Peru: General information

  • Population about 30 million people
  • A GDP of $301.5 billion dollars in 2011
  • A total area of 1,285,220 km ²
  • 2414 km of coastline
  • Peru shares borders with Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador and Bolivia
  • The highest point is the Huascaran mount, 6768 m (22.204 ft)
  • Peru has 28 of 31 present climates on the planet (in certain regions of the country, the weather is sunny all year long)
  • 84 of 104 ecosystems of the world are present in Peru
  • Peru has the second highest mountain range in the world
  • With its 1500 m of difference in height, the Colca Canyon is the second deepest canyon in the world (twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the United States)
  • There are 8 national parks and 9 sites designated as World Heritage Sites

Climate :

Peru has a great geographical diversity and is subject to extremely varied climates by the altitude and the seasons. Here is a summary of the weather by region:

  • The coast (Ica, Chiclayo, Lima, Trujillo and Tumbes): Desert or dry tropical climate, there the sun is very present from November to May. The temperatures become milder the rest of the year and the sky is often cloudy because of the influence of the “El niño” sea current.
  • Northern region: Warm climate all the year-round with peaks of heat reaching 35 ° degrees in summer.
  • Central and Southern America: There are two distinct seasons: winter (between April and October) and summer (between November and March).
  • The Sierra (Ancash, Arequipa, Ayacucho, Cajamarca, Cusco and Puno): This region has two seasons: winter from April to October and summer from November to March. In general, winter is a dry season, whereas summer is rainy.
  • Selva or the tropical forest: (Iquitos, Madre de Dios and Manu): La Selva Alta (about 700 meters above sea level) has a subtropical climate characterized by heavy rain. The forest below 700 meters altitude has two seasons: winter or dry season with a sunny and warm climate (from April to October); during summer or rainy season (from November to March) rainfalls are more frequent.

Fauna and flora

Peru is a country immensely rich in biodiversity. It now houses more than 40,000 species of plants, including 3,000 species of orchids.

The Peruvian rivers count about 2,000 species of fishes, more that counts the Atlantic Ocean. More than 3,700 species of butterflies can be observed in Peru, which represents a world record. Peru has registered 1710 species of birds, whose 300 are endemic.

For mammals, there are over 32 species of monkeys, jaguars, pink river dolphins (botos) and giant otters in the rain forest. The Andean fauna is composed of pumas, llamas, alpacas and vicunas. Do not forget the biggest bird in the world with its 3.6 meters of wingspan, the Andean condor.

Gastronomy :

Peru is known in all South America for the diversity of its gastronomy, made by a mix of Spanish and native food. Travelers will have the opportunity to taste local specialities like: • The ceviche, the national dish: slighty cooked or raw fish, marinated in some green lemon juice!

  • The Pisco Sour: a slighty sweetened and sparkling drink made with Pisco (alcohol of white grape), green lemon juice, an egg white and crushed ice. Very refreshing!
  • The Coca tea: an infusion of coca leaf (Andean plant), which is an effective remedy against the problems of height and helps digestion.
  • he alpaca tenderloin: the entire flavor of a beefsteak but without cholesterol!
  • The lomo saltado, sliced cooked beef with vegetables and French fries, served with rice.
  • The Guinea pig commonly called cuy, is cooked in the oven with vegetables. Its flesh is very tender and perfumed.
  • The Anticuchos : bunch of heart of grilled beef, or meat of beef In addition, do not forget the many tropical fruits and vegetables. We make delicious fresh fruit juices, which are possible to taste on the local markets

Peru: General information

Entrance :

  • For a stay of 6 months or lower, no visa is necessary for most countries (check with the Peruvian Embassy in your home country). Be sure to have a passport valid for 6 months after return date.Upon your arrival, the agents of Migraciones will give you a visa going from 1 to 6 months. They will also give you the Andean card of Migracion (TAM), to keep with you during all the duration of your stay.


  • When you will leave Peru, the Andean card of Migration (TAM) will be asked you. In case of loss of theft, it will be possible to request a copy from the services of Migraciones, but the initiative can be long and risks to modify the organization of your journey (in particular your international departure).

In case of loss or theft of your passport:

  • You have to declare the loss or the theft at the closest police station. Once issued this statement, contact your Embassy to continue your procedures

Embassies in Peru:

Embassy of the United Kingdom

  • Torre parque Mar (Piso 22)
  • Avenida Jose Larco
  • Miraflores - Lima 1301
  • Phone: (+51) (1) 617 3000
  • Fax: (+51) (1) 617 3100 Correo electrónico: belima@fco.gov.uk Sitio web:

Embassy of Canada

  • Calle Bolognesi 228
  • Miraflores - Lima 18
  • Phone: (+51) (1) 319 3200
  • Fax: (+51) (1) 446 4912 Email: lima@international.gc.ca You can also consult:
  • www.promperu.gob.pe (offical website of the promotion of Peru)

Health care

In Peru, it is important to follow some rules of hygiene and health. We recommend you to:

  • Do not drink tap water unless it is boiled or purified with tablets
  • Wash your hands often to reduce risks of contaminations
  • Avoid eating meat and fish in the markets; it is preferable to eat in restaurants to taste Peruvian specialities such as the ceviche.

Vaccines :

No vaccinations are compulsory for the travelers from Europe or from Canada. However, some are recommended:

  • Diphtheria, tetanus, poliomyelitis
  • Yellow fever (in case of stay in Amazonia and mandatory for stays in Venezuela from Peru)
  • Flu (recommended for the most fragile subjects, some cases of AH1N1 flu have been detected in Peru).

Stays in Amazonia :

Besides a vaccination against the yellow fever, a treatment against the malaria can be recommended (consult your doctor).

Altitude sickness (soroche):

recommend to the people with cardiac problems to consult their doctor before any travel. For the travelers wishing to make a hike or a trek, it is recommended to train physically (walking, hiking, swimming…)

Our advice to favor a good acclimatization:

  • Hydrate you correctly, drink regularly
  • Eat light and well-balanced food
  • Revitalize you during day (cereal bar, dried fruits, sugar…)

Which medicine to take:

We recommend you to consult your doctor, he will supply you the adequate medicine according to your profile. In case of headaches, prefer aspirin to paracetamol.
We disadvise taking of sleeping drugs, aggravating the hypoxie (lack of oxygen, main cause of the evil of the height). When taking Diamox® : Diamox is a diuretic, which increases the ventilatoire answer in the lack of oxygen. It is very effective in case of altitude sickness. It must be taken in case of persistent troubles. Indeed, a natural acclimatization is to be favored, by taking into account the unwanted effects of Diamox.

The disadvantages of the Diamox:

  • It can cause unwanted effects
  • It is a diuretic, and causes dehydration
  • Administered preventively it makes difficult the detection of a problem due to the height.


During the tours, there is few risks of traveling in Peru. However, it is preferable to adopt some rules when travelling by public transport or during your free visits in the cities:

  • Have a copy of your passport in your luggage (not with your passport). In case of theft, it will be easier to make temporary papers.
  • Keep your money in your pockets or bag near the body, to avoid drawing attention.
  • If you have in your backpack and valuables in transit, remains the bag between your legs or knees so you avoid theft.
  • Don’t hike alone in the remote rural areas without a local contact. There are no risks in general but it is preferable, in every case, to be accompanied to be able to exchange more easily with the local inhabitants.

What to bring

Here is an exhaustive list of what to bring during a journey in Peru.

General :

  • A large backpack (approximately 60 liters) or a suitcase
  • A scarf
  • A small backpack (20-30 liters)
  • Comfortable shoes
  • A hat or cap (for the sun)
  • Sunglasses
  • A waterproof jacket, like Gore-Tex
  • Warm clothes for the evenings, in high places the temperature drops quickly
  • A waterproof jacket, like Gore-Tex
  • First aid kit
  • Pairs of shorts or capri pants

For the treks and the hikes :

  • A backpack (approximately 60 liters).
  • A pants of trek
  • T-shirts in micro-aerated material
  • A polar jacket
  • A pair of trekking shoes
  • Comfortable socks, to prevent blisters
  • A hat / woolly hat (for the cold nights)
  • Gloves (optional)
  • A sleeping bag, in case of night under a tent (mandatory) or at homestay (optional but recommended for your comfort)

Equipment :

  • A flask per person (minimum of 1 liter)
  • A camera
  • Sunscreen with strong protection factor (>50)
  • A lipstick
  • A pocketknife (optional)
  • A flashlight (during trekking)
  • A simple toiletry kit
  • For water activities, an old pair of sneakers
  • Plastic bags (for the waste or protect your stuff in case of rain)
  • A swimsuit
  • An universal adaptor

Pharmacy :

We recommend you to consult a specialist before your departure

  • Your usual medication
  • Pain medications: paracetamol preferably
  • Sticking plasters
  • Disinfecting compresses
  • Antidiarrheal (Imodium for example)
  • Intestinal antiseptic (Ercefuryl for example)
  • Anti-inflammatory cream
  • Collyre (dust, ophtalmia)
  • A cream in case of sunburns (Biafine for example)
  • Insect repellent (if possible with geranium, more effective)

For the hikes :

  • Your usual medication
  • Pain medications: paracetamol preferably
  • Sticking plasters
  • Disinfecting compresses
  • Antidiarrheal (Imodium for example)
  • Intestinal antiseptic (Ercefuryl for example)
  • Anti-inflammatory cream
  • Collyre (dust, ophtalmia)
  • A cream in case of sunburns (Biafine for example)
  • Insect repellent (if possible with geranium, more effective)Purifying pastilles for drinking water (Hydroclonazone, Micropur for example)
  • Your usual medication
  • Pain medications: paracetamol preferably
  • Sticking plasters
  • Antidiarrheal (Imodium for example)
  • Intestinal antiseptic (Ercefuryl for example)
  • Anti-inflammatory cream
  • Collyre (dust, ophtalmia)
  • A cream in case of sunburns (Biafine for example)
  • Insect repellent (if possible with geranium, more effective)Elastic adhesive band (Elastoplast for example, 6cm wide)


We recommend you to inquire with your airline company to check with its regulations about luggage.

Best time to visit Peru

Peru has a great geographic diversity and different climates in all regions, determined by its altitude and seasons, here is a summary of the weather by region:

  • On the coast:the southern summer (from November to April) has high temperatures; the winter is freshly (but never cold) and with early mists.
  • In the Andes and Amazonia there are two mean seasons: the dry season (from May to October) and the rainy season (from November to April). If it is possible to travel in the Andean region during the rainy season, it is however disadvised to go hiking in mountain, where the paths become dangerous by the snowfall
  • In the Andes the weather can be very changeable during the same day. We recommend you to bring with you various clothes, warm for the fresh evenings, lighter for the sunny days, and a rainy coat.

the weather can be very changeable during the same day. We recommend you to bring with you various clothes, warm for the fresh evenings, lighter for the sunny days, and a rainy coat.

Holidays and celebrations in Peru

In Peru, the daily life is punctuated with a large number of festivals, which take place throughout the year, even in the most isolated villages of the country where saints and faiths are celebrated with great fanfare. Some of the most important holidays that you may attend according to your program:

February 2nd : la Virgen de la Candelaria (the Virgin of the Candlemas)

She was named like this further to the vision of a Jesuit priest of the Virgin Mary fighting against a demon. This holiday lasts two weeks; the main day is February 2nd. Considered as a carnival, it is characterized by many parades and folk dance competitions. February 10th and 11th are also two important days in Puno because competitions of dance between the different districts of the city take place in the stadium and in the streets. Then the craziest and most colored costumes illuminate the capital of Altiplano, which lives only for the festival until February 15th.

The Holy Week

It's the last week of Lent. The festivities begin on Thursday after Palm Sunday and lasts until Easter Sunday. The processions take place throughout the country, with major figures as religious icons such as the Virgin Mary. The most impressive and famous processions are in the cities of Ayacucho, Cusco and Huaraz. These festivals are associated with old ancestral faiths of the Catholic traditions imported from Europe

Q’eswachaca Bridge

Every years, the communities of Huinchiri, Chaupibanda, Ccollana Quehue and Pelcaro meet to restore the last Inca bridge of Peru. This bridge is made entirely of ropes of braided grass and requires annual restoration. During these 4 days, this is an opportunity to celebrate all together this event. An unique and unforgettable experience to share with us!

May 31st 2015: Q’oyllur Riti

This is one of the biggest native celebrations of Latin America, gathering more than eighty thousand pilgrims every year. "Ccoyllor Ritti" is a Quechua word meaning 'Snow Star', this Andean belief has been transformed and adapted by the Catholic religion, to be replaced by Taytacha Qoylloriti, the “Lord of Snows”. The people of the Ocongate’s area (located at 2h30 from Cusco), perform an annual rite, whose symbol is the icon of Christ, meaning the integration of man to the nature. This festival is not only associated with the fertility of the ground, but also with the spirits of animals and mountains (apus) and other guardian gods. The main rite takes place at the foot of the mountain Sinakara where meet long processions of pilgrims coming from all the regions.

June 4th 2015: Corpus Christi

Before the arrival of Catholicism in Peru, there was a native holiday to celebrate the 14 Inca kings and emperors in Cusco, the capital of the empire. People made processions of their dead kings’ mummies through the city. Shocked by this practice, the Spanish replaced the mummies by 14 elegantly dressed Catholic icons. So, every year since the beginning of the colonial age, every parishes of Cusco and its surroundings carries his patron saint in procession up to the cathedral to make it bless.

June 24th: Inti Raymi

This festival is a reconstruction of the Fiesta del Sol (Festival of the Sun) which was current within the Inca Empire and which celebrated the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, signal of the end of the agricultural year and the beginning of another one. They worshipped the sun by honoring it with many sacrifices of animals and with offerings to assure its return and thus, the beautiful season. Many dances and Incas customs are reconstructed through a great show staging thousands of actors throughout the day. The representation takes place on the site of the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, adding at the same time a historic and mystic dimension.

July 16th: Virgen del Carmen (Our lady of Mount Carmel)

This festival is directly inherited from the Spanish Catholic tradition. Refers to an apparition of the Virgin Mary on the Mount Carmel, in Israel. One of the places of cult of the Virgen del Carmen is in Paucartambo, Peru. Parades of dancers in colorful costumes take place in the region of Cusco, and that day the Virgen blesses the participants and takes the demons away.

July 28th: The National Day (Independence day)

It commemorates the declaration of independence of Peru by José San Martín who takes Lima on July 28th, 1821. On this occasion, military and student parades take place in all the country.

August 15th: La Virgen Asunta (the Virgin of the Assumption)

As in all the catholic countries, the Assumption is an important holiday. On August 15th, there are processions and festivities in the main cities.

September 14th: The Lord of Huanca pilgrimage (el Señor de Huanca)

This pilgrimage is an annual event held in memory of the Incas exploited in the mines by the Spanish during the colonial time. El Señor de Huanca became the icon of the working poor and mistreated working. On September 14th, the inhabitants of Cusco walk until Huanca, a village near Pisaq, where is located the sanctuary of the Lord of Huanca.

Travel information


Between England and Peru, there are 6 hours difference from March to October (summer time). However, from November to February, there are only 5 hours apart.

Between Quebec, Canada, there is only one-hour difference from March to October and no difference from November to February.


Voltage : 110/220V
Frequency: 50/60 Hertz
There are 2 kinds of electrical outlets in Peru:
Even if it is sometimes possible to connect your devices in the second type, we recommend you to bring with you a universal adapter for your journey in Peru.
In Amazonia forest, the electric access is limited to a few hours a day. We recommend you to recharge your batteries before arriving at Puerto Maldonado.


From Peru, it is very easy to communicate with friends and families; there are many phone boxes and the Internet coverage is very good.
To call from Peru to England: 00 + 44 + phone number of your correspondent.
To call from Peru to Canada: 00 + 1 + phone number of your correspondent.
To call from England / Canada to Peru: 00 + 51 + area code of the city (without 0) + phone number of your correspondent.


You will find mail boxes in every airport, and in most of the hotels. However, we recommend preferring central posts.
It is necessary to count at least 10 days for the addressee receives a letter since Lima.