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Peru About

Peru is a country in South America, situated on the western side of that continent, facing the South Pacific Ocean and straddling part of the Andes mountain range that runs the length of South America. Peru is bordered by Ecuador and Colombia to the north, Brazil and Bolivia to the east, and Chile to the south. Peru is a country that has a diversity and wealth not common in the world. The main attractions are their archaeological patrimony of pre-Columbian cultures and the center of Inca's Empire, their gastronomy, their colonial architecture (has imposing colonial constructions) and their natural resources (a paradise for the ecological tourism).

Although Peru has rich natural resources and many great places to visit, many of the people live in poor conditions. 36% of the population live under the poverty line. The rich, consisting mostly of a Hispanic (or "Criollo") elite, live in the cities. Nevertheless, most Peruvians are great nationalists and love their country with pride (largely stemming from Peru's history as the center of both the Inca Empire and Spain's South American Empire). Also, many Peruvians separate the state of Peru and its government in their minds. Many of them distrust their government and police, and people are used to fighting corruption and embezzlement scandals, as in many countries.

The Peruvian economy is healthy and quite strong, however, still some Peruvians see their economy as stuck in a rut. It is indebted and dependent on industrial nations, especially the United States. This dependence, combined with U.S. foreign policy decisions in recent years has contributed to a widely held negative view about the U.S. government in Peru, but not against individual citizens.

The word gringo, is used commonly, but is not generally intended as offensive. The original meaning encompassed all white people who do not speak Spanish. Many people use the word gringo exclusively for Americans or American look-alikes. It's not uncommon for blonde people to be called gringo. Peruvians do not hesitate to greet you with "¡Hola, gringo!".

Generally, people are very friendly, peaceful and helpful. When in trouble, you mostly can rely on getting help. But as with any setting, it is always good to watch out for yourself and try to avoid bad situations. If you get into an argument, it is a good idea to remain amicable, but firm. Most of the time, you can find a compromise that satisfies everyone.

Peru is not exactly a haven for efficiency. Do not expect things to be on time, or exactly as they intend to be. Outside of the more upscale tourist services and big cities like Lima, English is uncommon and the people, trying to be friendly, can give wrong or inexact advice, a translator can always be helpful in this cases. Plan ahead and leave plenty of time for traveling.

 

Get in

  • Plaza de Armas de Lima
  • Machu Picchu
  • Inca walls at Sacsayhuamán
  • The hummingbird, Nazca area
  • La Alpaca. Huayllay National Sanctuary
  • Llamas at Machu Picchu


Visas

Tourists from North America, Australia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and the European Union (and many others, check with the nearest Peruvian Embassy  or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for most updated information, although in Spanish) receive a visa upon arrival for up to 180 days.

When entering the country, you need to pass the immigration office (imigracion). There you get a stamp in your passport that states the number of days you are allowed to stay (usually 180 days). You can no longer get an extension, so make sure that you ask for the amount of time you think you'll need. When those 180 days are up and you would like to stay for longer, you can either cross the border to a neighbouring country (Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia or Chile) and return the next day and obtain another 180 days or simply overstay and pay the fine when you exit. The overstay fine is only US$1 per day overage, so if you stay 30 days longer it's US$30. Many people do this, since it's much cheaper than leaving the country and returning.

You will receive an extra official paper to be kept in the passport (make sure you don't lose it!). When leaving, you need to visit the emigration office (migracion), where you get the exit stamp. Imigracion and migracion are found on all border crossing-points. Traveling to and from neighboring countries by land is no problem.

By plane

The capital city of Lima has the Jorge Chávez International Airport with frequent flights all over the world. Main airlines are American Airlines, Delta, Lan, Lan Peru, Continental, Iberia, Copa, Taca and others. There are non-stop flights to Lima from Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York City, and San Francisco in the United States. There is also a non-stop flight to Toronto, Canada with Air Canada. There are five different airlines that offer non-stop service to Europe. In the future there may be non-stop flights from Oceania or Asia but for now travelers usually connect through Los Angeles (non-U.S.-citizen have to pass immigration even for transfer, consuming 1-2 hours - so ensure your stop-over is long enough!) or through Santiago de Chile.

For example, Iberia flies directly from Madrid to Lima, the trip lasting around 13 hours. However LAN and KLM flights are much better in quality. LAN and Iberia often fly in code share mode (1 plane, 2 flight codes) meaning if you've a LAN flight, you may have to check in at Iberia service desk or the opposite way, sometimes they send you from one to the next and back, so just queue at the shorter service desk...


There is an internal flight tax, around US$6, same conditions as the international one. When booking domestic flights, there are several Peruvian travel agencies that can get you your plane tickets for the "Peruvian price" for a fee of about US$20, you'll notice that the prices can vary by several hundred dollars for the SAME flights when looking at LANs Peruvian site (http://www.lan.com/index-es-pe.html) and the USA site (http://www.lan.com/index-en-us.html). You'll find that if you try to book the cheaper flights from the Peruvian site, they won't accept payment from American bank accounts (this is why you do it through a Peruvian travel agency).

The city of Iquitos has flights to Leticia, Colombia with AviaSelva. They have a US$10 departure tax.

From Ecuador

Although Ecuador neighbors Peru, it is hard to find cheap flights connecting anything but the capitals. In particular, flying from Ecuador to Iquitos is not possible directly, nor can you travel directly from other large towns across the border.

By boat

The city of Iquitos in the Amazonas region has connections by boat to Leticia in Colombia and Tabatinga in Brazil (about 10 hours).

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