When you think of South America, images of jungles and rainforests may come to mind—and with good reason! There are plenty of tropical sights to see in Peru, but if you want to make the most out of your visit, it’s important to know what not to do. In this article about traveling to Peru, we give you the top tips on what to do and what not to do when visiting this beautiful country. Check them out!
You Don’t Need a Visa
Tourist visas are not required for U.S. citizens to visit Peru. The only requirement is that you have a passport that is still valid at least six months after the day you visit Peru. With the exception of pregnant women and children, you can enter Peru without a visa as long as your stay is no longer than 183 days.
Many airlines will check your passport upon arrival in Peru, so it’s best to bring your paperwork with you when traveling by air.
If you plan on staying more than 30 days, then you need to apply for an extension before your 180-day limit expires.
You Might Experience Altitude Sickness
The majority of Peru’s top sights, including Machu Picchu, are located in the highlands, thus getting altitude sickness while visiting them is possible. If you want your symptoms to be light, make sure you consume enough water and moderate your alcohol use. You can also take altitude sickness pills before arriving in Peru. You can take these pills after arriving too, but it will take a few days for them to have any effect on your symptoms.
You Need to Ask Before Taking Photos
Do not snap a picture and put it on Instagram right away if you encounter Peruvians wearing traditional attire. Instead, enquire for permission first. Some people use this method to earn a living and charge for their services. You will be expected to pay them what they request. And if the person agrees, give your camera to them so that they can take the photo themselves!
You’ll Need Cash
Speaking of money, you will need cash because few businesses and services take anything other than cash as payment. The official currency is the Peruvian sol, however some shops also accept dollars. Some US credit cards are accepted in major cities like Lima, but it’s best to bring extra cash just in case. It’s usually easiest if you carry small bills because people may not have change for larger denominations. Be sure to bring plenty of small bills when traveling around Lima – there are very few ATMs that dispense US currency or even give out small amounts of soles so they might be empty when your card runs out!
Don’t Drink Tap Water
Peruvian tap water should not be consumed. In fact, because it’s not the cleanest, you should refrain from even cleaning your teeth with it. Of course, you can take a shower, but be careful not to get any in your mouth. Bottled water is readily available at all stores and restaurants, so don’t worry about finding it while traveling around Peru. Be sure to drink plenty of bottled water while you’re there; this will help offset the effects of the altitude sickness that many travelers experience when they first arrive in Lima.
DO be aware of pickpockets
In a recent survey from the U.S. Department of State, Lima was ranked as the number one most dangerous city in the world for pickpockets. You can minimize your risk by not carrying too much money or valuables on you, but even then there are steps you can take to be more aware of potential threats. For example, it might be smart to leave your credit card at home if you’re only going out for a few hours; just use cash instead.
DON’T take taxis from the street
All you have to do is hop in the cab, right? Wrong. Take a look at the license plate. If it has a D in front of the numbers, then it is a registered taxi. If not, then it is not. Avoid these taxis like the plague! They will rip you off every time. This is one of many ways that taxis in Peru prey on unsuspecting tourists and charge them out the nose for things they shouldn’t be charging anything for.