My wife and I recently visited Peru for an amazing 10 days. There are boatloads of articles out there about stuff you should know before visiting Peru. I have compiled another such list containing information that I wish we knew before making our travel plans. We also researched a lot about how we could do Peru in 10 days, and so I am making our itinerary available in a separate post. This was arguably the best trip we’ve made since we’ve taken traveling more seriously. We soaked ourselves in Peru’s astonishing beauty and culture and felt a strange void once we returned. I have so much to say about how our perspective on life has changed after Peru, but that deserves its own space.

  • Most transactions (taxis, restaurants, hotels, tour reservations) in Peru happen in either Peruvian Soles or US Dollars. But for local shopping, it’s best to carry Soles. There are ATM machines in most big cities but the transaction fees can get ridiculous (sometimes $13) and most ATM machines have a limit on how much you can withdraw on each transaction. So get your dollars converted to soles and stash it before getting to Peru. Some restaurants and hotels also accept credit cards (MasterCard, Visa), but the card readers can be unreliable, so its best to not rely on cards.

  • Taxi rates are almost always negotiable. Never settle for the rate that’s first quoted as it is usually double or triple the actual rate. The easiest way to find out is to inquire with your hotel/tour guide/someone at the airport about the fare before you talk to the taxi drivers.

  • Most restaurants/tours offer fresh fruit juices. They are delicious and made with organic fresh fruit. The catch is that (there always is one) sometimes, they add water to these juices, and its not always bottled water. Enquire before you indulge. You don’t want to be drinking unfiltered water in Peru.

  • The meat in Peru is delicious, and a must have, or so my wife tells me. I was apprehensive about vegetarian food, but to my surprise, it was delectable. The vegetables and fruits are so fresh and flavorsome. If you happen to be vegetarian, rest assured that you’ll be treated well.

  • If you are visiting the Amazon rainforests(and you should!!), make sure you visit REI or an equivalent sports store. There is a laundry list of items you should get and you can never over prepare. In case you do forget to pack an extra long sleeved shirt or a hat, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to buy them in Peru (maybe not of the same quality). I’ll post our list in a separate blog post

  • It’s extremely useful to learn some Spanish before you go to Peru. Although we got by with some broken Spanish, and English, there were times aplenty when we wished we knew more Spanish. Plus learning a new language opens up so many doors for you, so why not?

  • Getting to the airport a couple of hours before your flight departs is a good idea, even for local flights. The chaos at the airports can be frustrating and time-consuming, so leave yourself plenty of time to spare.