats, comfortable, waterproof shoes, a hat and sunglasses, as well as sun protection, are appropriate during the whole year. If you’ll be visiting the highlands (Cusco, Puno, the Andes), bring warm clothes including a jacket, hat and sunglasses, as well as sun protection and, after consulting with your doctor, medication for altitude sickness.
FOOD & DRINK
National recipes blend with European ones, creating the Peruvian Creole cuisine. The selection of marine food is very rich, typical is "ceviche," spicy raw fish with lemon juice and onions. Specialities of the Peruvian cuisine are also "anticuchos" (meat skewers with cow’s hearts), "rocoto relleno" (tasty stuffed peppers) and "ocopa," (cooked potatoes accompanied by a sauce made of cheese and nuts). Lovers of sweets should try the "mazamorra morada" (a thick custard-based dessert made of maize) or "picarones" (pastries roasted in oil, accompanied by treacle).
Peru is famous for its ceramic products. Crafts, as well as textiles such as scarves, ponchos, cushions, belts, bags and tapestry are characterized by the typical regional patterns. In addition, silver jewelry is inexpensive. The best places to go shopping are the traditional Indian markets as well as specialized shops.
There are many good bars, pubs, discos and casinos in the major towns and tourist resorts. Peñas always serve snacks and some serve full meals. Here one can enjoy criolla or folk music, especially at weekends. Nightlife in Lima and Cusco has a wide array of choices. Most discos, peñas, pubs and karaokes are open until 03:00 or 04:00 in the morning.
There are many attractive Peruvian handicrafts such as alpaca wool sweaters, alpaca and llama rugs, Indian masks, weaving and jewellery. Galleries and handicraft shops abound in the Miraflores, Pueblo Libre and downtown districts of Lima.
Handicrafts markets are located in Miraflores (Petit Thouars Ave, blocks 52 to 53) and Pueblo Libre (La Marina Ave, blocks 8 to 10). Bargaining is an expected practice with beach vendors and at markets and known as ’regateo’