Know Before You Go
Getting Ready to Go
Passports and Visas
It is each traveler’s responsibility to have a passport valid for at least 6 months after the date of travel and a visa if required.
ARGENTINA – U.S. and Canadian Citizens arriving Argentina at Buenos Aires Aeroparque Airport (AEP) or Buenos Aires Ezeiza International Airport (EZE) are required to pay an entry fee of $160, payable online in advance.
BOLIVIA – Visa required. May be obtained upon arrival or in advance by mail or in person at Bolivian consulates in the U.S. Upon arrival, the $135 visa fee is payable in cash only and must be accompanied by a visa application form with a 4cm x 4cm color photograph, a passport with a validity of not less than 6 months, evidence of a hotel reservation or a letter of invitation in Spanish, proof of economic solvency (credit card, cash, or a current bank statement), and an International Vaccination Certificate for yellow fever. Contact the Embassy of Bolivia at 4420 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Suite #2, Washington, D.C. 20008; Telephone: 202-232-4828 or 232-4827; Website: bolivia-usa.org. There are Bolivian Consulates General in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Oklahoma City, and Seattle.
BRAZIL – Visa required. Contact the Brazilian Embassy at 3006 Whitehaven Street, NW Washington DC 20008-3634. Phone (202) 238-2700.Website: http://washington.itamaraty.gov.br/en-us/. Note that those living outside of the this region must contact the consulate of their jurisdiction. There are Brazilian Consulates General in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Hartford, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and San Francisco. Two days following your initial booking and deposit, you will receive complete information via email about obtaining a visa to
CHILE – U.S. Citizens are required to pay an entry fee of $160 which is collected upon arrival in US dollars and payable by credit card or cash upon entry into the country. This fee cannot be paid in advance. Currently, the fee is only charged at the Santiago International Airport.
PERU – Passport information must be submitted 30 days prior to departure. This information is necessary to issue Machu Picchu train tickets.
Cell Phones & Calling Cards
You may wish to carry a cell phone while traveling. Check with your cell phone provider if your phone will work in the destination(s) you are visiting. U.S. service is dominated by the CDMA technology standard, while most of the world uses the incompatible GSM standard. Some U.S. providers do offer GSM, but you may incur high international roaming fees. With GSM, however, you can often choose to have your phone unlocked and then add a local SIM card for lower fees. If you can access the Internet as you travel, you can take advantage of email or a Skype Internet telephone (VOIP) account for the best value. Alternatively, you may investigate renting a cell phone before you leave or buying an inexpensive phone locally.
Wireless Internet Access
There are several easy steps you can take to stay healthy while traveling which may help prevent contracting an illness while away from home.
Notice on Aircraft Cabin Insecticide Treatment – Please note that some countries may require aircraft cabin insecticide treatment for in-bound foreign flights. A list of such countries is available at: http://www.dot.gov/office-policy/aviation-policy/aircraft-disinsection-requirements.
Peru – While no inoculations are required, vaccination against yellow fever is recommended, especially if traveling to the Amazon or onward to Bolivia. Please consult your physician before traveling to Peru.
You may encounter mosquitoes in both urban and rural areas, especially during wet seasons. Travelers are encouraged to bring insect repellant and consider wearing clothing that adequately covers arms and legs.
Traveler’s diarrhea caused by contaminated food or water, often resulting in dehydration, is common. Take care to follow these steps to avoid or reduce the symptoms.
– Drink only bottled water.
– Avoid unpasteurized cheeses and unpeeled or unwashed fruits and vegetables.
– Eggs, meat and seafood should be properly and fully cooked.
– Please note that the popular Peruvian alcoholic beverage, Pisco Sour is often made with uncooked egg white.
– If you have contracted diarrhea, let your stomach rest. Do not eat for several hours or until you are feeling better.
– Drink bottled or boiled water and rehydration beverages containing electrolytes (sports drinks) frequently and in small amounts.
– Resume your diet with simple and bland foods, such as crackers, rice, bread, potatoes, or bananas, which usually will help slow diarrhea.
– High Altitude Illness:
– Altitude illness occurs when there is a lack of oxygen in the air at high altitudes, including Cuzco (11,000 feet) and Puno (12,600 feet). Altitude illness will affect some travelers, with no apparent regard to age, gender or physical condition. Symptoms may include headache, loss of appetite, dizziness and trouble sleeping. For some it will pass within a few hours, however for many the condition if gone untreated may last for several days. We urge you to read and follow these suggestions in order to reduce the chances and/or severity of altitude illness.
– Prior to departure, speak with your health care provider. They may recommend the medication acetazolamide (Diamox), which has been found to reduce the symptoms if taken a day or two before you depart.
– Stick to a light diet the day before traveling to a high altitude. Foods found easy to digest include fish, chicken and hot liquids. Avoid fried foods, beef, lamb and caffeinated or alcoholic beverages.
– Drink plenty of water before and during your stay.
– Upon arrival take it easy. Allow your body to adjust by lying down for 10-15 minutes. Rest as much as possible during the trip. Over-exertion can exacerbate the symptoms.
– Oxygen can be beneficial, and is easily found in airports, hotels and pharmacies.
– For headaches, over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve) have been found to be helpful.
– Coca tea and wild mint (Munia) may ease the symptoms.
A diet high in carbohydrates, breads, cereals, grains, and pasta can also help alleviate the symptoms.
– Once again, we highly suggest you consult your personal healthcare provider before making the decision to travel to any high altitude destination and before choosing any course of treatment.
Climate & Clothing
Peru – The sun is strong, particularly in the higher altitudes. Please bring a sun hat that has a circular brim all the way around (not a baseball cap) and sunscreen. Bring comfortable, cushioned walking shoes for the hard cobblestone streets, a sweater, clothes you can layer and an all-weather jacket. Remember that during your trip you will be traveling between regions and will need to be prepared for all weather conditions. Please check to which season and region(s) you will be traveling and pack accordingly. Winter months (May – October) are cold. During those periods you will need a warm jacket, gloves, a hat and a scarf. Some religious sites may require modest dress to enter (no shorts, short skirts, or sleeveless tops).
Peru Average Temperatures:
Book & Film Recommendations
Many of our guests enjoy reading about their destination – either in advance of their trip or while traveling – as a way of adding context to their visit. Whether reading a traditional guide book, learning about the history and culture, or simply enjoying a fictional novel set in the destination, a good book can add greatly to your experience. Similarly, a good movie set in your destination helps set the mood before you travel. We asked our Tour Managers and staff to recommend books and films which past guests may have enjoyed. The following does not constitute an endorsement of any authors, books or films listed, it is merely a collection of guests’ recommendations.
Lost City of the Incas by Hiram Bingham (1948)
The Nasca Lines by Johan Reinhard (1986)
General Peruvian Life / Exploration:
The Peru Readers by Orin Starn, Carlos Ivan Degregory, and Robin Kirk (2005)
The Conquest of the Incas by John Hemming (1970, reprint 2003)
Lost Tomb of Viracocha by Maurice Cotterell (2001)
The Secret of the Incas (1957)
ABOUT YOU FLIGHTS
E-Tickets & Check-In Procedures
Please review the flight itinerary included in your documents. Print and carry a copy of the air itinerary which contains the record locator (airline reservation number) and e-ticket number(s). At check-in, be prepared to provide your government issued identification (valid passport required when travelling internationally) and your e-ticket itinerary/ ticket numbers to the agent in order to receive your boarding pass.
When e-tickets cannot be issued, you will receive paper tickets.
If your tour program includes foreign domestic flights, and those tickets are not included together with the e-ticket itinerary in these documents, a separate voucher(s) confirming those services will be included. You will receive those tickets at your destination from a Terra Quechua Peru representative.
Please check in at least three hours prior to the scheduled departure time to allow for security steps for international flights. For domestic flights, please check in at least 2 hours prior to the scheduled departure. Many airlines do not permit check-in less than one hour prior to the scheduled departure time. Certain carriers do not allow baggage “interlining,” and luggage must be checked separately for each flight. When you check your luggage, we recommend that you verify where your luggage is being sent. If you are connecting from a domestic flight which is delayed for any reason, causing you to miss your international flight, you must ask the airline for assistance in getting you to your destination. Since all airline tickets are issued on special fares which carry restrictions and penalties if changed, you must have the airlines responsible make alternate arrangements on your behalf as Terra Quechua Peru no authority or control over airline activities and policies. Do not leave the airline check-in desk until an alternative itinerary has been confirmed for you.
Airline Luggage Restrictions
Most international airlines are consistent with regard to the number and weight of the pieces you may check and bring onboard
Most airline tickets are issued using special fares which cannot be changed or canceled without incurring additional cost. Should you lose or misplace your tickets while traveling, you should immediately notify the airline. In most cases they will have you complete a Lost Ticket Indemnity Form, and for a fee, issue replacement tickets.
Peru Domestic Flights
Please note that you may only bring a total of up to 50 lbs of luggage per person on flights within Peru. This weight restriction may differ from your international carrier’s and is subject to change.
Arrival & Departure
Upon arrival, please complete immigration formalities if necessary and claim your luggage. If your program includes airport arrival transfers, check your voucher for specific instructions, as they vary with every destination. In most cases, you will be met after collecting your luggage or passing through Customs by the local representative who will be holding a Terra Quechua Peru sign and/or a sign with your name on it. In some instances you will be instructed to walk a short distance to a transportation counter. The company’s name and location will be printed on your voucher. If for any reason you do not connect with the Terra Quechua Peru transfer personnel, go to the Tourist Information Desk and ask them to page the Terra Quechua Peru Travel representative or phone the number on your voucher.
Due to local traffic and other extenuating circumstances, we ask that you allow 30 minutes from your scheduled transfer time for our representative to arrive. This includes hotel, airport transfers. Such possible delays are taken into consideration in scheduling transfers and you should therefore have no concerns about arriving late for your tour, flight. For transfers from a hotel, let the hotel reception desk or concierge know that you are waiting for a transfer. In the case of a missed transfer, reimbursement for your out-of-pocket expenses will be considered provided you obtain a written statement from the hotel’s front desk verifying the length of time you waited, and the time you left the hotel, and a receipt for your transportation with time and date.
About Your Accommodations
Machupicchu Exploring Peru has carefully selected each hotel based on overall quality, location, price, food, service, and cleanliness. All rooms are standard rooms with two single beds and private facilities, unless you have specifically requested and paid for an upgrade. Room selection is strictly at the discretion of the hotel management. We reserve the right to make hotel substitutions with those of equal standard.
At Your Destination
We support global efforts to create a more eco-friendly world, intolerant of any forms of cruelty, abuse and intentional environmental destruction. To that end we ask that our clients maintain a watchful eye as they travel, and report any abuses they may encounter. One of the many benefits of tourism is the shared cultural knowledge and ultimate elimination of negative behavior through education. We rely on your good feedback to enable this element of symbiosis. As you travel to and learn about foreign cultures, we ask first and foremost that you practice tolerance and respect for local customs.
About Your Sightseeing
To ensure a pleasant and fair experience for passengers on our escorted tours, there is a mandatory seat rotation policy on our motor coaches which will be organized by your Tour Manager. When travel dates coincide with religious holidays and national celebrations, some monuments and sites may be closed, sometimes without prior notice. On these occasions, escorted touring itineraries may be amended to reflect these closures. Occasionally, during holidays and certain periods, and/or due to other unforeseen circumstances including weather conditions, there may be last-minute changes, sometimes after arrival, which may affect the sequence of the tour and locations visited. National monuments and tourist sites regularly undergo renovations, which can obscure the monument’s view. No tour will be canceled due to renovations, however Terra Quechua will decide based on the conditions whether to amend an itinerary.
Land Only Passengers (Escorted Tours)
Your tour manager will contact you after your arrival at your hotel. Passengers who have not purchased arrival transfers from Terra Quechua should proceed directly to the hotel for checkin. The details of the hotel can be found in your documents.
Independent Activities – Terra Quechua itineraries may contain suggestions for activities for your leisure time; these suggestions do not constitute a recommendation nor an endorsement of any specific service provider and the decision to participate in any such activities should be made independently and with due consideration. Terra Quechua is not responsible for any activities not expressly included in its programs. Caution should be exercised when selecting certain activities that may require physical strength, coordination or exertion. Particular care should be taken when considering animal rides, such as on mules or horses
We suggest getting a small amount of currency for the first country you’re visiting before you leave the U.S. It is a good idea to carry a chart with you to help you convert U.S. dollars to the local currency. It’s also a good idea not to carry too much money. Many countries have ATM machines that accept most U.S. ATM cards, but be sure you know your ATM password in numbers-the keypads on foreign ATMs don’t always have letters. ATM machines will only dispense cash in local currency. Check with respective consulates to learn current currency allowances and requirements. Use your credit card whenever possible. Should you decide to carry cash or travelers checks, exchange them at banks where the rate is more favorable than at hotels or exchange bureaus. Please note that many banks and most vendors will not accept or exchange $100 bills. We suggest to carry $20 bills or smaller.
While credit cards are accepted in most destinations, it is advisable to carry local currency. Inform your credit card company that you are traveling to avoid your card being blocked for security reasons.
Most people enjoy bringing home at least one souvenir from the countries they visit. However, some find any amount of shopping to be too much while others never find enough opportunities.
Peru – Peruvians are friendly, serious, honest and traditional people. When shopping for Peruvian handicrafts including pottery, textiles and wood carvings it is not uncommon to negotiate the price down by 20-40 percent.
Your Safety is Very Important
Prior to your trip, if you are traveling overseas, we strongly recommend that you visit the website of the U.S. Department of State at www.travel.state.gov, specifically the section which addresses International Travel. You should read the tips for foreign travel and travel warnings for the country or countries that you plan to visit.
– Be aware of potentially dangerous places and situations as you would be at home. Avoid wearing expensive jewelry and carry your valuables concealed in inside pockets or hidden pouches. Your objective is to avoid drawing attention and to blend in with the crowd
– Don’t put all your valuables (money, credit cards, passports, etc.) in the same place (in case one wallet is stolen, you should have other valuables and identification in another safe place)
– Do not leave valuables laying loose in your room. Use the hotel safe. Keep copies of your passports, credit card numbers and travelers checks numbers in the hotel safe
– Credit cards are generally accepted everywhere and are safer than traveling with large amounts of cash
– Do not pack valuables (cameras, computers, jewelry, etc.) in your checked luggage. Keep hard-to-replace valuables with you in your carry-on bag
– Keep wallets safely tucked into front trouser pockets and/or wear a money pouch inside your clothing
– Carry handbags close to your body, shoulder bags the cross-body method with the bag in front of your body.
Peru – While we recommend that you apply reasonable caution and common sense when traveling in any country, please be aware that in Peru, there are significant issues with theft in public places. Always keep valuables in a safe place and avoid walking alone. We recommend that taxis be reserved via the hotel concierge desk when possible. As in most parts of the world, be aware of your surroundings and keep to well-lit and populated areas.
Tourist Street Scams
Pickpockets and thieves can destroy an otherwise wonderful holiday. Be mindful of these precautions to help avoid being scammed or robbed:
– Remain alert and cautious. Be wary of any unusual contact or commotion in crowded public places, including train stations, markets, subways and tourist sites;
– Be especially careful when traveling independently, or leaving your tour group to explore on your own. Try not to travel alone, especially at night. Avoid narrow alleys and poorly lit streets;
– Use only official taxis and check the change you receive from all taxi drivers and vendors;
– Beware of pickpockets often working with an accomplice who will distract you by spilling something on you, dropping a wallet or other seemingly valuable object, or tripping and falling down in front of you;
– Beware of aggressive street vendors who may approach you offering a demonstration which may end with you being pressured to purchase an item or act as a distraction for another pickpocket;
– Don’t tip beggars;
– Wear the shoulder strap of your bag across your chest;
– Carry modest amounts of cash (US dollars) in small denominations so that you can avoid flashing large bills when paying for small items;
– ATM machines can be a convenient way to carry less currency. However those machines too can be used for robbery. Be wary of anyone who can look over your shoulder when inputting PINs. Another scam involves rigging the machine with a plastic insert which makes your card retrieval difficult; the thief then removes your card after you walk away;
– If you are confronted, do not fight back – give up your valuables. If your possessions are lost or stolen, report the loss immediately to the local police and keep a copy of the official report for insurance claims.
Local Emergency Phone Numbers
General Emergency: 01
Peru – Spanish is the local language. Quechua is spoken in some areas as well. English is generally spoken in tourist areas.
Please note: The U.S. uses 120 volts and you can purchase a converter and transformer at most hardware stores for your 120V appliances.
Code of Conduct
Peru – Shaking hands is the standard greeting. Visitors should observe normal courtesies. The atmosphere is generally informal and casual dress is appropriate. Please demonstrate respect for the cultural artifacts of the indigenous peoples.
Tipping is always a matter of personal discretion. For your convenience, please use the summary below as a guideline for recommended gratuity amounts. Gratuities may be paid in U.S. Dollars or local currency equivalent. Please be aware that tipping is considered by many locals to be a part of their normal remuneration and some may approach you for additional “compensation.” There is no need to be intimidated by the request, nor should you feel pressured to pay more than recommended. If you become uncomfortable by any behavior you encounter, please advise your tour manager or phone our local office. Numbers are provided in your documents for your convenience.
Peru – While it is generally safe to eat fully cooked meats and vegetables, care should be taken to avoid undercooked meat and uncooked fruits and vegetables. Because tap water is not potable, visitors should only drink bottled water or water that has been boiled and filtered. Avoid ice, as it is usually made from tap water.
Peru Holidays 2014
– Jan 1 New Year’s Day
– Mar 28 Holy Thursday
– Mar 29 Good Friday
– Mar 31 Easter
– May 1 Labor Day
– May 30 Corpus Christi (Cuzco Only)
– Jun 24 Cusco’s Day
– Jun 29 St. Peter & St. Paul Day
– Jul 28 Independence Day
– July 29 Fiestas Patrias (Homeland Celebrations)
– Aug 30 Santa Rosa de Lima Day
– Oct 8 Battle of Angamos
– Nov 1 All Saints’ Day
– Dec 8 Immaculate Conception Day
– Dec 25 Christmas
Machu Picchu Trains
Due to very limited storage space, only one small backpack / daypack / handbag per passenger is permitted onboard trains to Machu Picchu. This applies for overnight stays as well. Additional luggage will be transported to and held at your hotel in Cuzco for no additional charge. Passengers who wish to bring extra luggage on the train will be charged an additional fee directly by the train operator; this extra luggage will follow in a separate train.