Area: 1,285,216 km ²
Climate: Mediterranean climate
Population: 29,496,000 (est. July 2010)
Government Type: Presidential republicGDP: $274.276 billion (est. 2010)GDP – per capita (PPP): $ 9,281 (est. 2010)
Information for Foreign Students in Peru
Getting There 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, Dallas, 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-US-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. When leaving the country on an international flight you have to pay a departure tax. The amount changes, but expect it to be US $31.00 or the equivalent in soles. This has to be paid in cash before entering the departure area.
Obtaining a Visa
Tourists from North America, Australia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and the European Union (and many others, check with the nearest Peruvian Embassy (http://www.peruvianembassy.us/do.php?p=102) or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for most updated information) receive a visa upon arrival for up to 90 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 $1 USD per day overage, so if you stay 30 days longer it's $30. Many people do this, since it's much cheaper than leaving the country and returning.
Hotels in Peru are very common and fairly cheap. They range from 1 - 5 stars. 5 star hotels are normally for package tourism or business travel, and very uncommon outside of Lima. 4 star hotels are usually a bit on the expensive side ( > US$60 per night) and not common, but in large cities. 3 star hotels are a good compromise between price and quality and usually US$30 - US$50. 2 and 1 star hotels are very cheap ( < 30 US$), but don't expect hot water or a particularly safe neighborhood. In many cities there are hotels in residential areas, but they are not tourist hotels but 'couples' rooms for lovers. They are usually signed as 'Hostel', which can confuse the unaware traveller thinking it was for backpackers.
The currency of Portugal is the nueva sol. ATMs are available in big cities, upmarket hotels, and touristic areas. With a Cirrus or Maestro sign on it, you can withdraw cash easily. Make sure nobody is trying to see your PIN code. The exchange rate is the same as credit cards but fees are much lower. Most banks do not charge a fee for getting cash from their ATM's, however some do. Stay away from BBVA Banco Continental - their ATM's charge very high fees and don't tell you until it's too late (the fee is printed on the receipt, but not on the screen or next to the ATM as it is in other countries).
Cost of Living
As a low budget traveller, you can live on US$ 15 per day without problems. Basic hotels or hostels (hospedajes) can be easily found in all Peru. The cost per night is about US$ 3 - 6. There are a lot of very cheap restaurants (US$ 0.50 - 1.50), but maybe this is not the best place to save your money. In somewhat better restaurants you can get lunch and dinner menus for US$ 2 - 3. Of course, in every city you can find restaurants where you can spend US$ 20 and more if you want.
For international calls, it is often a good idea to go to an Internet cafe that offers Internet based phone calls. You find them in the cities. Internet cafes, called in Peru cabinas públicas, grow like mushrooms in Peru and if you are not really on the countryside, it should not be a problem at all to find one.
The quantity and type of vaccines necessary to travel to Peru depend on several factors, like medical antecedents and locations included in the trip. The most habitual vaccines needed to travel to Peru are against tétanos, diphtheria, typhoid fever, hepatitis A and B, yellow fever (it is obligatory to present the certificate of vaccination against yellow fever to enter in some countries of Africa), rabies and meningitis. Some of these vaccines require more than a dose or a major time to be effective. For that reason, there is recommendable to inquire on necessary vaccines with an advance of 6 to 8 weeks before your trip.
Inside the cities, there is usually no problem getting around on city buses or taxis. Buses cost between 0.70 and 1.50 Soles (US$ 0.20 - 0.40) inside a city, taxis between 7 and 8 soles (US$ 2.00 - 2.40) in Lima, normally less in other cities. 'Taxi' does not necessarily mean a car; the term also refers to bicycles, motor rickshaws, and motor bikes for hire.