Chile

Chile is a slender ribbon of land flanked by the South Pacific Ocean to the west, and surrounded by Peru, Bolivia and Argentina.

 

The country is a mystifying amalgam of extraordinarily diverse scenery, vibrant cultures, and exciting cities. From the fjords and glaciers of Patagonia and Antarctica to the driest desert in the world at Atacama, volcanoes to tropical islands, Chile boasts nearly every landscape imaginable.

 

One of the country’s defining characteristics is its warm culture, summarised in its motto of ‘buena onda’ (‘good vibes’). Rituals surrounding relaxation and connection - such as the ‘mate’ tea custom - are integral to Chilean culture, as well as a strong connection with food, music and dance.

 

World-class cities like Santiago weave together 21st century global culture and time-honoured traditions, and provide everything from phenomenal restaurants and buzzing nightlife to gorgeous, trendy beaches. Wine lovers will also find worlds of taste to explore in the lush valleys of vineyards offering some of the best wine on earth.


Banking and Currency

Currency

Chilean Peso (CLP; symbol CH$) = 100 centavos. The local symbol is simply $. Notes are in denominations of CH$20,000, 10,000, 5,000, 2,000 and 1,000. Coins are in denominations of CH$500, 100, 50, 10, 5 and 1, although the latter is no longer in circulation.

The import and export of local and foreign currencies is unlimited, however amounts exceeding the equivalent of US$10,000 must be declared.

Foreign exchange transactions can be conducted through commercial banks, casas de cambio, or authorised shops, restaurants, hotels and clubs. Casas de cambio are open daily 0900-1900 (Mon-Sat) and 0900-1400 (Sun). Ask to be given smaller denomination bills as these will be easier to spend, and you may run into trouble trying to get change from larger notes.

Banking

Banking hours are from Monday to Friday from 09h00-14h00.

Visa and MasterCard credit cards are commonly accepted – although Diners Club and American Express slightly less so - in towns and cities, where ATMs are also largely available. Outside of the larger, more tourist-centred towns, currency exchange can be tricky.

ATMs (also known as redbancs) are also largely available in larger, more tourist-centred towns. Access to ATMs in smaller towns and more rural areas is often more limited so plan accordingly.

It is possible to exchange money and traveller's cheques at any casa de cambio at market-driven exchange rates. However, exchanging traveller's cheques in Chile has been reported to be problematic.



Travel, Transport and Getting Around

There are frequent services between main cities. The southern part of the country relies heavily on air links and reservations are essential. Flights are operated by LAN Express, a subsidiary of LAN (www.lan.com), and by Sky Airline (www.skyairline.cl), as well as a number of air taxi companies such as Aerovías Dap (www.aeroviasdap.cl) which flies around the Magallanes region and Antarctica.

There are regular flights with LAN from Santiago to Easter Island (journey time - five hours), and Easter Island is currently included as an option in the Visit South America Air Pass. Flights fill up quickly so it is essential to book in advance throughout the year. An air taxi runs a daily service during the summer months to the Juan Fernández Islands from Valparaíso and Santiago, run by Transportes Aereos Isla Robinson Crusoe (www.tairc.cl). Sky Airline flies south to Punta Arenas and north to Antofagasta amongst other routes.

The Visit South America pass has replaced the old Visit Chile pass. It is available with LAN transatlantic flights and covers Chile as well as Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Passes must be obtained outside South America and it is advisable to make reservations well in advance. Once purchased, reservations can be changed at no additional cost; but if re-routing, a charge is made for each change.

Chile has a large network of good roads, with the exception of the fjord-filled south of the country which is not always connected to central Chile by road. Crossings have to be made at times through Argentina, and water transport also plays a part there.

Chileans drive on the right side of road. There is around 80,000km (50,000 miles) of highway in the country, only half of which is paved. Foreign drivers should feel comfortable driving in Chile, as in general, traffic rules are obeyed here more than in other Latin American countries – although you will often find horses, bicyclists, and pedestrians on the highways, so be aware! Most highways are well-marked.

There is a toll for using the highway, with rates differing according to distance and section. Outside Santiago, you’ll be expected to pay in Chilean Pesos. In Santiago, the toll is automatically charged via the TAG-system - a little sensor that is fixed at the windshield of each car, mandatory for driving on Santiago’s city highways.


Food, Drink and Cuisine Advice

Standards of hygiene are generally reasonable in Chile, and should not cause visitors any undue concern. Tap water in the cities is fine to drink but it does have a high mineral content and may taste different to what you’re used to. Bottled water is easily available should you prefer to stick to that. When it comes to eating out, use common sense – only eat food that has been freshly cooked and looks to have been prepared in hygienic conditions.

Santiago has a wide range of options for eating out, from excellent vegetarian restaurants to hearty, good-value grills. However, you can also find sushi, Indian, Middle Eastern, seafood and Peruvian restaurants. Borago, Astrid y Gaston, Puerto Fuy, Sukalde, El Jardin de Epicuro and and Osaka are consistently named as some of the city’s finest restaurants. Plenty of economical set lunch deals are to be had downtown, and cheap eats can also be found near the university.

Once outside of Santiago, options tend to be limited for vegetarians. Seafood, red meat (including lamb), and chicken dominate the menu in the provinces. For carnivores, any chance possible to experience a leisurely countryside asado (barbeque) or curanto (shellfish stew) is an opportunity to participate in a cherished Chilean tradition. If you have the good fortune to be invited to a local’s home to eat, you should show up with something to share - a bottle of decent wine or a dessert would be appropriate and appreciated.

It is customary to add 10% to the bill when eating out. Some restaurants and bars automatically add this.


Climate and Weather

Due to its long coastline, clearly Chile’s weather is extremely diverse and unpredictable although it is seasonal in much of the country. Summer runs from December to February, and winter from June to August.

It is difficult to pinpoint temperatures ranges for the country as a whole as they’re so variable. There’s the dry, arid Atacama desert in the north where temperatures reach a maximum of 32°C (90°F) and can drop to -2°C (28°F). Chile’s central region has a Mediterranean feel with a colder, wetter season (May to August), while it is usually cool and damp in the south. Easter Island has its own humid sub-tropical temperatures, while much of the south, from Region VII down has a very high annual rainfall.

Arica, Iquique, Antofagasta, La Serena and Coquimbo are the principal summer beach hubs in the north for local tourists, while Pucón in the south sees high tourism numbers from January to March. Due to its proximity to Santiago, Viña del Mar and Valparaíso beach areas see plenty of sunshine and beach bums during the summer, often filling up with neighbouring Argentinians. As Chile is in the southern hemisphere, the ski season takes place between June and August.

In terms of visiting Patagonia and south, the summer months from December to March are ideal as it is warmer for trekking and other outdoor activities. November and April are quieter times in terms of tourism but the weather is less dependable. It isn’t advisable to visit the south from the end of autumn to the end of winter - May to September - as many trails close due to bad weather and strong winds and waterways ice over. However, places in the north, such as the Atacama, can be visited all year round.


Clothing and Dress Recommendations

When visiting the warmer areas of the country during the warmer months, bring lightweight, natural fabrics. During the wet season, you’ll need to bring waterproofs – aim for breathable materials so you don’t overheat. More substantial waterproofs and warm weather clothing are often needed in the south and at altitude.


Internet Availability

Internet cafes are open all hours in the main towns and tourist areas. Many hotels and hostels will have access to the internet which is relatively cheap at around US$1 for 30 minutes, while free Wi-Fi is also becoming increasingly popular, with many hotels offering this.


Electricity and Plug Standards

For the most part, electrical sockets (outlets) Chile are the "Type C" European CEE 7/16 Europlug. Also reported to be in use is the "Type L" Italian CEI 23-16/VII. If your appliance's plug doesn't match the shape of these sockets, you will need a travel plug adapter in order to plug in. Travel plug adapters simply change the shape of your appliance's plug to match whatever type of socket you need to plug into. If it's crucial to be able to be able to plug in no matter what, bring an adapter for both types.

Electrical sockets (outlets) in Chile usually supply electricity at between 220 and 240 volts AC. If you're plugging in an appliance that was built for 220-240 volt electrical input, or an appliance that is compatible with multiple voltages, then an adapter is all you need.


Bolivia

Home to ancient traditions and cultures that are fast disappearing, Bolivia is the continent’s most indigenous country, with 60% of its inhabitants descended from Native Americans - a rich heritage that is evident in the local art, cuisine, music and traditions.

 

Equally as fascinating is the incredibly diverse landscape, stretching from the central Andes to the Amazon Basin and encompassing a terrain that includes snowy peaks, the world’s highest navigable lake, rainforests, dry valleys, and volcanoes both active and extinct.

 

Whether you are in search of colourful festivals, ancient remains or an outdoor adventure, Bolivia is a tourist’s treat waiting to be discovered.


Banking and Currency

Currency

Notes are in denominations of 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5 bolivianos. Coins are in denominations of Bs5, 2 and 1, and 50, 20 and 10 centavos. Bolivianos are sometimes referred to as pesos.

The Boliviano is tied to the US Dollar. Due to the relative weakness of the Bolivian economy, the boliviano remains vulnerable and so many businesses operate in US dollars. Most hotels and tour operators quote in dollars and will accept payment in either currency. Smaller shops, stalls and local businesses will only accept bolivianos.

Change and coins are in very short supply in Bolivia, which is something of a vicious circle as local buses, shops and taxis often won’t accept big denomination notes. Try to break big notes wherever possible – namely hotels, restaurants, large stores and bus companies.

There are no import restrictions on local and foreign currency; export restrictions on both local and foreign currency are up to the amounts imported and must be declared.

Banking

Banking hours: Mon-Fri 0830-1200 and 1430-1700, and Sat 0900-1300.

MasterCard and Visa credit cards are the most widely accepted in most mid to top range hotels and restaurants, but otherwise have limited acceptance. American Express is rarely accepted. It is best to carry cash with you.

There are ATMs in most of the larger towns and cities. Even the smaller towns have at least one bank with an ATM, and there are ATMs available at the larger airports. Enlace is the nationwide network from which you can withdraw either US dollars or bolivianos. Sometimes in smaller towns, banks will offer international withdrawals for a small fee over the counter.

US Dollar and Euro travellers’ cheques are accepted in the large cities, but outside the cities they are useless. Pound Sterling travellers’ cheques are not widely accepted. It is best to carry cash with you when travelling to smaller towns.

Money can be changed in hotels and casas de cambio. There are also plenty of money street changers if there are no official exchanges available, but be sure to check for forged notes in these cases. The boliviano is the preferred currency with exchange against the euro now preferred to the dollar.


Travel, Transport and Getting Around

Internal flights are operated by Boliviana de Aviación (www.boa.bo). Flights to the Amazon are largely operated by Amazonas (www.amaszonas.com) from La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz. Because of the country's topography and tropical regions, air travel is the fastest, but not the cheapest method of transport (US$50-$100), although delays, cancellations and unreliability are common. La Paz (El Alto), which is the highest airport in the world, and Santa Cruz (Viru Viru) are the principal domestic air hubs. Busier routes should be booked a few days in advance, and it is important to reconfirm the day before departure. The is a mandatory departure tax of around Bs14, payable in bolivianos.

Bolivia’s size, geography and lack of basic infrastructure means that travel by road can often be a tumultuous, long and scary ride, yet it is still the first choice mode of transport for travellers and Bolivians alike. Most major roads are paved but in bad condition. Vehicles often have to take unpaved, dirt tracks. There are main highways entering and exiting major cities like Santa Cruz and La Paz. B roads are unpaved but widely used. Few travellers rent cars. Virtually no international car rental services are available, but there are local companies in all the major cities. The legal hire age is 25. The national speed limit is 90kph (55mph). The use of seat belts is not enforced, nor is the use of mobile phones prohibited. Vehicles drive on the right hand side, though this rule is overlooked on some mountain roads when turning – the vehicle going uphill has priority. Breakdown and petrol services on Bolivia’s roads are scarce. Fill your tank whenever possible. An International Driving Permit is required. This can be issued by Federación Inter-Americana de Touring y Automóvil (www.fitac.org) on production of a national licence, but it is wiser to obtain the International Permit before departure.

Taxis can usually be found anywhere and at anytime in Bolivia, and are the safest mode of transport. Many people work as part-time taxi drivers in cities to supplement their income. Fares tend to be fixed, rarely over Bs15. Tipping is not necessary. In the lowlands moto-taxis are commonly used, while micros (small minibuses) are the main form of urban transport in big cities. In some cities, fixed-route minibuses, otherwise known as colectivos or trufis are commonly used: there’s usually somebody shouting out the route through a window. In rural areas, catching a truck is a cheap but rough form of transport

Biking is rare in Bolivia. For proper touring you will need to bring a bike suitable for mountainous terrain. The country is home to some of the world’s best downhill mountain tracks, notably “Death Road” outside La Paz.

Bolivia has two separate and unconnected networks - Eastern and Western. The Eastern network's hub is Santa Cruz, from where Ferroviaria Oriental (www.ferroviariaoriental.com) runs trains to the Brazilian borders. The Western line, running from Oruro via Uyuni and Tupiza to Villazón (where you can connect to trains to Argentina) is run by Ferroviaria Andina (www.fca.com.bo). Trains have three to four classes and restaurant cars. Buy tickets in advance from the offices in Santa Cruz and La Paz respectively. There’s also a slow but scenic route between Sucre and Potosí.

Double-decker passenger boats operate between the various small islands on Lake Titicaca with regular departures from Copacabana to the Isla del Sol. Motorised canoes traverse the many rivers of the Amazon basin with the most regular departures from Rurrenabaque.


Food, Drink and Cuisine Advice

Water used for drinking, brushing teeth or making ice should be boiled or otherwise sterilised (iodine tablets or tincture are good options). It is best to avoid drinking tap water entirely while in Bolivia. Bottled water is purified (but check the seal as they are sometimes refilled in stores). All branded milk products are pasteurised; powdered or tinned milk is also available. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish, and vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled. Be wary of street stalls or anything that has been reheated.

Bolivian cuisine is as distinctive and varied as its landscape. There’s nothing in the form of haute cuisine here, but you will find a large range of both national and international restaurants available at cheap prices, especially in the large cities. Local speciality food and drink is a must – these differ according to region (highlands, lowlands and the Altiplano). La Paz offers the biggest variation. Go straight for the markets or set lunch menus, or alternatively you can also find pizzerias, fast food, Chinese restaurants (known as chifas), popular spit-roast chicken restaurants as well as high-end eateries. Food in the Altiplano is less varied; Aymaran cuisine is centred on carbohydrates – especially potatoes, rice and quinoa – and meat (mutton and llama). Food in the lowlands tends to be more tropical (yucca and plantain are staples) with beef featuring heavily due to the cattle herding in the region. Although Bolivia is landlocked seafood is still available, mostly around Lake Titicaca.

Generally speaking, tipping is not expected in Bolivia, but it is welcomed. It is customary to add 10% as a tip to the 13% service charge added to hotel and restaurant bills.


Climate and Weather

Bolivia has a temperate climate but temperatures can differ dramatically between day and night. The wettest period is November to March, which, in extreme circumstances, may induce landslides in mountainous areas, and cause certain roads to become impassable. The northeast slopes of the Andes are semi-tropical. During the wet season the salt flats become flooded – it is a beautiful spectacle, as the flats turn into a mirror of the sky above. Winter is perhaps the best time to visit (May-October), especially in the hot and humid lowlands, as it is cooler and drier. In the highlands, it rains much less, remains sunny through the day but gets noticeably colder at night. Visitors sometimes find the highlands (especially La Paz) uncomfortable because of the thin air due to high altitude. The mountain areas can become very cold at night.


Clothing and Dress Recommendations

In terms of clothing, lightweight, natural fabrics and waterproofs are best. Layering is a good idea if taking the tour of the salt flats – it’s extremely cold at night and early mornings, but when the sun comes out it warms up quickly. Warmer clothing is necessary at night in the Altiplano, especially in La Paz, Oruro and Potosí. If you need warm clothing, the markets of La Paz and Sucre are a good place to find alpaca wool jumpers and scarves.


Internet Availability

Internet cafés are available in most towns and cities. They charge around 3 to 5 bolivianos per hour. Don’t expect the same speed as at home: in many places it is still dial-up. Some internet cafés will also offer net phone or Skype services. Hotels, hostels and cafés may also offer free Wi-Fi access.


Electricity and Plug Standards

In Bolivia the power outlets accept either a flat blade ungrounded plug (Type A) or a two-pronged ungrounded plug (Type C).

Electricity in Bolivia is 230 Volts, alternating at 50 cycles per second. If you travel to Bolivia with a device that does not accept 230 Volts at 50 Hertz, you will need a voltage converter.


Peru

Peru is most famous for the sacred archaeological site of Machu Picchu – visited each year by scores of intrepid hikers who brave the Inca Trail’s arduous slopes to explore the age-old ruins.

 

But the country’s attractions extend far beyond the mystical allure of this legendary location, and include palm-fringed beaches, quaint Andean villages and archaeological treasures that predate Machu Picchu by hundreds of years – all imbued with the nation’s rich melange of indigenous and colonial cultures.

 

Equally enticing are the exotic reaches of Peru’s Amazon rainforest, Lima’s superb eateries, exquisite architecture and effervescent nightlife, the glittering, mountain-ringed waters of Lake Titicaca, and the vibrant city of Cusco, referred to by the Incas as ‘the centre of the world’.


Banking and Currency

Currency

Nuevo (new) Sol (PEN; symbol S/.) = 100 céntimos. Nuevo Sol notes are in denominations of S/.200, 100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins are in denominations of S/.5, 2 and 1, and 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1 céntimos.

Note: US Dollars are also in use and accepted for payment, particularly in tourist areas. While effectively interchangeable, it is best to use local currency wherever possible, and it is always good for tourists to have some local currency in small denominations, to pay for buses, taxis and goods in some small establishments.

There are no restrictions on the import or export of local or foreign currency, but amounts exceeding US$10,000 must be declared.

Only a few bureau de change in Lima and Cusco will exchange currencies other than US Dollars. Outside Lima, it is virtually impossible. US Dollars can be exchanged everywhere and banks, hotels and many shops also readily accept US Dollars (although very old, torn or damaged notes are usually rejected). It is not recommended to exchange money from street vendors.

Banking

Banking hours: Mon-Fri 0900-1800, Sat 0900-1300 (may vary during the summer).

All major credit cards are accepted, but usage may be limited outside of Lima and tourist areas. Visa and MasterCard are the most commonly accepted. It is also sensible to carry some cash rather than relying only on cards.

ATMs are now generally regarded as one of the best ways to obtain money in Peru. They are found almost everywhere, including in small towns, although when travelling in remote places it is best to have some cash just in case the nearby ATMs are not working or have run out of money. In bigger cities, use ATMs inside banks for greater security, especially at night.

Banks will exchange traveller’s cheques although it can be a slow process outside Lima. The ability to use traveller's cheques is also quite limited in some areas so you should check whether or not they will be accepted in the area you are visiting prior to travel. The use of ATMs is generally preferable, but if you do decide to bring traveller's cheques, the best currency to bring them in is US Dollars.





Travel, Transport and Getting Around

LAN (LP) (www.lan.com), Taca Perú (T0) (www.taca.com) and LC Perú (W4) (www.lcperu.pe) handle virtually all domestic air traffic. Routes link Lima to Andahuaylas, Arequipa, Ayacucho, Cajamarca, Chiclayo, Cusco, Huánuco, Iquitos, Juliaca-Puno, Piura, Pucallpa, Puerto Maldonado, Tacna, Tarapoto, Trujillo, Tumbes and other cities. Flights to Huaraz are occasionally offered. For information on internal flights, contact the Peruvian Corporation of Airports (Corpac) (www.corpac.gob.pe).

When travelling around Peru, you have to make a decision: time or money? The bus from Lima to Cusco can take over 24 hours instead of a flight of about 1 hour 30 minutes, but it will be a fraction of the price. If taking a shorter trip to Peru, flights will leave you a lot more time at your destination.

You can book in advance from outside the country, or a few days in advance through local tour operators for not much more money. Some flights (of lower prices, and particularly with LAN) are for Peruvians only – if you purchase them be prepared to pay a fine. Domestic flight schedules are often subject to last minute change – try to confirm that your flight is leaving at the time stated on your ticket before you head to the airport.

International car hire firms have offices in all the major cities and bigger airports. You must be at least 25 to hire a car in Peru, and will need to present your passport, driving licence from your country, credit card as a guarantee and sometimes a cash deposit. The minimum driving age is 18. Seatbelts should be worn both in the front and back of a car, and also on coaches (though most people don’t bother). Theoretically, the speed limit is 100kph (62mph) on the highways and 35kph (22mph) in urban areas, but few Peruvians follows these laws. You can drive for six months on a UK driving licence and up to a year on an International Driving Licence. All foreign vehicles must have documentation from their own national automobile association or you can obtain it on the Peruvian border before entering the country. Always carry your driving licence, a copy of your passport and, if the vehicle is hired, a copy of the rental contract.

Main roads in Peru are, at least, reasonably paved; others can range from extraordinarily bumpy to impassable after landslides. Landslides are frequent in the mountains during the rainy season (December to March), making for slow travel and closed roads. Take care driving on the mountain roads, which are narrow, windy and above all high up. Local drivers who know the roads well go like the clappers, but if you try it you may well go off a cliff. The well-maintained Pan-American Highway runs down the length of Peru's coast, with intersecting highways running east into the mountains.

Many unlicensed taxi companies operate in Peru and visitors are advised to avoid these. They usually have a red and white taxi sign on the windscreen. Licensed yellow taxis are the only cabs allowed in downtown Lima. Taxis do not have meters and you should agree fares before departure (they are relatively inexpensive). Extensive and safe taxi services are available by telephone in main cities. Hotels and hostels will book them for you. Taxi fares increase by 35 to 50% after midnight and on holidays. Drivers do not expect tips.

Taking the bus is the travel method of choice in Peru; buses go in almost every direction. You can book yourself onto everything from a bus with seats that recline until fully horizontal and hostesses to bring you dinner, to a squashed-in place in the back of a pick-up truck, depending on your budget.

The crème de la crème of coach company in Peru is Cruz del Sur (tel: (01) 311 5050;www.cruzdelsur.com.pe). It’s the most expensive, but you’ll get a nice meal and a good night’s sleep. Other coach companies are Flores (tel: (01) 332 1212; www.floreshnos.net), Linea (tel: (01) 424 0836;www.transporteslinea.com.pe) and MovilTours (tel: (01) 716 8000; www.moviltours.com.pe). Otherwise just turn up at a bus station or ask around.

Public transport in Lima is provided by conventional buses and by minibuses (combis), though they are overcrowded, sometimes dangerous and not particularly useful for tourists. These operate from 06h00 to 00h00 on established routes; wherever possible, try to avoid using bus travel late at night. Lima has a clean, efficient metro system which links nine districts, and allows travel between Miraflores and Lima centre.

Peru Rail (tel: (01) 517 1884; www.perurail.com) runs comfortable tourist trains between Puno and Cusco and between Cusco and Machu Picchu. Ferrocarril Central Andino (tel: (01) 226 6363;www.ferrocarrilcentral.com.pe or www.rrdc.com/op_peru_fcca.html) runs a twice-monthly tourist service on renovated trains between Lima and Huáncayo. This spectacular route is the second highest railway in the world (the highest being in Tibet).



Food, Drink and Cuisine Advice

Drink only bottled water, and take purification tablets in case bottled water is unavailable. Pasteurised milk is widely available, but if you are staying in mountain towns you will also find that unpasteurised milk is often sold in shops, served in plastic bags. Avoid dairy products that are likely to have been made from unboiled milk.

Only eat well-cooked meat and fish. You will find that there is plenty of street food available in stores and at markets, and you should try to ensure that what you buy has been heated properly and not been left out. In particular, you will find lots of ceviche, a cold seafood dish made using raw fish, which is practically the national dish. It is heavily acidic, which must kill some bacteria; nevertheless be aware that unless the fish is very fresh the potential for food poisoning is high. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled.


Climate and Weather

The weather in Peru varies according to area – the changes in altitude are so extreme that the climate goes from freezing snow in the mountains to boiling sun on the coast. Likewise, the coast covers such a large stretch of longitude that the temperature changes dramatically as you head further south.

On the coast winter lasts from June to September. The weather tends to be overcast and slightly damp at this time, but rarely very cold. It hardly ever rains in Lima nor most of the coast, except for Tumbes and Piura, which have tropical climates.

During June to September, the mountainous areas are often sunny during the day but cold at night. This is high tourist season and the best time to visit most regions. Rainy season in the Andes starts in September and peaks between January and March, and this is a dreadful and occasionally dangerous time to be hiking.

Heavy rains in the mountains and jungle last from December to April. It is rainy and hot for most of the year, but between March and September there are occasional cold surges which might require a jumper.


Clothing and Dress Recommendations

For travel in Peru, a variety of clothes are necessary. You will need very lightweight clothes for summer on the coast, and thermals, hats, gloves and ski jackets for winter up in the mountains. It can become freezing at night at altitude and remain hot and sticky through the nights in the jungle. Waterproof clothing is thoroughly recommended for the rainy season, because the heavens open very suddenly, and then it pours.

If you are travelling to the jungle you’ll need something protective and waterproof for your feet. For any mountain hiking you’ll need proper, supportive boots. If you’re spending time along the coast you’ll need sandals or flip-flops.


Internet Availability

Public internet booths and internet cafés are widely available in cities and most towns. Wi-Fi is becoming increasingly common in cafés, restaurants and hotels.


Electricity and Plug Standards

Electricity in Peru is 220 Volts and 60 Hertz (cycles per second). If you want to use a 110-volt appliance in Peru, you’ll need to buy a voltage converter. But always check before spending money on an converter, as many modern laptops and digital cameras can safely take both 110 and 220 volts (they are dual voltage).

Many of Peru’s top-end hotels have outlets for 110-volt appliances. They should be clearly labeled as such, but always check if you’re unsure.

There are two types of electrical outlets in Peru. One accepts two-pronged plugs with flat, parallel blades, while the other takes plugs with two round prongs. Many Peruvian electrical outlets are designed to accept both types.

If your appliance has a different plug attachment (such as a three-pronged UK plug), you’ll need to buy an adapter. Universal plug adapters are inexpensive and easy to carry around. It’s a good idea to buy one before you go to Peru (most major airports have a store selling plug adapters).


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