Peru Traveler Information

Peru Traveler Information

If you have booked or are considering The Peru Meetup Tour, this is where you will find the practical information you need from travel insurance and safety protocols to how much a meal at the local market might cost.

Is this trip right for you?

  • This tour visits a variety of cities, altitudes, and climates and therefore requires some forethought when it comes to packing. Pay special attention to the time of year that you’re traveling and how the climate varies across all of the destinations you’ll be visiting. As a general rule, layers are your best friend when considering what to pack for a multi-destination trip around Peru.
  • At major sites, you can expect to be exposed to the elements at length, so be prepared with a hat, sunscreen and plenty of water. A rain jacket or poncho is also a good item to have handy if you’ll be visiting during the rainy season.
  • Much of this trip will be spent at altitude. For some, this can result in some adverse side effects as your body adjusts. We recommend consulting your doctor before traveling, especially if you have a pre-existing condition that makes you especially vulnerable at high elevation. Otherwise, taking things slow, eating light foods, and staying hydrating should help you to adjust quickly.
  • This trip does involve a good bit of walking, be it both along the cobble-stoned streets of Cusco or the moderately strenuous trails that weave through Machu Picchu. We recommend bringing a durable pair of walking shoes or sneakers. At the least, a pair of shoes you can stand to be in all day long on uneven surfaces.

Arrival

For most countries in the Americas and Western Europe as well as Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, you do not need a tourist visa to enter Peru. To verify if you do need a visa, you can visit Peru’s immigration website: https://www.gob.pe/1062-obtener-visa-para-ingresar-a-peru
As rules and restrictions are constantly changing, please check your government’s foreign travel advisory and visit the following website: https://www.peru.travel/en/comunicados Requirements currently include an online health declaration and a negative PCR test within 72 hours prior to arrival or an antigen test taken within 24 hours prior to arrival Please also ensure you have a travel insurance policy that covers you for travel to and from Peru as well as medical or COVID-19 related expenses within the country.
On the final day of the Meetup Tour, we can arrange for testing to be conducted on site at the hotel. Our team will ensure that results will be available before you depart for the airport. This is payable in cash to your tour leader or medical professional. Our team will handle the logistics and be sure your results are in on time and printed before you depart Peru. 
Upon arrival we have an escort meeting you at the airport. After you collect your luggage and exit customs and immigration look out for our driver holding a sign with our logo. The driver will take you directly to the hotel where you will meet your trip leader.
You need a valid passport to travel internationally. Most countries require that your passport does not expire for at least 6 months after the date you enter. We require your passport details 45 days before departure. When booking your Meetup Tour, please enter your name as it appears on your passport and contact us immediately if there are any errors.

Optional Activities

For this tour, we offer a selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travelers. We recommend to pre-book these activities, to be sure there is availability. It’s rare that only one person signs up for an activity, but you will never have to go alone. A leader or our guide will go with you if no one else has signed up. Last minute booking of optional activities is possible, but depends on availability. Should you choose to book an optional activity while on the tour, we will charge the card we have on file.

We have worked with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed, especially those that are medium to high risk. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator, and therefore, we are unable to help book these activities. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

Health

We do not recommend drinking the tap water, even in the hotels. All accommodations will have drinkable water, sometimes for purchase and sometimes provided with your room.

Your tour leader will do their best to accommodate any dietary restrictions, but sometimes gluten free and vegan can be a little trickier in every meal, especially breakfast. We suggest bringing supplemental snacks like protein powders and bars just in case. It is ultimately your responsibility not to consume anything to which you are allergic. You may wish to speak to your tour leader at the beginning of the tour to make your requirements clear and ask your options throughout the tour. 

As of April 1, 2021, we have updated our policies to require all travelers to show one of the following upon meeting the group on day 1:

-Proof of COVID-19 vaccination, or
– Proof of negative COVID-19 test conducted no more than 72 hours before day 1 of your trip

Peru has some foodie options that many travelers choose to try. Dishes like roasted guinea pig (cuy), cow’s foot soup, tripe stew (mondongo), and chicken feet, to name a few, are common among locals and available in some restaurants. Please be careful when consuming this food, as some travelers have gotten sick in the past. We do not include these dishes on our tour, and our tour leader can direct you to the most reputable restaurants locally, but we do not take responsibility for any illnesses caused by food.
Parts of this trip will be above 9200 feet (2800 meters). Some pre-existing conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitudes and it is common for some travelers to experience adverse effects, like headaches, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue. We encourage you to discuss your options with your doctor, including medications you can bring in the event that you do find yourself sensitive to the altitude.

Accommodation

9 nights in hotels

Rooms are twin share with an ensuite unless you upgrade to a private room, based on availability.

The accommodation indicated on the webpage is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to lack of availability. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

In the base cost of the tour, a shared room is included. You may choose to upgrade to a private room for an extra charge as long as there is availability.

Upgrading to a private room once in Peru is more difficult and may result in a higher cost than advertised on the webpage.

Our Peru tour is considered premium accommodation. When we stay in 5 star hotels, the standard may be less than what you are used to in terms of design, facilities, and inclusions. If there is a problem with your accommodation, always alert your tour leader so it can be remedied if possible. 

Sometimes it is not possible to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels, especially if you arrive before check in time. We can store your luggage and you can explore the surrounding area.  Standard check in time is 4:00pm.

Check out is at 11:00am on the last day. 

Extra nights at our hotel are available. You may have to switch rooms at the beginning or end of the tour.

All of our accommodations have air conditioning and some have heating. Should it not work, we will attempt to replace your room or the unit, dependent upon availability. Some evenings are cold in Peru, especially in the winter months. Bedding is always provided, usually in the form of thick alpaca wool blankets, however if you are extra sensitive to the cold, please be prepared with extra layers or thermals.

Transportation

Private air-conditioned vehicle, commercial airline domestic flight, train, speedboat

Money and finances

Spending money is a personal choice, and everyone will have different spending habits and needs. It is best to budget a reasonable amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities, tipping, and laundry. It’s always better to bring a little more than you think you’ll need. Please have a thorough look at the itinerary and at what is included so you will be prepared for what isn’t included. Our Meetup Tour is very inclusive, however some meals, tips, and extras are not included. This guide should make budgeting a little clearer.

Many meals are included in this tour, but some are purposefully left out so you can experience different restaurants and dishes to your liking.

Lunch at a local restaurant could cost between $2USD to $10USD. However, local street food is relatively safe to eat and is normally much cheaper.

Your leader and guide will help you find local options. Meals will cost between $4USD to $20USD, depending on the restaurant.

Food prices in Peru range widely from cheap street food to fine dining. If you have a strict budget, be mindful of your choices and let your tour leader know the type of food you are looking for, so she can direct you to the best places.

ATMs are widely available in major cities and towns. We recommend always having a small amount of cash with you for small purchases at places that do not accept credit cards. Credit cards are widely accepted in Peru, including all major credit cards. MasterCard and Visa will give you the greatest coverage, while American Express and Diners Club are slightly less widely used and accepted. Smaller venues take cash only. Alert your bank that you will be traveling before departure to avoid being locked out of your account while abroad, as they may suspect fraud.
If you want to bring cash from your home country and exchange it, the best place to do this is at the airport. We can not guarantee that there will be time to visit a money exchange place on the tour. The best way to get local currency is by using an ATM with a debit card.

Tipping is part of Peruvian culture. Wages are extremely low in Peru, and tipping is an important means of supplementing income whether you are a tourist or Peruvian. If you are satisfied with the services provided, a tip is appropriate and always appreciated. While it may not be a part of your customs at home, it is very valuable and helpful to the people who will be taking care of you on your trip.

While tipping is encouraged, the amounts are small. Please budget about $5-10USD per day on average for small tips. If you are worried you may not have small change or feel uncomfortable tipping yourself, your leader might suggest the idea of a group tipping kitty, where everyone contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips as you go. The leader will keep a running record of all money spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This kitty does not include tips for your local guide, but tips for your driver and porters at hotels are included in your tour price.

To help you understand tipping culture, we have provided some ideas for amounts. These are suggestions, as tipping is always a personal choice and at your discretion. 

Restaurants: rounding up to the nearest dollar is fine in local markets and basic restaurants. In upscale eateries, a tip of 10-15% of the total bill amount is more appropriate.

Drivers: Our drivers’ tips are included in your tour cost.

Your Tour Guide:  You may also consider tipping your tour guide for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is completely at your discretion, however as a guideline $5USD per person, per day is standard practice. Of course, you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

It is not necessary or expected to tip your Tour Leader, but small, sweet gifts, even handwritten notes, are very appreciated if you feel that your Tour Leader improved your experience.

The currency in Peru is the Peruvian Sol (PEN) or (EGP). Denominations come in notes of 10, 20, 50, 100 or 200 soles and coins of 1, 2 and 5 soles, as well as 10, 20 and 50 cents. Some establishments, like tourist shops, restaurants and hotels, may accept US dollars.

We recommend always having small denominations for tipping and small purchases.

Packing

Our tours are comfortable and very inclusive with premium accommodation. This means you can pack a little lighter. In fact, you will be carrying your own bags to the lobby or at the airport, and you will need to be able to manage. Also, our domestic flight has a maximum luggage allowance of 15kg or 30lbs.
This is a general list to be used as a guideline. If you think you need more items, pack them. Remember that Peru’s seasons are the reverse of the Northern Hemisphere. Summer in Peru is from December to February and winter from July to September.
  • Sunglasses
  • A towel
  • Copies of your travel documents- passport, flight itinerary, travel insurance policy and contact info.
  • A daypack
  • A wide-brimmed hat for the sun
  • A rain jacket or poncho
  • A fleece or light jacket
  • A winter coat for Puno and Cusco if you will be visiting during the winter months
  • Light, breathable clothing for Lima and Machu Picchu if visiting during the summer months (January through April)
  • Jeans and lightweight casual clothing that can be layered for the sunny, warm days and cold nights at altitude
  • A hat, gloves, and thermal layers if you’ll be visiting during the winter months
  • Bug spray
  • A pair of solid walking shoes
  • A pair of sandals or flip flops
  • A casual dress or nice outfit for a night out in Lima
  • A swimsuit and bathing suit cover-up
  • Don’t forget underwear
  • Earplugs and an eye mask
  • High SPF broad-spectrum sunscreen
  • Body soap
  • Shampoo, conditioner, hairbrush
  • Body wash
  • Period essentials
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Adapter plug
In the mountainous regions of Peru, like Cusco and Lake Titicaca, the air is dry and often bone-chilling at night during the winter months of May through August, though the days are warm and full of sunshine with not a lick of rain. The rest of the year, the mountains are relatively mild with lots of rain falling during the months of January through December. Lima, on the other hand, experiences its strongest heat and humidity during the months of December through April. From June through October, Lima remains steadily cool, cloudy, and humid.
Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables. We recommend that you photocopy all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it much easier to obtain replacements if necessary.
In Peru, there are two associated plug types: A and C. Plug type A is the plug which has two flat parallel prongs and Plug type C is the plug which has two round pins. Peru operates on a 220V supply voltage and 60Hz. We always suggest bringing a universal adaptor.

Phone and internet access

There is wifi available in most of our accommodation, but it is not always the most reliable, especially in more rural areas. We suggest purchasing a prepaid sim card at the Lima Airport. This option only works on unlocked phones. In the baggage claim area, you will find the booths for Peru’s main mobile phone providers: Claro, Movistar, Bitel, and Entel.

Plans and prices can change but expect to pay between 20-35 soles for a plan that will provide you 3-4GB of data. You will require your passport to purchase and register your new sim.

Alternatively, ask your home service provider for international plans. 

Group leader and guide

All tours with The Solo Female Traveler Network are accompanied by a guide who is with the group for the whole trip. The guide’s role is to be the local expert of the destination and coordinate a lot of the on the ground logistics. They are not always a native of the country, but they are always experienced expert guides. 

Most of our tours also include a leader, whose role is to enrich the experience socially. She will help bridge any cultural differences, manage group expectations, and capture the tour in photos and videos for marketing purposes. Some tours will not include a Tour Leader, and in this case, our local guide will act as both guide and leader.

Traveling as a woman

We believe that every woman should dress as she chooses and should feel free to experience the world without extra worry for her safety. Unfortunately, the rest of the word does not practice gender equality as we wish. It’s important to adapt to local customs to be safer and to respect not only the locals, but also your fellow travelers. The likelihood of anything happening on your trip is quite low, but we recommend being aware of the following safety tips:

Street harassment such as cat calls, stares, invitations to get in a car/bar/restaurant/home are common. These are our tips for responding to this unwanted attention:

  • Ignore. Don’t even bother smiling. Just keep about your business.
  • Wear sunglasses to avoid eye contact.
  • Ignore. We mean it, so we said it twice! Ignore them but also ignore your internal commentary on it all. Let it roll off your back and walk on focusing on all the amazing things around you.
  • Dress respectfully and you will find both men and women will respond to you in a more respectful manner.
  • While it very unlikely to happen, do feel free to stand up for yourself if you feel threatened. Peruvian men you do not know should not be touching you at all and if you’re in public, people will come to your aid if you make a fuss.
We suggest loose fitting and more conservative tops and pants that both protect your skin from the sun and yourself from any unwanted attention. But feel free to wear what you are most comfortable in. If we visit any churches, we will be required to cover our knees and shoulders. Short skirts, plunging necklines, and tight clothing should be avoided.

When not with your guide, we recommend the following:

  • Do not walk in isolated areas or at night by yourself
  • If hotel staff need to enter your room, arrange to be either on tour or in the lobby, so you are not alone.
  • Respect the local customs, which may mean dressing more conservatively than you do at home.
  • Do not hire a driver or guide for tours from the street. Always go with a reputable company or ask us to help you arrange any pre or post experiences. 
  • Do not accept any invitations for anything from random people on the street.
  • Always carry your tour guide’s contact information and hotel address with you during solo time.
  • Alert your guide of any inappropriate behavior or perceived risk to your safety.

Safety

We recommend that you stay up to date on travel safety updates on your home country government website. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, but they are not required to accompany you on solo time, where you can relax, choose an optional activity, or explore on your own. During solo time, we do not vouch for the safety of the experiences you choose, even if our guide or leader recommends them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Our team on the ground is always monitoring the safety situation and reserves the authority to cancel or change experiences at their discretion if deemed unsafe.

Seat belts are always provided and must be worn in accordance with local law. 

In Peru, cars do drive on the right side of the road. Practice extreme caution when crossing the street. Also note that traffic may be much heavier and road rules may be very different from what you are used to. Be careful and aware that pedestrians do not have the right of way.

While most of the tour, especially in major cities, will be with your guide and the group, petty theft is common in any tourist area. Do not walk around alone at night if it can be avoided and hold your belongings close on public transportation. Your local guide will give you some safety tips throughout your tour, and we suggest heeding this advice.

We suggest checking your government’s advice in relation to the areas you will be visiting for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers.

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is mandatory on all our Meetup Tours. We require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. If you are travelling within your home country or region please confirm before travel that you are entitled to access the public medical system easily should an accident occur. We strongly recommend all travellers have a policy that also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage or personal effects. For international trips, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company’s 24-hour emergency contact number has been sighted by your leader.

If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number, and emergency contact number rather than the bank’s name and your credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

Group rules

With almost all of our travelers coming on the Meetup Tour solo, we have women from different countries, backgrounds, perspectives, and opinions. This is part of what makes our tours so special and what often leaves our travelers with couches to crash on around the world and even long time friendships. Like any group, especially one consisting of people of different ages coming from all corners of the world, this can also cause clashes in culture and disagreements. We promote an environment of kindness, empowerment, and communication, so certain behaviors will not be tolerated for the benefit of everyone’s experience. 

A great group dynamic takes effort, patience, and compassion from every member. Bullying, threatening, and violence of staff, locals, and fellow participants will not be tolerated on our trips.

Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while traveling, we encourage responsible drinking and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption.

The group guide and leader have final say on all matters that affect the safety or well-being of any traveler or staff member participating in the trip. If you fail to comply with a decision made by a group leader, or interfere with the well-being or mobility of the group, the group leader may direct you to leave the trip immediately, with no right of refund.