Peru is quite possibly the Vegas of ancient sites and for this particular reason it is visited by millions of tourists each year. Yet like any other country in the world, it has its own rules and customs. So, before you delve deeper into the Inca culture, make sure you acquaint yourself with the modern-day Peruvian behaviour-code as well. So, without further ado, here are six things to know before visiting Peru!
1. Toilet paper:
Quite a starter, isn’t it? Well, this is an interesting one but if you come to think of it, it makes sense: toilets usually cannot handle toilet papers (God forbid tampons). For this particular reason, smaller trash bins are installed in bathrooms so that you may cast your used materials into them. Some bathrooms will have stickers and signs that will expressly state this rule. If you fail to adhere to it, you might find yourself with a plumbing problem in no time (not to mention the glares when the plumber arrives at the conclusion that it was all due to your negligence).
2. Credit cards:
Four words: in Peru cash rules. What this means is that venues will charge you up to 10% extra just so you may use your credit card (this is especially the thing in hotels). Find yourself a decent ATM and extract some dough for you are not going to regret it. Smaller banknotes are also advised as you are going to need them everywhere. To avoid petty theft, we recommend that you keep that cash as close to you as you possibly can. Also, do not let strangers touch you or perform “magic tricks” on you for they are likely to be pickpockets.
3. Pirate cabs:
We all know that pirate cabs are a plague around the world but in Peru, the infection is downright rampant. Taxi signs are so abundant that they can be purchased just about everywhere and every single person who owns a car can pretend to be a taxi driver. These people will often be simple extortionists who will take you on unnecessarily long rides for celestial amounts of money. Be sure you hop into metred cars and that you urge their drivers to start them. If you do wish to risk a metreless ride, however, make sure you agree upon a price prior to the trip (this takes a little knowledge of the surroundings though).
4. Machu Picchu:
We know that Machu Picchu has become one of the most visited ancient sites of the world but there is a lot of fuss around it that does not entirely reflect a positive image. Since Cuzco is an important gateway when it comes to the famous Inca city, you might run into nasty travel agencies. Their planned trips are almost always cash-grabs and they will not help you in any way. If you really want to understand Machu Picchu better, read our article “Visit Machu Picchu – The Zenith of the Gods.” We assure you that you will find more information in articles of the sort than on most travel-agency-organised trips. Always keep a clear head and trust in yourself for laying back and allowing “those more experienced” to take over will often leave you with a bitter aftertaste.
This is a painful one but there is little that you can do when it comes to the abundance and ferocity of the Peruvian mosquitos. Chemicals do not seem to affect them and they swarm at any living blood-vessel that they can find. If you visit the wetter parts of Peru, you are going to be in for a lot of stinging. The best advice that we can give you is to ask the locals for the best solutions – we are saying this because mosquitos are known to adapt to certain repellents (we recommend you one solution today and it will be useless tomorrow). Heed the advice of the locals and all should be well.
This is for you daredevils who wish to rock the Inca Trail. Along its length, you will find certain individuals who will be open to carrying your stuff for you for a small fee. These people are so tough and resilient that they will run faster than you without your bags. Always reward them if you choose to call upon their help for they truly are people in need (not to mention the fact that they are as nice as they can get). Oh, and do try and speak Spanish – this goes for everyone, not just the porters, for they admire such efforts.
Did you enjoy our list? What experiences have you had in Peru and how have they affected your overall experience? Hit the comment section below and tell us all about it. Also, do not forget to check back for some interesting updates from time to time!