Find the answers to some of the most Perú frequently asked questions. We attempt to cover most popular questions here, however if you don’t find what you’re looking for feel free to contact us for travel advice from our locally based expert travel team.
- What does Aracari do?
- Do you arrange international airfare?
- Which airlines do you recommend?
- Do you arrange solo travel?
- Do I need a visa?
- How do I book? How do I pay?
- What is the weather like in Peru?
- What should I pack?
- Do I need any vaccinations or pills when traveling to Peru?
- Do I need travel insurance?
- What currency do I need to bring?
- Will my mobile phone work while traveling?
- How does tipping work?
- Can I rent a car in Peru?
- What hotel standard do you use?
- What is an Aracari?
What does Aracari do?
We design custom-built itineraries for private groups and individuals to Peru, Bolivia and the Galapagos Islands. Based in Lima, we have an extensive network of contacts and an in-depth understanding of the regions where we operate which allows us to create a totally unique trip for you based on your special interest (e.g. cuisine, adventure, archaeology) or type of travel you prefer (luxury, off-the-beaten track).
Do you arrange international airfare?
We arrange trips in Peru, Bolivia, and the Galapagos Islands but we don’t sell tickets originating in countries outside of those three. We will handle everything once you are on the ground – domestic flights, transportation, transfers, train and boat trips etc. – and can sell you flights originating in Peru, Bolivia, or Ecuador. If you want to arrange and book your tailor-made itinerary with a US or UK based tour operator that uses our services, please let us know and we will refer you to the appropriate one to suit your needs and requirements.
Which airlines do you recommend?
Depending on where you are flying from, the choices will differ. But from experience, if you are flying from Europe, Iberia and KLM offer many departures to South America and good fares. British Airways has a direct flight from London to Lima. Avianca (Colombia) and LATAM (Chile) also offer good fares and connections. From the USA the airlines American, United, Continental, Delta, JetBlue and LATAM have frequent flights to Peru.
Do you arrange solo travel?
We will happily design and implement itineraries for a solo traveler. We have had many clients who prefer to travel alone.
Do I need a visa?
Citizens of most Western Europe nations and of the USA and Canada who are entering Peru as tourists do not require visas. Americans need a visa for Bolivia, but not for Ecuador. Travelers who require visas can normally obtain them from embassies or consulates in their countries of residence. For specific and timely information please contact the nearest Consulate of the particular country to which you are planning to travel or contact us.
How do I book? How do I pay?
You first approach us by e-mail, phone or through our contact form. Let us know what you want: how many in your party, approximately what time of year you want to travel, what standard of accommodation you require and more or less where your interests lie – i.e. if you want to trek, fish, horseback ride, if you are into nature, culture, archaeology etc. Or, if you know your preferred destinations already, you can tell us exactly where you want to go.
We will contact you within 48 hours and will then put together a proposal, which we will send you within 2-3 days of your request. We will discuss this with you as long as it takes until we have designed your perfect itinerary.
Once you book, we will send you the required documentation and ask you to fill out a booking form and request a deposit from you. Our preferred method of payment is a bank transfer to a specified bank account; however Visa, Mastercard and American Express credit card payments are also accepted.
Eight weeks before departure we e-mail you your finalized itinerary with all services accommodation and flights confirmed. At this point, we will request full payment.
What is the weather like in Peru?
The region is so large that we must make some generalizations. Peru has a diversity of micro-climates. In Lima and along the rest of the coast there is little to no precipitation. It is humid and can be chillier and overcast at times between May and October. Average daytime temperatures are 23-28º C / 74-82º F and nighttime temperatures: 12-18º C / 54-64º F.
In the Mountains and Highlands it is dry season from April to November with daytime temperatures of 18-25º C / 65-77º F and nighttime temperatures of -5-5º C / 23-41º F. During rainy season from December to March daytime temperatures are 20-26º C / 68-79º F and nighttime temperatures: 0-10º C / 32-50 º F. The highest chance of rain is usually in late January and February.
In the Rainforest the dry and rainy seasons are the same as the mountains and highlands however the temperature is higher and about the same year round, with an average temperature of 21-30º C / 70-86º F.
What should I pack?
During your trip you are likely to pass through a number of micro-climates. Dressing in layers is very effective. We would recommend that you bring mainly casual clothing.
Here are some key suggestions:
• Comfortable sneakers or hiking boots
• Short and long-sleeved t-shirts
• Rain gear
• A fleece jacket
• Jeans or casual trousers
• Camera (plus film if manual) and perhaps binoculars
• Insect repellent, lip balm and sun block
• More formal attire for dinners in town
Do I need any vaccinations or pills when traveling to Peru?
We recommend that you visit your health care provider four to six weeks prior to traveling so that they may advise you about your upcoming trip and whether vaccinations, medications or other considerations are necessary in accordance with your personal health and medical history.
Vaccinations and malaria pills:
No specific vaccination is required to enter Peru. Nevertheless, for those travelling to the rainforest, the yellow fever vaccination is recommended by the CDC and WHO. Travel in Peru’s rainforest regions previously required a yellow fever vaccination, and although rules are less strict, it is not unheard of for certification to be requested. The vaccination is normally required or recommended for all rainforest regions around the world and must be administered at least 15 days before arrival. If you are continuing your travels directly from Peru, please check to verify whether a valid certificate of vaccination is required for entry to your next destination. Additionally, for certain areas of the rainforest, malaria pills are recommended but not required. It is best to consult with your health care provider before you travel.
There are a few different ways to alleviate the potential side-effects of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), also known as Soroche, during your trip. Diamox can help when it is taken a couple of days prior to ascending and a couple of days once at altitude. Once you are in Peru, a natural remedy is coca tea, which is helpful during your stay at high altitude. You should also drink plenty of water before your flight to high altitude and during your stay. Eating lightly before and upon arrival and resting also minimize the effects of altitude, which can include headaches, shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea or loss of appetite. Arriving a few days before the start of a trek at high altitude will help your body naturally acclimatize.
Personal medical kit:
We provide a full medical kit adapted for different locations, but you may want to bring the following particularly if you are going trekking, white-water rafting or will be spending time in the jungle: antidiarrhetics (Imodium), Pepto Bismol for stomach pain, antihistamines (both capsules and balm), analgesics, band aids and blister plasters and insect repellent.
Do I need travel insurance?
We strongly recommend you take out travel insurance in your country prior to your trip. Ideally this should cover you from expenses incurred due to flight cancellations, theft, lost luggage and general cancellation by you in the event that you are unable to carry out your trip due to illness or unforeseen circumstances. It should also cover you for potential medical expenses incurred during travel in case of illness or accident.
What currency do I need to bring?
In Peru, exchanging US Dollars and Euros into Peruvian Nuevo Soles is possible in banks, by official moneychangers on the street (who you can recognize as by their vests and official IDs), in the airport, hotels, money exchange houses and in some shops (in small towns). The exchange rate is generally the same with the exception of hotels where it tends to be set at a slightly less advantageous rate. Please bear in mind that $100 bills can be difficult to change so it is better to have smaller bills. Dollars are easier to change than Euros.
We recommend exchanging traveler cheques at banks, and for security reasons we highly recommend you use ATM machines in airports and hotels rather than on the street. Traveler’s cheques are often only cashed in local currency (Nuevo Soles).
We recommend that you always carry local currency. Although larger establishments may accept dollars, sometimes they will not, or you may wish to buy something in a shop that cannot accept dollars. Visa, Mastercard and American Express are generally accepted, although Visa is more widely accepted. When making purchases with a credit card, you may have to pay a 5-6% surcharge and may have to present your passport to make the purchase.
Unfortunately, forged notes (both dollars and local currency) abound in some countries in the region, so be sure to examine your notes by feeling their texture and looking for watermarks. When traveling with Aracari your guide or an Aracari representative can assist you if you are concerned that a bill may be false.
Will my mobile phone work while traveling?
Most foreign smartphones work in the region if you have an international calling and data plan. Coverage is quite good in cities and some rural areas, including Machu Picchu. If your phone is unlocked you can buy a local SIM card that will work for use while traveling. For your convenience, Aracari provides a simple mobile phone with credit to use for the duration of your stay.
How does tipping work?
Tips are entirely at your discretion. It is best to leave a tip in cash.
Tipping in Restaurants:
You may tip 10%, but it is totally discretionary. Credit cards and traveler’s cheques are widely accepted in smarter restaurants. Tips are already included in the price if the meal is part of your program.
Tipping during Treks and Other Excursions:
Our recommendation is based on our experience:
Conventional (vehicle based visit)
Tip for a guide per day for a group of 2 passengers: $20
Tip for a driver per day for a group of 2 passengers: $10
Tip for a guide per day for a group of 4+ passengers: $20-$40
Tip for a driver per day for a group of 4+ passengers: $10-$20
Trekking or other adventure travel
Tip for a guide per day for a group of 2 passengers: $20
Tip for cook per day for a group of 2 passengers: $5-$8
Tip per day for each member of support staff (porters) for a group of 2 passengers: $3-$5
Tip for a guide per day for a group of 4+ passengers: $20-$40
Tip for cook per day for a group of 4+passengers: $8-$12
Tip per day for each member of support staff (porters) for a group of 4+ passengers: $5-$8
Can I rent a car in Peru?
Renting a car in Peru is possible, both to drive or to hire a vehicle and driver. We recommend the latter for safety reasons, but if you want to drive we would be happy to discuss it with you. The cons for driving are that distances between top destinations are far and you would need a lot of time. Accommodation on the road is not adequate most of the time and whereas at times landscapes can be impressive and wonderful, urban dwellings are generally not very attractive.
In Peru there is one main highway that runs north to south along the desert coast: the Panamerican Highway. To drive inland into the Andes you need to find “penetration roads”, which start at certain points along the highway. For that reason, driving from Lima to Cusco can take as long as two days - whereas if you fly it is a bit over an hour!
What hotel standard do you use?
We have a selection of hotels offering a range of standards. We have visited and tried every single one of the hotels we recommend. The standard depends on you, whether you want first class, medium or guest house standard. All of the hotels we have in our selection offer good value for money, are locally inspired and/or owned (wherever possible) and are charming and tastefully decorated. We also have various ecofriendly properties that we recommend.
What is an Aracari?
Aracaris belong to the Ramphastidae family together with toucans and toucanets. Aracaris inhabit the tropical forests and forest edges of South America from eastern Colombia and Ecuador south to Bolivia and northeast Argentina. There are several Aracari species, some of which are beautifully depicted in these prints by John Gould (1804-1881) the English ornithologist and bird illustrator.