Peru Travel Guide

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Peru Information

Population: 26 million

Time Zone: GMT –5 hours

Driving side: Drive on the right

Languages: Spanish, Quechua

Religion: Roman Catholic
local Indian religions

Emergency #: Police: 105
Fire: 116
Medical: 225-8698/8699

Peru Local Customs

When you're fairly high in altitude in Peru (which is not too difficult), locals often offer you coca tea, which is supposed to negate the effects of altitude; I think this maybe, perhaps, is a placebo effect

Peru Popular Destinations

Cuzco the centre of tourism for South America; thousands of visitors come to see and stay in this archaeological capital of the Americas. It's 3326 metres high so beware of altitude acclimatisation. The main square is Plaza de Armas,. Do visit the Catedral, a beautiful building in the square, also La Compania, a church built on the remains of the palace of the last Inca ruler. There are many Inca walls in and around Cuzco, their construction is awe-inspiring; you sometimes don't realise that you're walking down a street whose walls are all Inca-made.

Machu Picchu who hasn't heard or seen an image of this magical Inca site high up in the Andes and shrouded in cloud? A train, (or the famous Inca Trail), takes you through winding and spectacular Andean scenery, following the river, and eventually arrives at the fairly modern town of Machu Picchu lying in a deep steep-sided valley. Buses take you up through hairpin bends until you reach that famous vision. Spend at least 2 days here, feel the atmosphere, wonder at the Sun Gate, marvel at the location and how it was built, and look out for the fabled Condor, they can be seen here. An absolute must to do when in Peru.

Moving Around Peru

Air there are numerous internal flights in Peru, linking all the major towns and cities, most of which are tourist orientated. Aero Continente has most of the share of these flights and there is also Lan Peru airline. Small aircraft can take you to the more remote areas and remember, there's a US$4 departure tax on all domestic flights.

Bus these are cheap, fairly comfortable, and are mainly used over long distance travel routes. Always remember to carry your passport on buses, they often cross police checkpoints. In the more remote areas, buses are replaced by trucks, which seem to have the ability to access places you would never have dreamed existed.

Train these travel from the highlands to the coast and also run north to south. The Southern Railroad runs between Cuzco, Lake Titicaca, and Arequipa, which is especially useful for visitors. Most of the rail services in Peru are fairly comfortable and cheap, but always remember, be on guard, pickpockets can and do travel on these trains, so be warned.

Boats a huge area of Peru lies in the Amazon Basin so river travel is the main form of transport when you travel to these parts. Boats are generally reliable and fast, whipping through the tropical jungle at speeds you would never believe!

National festival and holidays

Carnaval February/March. It's very popular in the highlands and water fights are often seen.

Inti Raymi 24th June. The biggest and best of Inca festivals, with superb parades and spectacular dances.

Peru's Independence 28th July. Generally, a public holiday.

All Souls Day 2nd November. Peruvians celebrate this day when flowers, food and drink, are taken to their family graves.

Puno Day 5th November. Here, you can see colourful costumes and dancing in this town on the edge of Lake Titicaca.

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