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Eco-Adventure Travel
to South America

Peru FAQs

About Peru

Is Peru safe?

The following links offer information that will allow you to decide for yourself if Peru is safe.

The British website contains more information and is written in a friendlier manner.

Should you choose to travel with us, please know that we take your safety seriously. In fact, we take many steps to help ensure your safety:

  • We start before you arrive. Llama Expeditions’ founder Diane Valenti personally checks out each itinerary. In Peruvian lingo, she acts as the cuy (guinea pig).
  • When you arrive, we meet you at the airport, assist with the transfer to your hotel, and help you check in.
  • Hotels are located in residential neighborhoods within easy walking distance of numerous dining choices.
  • Our guides are certified by the American Red Cross in first aid.

When is the best time to go to Peru?

High season is during our summer—June through August.

Shoulder season, April and May in the spring and September and October in the fall, is also an excellent time to visit Peru.

What is the weather like?

The weather depends on location and time of year. Lima is often foggy and cool during our summer and hot during our winter.

Cusco can be clear and crisp during the day and downright chilly at night.

If you are trekking the Inca Trail, it can be quite cold at high altitude, especially at night.

You can easily check the weather before your trip to get an idea of what to expect.

We will also send you a packing list to help ensure that you come prepared.

What documents do I need to travel to Peru?

US citizens need a valid passport to enter Peru. We recommend that your passport has a remaining validity of at least 6 months.

It is your responsibility to check on current entrance requirements with local immigration offices or the Peruvian embassy.

Is the electricity the same as in the US?

No. Peru’s electricity is 220 volts, 60 cycles.

You will need to bring a 2-pin plug adapter and a voltage transformer to use in Peru. You should be able to pick these up at any travel or electronics store, such as a Best Buy.

You may also wish to bring extra batteries for cameras.

If you have an iPhone or an Apple computer, you may be able to plug these devices directly into the wall socket in Peru. Please check with an Apple authorized dealer first, though, to make sure that this will work for the device you bring.

Will I need immunizations for my trip to Peru?

You should check the CDC website to see which immunizations are currently recommended.

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About Our Adventures

Who goes on these types of adventures?

Most of our guests are like you. They are interested in doing more than observing the world from the window of a tour bus.

Most are couples, singles, and families from the US. However, we welcome travelers from all over the world.

All of our groups are private. So, you needn’t worry about whether you’ll get along with a group of strangers on our adventures.

Are these adventures a good choice if I am traveling alone?

Absolutely!

You’ll benefit from our expertise. For example, you won’t have to worry about winding up in a roach-infested hotel or giving directions to a taxi driver who doesn’t speak English.

And, you’ll have one of our super knowledgeable and fun guides all to yourself.

Are these adventures suitable for children?

Certainly, depending on the trip.

Check out our detailed itineraries or give us a call. We’ll be happy to discuss your concerns and help you determine if this trip might be right for your family.

Just an FYI—if you are a single parent or guardian traveling with children, you may require documentary evidence of parental responsibility.

Do you have age limits?

We accept bookings from guests aged 21 to 70.

However, depending on the traveler and the adventure, we will book travelers outside of that age range.

What is the average size of your groups?

We like to keep our groups small, with 6 to 8 members each.

This way you won’t have to jockey for position to hear the guide.

What are the qualifications of your guides?

Our guides are phenomenal! Many have become personal friends.

All of our guides are licensed by the Peruvian government and have many years of experience leading adventures.

They all have first aid training and many have earned a Wilderness First Responder certificate.

Our guides speak both English and Spanish.

They love what they do and are thrilled to have the opportunity to show you their homeland.

Are hotels included in the cost of your trip?

Most definitely.

We will take care of all hotel reservations during the trip.

Check out the itineraries for specific information on the hotels.

What are the hotels like?

We select hotels that are comfortable and located in charming neighborhoods within walking distance of numerous dining choices.

All hotels have private baths and hot water, but many buildings in Peru do not have heat.

We suggest that you request a space heater and extra blankets from the front desk. Be sure to pack a warm pair of pajamas, too.

One thing to note—whenever possible, our hotels are locally owned.

We work with Peruvian-owned hotels to ensure your tourist dollars remain in Peru and benefit Peruvians.

What is philanthropic adventure travel?

As a part of your adventure, we take you off the beaten path to visit non-profit and grassroots projects that support women and girls.

During these visits, you may wish to bring gifts of items on the project’s wish list. We will send you the list before you leave. You may bring these items from home or you may buy them in Peru.

You can see who we work with on the Giving Back in Peru page of our website.

I am already spending a lot of money for this adventure, why would I want to bring gifts?

Your gifts are entirely optional. Llama Expeditions makes a gift to these projects, as well.

However, it is an amazing experience to actually give something directly to people in need as opposed to writing a check. You quite literally make their day, sometimes their year!

And, to see their eyes light up, well that is the gift that you receive in return. It is a very special feeling that we don’t get to experience often.

Finally, you can deliver a lot of value for just a little money. Spending $25 on school supplies or food goes a long way in Peru. So, the additional costs are really quite minimal.


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Getting to Peru

Are international flights included in the cost of the adventure?

No. You’ll need to purchase your airline tickets to and from Peru.

Are domestic flights included in the cost of the adventure?

No. You’ll need to purchase your domestic airline tickets.

However, we’ll tell you what flights you need to take so that you can make sure you are in the right place at the right time.

What should I do if I am concerned about carbon offsetting?

We share your concerns.

In fact, we purchase carbon offsets on your behalf for air travel included in the itinerary.

Which airport do I need to fly into?

You’ll need to fly into Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima.

How do I get from the airport to the hotel?

One of our guides will meet you at the airport.

Look for your name on a sign when you exit the baggage claim area.

Your guide will escort you to the hotel and assist you with check in.

What do I need to do when coming through customs when I enter Peru?

During the flight to Lima, the flight attendant will give you a Peru entrance form.

You’ll need to complete the form to show, along with your passport, to the customs officer.

The customs officer will ask how long you plan to be in Peru.

Normally, the officer will stamp your passport indicating a permissible stay of 60 to 90 days.

The officer will return both your passport and the customs entry form.

What do I do with the entry form?

You need to keep the entry form to show the customs officer when you leave Peru.

Keep it with your passport so that you don’t lose it!

Is there a departure tax?

Yes. Travelers leaving Peru must pay a departure tax.

This is tax is almost always included in the cost of your plane ticket.


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Money Matters

What is the currency of Peru?

The nuevo sol is the currency of Peru.

How can I obtain nuevos soles to use in Peru?

In many large US cities, there are foreign exchange offices that will provide you with foreign currency in exchange for US dollars.

American Express Travel offices also provide the same service.

However, make sure to call ahead as it may take them a few days to obtain the nuevos soles needed to make the exchange.

A simple way to obtain nuevos soles is to use one of the ATMs in the airport when you arrive in Lima. The ATMs in Peru dispense both US dollars and nuevos soles. Simply select the latter to withdraw money from your account in nuevos soles.

Be aware that some ATMs in Peru do not automatically release your card when they dispense cash. You may need to request card return by pushing a button. Always take an extra few seconds to verify that you have your card before you walk away.

Many ATMs have instructions in English, and your guide can also help you use the machine if necessary.

Make sure to talk with your bank before you leave for Peru. You should find out what, if any, fees you’ll be charged.

Also, have your bank note the dates you will be in Peru to avoid problems with your ATM card. Just in case there is a problem, you should get the number of the bank to call from Peru. There is often a different customer service number to call from overseas.

Can I use my credit card?

Credit cards are accepted in many hotels, restaurants, and shops in major cities such as Lima, Cusco, Ollantaytambo, and Aguas Calientes (aka Machu Picchu Pueblo). However, in some smaller cities and in the artisan markets, cash is still king.

Some hotels and restaurants also charge a different price if you use a credit card. They will add an 8 to 10 percent surcharge to the bill. In these situations, clearly, using cash is preferable.

You should check with your credit card company before you leave for Peru to find out what, if any, fees they will charge if you use your card in Peru.

Be sure that your credit card company notes the dates you will be in Peru to avoid problems with your credit card. Just in case there is a problem, get the number of the credit card company to call from Peru. There is often a different customer service number to call from overseas.

Can I use my ATM card?

There are ATMs with directions in English readily available in most large cities in Peru and at the airport.

If you are not sure if you will find an ATM at a particular place, check with your guide.

The ATMs in Peru dispense both US dollars and nuevos soles. Simply select the latter to withdraw money from your account in nuevos soles.

Be aware that some ATMs in Peru do not automatically release your card when they dispense cash. You may need to request card return by pushing a button. Always take an extra few seconds to verify that you have your card before you walk away.

Many ATMs have instructions in English, and your guide can also help you use the machine if necessary.

Make sure to talk with your bank before you leave for Peru. You should find out what, if any, fees you’ll be charged.

Also have your bank note the dates you will be in Peru to avoid the possibility of having problems using your ATM card. Just in case there is a problem, you should also get the number of the bank to call from Peru. There is often a different customer service number to call from overseas.

What is the exchange rate?

The exchange rate changes daily.

You can check the exchange rate online. The nuevo sol is PEN.

How much should I budget beyond the cost of my trip?

How much additional money you need to budget beyond the cost of the trip is really up to you.

You can get an excellent lunch for about $10 to $15 on the days it is not included.

And, a dinner with a drink at a very nice restaurant typically won’t run more than $25 to $30.

Shopping really depends on your taste.

How much should I tip?

It is customary to tip 10% of the total bill in restaurants.

Tip according to your heart—but you may find the following guidelines helpful:

 RoleTransferAdventure
Guide$2/personhalf day $7/personfull day $12/person
Driver$2/personhalf day $3/personfull day $8/person

Are US dollars accepted?

US dollars can be easily exchanged and are accepted in some situations.

However, dollars must be in good condition. If they are crinkled, ripped or overly worn, they will not be accepted, even for exchange.

US dollars in denominations of less than $20 are also more easily exchanged and accepted.


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Staying Healthy

What can I do to avoid getting sick?

Make sure to drink only bottled or purified water. And, use bottled or purified water to brush your teeth.

Bottled water is readily available. When you purchase bottled water, make sure the seal is intact. Also, many of the hotels provide a pitcher of purified water in the rooms.

Request your drinks without ice. And, avoid eating uncooked food or food purchased from street vendors.

Use hand sanitizer to wash your hands frequently.

How concerned should I be about the possibility of altitude sickness?

Unfortunately, there is no way to know if you will suffer from altitude sickness. It is a genetic condition. So, no amount of getting in shape will help.

You should discuss your concerns with your doctor. He or she may prescribe medication to help prepare your body for the transition to a higher altitude or to cope with the effects of mild altitude sickness once you are there.

For more information about altitude sickness symptoms and prevention, check out this highly informative website on high altitude medicine.

What can I do to help acclimatize once I am at altitude?
The first day, you should rest, eat lightly, avoid alcohol, and drink plenty of water. All the hotels in Cusco offer coca tea in the lobby. This tea can help you adjust to the altitude. Diane recommends the dieta de pollo soup in Cusco, as well. Not only is it delicious, but it can help settle an uneasy stomach.

What should I do if I feel poorly at altitude?

You should let your guide know that you are feeling poorly immediately. Even if you think you ate something that caused an upset stomach or diarrhea, assume that it is altitude sickness if you are at altitude. Symptoms of altitude sickness include difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Your guide may recommend some actions you can take, such as resting, drinking coca tea, or eating a little soup, until the feeling passes.

Some hotels also have oxygen available if you are feeling particularly poorly.

What other health and well-being issues should I be concerned about?

The Andean sun is quite strong. So, bring plenty of sun block, a good pair of sunglasses, and a sun hat even if you are not planning to do any hiking. Long-sleeved shirts and pants also offer additional protection from the sun.

In addition, make sure to bring bug repellent. Not only will you encounter mosquitoes if you visit the Amazon jungle, but there are mosquitoes and biting flies at Machu Picchu. Wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants can also be a good additional defense.

Finally, the drivers in Peru are more aggressive than they are in the US. Never assume that you have the right of way as a pedestrian. Look carefully and avoid distractions when crossing the streets. A good rule of thumb is to cross the street when a crowd of locals does, if at all possible.

Can I refill my prescriptions in Peru?

Not all medicines are available in Peru. You should bring the quantities of all prescription medications you will need in the original bottles.

What medications and other first aid supplies should I bring?

The CDC website contains a comprehensive list of first aid supplies international travelers should pack.

What are the public restrooms like?

The public restrooms are generally quite clean. However, they may not all stock toilet paper or have running water. In addition, some restrooms are set up so that you need to get toilet paper at a main receptacle before you enter the stall. Carry small packets of Kleenex to keep in your pocket, just in case. Hand sanitizer can also be very helpful.

Regardless of whether you use a public restroom or the bathroom in your hotel, restaurant, or even the airport, you will need to put all toilet paper in the waste basket provided. Peru’s sewage system can’t handle toilet paper or other items being flushed.

Will my health insurance work in Peru?

Most US-based health insurance will not cover you in Peru. As a result, you’ll need to buy travel insurance to cover you while you travel in Peru.

Travel insurance companies have several different levels of policies. Make sure the policy options you select covers you for all of the activities you plan to take part in during your trip. If not, you may find yourself in the unhappy position of having to pay a hefty medical bill.

Travel insurance is required to participate in all of our adventures.

How gay-friendly is Peru?

Some people have mistaken the Inca flag with its multicolored stripes for the gay flag. While homosexuality is legal in Peru, attitudes are still generally conservative. Public displays of affection between same sex partners are likely to be frowned upon.

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Eat, Drink, & Be Merry

Can I drink the water?

You can’t drink the tap water in Peru. However, bottled water is readily available and many hotels provide a pitcher of purified water in the room that you can use to brush your teeth, drink, and refill your water bottle.

If you plan to do any trekking, the cook will boil water for you to refill your water bottle.

Can I eat fresh fruits and vegetables?

Many restaurants in areas frequented by tourists are now washing their fresh fruits and vegetables with purified water, which makes them safe to eat. Just to be safe, though, always ask first.

Can I have ice in my drinks?

Many restaurants in areas frequented by tourists now use purified water to make ice. You should always ask first to be sure this is the case in the restaurant you are patronizing. We recommend that you avoid ice in your drinks.

How will I know if something I ate or drank made me sick?

You may not know if it was something you ate or drank that was the culprit. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are also symptoms of altitude sickness.

If you experience any of these symptoms when you are at altitude, assume that they have been caused by altitude sickness and let your guide know. He or she can suggest steps you might take to alleviate these symptoms.

Can special diets be arranged?

Yes, we can accommodate special diets if you let us know your requirements ahead of time. Please let us know about your special diet needs on your Trip Application.

Are all meals included?

Most, but not all, meals are included. We include the meals that we feel most certain that you’ll be hungry to eat given your itinerary for that day.

What are the meals like?

Peru has been recognized as one of the top culinary destinations in the world.

Breakfast is provided by your hotel. We choose the restaurants visited during the adventure and those on the recommendation list for their menu selection and the quality of the food.


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Traveling Within Peru

Which airlines do you recommend for flights within Peru?

We recommend that our guests fly on LAN for flights within Peru.

What types of planes does LAN fly?

Most of LAN’s planes are manufactured by Airbus. They also fly
the Boeing 767. You can check their fleet at www.LAN.com.

What other forms of transportation are used?

In addition to flying, you may travel by train, private car or van, comfortable tourist buses, or motorized canoe to get from place to place.

What other transportation costs will I incur during the trip?

The only additional transportation cost you may incur on our adventures is for checked baggage, depending on current airline rules.

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Staying in Touch

How can I stay in touch while I am in Peru?

Most of the hotels where you will stay have one or more computers in the lobby that you can use to check e-mail. This is probably the most economical way to stay in touch. You may also be able to use your cell phone.

WiFi is available at most hotels. So you can use your laptop or iPhone to connect to the Internet.

Finally, Internet cafés are abundant in Peru’s big cities. For a nominal fee, you can access e-mail from an internet café.

Will I be able to recharge my cell phone and laptop?

Yes, if you bring a 2-pin plug adapter and a voltage transformer to use in Peru. Peru’s electricity is 220 volts, 60 cycles. You can buy this equipment at travel stores. You may also wish to bring extra batteries for cameras.

If you have an iPhone or an Apple computer, you may be able to plug these devices directly into the wall socket in Peru. Please check with an Apple authorized dealer first, though, to make sure that this will work for the device you bring.

How do I call the US from Peru?

To call the US, dial 1 and then the number you wish to dial. If you plan to call the US frequently, you may wish to purchase a calling card online before you leave for Peru. A calling card will allow you to make these calls more cheaply.

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Packing

How will I know what to bring?

We will send you a packing list appropriate to your trip.

Please leave expensive jewelry and other costly items at home. You do not want to unwittingly make yourself a potential target for pickpockets.

Are there limitations on suitcase weight or size?

On the canoes to the Posada Amazonas and on the train to Aguas Calientes, you will only be able to take a small suitcase or backpack.

For long trips, we recommend that you pack two suitcases—one large and one small. For each portion of the trip, you can pack what you need in the small suitcase and leave the large suitcase in storage.

On domestic flights, you may also need to pay additional fees for checked bags. As airline rules seem to constantly change, we can’t tell you with any certainty what the fees will be.

Will my bags be safe in storage?

Yes. Your bags will be securely stored. However, you can use TSA-approved locks on your luggage for your own peace of mind.

If I pack light, will I be able to do laundry during my trip?

There are many small laundry places near the hotels, especially in Cusco, where you can have your laundry done for reasonable rates. The hotel front-desk staff can help you find one that is within walking distance to the hotel.

What else should I bring?

Make sure to bring a copy of your passport, your ATM card, and any credit cards you are traveling with. Bringing another form of identification and a passport photo will also make it easier to replace your passport if it is lost or stolen.

You should also bring a list of phone numbers of your doctors at home, your credit card companies, your cell phone carrier, and your bank. Sometimes there is a different number to call if you are making the call from outside the US, so be sure that you have noted the correct number to call from Peru.

Also, take care to store copies of your documents and your important phone numbers separately from the documents themselves!


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Booking an Adventure

How far in advance should I book my adventure?

The Peruvian government limits the number of people allowed on the Inca Trail to a maximum of 500 people per day. Since this is a popular trip, it books up early—especially during the summer months. We recommend that you book this trip 6 to 9 months in advance.

For other trips to Peru, we recommend that you book 3 to 6 months in advance. Of course, you may always check with us for current availability.

How do I book an adventure with Llama Expeditions?

Simply send us an email at info@llamaexpeditions.com or call us at 1-415-701-7600 to let us which adventure you are interested in and when you’d like to go. We’ll send you all of the necessary paperwork to complete to make your reservation.

What about a deposit?

We’ll need a deposit of $500 per person when you submit your application. This deposit secures your place on the trip.

When is the final payment due?

We’ll need payment in full, by check or by credit card, 60 days prior to departure. This means that you’ll need to mail your check so that we receive it 60 days prior to the trip.

Unfortunately, we cannot make any exceptions.

What documents do I need to book the trip?

Besides payment, you must also send us:

  • A signed copy of the booking terms and conditions for each person traveling in your party 18 and older
  • Proof of travel insurance that covers each person in your party

Without these documents, we cannot accept your booking even if you have paid in full.

Can I change my mind and transfer to another trip or departure date?

You can change your mind and transfer to another trip up to 60 days prior to the departure date.

What are the penalties for cancelling my trip?

Date of CancellationPolicy
91 days or more prior to departureFull trip payment is refunded less a $200 per person administrative fee
61 to 90 days prior to departure75% per person of the trip payment is refunded
60 to 45 days prior to departure50% per person of the trip payment is refunded
44 to 0 days prior to departure0% per person of the trip payment is refunded

Due to the popularity of and limited space on the Inca Trail, there is a nonrefundable fee of $500 per person at the time of booking. This fee is used to secure entrance tickets for you and the support staff you will require on the trail.

Will you refund the cost of any activities we don't participate in during the trip

No partial refunds will be given for unused hotel rooms, meals, sightseeing trips, transportation, or trekking arrangements for any reason whatsoever.

The Trip Cost is quoted as a package and credits are not given for services not used.

What happens if Llama Expeditions cancels the trip?

Llama Expeditions reserves the right to cancel the trip due to an inadequate group size or any other cause that will make the trip unfeasible for us to run. We will inform you 45 days prior to departure if we find that we have to cancel the trip.

If this is the case, we will refund 100% of the land cost of the trip. However, we are not responsible for any additional expenses you have incurred in preparing for the trip. (E.g., nonrefundable airline ticket purchases, visa fees, etc.)

Are trip delays and cost increases a possibility?

While they don’t happen often, trip delays and cost increases are a possibility.

The cost of trip delays is not included if any trip is delayed due to bad weather, trail conditions, river levels, road conditions, government intervention, civil unrest, illness, or any other situation that is out of our control or the control of our partners in Peru.

We guarantee the cost the adventure that we quote you for up to 60 days.


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