Traveling Luck for Peru

Peru is located in Western South America, bordering the South Pacific Ocean, between Chile and Ecuador.

Peru has borders with Bolivia for 900km, Brazil for 1560km, Chile for 160km, Colombia for 1496km and Ecuador for 1420km.

Land in Peru is western coastal plain (costa), high and rugged Andes in center (sierra), eastern lowland jungle of Amazon Basin (selva).

Peruvian land covers an area of 1285220 square kilometers which is slightly smaller than Alaska

As for the Peruvian climate; varies from tropical in east to dry desert in west; temperate to frigid in Andes.

Peruvian(s) speak Spanish (official), Quechua (official), Aymara, and a large number of minor Amazonian languages.

Peruvian National Map

Peruvian Map

Regions of Peru

Ancient Peru was the seat of several prominent Andean civilizations, most notably that of the Incas whose empire was captured by the Spanish conquistadors in 1533. Peruvian independence was declared in 1821, and remaining Spanish forces defeated in 1824. After a dozen years of military rule, Peru returned to democratic leadership in 1980, but experienced economic problems and the growth of a violent insurgency. President Alberto FUJIMORI's election in 1990 ushered in a decade that saw a dramatic turnaround in the economy and significant progress in curtailing guerrilla activity. Nevertheless, the president's increasing reliance on authoritarian measures and an economic slump in the late 1990s generated mounting dissatisfaction with his regime. FUJIMORI won reelection to a third term in the spring of 2000, but international pressure and corruption scandals led to his ouster by Congress in November of that year. A caretaker government oversaw new elections in the spring of 2001, which ushered in Alejandro TOLEDO as the new head of government; his presidency has been hampered by allegations of corruption.


Peru Country Profile

Peru's economy reflects its varied geography - an arid coastal region, the Andes further inland, and tropical lands bordering Colombia and Brazil. Abundant mineral resources are found in the mountainous areas, and Peru's coastal waters provide excellent fishing grounds. However, overdependence on minerals and metals subjects the economy to fluctuations in world prices, and a lack of infrastructure deters trade and investment. After several years of inconsistent economic performance, the Peruvian economy grew by more than 4 percent per year during the period 2002-2005, with a stable exchange rate and low inflation. Risk premiums on Peruvian bonds on secondary markets reached historically low levels in late 2004, reflecting investor optimism regarding the government's prudent fiscal policies and openness to trade and investment. Despite the strong macroeconomic performance, the TOLEDO administration remained unpopular in 2005, and unemployment and poverty have stayed persistently high. Economic growth will be driven by the Camisea natural gas megaproject and by exports of minerals, textiles, and agricultural products. Peru is expected to sign a free-trade agreement with the United States in early 2006.

Peruvian natural resources include copper, silver, gold, petroleum, timber, fish, iron ore, coal, phosphate, potash, hydropower, natural gas

shares control of Lago Titicaca, world's highest navigable lake, with Bolivia; a remote slope of Nevado Mismi, a 5,316 m peak, is the ultimate source of the Amazon River

Peruvian religion is Roman Catholic 81%, Seventh Day Adventist 1.4%, other Christian 0.7%, other 0.6%, unspecified or none 16.3% (2003 est.).

Natural hazards in Peru include earthquakes, tsunamis, flooding, landslides, mild volcanic activity.

Travel Advice on Peru

Peru

This advice has been reviewed and reissued with an amendment to the Summary and States of Emergency section (Chanchamayo Province).  The overall level of the advice has not changed.

SUMMARY

  • Street crime is a problem, particularly in Lima and other big cities.  Robberies by rogue taxi drivers in the main tourist areas, including Lima airport, Cusco and Arequipa, are an increasing problem. You are advised to book taxis through reputable companies rather than hailing them in the street. Please see the Crime Section of this travel advice for more details.

  • There is a risk of "express kidnappings".  You should exercise caution when arriving in, and travelling around Peru and be aware of the general risks of crime for visitors.  Please see the Crime section of this travel advice for more details.

  • Heavy rains in Junin Department (Central Highlands) have led to mudslides causing deaths. More rains are expected with subsequent travel disruption.  Please see the States of Emergency section of this travel advice for more details.

  • Street demonstrations and protests are commonplace in Peru, and sometimes turn violent.  You should take care to avoid any area in which large crowds are gathering.

  • You should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.

  • Around 62,000 British tourists visit Peru every year.  Most visits are trouble-free.  The main type of incident for which British nationals require consular assistance in Peru is in connection with opportunistic street crime or robberies, involving pick-pocketing or bag snatches, crimes resulting from riding in rogue taxis, and bus crashes.

  • The Inca Trail will be closed during the month of February.  This is an annual closure in order to carry out maintenance and conservation works.

  • You should carry some form of identification with you at all times.  A photocopy of the relevant pages from your passport is sufficient.

  • We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  Please see:  Travel Insurance


SAFETY AND SECURITY

Crime

Street crime, including muggings and thefts, is a significant problem in Lima, Cusco and other major cities.  You should take care when using web-cafes and similar services as thieves operate in places where people are easily distracted.
You should remain vigilant at all times and avoid walking alone in quiet areas or at night.  It is not recommended that you travel alone to areas outside Cusco at night.  Provincial and Inter-city buses are occasionally held up and the passengers robbed.
You should be particularly careful when arriving at Lima’s Jorge Chavez International Airport.  Unwary passengers are often approached by thieves masquerading as tour operators, people who pretend to know them or bogus taxi drivers.  There have been frequent cases of rogue taxis being used to perpetrate robberies.  You are advised to arrange taxis at the taxi counters at the information kiosk next to the airport exit.
Tourists have also been targeted and robbed by bogus taxi drivers elsewhere, especially at night and in the main tourist areas such as Cusco and Arequipa.  You should always book a taxi from a reputable company, if possible in advance.  If you cannot avoid taking a taxi from the street, be sure to take a conspicuous note of the registration number before getting into the vehicle.  If you have luggage, you should not take a station wagon cab where your luggage can be seen, as it attracts robbers, who use mobile phones to advise cohorts to hold up the cab and rob you further along the road.  And never leave your luggage in the cab with the driver behind the wheel.  There have been incidents where passengers have got out with their luggage still either in the cab or boot and the driver has driven off.  Wait for the driver to stop the engine and get out first.
You should also be aware of the risk of so called "express kidnappings" - short-term, opportunistic abductions, aimed at extracting cash from the victim - that are occurring in the main tourist areas in Peru, including Cusco.  Victims are normally selected at random and held while criminals empty their bank accounts with stolen cash cards.  Once the ransom is paid the victim is usually quickly released. 
There have been a number of cases in the past few years of female tourists being raped.  Most have taken place in isolated areas and mainly in the Cusco region, but cases have occurred elsewhere too.  Women should therefore take particular care in Cusco (and elsewhere) avoiding isolated areas where possible.
There have been incidents of tourists having had money taken from their accounts after using ATM machines, particularly in the Cusco area.  You should take the same precautions when using these machines in Peru as you would in the UK.

Political Situation
Peru Country Profile.
Street protests, occasionally violent, are commonplace in Peru.  It is difficult to predict where and when protests will take place, though most are concentrated in Lima. You should avoid all political protests, demonstrations and any area in which large crowds are gathering.
There were a number of anti-mining protests in the mining districts in 2005 and 2006, some of which turned violent.  There were also a number of attacks against the local authorities by armed groups in remote districts in the Departments of Huanuco, San Martin and Ayacucho.
Local Travel
The Peruvian domestic airline WAYRAPERU suspended all flights from Monday 27 November 2006, following the resignation of the Board.
The area of Puno Department, close to the border with Bolivia has been prone to strikes and protests.  You should check with your travel company, or with the British Embassy, before travelling through these areas.  We also recommend that you consult our travel advice for Bolivia and the travel advice for any other country in the region to which you plan to travel.

You are encouraged to seek advice from the local Tourist Protection Service, whose operators can handle calls and enquiries in English.  They can be contacted on +51 1 424 2053 (24 hours a day).
States of Emergency
A State of Emergency declared for security reasons gives the armed forces responsibility for law and order.  A State of Emergency declared for natural disasters means that the standard service providers in the region cannot guarantee providing normal services and frequently require assistance from central government.  However, the armed forces do not take responsibility for law and order.
A State of Emergency was declared on 24 January 2007, covering the districts of San Ramon and Vitoc in Chanchamayo Province, Department of Junin.  This is to facilitate the relief effort after heavy rains and mudslides in this region.
On 5 December 2006, a State of Emergency was declared in the town of Abancay in the province of Apurimac following violent clashes between police and local protesters. Although order has now been restored, the situation remains tense.
A State of Emergency was declared on 15 November 2006 in the Huallaga Region following severe floods in the Huallaga Valley.  This includes the provinces of Mariscal Caceres, Ventanilla, Picota and San Martin.
A State of Emergency was declared on 22 April 2006, covering the areas immediately surrounding the active volcano Ubinas in the Department of Moquegua in the south of the country.  The areas included in the State of Emergency are Ubinas, Matalaque, Chojata, Lloque, Yunga, Ichuna, Coalaque, La Capilla, Omate, Puquina and Quinistilla in the province of Sanchez Cerro, Department of Moquegua and the district of San Juan de Taracuni in the Department of Arequipa.
On 21 December 2005, and in responseto continued activity by the remnants of the Shining Path terrorist movement, the Peruvian Government declared a State of Emergency in the districts of Marañon, Huacaybamba, Leoncio Prado and Huamalíes in the Department of Huánaco, the district of Tocache in the Department of San Martín, and the district of Padre Abad in the Department of Ucayali.
A State of Emergency also remains in force since 27 May 2003 in Huanta and La Mar provinces in the Department of Ayacucho; La Convencion province, Department of Cusco; (Cusco city and Machu Picchu are not affected); Tayacaja province, Department of Huancavelica; Andamarca district (Satipo province) and Santo Domingo de Acobamba district (Huancayo province), Department of Junin.
Road Safety

You can drive for up to one month in Peru on a UK driving licence and up to one year on an international driving licence.  In either case, you should carry your passport with you to prove how long you have been in the country.
Travel by road outside major cities is not recommended after dark.  Driving standards in Peru (particularly in Lima) are poor, with stop signs and traffic lights often ignored.  Drivers overtake on either side, with little concern for pedestrians or oncoming traffic.  Crashes resulting in death and injury occur frequently.
Bus crashes are commonplace, especially at night.  Inter-city bus crashes have resulted in the loss of life and serious injury.  You are encouraged to use only reputable transport companies for travel between the major tourist centres.  Cruz del Sur and Ormeno both operate with two crews but we have been made aware of several recent instances of robberies having taken place on the former.  A number of inter-provincial bus companies have failed to comply with government regulations to help protect passengers from robbery.

Sand Buggies
There are frequent cases of injury to tourists from recreational sand buggies, particularly in the sand-dunes around Ica and Lake Huacachina.  These buggies are unregulated and the drivers take no responsibility for the welfare of their passengers.  You ride in them at your own risk.


LOCAL LAWS AND CUSTOMS

Drug trafficking is a serious crime in Peru and drug smugglers face severe penalties, usually receiving long terms of imprisonment.  Conditions in Peruvian prisons are unpleasant.  Pack your luggage yourself and keep it with you at all times.  Do not carry anything through customs for anybody else.  You are advised not to take coca leaves/coca tea out of the country.  It is illegal to import these items into the UK.

You are not allowed to take any valuable artefacts from the country without the proper authority.

Homosexuality is legal in Peru but social attitudes generally are fairly conservative.  Any outward display of homosexual behaviour is likely to be frowned upon.  Same-sex partnerships are not formally recognised.

You should avoid taking photographs of anything of a military nature anywhere in Peru.


ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Upon arrival visitors are normally given permission to stay for up to a maximum of 90 days.  Extensions for a further 60 days can be obtained.  Overstaying without the proper authority is a serious matter and fines are imposed.  It is therefore recommended that you double check the period of time you have been granted, as you will be refused permission to leave and can be held in detention until the fine for overstay is paid.  If in doubt, you are advised to check entry clearance requirements with:  Peruvian Representation in the UK.

You should keep the immigration paper given to you on arrival in a safe place as you will need to show this upon departure.  We recommend that your passport should have a remaining validity of at least six months.

Business visitors entering Peru on a business visa are required to complete on departure a form from SUNAT, the Peruvian tax authority.  The form can be acquired from the Peruvian Embassy in London before travelling or at Lima airport on arrival.

Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country.  For further information on exactly what will be required at immigration, please contact:  Peruvian Representation in the UK.


HEALTH

We strongly recommend you take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  Please see:  Travel Insurance.
Medical treatment can be expensive and not always available in some parts of the country.

Yellow fever is endemic to Peru and in 2006 cases were reported in the mountainous and jungle areas of Peru.
There is a risk of dengue fever throughout Peru. You should take precautions to avoid insect bites as there is no vaccine to prevent dengue fever.
There is a risk of malaria in the Amazon basin and other rural areas of Peru. More than three-quarters of British travellers who contracted malaria in 2005 did not take preventive measures, such as malaria prevention tablets.  However, malaria can occur despite appropriate prevention, and therefore you should promptly seek medical care in the event of a fever or flu-like illness in country or in the first year following your return from travelling to a malaria risk country.  Before travelling, you should seek medical advice about the malaria risk in Peru.
Movement at altitudes over 9,000 feet (3,000 metres) can be debilitating, particularly upon arrival.  If you intend to visit Cusco or other high altitude areas you are advised to take things easy, eat only light meals and drink no alcohol for the first day or two after arrival.

You are advised to seek medical advice before travelling and to ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up to date.  For further information, visit the Department of Health’s website at:  www.dh.gov.uk or contact your GP.

NATURAL DISASTERS

Peru is in an active earthquake zone and tremors are frequent.
On 25 September 2005, an earthquake measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale struck the San Martin Department of Peru.  It caused five deaths and 61 injuries.  A similar earthquake occurred on 13 June 2005 on the Peru/Chile border equivalent to 7.9 on the Richter scale.  No casualties were reported in Peru.  Both earthquakes caused power cuts and disrupted telephone services in their areas.
On 27 March 2006, the Volcano Ubinas in Moquegua Department, in the far south of the country erupted, with two similar emissions in mid-April.  A State of Emergency has been declared in the area immediately surrounding the volcano.  The area has been evacuated and access continues to be difficult. See Local Travel section for full details.  You should check with your travel agent before visiting the area.
The rainy season in Peru runs from November to April.  Landslides and flooding can occur, sometimes causing fatalities and making local travel difficult, particularly in mountainous areas.  You are advised to keep up to date with current weather conditions via your local guide, travel agent or tourist information point.
On 15 November 2006, there was severe flooding in the Huallaga Valley, San Martin Region.  At least two people died and 5,000 were affected.  A State of Emergency was declared in the areas affected for 30 days.
In January 2007 there have been more heavy rains in the central highlands of Peru. Mudslides in the San Ramon area of Junin department has caused 16 deaths and left thousands homeless. In the rainy season, roads can be blocked with travel disrupted.


GENERAL

If things go wrong when overseas, please see:  What We Can Do To Help

You should carry identification with you at all times. It is permissible to carry photocopies of the relevant pages of passports to avoid losing the original, which should be kept in a safe place.  If you are remaining in Peru for a longer period you should register with the British Embassy in Lima.

There is a departure tax of US$30.25 (per person) for international flights from Peru. There is also an airport tax for internal flights. This varies according to the airport but internal departures from Lima cost US$6.05 per person. The equivalent sum in Peruvian soles is accepted.

Money

ATM machines can be found in the main cities. Not all shops, restaurants, bars and hotels accept credit cards and it is worth checking whether they do before purchasing or ordering anything. Western Union is represented in Peru, with bureaux in all main cities. This is a quick, reliable way of receiving money from abroad. You should be alert to the possibility of being passed counterfeit US dollars or local currency.

In addition to the Embassy in Lima, there are Honorary British Consuls in Cusco, Arequipa and Trujillo (See below for contact details).

British Honorary Consuls in Peru

Arequipa

Honorary Consul: Mr Reynaldo Roberts MBE
Tacna y Arica 156, Arequipa
Tel: (+51) (54) 24 60 6600
Fax: (+ 51) (54) 606 601
Email: gerencia@gruporoberts.com

Cusco
Honorary Consul: Mr Barry Walker MBE
Manu Expeditions, Urbanización Magisterial
G-5 Segunda Etapa, Cusco
Tel: (+ 51) (84) 23 9974 - 22 6671
Fax: (+ 51) (84) 23 6706
Email: bwalker@terra.com.pe
Adventure@ManuExpeditions.com

Trujillo
Honorary Consul: Mr Winston Barber
Jr Alfonso Ugarte 310, Trujillo
Tel/Fax: (+ 51) (44) 24 5935; (+51) (44) 035 6963
Email: winstonbarber@terra.com.pe