Perú: Emily’s Travel Tips and general handy information

Preface:  I am married to a Peruvian man that has family, property, and regular visits.  This information is updated by me when I travel and edited by him when he heads back.  We try to keep it as current as possible or make notes on things that are clearly dated.  If you have any comments or tips after your trip, please note them in the comments space at the bottom of this page.  If you are looking for basic travel information, nothing beats http://tripadvisor.com/.  If you are within a month from traveling, this is the best time to go over this information so that you can buy the recommended products and slim down your unnecessary items. After my first trip, this list has been invaluable for reminding me of the things I had forgotten when prepping to return.  If you blog about your trip, especially if you have pictures or video, please post a link in the comments.  I’d love to see.

Planning to travel to Perú?  

Especially if you are from the USA?  Here are my tips. Below are  photos from two trips in 2011.  I posted this on TripAdvisor.com.  Here is the link, if anyone wants to see the discussion/responses/questions: http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g294311-i818-k4426488-Emily_s_List_of_Tips_for_Traveling_to_Peru_March_2011-Peru.html

 

There are several pages of responses and questions to this information on Travel Advisor.  I will compile them below this list to make it easier to filter through.

 

If you plan to print these, it is easier to do a cut-n-paste from the tripadvisor website–the pix aren’t mixed in.  The information that I added here is in bold.

 

Emily’s list of tips for traveling to Perú — March 2011

These were accurate (in my mind) as of the date above. I traveled around the Southern half of Peru over a couple of weeks and was in the country for almost a month. I read everything I could find before the trip and these are the things that either I could not find answers to or that surprised me. Good luck in your own adventures. (Please forgive me if anything seems offensive or questionable. I know that each person has his or her own experiences–this is just how I interpreted my adventures.)

1.) Dust is everywhere in Lima and some other places (Nazca!). Lots of it. Your fingernails will always need cleaning. Take a small nail brush.

2.) Save your soap slivers at home and toss them into a baggie for this trip. You can break them into pieces and have enough to use in a public bathroom by tucking one or two into a pocket each day. Just leave it there after using or toss in the trash. Soaps from hotels are great for this, too. This is also handy for showers in various towns where you don’t wanna waste a new full sized bar. (Thanks Cara!)

3.) Sunblock is your friend. Get a small container to carry. High SPF’s are a good idea. Sweat-proof (ha ha ha) is also a good idea. Don’t forget to use a hat.

4.) It is noisy! Drivers honk to indicate their location in relation to other vehicles and to pedestrians. They also seem to honk for entertainment.

5.) Hot water. It is a luxury. Most people shower cold or with an electrical device that is a showerhead. I never saw one that sprayed well.

Don’t. Touch. This. While. Showering! It. Will. Hurt!

It is not uncommon to see a light switch actually in the shower of a hotel or hostel.

 

6.) For laundry, bring a bar (Zote) of washing soap or some liquid. If you are using powder, you might wanna put a small amount (1/2 cup?) into your blender and grind it into the finest powder possible. (Wait for it to settle to take off the lid or pour it outside so you don’t breathe it.) Plastic clothes dry much, much faster than cotton–nylon, rayon, polyester. Practice hand washing in a tiny container while at home so you have the skill already when you need it. Travel books describe laundry services as being everywhere. This is a lie. If you are traveling to a new city every 2 days, there isn’t enough time for your jeans to dry on the line used by the lady you pay to do your laundry. Be prepared. (You can take one pair of jeans and buy some cool pants made from Peruvian fabrics as a souvenir/useful item.) A place to hang something in a hotel shower is a rarity. And the humidity in the shower area prevented what I did wash from ever drying. We did pay one day for laundry after 11 days. (I had hand washed my underthings and they were still wet after 2 days.) It was 10 soles for 2 kilos of clothing in Cuzco.

7.) Women – I recommend that you take a sarong. It is multipurpose and very handy. I used mine every single day. (Emergency towel, cover, skirt, shawl, etc)

8.) Cheap flip-flops. Use them in the shower and everywhere when you are not in your regular shoes. The floors are almost always tile and super slippery or super dusty/dirty. Make sure they fit together in a Ziploc. If you have any of those silica moisture-absorbers, this is a good time to throw one in.

9.) Pepto Bismol. Bring it. When you need it, you don’t want to have to look for it. It can be difficult to actually locate it in the pharmacy. It is always behind the counter in Perú.

10.) Public restrooms. Well.

    • a.) Take a baggie everywhere in your purse/pack and use it to hold a packet of Kleenex, a 10-pack of Clorox wipes, a couple of hand wipes, and possibly wipes for your tender parts (Always brand wipes are individually wrapped). A feminine item might be a good idea to include also. A couple of paper towels is not a bad idea to include as well. A roll in your suitcase for replenishment is good too.
    • b.) Public restrooms almost never have toilet seats and certainly never have toilet paper. You pay for this outside–usually half a Sol. It is a good idea to have a shirt with a pocket to hold your precious paper. If you are carrying a backpack, take along an over-the-door hook so that you can hang your pack on the wall instead of placing it on the floor. You really never, ever want to do this.
    • c.) It is not uncommon to see a large barrel of water for flushing. There is a bucket. You pour this into the commode after taking care of business.
    • d.) Paper does NOT go in the toilet. It goes in the trash. Always.
    • e.) IF there is a seat, it is often of such poor quality that you are likely to get pinched. If you need to sit, seat yourself slowly.
Restroom are thataway!
This is a receipt.  I have no idea why I needed one, but it is common.  (Note: This is wet because I washed my hands.)
“Playa” is a trick.  Playa in Perú is a parking lot.  This sign was unusual.  It has the price for entrance and paper separate.
The first time I entered this restroom, I was unprepared to have no paper in the stalls.  Here, you take it in with you.

My first experience was like this: We paid for restroom privileges. The food vendor took us back there where she proceeded to scoop 3 buckets of water from the barrel and pour them from the height of her head into the toilet. Water splashed EVERYWHERE. The smell was horrible. The Clorox wipes work great for dry surfaces but waterlogged ones–well, not so great. I cleaned every surface starting with the door knob and then the broken sink and finished off with the toilet. There was no place to put my belongings or the paper. (My companion held it.) There was, of course, no soap, so I used friction to de-germ and chased that with hand sanitizer. I made a mental point to not consume ANYTHING in that particular market.

This is a public restroom. The blue barrel is for water for flushing. I have a severe phobia about such places but my severe phobia of having an “accident” is justtttt slightly more intense, so I managed. Of course, you know that I had some travel packets of Clorox cleaning wipes with me. The odor was rather intense, I must add. Note the trashcan in the corner–you can’t flush toilet paper in most countries and Perú is no exception. (This photo was taken after I had cleaned the touchable surfaces.)

 

11.) Take plastic bags for vomiting. I am serious. In the very least, always have a couple of gallon Ziplocs available.

12.) If you ever get nauseaus in your regular life, prepare for it here. If you use medicines, take them. Crackers (galletas- Soda in the red packages were good for me) are great too. A treat sold by street vendors “trigo dulce” was like big Honey Smacks and was dry and helpful for me, too. Coca tea (mate de coca), coca candies, and chewing the leaves (pick off the stems) are options, too. Sipping Coca-Cola was good, too. Many Peruvians believe that if they eat nothing, they won’t vomit. From what I witnessed, that method doesn’t seem very effective.

 

Trigo dulce

 

 

13.) A food vendor that you have to wait in line for is probably a safe bet. When you are hungry, look for a crowd. Street foods are great and delicious. I recommend juices, hamburguesas with everything, and skewered beef hearts dripping with ahí. (You get bonus GI health points for foods that are cooked in fire in front of you.)

 

14.) Many people recommend that you don’t ever eat anything fresh or uncooked. This is unrealistic for more than a couple of days and you are missing great experiences by avoiding the richness of fresh delights. Any fruit that you have to peel is a great option. Apples and grenadillas are wonderful for taking on a bus. Have them in a plastic bag and you have a place to put the peels.

Your digestive tract will have to adjust to the local situation. This happens everywhere. It slowed me down a bit but did not stop me from enjoying myself and going everywhere that I wanted. I requested salad with almost every meal in almost every restaurant. (Thanks again, Cara.)

How To Eat a Grenadilla

 

15.) Coffee is normally a cup of scalded milk (with a skin on it) or steaming water handed to you with a tin of coffee powder. Sometimes it is a concentrated liquid instead of instant.

White cup of milk with vial of coffee to mix together in green cup.
Vial of coffee with steaming glass of milk.  Also, steaming glass of water that we added coca leaves to for tea. (Kindle battery lasts for 3 or 4 weeks so you can have books and reference notes that are gathered before traveling all together without charging.)

16.) Carry a pocket knife. I used mine several times every day. Make sure it is easily cleaned and easy to close. (You can peel your apples or open packages or whatever.)

(Don’t forget to pack it for airline travel. I did not have problems with having it on buses.)

 

17.) Lots of “tours” don’t actually include the entrance fees to the places you are driven to. Be sure to confirm this before paying.

18.) Take a small notebook to write down vocabulary that you learn, addresses, email addresses, and any tips like the ones listed here. I used mine all the time. Put information that you might need in it before you go. (Hint: Take a photograph of email addresses–It won’t get lost in your digital camera and the address will be next to the photo of the person that it belongs to. )

19.) When you enter a hotel, ask for a couple of business cards. When negotiating your taxi fare, it is easier to hand the card to the driver than to try to describe the address.

20.) Make up a first-aid kit with at least the following: 2 Sudafed, 2 Benedryl, Pepto, aspirin, ibuprofen, band-aids, cleaning wipes, and, if you can find it, a small container of Vicks. You will be prepared for at least the first day if you get one of the typical illnesses. I used all of these except the benedryl in the weeks I was there. (Hint–a smear of Vicks under your nose makes public restroom odors easier to tolerate.)

21.) Take photos of every sign outside of a place (museum entrance, direction sign, ticket stub) so that when you get home and are trying to label your pictures, you have the location and name right there. If the sign has the entrance fees on it, that is neat to have because people often ask “how much?”.

 

22.) Suffering from altitude sickness in one location does not get you off the hook for the next high elevation place.

23.) Don’t buy souvenirs on a tour. It just means you have to haul stuff around from museum to museum to scenic lookout site that you could have bought in town near your hotel. Unless it is really unique, don’t bother. The exception is postcards.

24.) Machu Picchu

This is the entrance to MP just after you enter the main gates.  On the left is where the stairs are that you will climb-climb-climb to the incredible vistas that you came here to see.
    • a.) Take a flashlight. Exiting the train station on the left side (when your back is to the tracks) means you will hike for maybe 30 minutes in the dark. It is not a bad path, but when it is night, it is not particularly pleasant, either. The end of the path is filled with taxis offering to take you back to Cuzco. If we had not had a ride back, it would have been no problem finding one there. ( This one is outdated–it was true for us in March 2011 and is possibly true for future train track repairs or problems.)
    • b.) Buy a plastic poncho in Aguas Calientes (the town at the base of Machu Picchu). The ones there are semi-permeable and allow your wet stuff to dry out while keeping more water from getting in. They are 2 soles (March 2011). If you have to travel to a wet area later, you can probably throw this over your drying clothes outside to continue allowing them to dry while the rain is falling.
It POURED rain while we were in AC.  It was perfect in MP.
  • c.) Once in Machu Picchu, you can use a guide. Or not. We had one but elected to just wander on our own. We had studied this before and already had a good idea of stuff so it was a great pleasure to just experience it with on our own time. In the future, I might like to use a guide, but honestly, there are so many wandering around with other tourists, that you can just listen to what they say and you are not rushed to move on from that spot before you are ready. Most of the tour guides seemed to speak in English or German on the day we were there. (If you are out of shape, but could go to Six Flags or Disney then you can probably tour MP.  BUT–a guide will not be out of shape and possibly not be very patient with you.  You can always return to the gate and hire a guide when you want–there are plenty!)
  • d.) When you enter, there is a sign pointing to some steps up on your left. Those steps go up up up and give you the best photos–the ones you see in postcards and magazines. Don’t walk back down those steps. Plenty of people do it but you can continue on from up high and circle back in your wanderings.
  • e.) Take pix of everything you can then edit those down later. If you have video on your camera, use that too. I wish I had used that more often throughout my trip.
  • f.) If you did not go on a tour, you can buy tickets onsite. This includes the train to, the bus up the mountain, the train back, and whatever else. Next time we go, we will stay the night before and after so that we can spend an entire day.  (NOTE:  This changed after we went–there is a limit to the number of people who can enter.  Buy your tickets ahead of time.  There are places in Cuzco where you can buy tickets for a premium, if you didn’t get them before traveling to Perú.)
  • g.) Food and drinks are forbidden but necessary. There is no place for trash until you exit. Be prepared to carry it. There are no restrooms inside either. (Try to figure out where the people who used to live there dealt with that.)
  • h.) You can walk up to Machu Picchu from town if you feel energetic. You can also walk down. Back to town takes the average individual about 2 hours according to one of the locals. No matter how energetic you feel, expect to use every bit of your energy exploring while there.
  • i.) Agua Calientes is full of Mexican restaurants and pizza places. You should also try to enjoy the springs in Aguas Calientes (10 soles per person-March 2011). You can rent a suit and towels if you don’t have them).
The tortillas here were about 14 inches across.  I am pretty sure that no Mexican has ever worked here.  The single bottle of tequila was covered in dust. (What is a Tequeño?)

 

  • j.) Hiking boots are a good idea. (Timberland brand has a great reputation. I borrowed some while there, the pain I have from an old fracture disappeared while using them, and I bought a pair immediately when I returned home. I don’t know about any other brands.) Some people were in loafers or sandals. Neither is really a good idea here.
  • k.) Wear a tank top, t-shirt, and light jacket so that you can take off what you don’t need. You can buy another sweater from a street vendor when you need it later, IF you need it.
  • l.) Biting flies. The only annoying insects I experienced while in Perú. Maybe some Bullfrog would be good since you get double duty from it (sunblock and insect repellent together).

25.) PromPeru is a site with lots of great info in a variety of languages including other people’s written accounts and phone numbers of various businesses.

http://www.peru.travel/en/

26.) Arequepa = Flies. Yes. Many. Everywhere. Moquegua has a lot, too. (These billboards confused me.)

 

 

 

 

27.) Nuvaring is sold without a prescription. I found it in Arequipa but not in smaller cities. It was about 15 dollars. (Pharmacy = Botica Fasa) I can only guess that other types of birth control are also sold without a prescription.  (Note:  A month’s supply of birth control pills is around 2-3 bucks in Lima. I did buy a good supply to bring home with me-no problem.)

28.) You cannot carry any intact fruits or vegetables to Arequipa or Moquegua. The pits and peels are okay, but not a whole fruit. We were searched at a checkpoint before entering one of the cities.

29.) Traveling buses – 3 options

  • a.) Economico – Stops often. Vendors will enter to sell stuff. No movies or reclining seats. My experience was silence until the last hour when the driver started blasting Mexican music. Seriously.
  • b.) Imperial – Tv’s, movies, reclining seats, (sometimes you are pinned in and can’t get up without getting the person in front of you to lift up), no stops for new passengers, maybe a meal stop or an attendant giving drinks and sandwiches (hint–your own food is wayyyyy better!). Toilets for non-solids only. Take you own paper and Clorox. The Vicks trick is a good one for this restroom. Sometimes you get a blanket or pillow. This is a great option for overnight–no hotel costs and you can sleep as you travel. Earplugs are a really, really good idea.
  • c.) Presidencial – better than imperial. Roomier. Costlier.

 

 

The bus station in Nazca is where cargo is loaded up to travel, also.  Yes, that is a propeller.
This is the bus station in Arequipa.  The restrooms are behind me.  The pharmacy is all the way at the other end on the right.  I was sick from the altitude but didn’t know that was the cause.  I was vomiting and achy and slept until after dark when we got to the hotel.  (This photo was around 7am.) Note:  I am extra sensitive to altitude changes–more than the average person.

30.) The drinking age is 18.

31.) Tomatoes are picked ripe and really, really delicious.

32.) Candy bars are about 1.50$ to 2$ each so bring any comforting chocolate that you’ll want.

33.) Sugarless gum is a great idea. It is nice to have to share since people love having “Gum from the USA”. This is a nice ice breaker and way to make an instant friend. Clorets gum is sold almost everywhere.

34.) Napkins. This seems to be a big deal. They are always single ply and very small and usually folded. Often, a roll of toilet paper in a dispenser is what is available. Wet Ones were a great idea to take.

A toilet paper dispenser on the food counter.

 

35.) Visa gift cards are excellent for traveling in the US. Not so great for traveling in Perú. It was refused as often as it was accepted. My own bankcard (debit card) was accepted almost everywhere. Mastercard seems more popular than any other brand. Cash in smaller denominations is always good.

36.) Cash is easiest to get from an ATM. You can exchange cash and some places take US money but I could never tell when it was good to use or not. US money was accepted at the movies, a couple of restaurants, and some tourist places. There are money exchange people in most touristy areas on the streets. They seemed a bit creepy to me.

37.) Carry coins always (50 centimos = restroom access) and 10 and 20 soles bills. 50’s are okay, but most street vendors can’t deal with them. Coins are best for nearly every street vendor transaction. Print out a picture of each coin type and study it on your flight over.  I still have problems and I spent 6 weeks there last year.

38.) For every type of item that you like, it is a good idea to begin comparing prices in various places before purchasing so you have a clue what it is really worth. The art that I like best varies in price from 45 soles to 150 for comparable pieces.

39.) You can buy a hat, sweater, mittens, ceramics, jewlery, and snacks in every city of the same type. In the southern half of the country, I saw all the items for sale everyplace except Lima. If you are traveling with only a backpack, you might wanna consider waiting until you get to your final city before buying lots of goodies for your friends and family back home. Ask other travelers who have been to your final city what things were for sale there. Again, postcards are different. Every city sold postcards for Nazca and Machu Picchu. The best selection I found was in the Cuzco airport.

40.) Take pix of your hotels/hostels/sleeping arrangements to share on TravelAdvisor with others. This is also a good place for you to reference in the future. An informed traveler is a happier traveler. (Thanks again, Cara.)

http://www.tripadvisor.com/

41.) In every town we found hotels or hostels offering a double bed (matrimonial) with a private bathroom for around 55 soles a night. Quality varied greatly!

42.) Ladies: Carry a purse with a strap that crosses your body from one shoulder to the opposite hip. It is much more secure and easy. Make sure there is an inside camera pocket. and an outside handy-stuff pocket.

43.) Cell phone rental

In the airport in Lima, not far from the left side of Duncan Donuts and not far from the right side of the passenger-only-checkpoint is a place to rent a cell phone. It’s called “Perú Rent A Cell” or “Free Cell”. 10$ for a month gets you outgoing calls for 50 cents a minute in country and 1.50$ international. Incoming calls are free.

NOTE: Try it out before traveling and make sure you can use the numbers you have. If someone calls you, you can’t just return that call to reach somebody. You have to use a code to call out and this is REALLY GOOD TO PREPARE FOR by programming in the numbers of your companions and TESTING them. I did not know this and could not call anybody except my family in the US whose numbers I had saved my first day in Lima. NOTE #2: It has a great flashlight.

 

44.) Before you leave, make up several draft emails to the people you want to contact. Have a tentative title, if you want and be sure all the email addresses are in place and ready to fill in necessary details and just hit send. Not all keyboards are the same and sometimes it is impossible to find the characters you need to type that email. (Underscores in email addresses really gave me problems!). Doing this saved me lots of time. Some places will turn off the power to the computer or the computer room when they feel like it. If you are typing anything of length, do save it as a draft every couple of minutes.

45.) There is a periodic weird bird call that you will hear throughout daylight hours in Lima. It is an ice cream salesperson. 🙂

46.) On my last day, late in the day, going from one side of Lima to the other, I was moved from the middle of a bus to the front because I am white. I had looked for the space with the most leg room behind the grandma-seats and apparently that is not appropriate. I was made to move up to the front (which made me feel bad for the grandmas since we were on the bus for more than an hour). My companion told me to NOT ARGUE, JUST MOVE NOW. “Okay, okay–it’s not my culture.” Sigh.

47.) Taxi prices. All Peruvians haggle over this. Don’t be shy in saying that it is too much or offering an amount that seems crazy low to you. Also, many of them will refuse to drive to that location because it is too far or traffic is bad. This is common. When one won’t stop, there is almost always another immediately behind it waiting to talk to you. Taxis outside of Lima in many cities have signs on top. This makes it easier to spot a “real” taxi.

 

Bargain, always.  But expect to pay more than a local.  This is my (now) husband.  He always tells me to hide so they wouldn’t charge him more because I am white. I took this photo through the window of our front door.

48.) Electric outlets. They look funny but on the single item I brought (my camera battery charger), it worked fine in every location. The rental phone that I used had the exact same charger that I use back home with my own cell so I was able to charge that up to use when I got home to Houston. I never saw a converter available. I bought a USB charger for the wall but it did not work with my Kindle (it was 5 soles or about 2$). Everybody I asked from the US said their stuff worked normal.

49.) Use the minimal shampoo and rinse your hair before soaping up in case you run out of usable warm water or, worse, the water is cut off. (Yes, this did happen to me. I had only cold water so I had turned on the water and doused myself in about 4 seconds then turned it off to soap/shampoo up. When I turned it back on, the water main had been destroyed out in the street and I had to use bottled water to finish my shower. I have long hair. The water was off for more than 24 hours.)

50.) Feminine items are sold in every bus station and small store that I saw. Unless you have allergies, you should be able to find needed items easily. (In cities)

51.) When I was alone, everyone stared at my eyes (outside of Lima). My eyes are green and obviously a novelty to most folks there. When my husband would walk up, everyone suddenly was looking elsewhere. The first time I was surprised but after that, it was a bit amusing.

52.) Supermarkets: If you want shampoo, you must pay in that section (pharmacy); if you want cake, you must pay in the bakery; the store has sections and it can be tricky to figure out exactly what can be paid for where. Also, here in my city, there is usually a row of carts with items that people elected not to buy that are waiting to be returned to their locations or that are on sale. If you see a group of baskets that appear to be like that in Lima, it is really people’s parking area for their baskets while they continue shopping nearby. Don’t “shop” from them. I made that mistake and everybody in my new family thought it was hilarious!

53.) Prices that were current in March 2011

Cheap dentist – cleaning = 10$

Good dentist – cleaning = 35$

Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks = comparable prices to the US.

Most postcards in most locations are one sol.

Train ride on the Machu Picchu Train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo (where you then take a different ride to Cuzco) is 50$ US including taxes

Dinner for 3 adults with plenty of leftovers in a Chinese food restaurant (Chifa) was about 20$ on my credit card.

Inca Cola = 2.20 soles (in la tienda), 1.80 on the street.

Cold medicine = (sold by the pill) approx .60 sol each

Salchipapas = 2-3 soles in the street, 5-8 soles in a restaurant

una manaza/apple = 1 sol

a knit hat (gorra) = 8 soles on the street

mittens (guantes) = 5 soles (ones that have a cover for the fingertips that can be removed is easier for using your cell phone!)

papa rellena (stuffed potato) = 4 soles

loma saltado = 15 – 20

going to the movies = 15 soles

popcorn/drink combo in the movies = 12-20 soles

Las Catacumbes de San Francisco = 10 soles (or about 3.50$)

haircut women = 8 soles

haircut men = 5 soles

La Museo de Nacion de la Cuidad de Lima = gratis

Plaza de Armas in every city is public and free and awesome

Red bus for tourists (double-decker) in Lima = 8 soles (excellent!!!!)

Museo Antonini (in Nazca) = 10 soles

30 minute flight to see the Nazca Lines = 100$-120$ (bigger people pay more) They will ask your weight in kilos and weigh you sometimes. If you weigh more than 100kg (220 lbs), you will pay approximately 50% more.

GENERAL TRAVEL TIPS:

1.) https://step.state.gov/step/

Go to this site to register your info so that if you disappear or are in a problem situation, SOMEBODY official knows your info and who to notify.

2.) I took a Kindle with me and highly recommend it. The 3G version allows you to check your emails in every city I was in and keep contact with your family. The battery lasted about 9 days with checking emails 2x/day then turning the signal off. We used this like crazy for information and entertainment. We also put copies of all the travel books on here.It is not so handy for books where you like to flip pages back and forth, but it reduced our packing volume so much that the trade off was worth it for us. There are lots of bus-reading-opportunities when traveling across country! I never saw an iPad or other computer-reader in action–maybe because they have to be charged so often? Maybe the battery time can improve on other types of readers soon.

3.) Don’t. Over. Pack.

People really do live there successfully. Plus shopping for your typical items is a good experience. I had to replenish Q-tips, toothpaste, shampoo, laundry soap, and many other necessary items. If you want, take only enough for a day or two then get what you need. Your back will be much happier with less overall junk, and that is what you will think of your “necessary” items in about 2 days.

4.) Take a magnifying glass (lupa). It is handy in many, many places and doesn’t take up much space.

 

 

 

5.) Organized tour buses where you are up on top of a double-decker is great fun, allows for great pix, and is generally cheap.

6.) If you forget or lose your travel book, in popular areas, there are always people holding theirs in their hands, ask to take a peek.

Some of my pictures that are posted on Facebook.

Signs that you may be in Perú

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1832971418058.2100486.1053572552&l=6d7ded324f

Tips for traveling to Perú (accompanying photos)

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1832824334381.2100478.1053572552&l=452f0d8c8d

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

PERÚ PHOTOS 

 

These are pictures from the trip to Peru, October 2011.  This time, we did several touristy things, but I also used this opportunity to see 3 doctors and a dentist along with some diagnostic exams.  Overall, it was a wonderful trip.

 

You can see each picture better by clicking on it to enlarge it.  Clicking BESIDE the picture should bring you back to this page.  This is the only page where you can see the captions.

🙂

 

 

Our last day, October 20th.  This is the Mirador in Lima behind us.  To get up there, we found a lady in the street selling tickets for a combi that was heading up there for 5 soles each (or, together about 4U$).  We boarded the bus and then it circled around the few blocks around the Plaza de Armas about 6 more times until the thing was completely full of people before proceeding up the mountain.  It was great fun for us.

 

This view is the opposite direction from the one above.  You can see part of the city behind us.  We used a telescoping arm to hold up the camera.  Well worth every penny for the great pictures we got with it.

 

This is in a small park on the river (Rimac) side of the Convento de San Francisco.  It was great with several intersting things to see and great photos.  I saw no other people there that were obvious tourists so that made it even better.

 

This is one of my favorite photos of us together.  We were waiting for a taxi after I had my bone density and mammo studies.  100U$ for 3 exams.  Heck of a deal! (And my bones are hard as rocks and healthy!  Woohoo!)

 

This statue is of the Father of Archeology of Perú, Julio César Tello.  He was born in Huarochiri and there was a museum extablished there when he was alive.  Unfortunately, he didn’t take care to protect his life’s work and upon his death, his family sold off all the artifacts for profit, displaying very clearly their attitudes about not only Tello’s profession, but their own history as well.
I really love this picture of Papá and me on the steps of the church with the Plaza de Armas and several homes in the background.
This is a real bus on a really narrow road just before it passed us on the left side of the taxi that we were in.  Note the rider on top.

 

While Carlos was in class, I went shopping by myself and then waited for him in the Plaza de Armas in Lima while reading.  This Japanese family approached me and said, “Photo?”  I responded with, “Sabes que no soy Peruana, si?”  The dad said, “Photo? Photo?”  So I responded in English this time, “You do know that I am not Peruvian, right?”  He was insistant about taking my picture so I took one of him while he took one of me.  The one below is the one that he wanted of me with his wife. HAHAHAHA.  I had no idea that I was a tourist item in a foreign country!

 

Even funnier, after this picture was taken, Carlos arrived and then we proceeded to take pictures together around the Plaza.  A group of young Peruvian teenaged girls came up and asked for a photo.  I thought they wanted the trustworthy American tourist to take their picture for them (since it is very rare for a tourist to steal their camera, it happens a lot) but they told me no and handed their camera to Carlos.  They also wanted a picture WITH me.  Pretty weird.  I still can’t figure it out.
Carlos and I on the Mirabus.  It is dirt-cheap and great fun.  Watch out for the trees!  If it is not too cold, sitting near the back will probably get you better pictures.  We tried the front, but kept having to get up out of our seats to get pictures without the front windows.

 

We were lucky enough to get to see the Cathedral open for a special service one night. It is positively magical.  It is a mostly wooden structure (hence there are no candles ANYwhere) to provide more give in earthquakes.

 

 

 

I took this one from just outside the doors.  These giant doors haveregular doors inside them that are usually the only ones open, butfor this special service, everything was lit up and open and enchanting.

 

 

Plaza de Armas in San Lorenzo De Quinti

 

Dust is EVERYwhere!Notice the natural adobe walls behind me.San Lorenzo De Quinti
Carlos inside the bread storeSan Lorenzo De Quinti

 

We both had symptoms of a cold and this was the ONLY medicinal item we could find up in the mountains.  Poor baby.

 

This little baby was pretty cute.  Notice that her toys include a large nail.

 

A typical group of women in their hats waiting for the festivities to begin in San Lorenzo de Quinti.

 

This was one of the women offering chicha (special corn beer) to everyone.  Notice that she only has one glass that she is using for everyone.  I was under the impression that she was really offering a sampling of bacteria.

 

Do I look Peruvian?

 

 

 

Papá and I dancing. I can’t dance worth a flip so I am sure all the people there were thinking, “Pobrecita.  Those white girls can’t dance at all.  Perhaps she needs to drink a lot of chicha!”

 

 

Here I am in San Lorenzo de Quinti with a typical mother and her young baby on her back.

 

 

See the division in the center of the street?  Is the the Andean version of a gutter for water.  Our taxi got stuck in one once.

 

Here I am with some family members in Huarochiri.  Note the hair color on the woman.  She is well past 70 and her hair, while it has some gray, it is still very much black hair.  This is one of the characteristics of the Quechua people.
A view taken in the cemetery in Huarochiri.

 

This is the gas station.  What is missing here?  Yep. No gas pumps.  Instead, you buy the gasoline in bottles inside.  Bottles that used to hold soft drinks or other liquids.

 

Carlos in the hotel in Huarochiri.

 

 

This is a real wooden bridge.For cars.And trucks.And buses.

 

This is not a parking lot.  We were in the far left lane when our taxi driver decided that he wanted to make a right hand turn so naturally, he simply made a right angle into the other lanes and crossed over to the other side of the street.  Note the distance we were from the last intersection. This behavior is not atypical at all.  as crazy as it seems to us, I never actually saw an accident anywhere in 7 weeks in South America so the “system” apparently works.

 

Carlos and I in the Plaza de Armas in Lima.  This is a really beautiful place.

 

Another sweet night time photo using the extendable arm for the camera.

The monopods are cheap and easy to carry and great to use.  Here is one example:

http://www.amazon.com/Vivitar-VIV-VT-67-67-Inch-Monopod/dp/B003WPTBAK/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1345642111&sr=8-3&keywords=monopod

 

This is a street vacuum in Plaza San Martin (near the Plaza de Armas).  This particular park is known for prostitution after dark.

 

Messages, slogans, and graffiti are painted on the sides of mountains.

 

Photo taken of a painting in La Catedral de Lima.

 

Photo taken of a painting in La Catedral de Lima.

 

 

This mosaic faces Pizarro’s tomb.

 

Here I am with a friend that I made one day while wandering downtown. Marcos is from Mexico.

 

These are child and infant caskets in La Catedral de Lima.

 

A collection of skulls and femurs in La Catedral de Lima.

 

 

This is an evangelism tool.  Depicted here are many of the famous stories from the Bible.  These intricate pieces of incredible detail could be closed up and carried to places where people could not read to help them learn about Christianity.  This is in La Catedral de Lima.

 

 

 

I really liked this painting and would love to have a print of it.  It is a depiction of all the Incas.  The Inca is actually not the people, it is the title of the king.  On the right side, you can see in the middle row, the last Inca handing power over to the Spanish.  At the top is Christ demonstrating him as the King of kings.

 

Marcos and I in front of the gate to the Convento de Santo Domingo

 

 

 

Yep.  That’s her skull.

 

 

 

Me in Plaza San Martin.

 

Carlos and Marcos on the steps of La Catedral.

 

Gas prices.  When converted, the price was not much different from the US prices.

 

I love this method of advertising.  Beside the freeways, ads are made out of flowers.

 

We were on our way to La Molina. This picture looks like any other city anywhere else in the world, doesn’t it?

 

This is a famous Lima landmark.  It is a big mall that almost all teenagers will love you for it you offer to take them.

 

These are some cool traffic lights.

 

Here’s the front door.  Home sweet home.

 

Carlos is doing dishes with a smile.  I love this picture.  In the lower right is the dishwashing detergent.  It is in a paste form and looks and feels a lot like Lava soap from the US.

 

 

“Cluck cluck!  I seem to have a crick in my neck.”

 

 

We went downtown one evening and were suprised to be in the middle of a festival.  I had been downtown the afternoon before and read the newspaper that morning and had no idea.  I wonder how all these people knew about it.

 

The festival was decorated with famous photos from the past from various neighborhoods.

 

A view across the plaza from inside La Cathedral.

 

 

Ooohhh baby!  I love a sharp looking man!

 

We took this picture at church. The young couple on the left are missionaries from San Antonio.  I really like this photo.

If you are looking to visit a church to attend a service and you are Evangelical or Baptist, this is where we went and it was great.  I plan to always return when I am in Lima. This is a Spanish-speaking church, but on the day we visited, there were several visiting missionaries from various places in the US and a great pot-luck meal.

 

IGLESIA EVANGELICA BAUTISTA ” EL CAMINO”

Pastor: Jóse A. Apón Izquierdo

Av. Javier Prado Este N° 1370 – San Isidro

Télefonos: 225-3957/ 274-5829 Móvil: 996475500

Servicios:

LUNES: – Oración 7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

MIERCOLES: -Reunión de Damas a partir de las 7:30 p.m.

JUEVES: -Estudios Biblicos en Ingles a las 7:00 p.m.

DOMINGOS: – Escuela Dominical: 10:00 a.m.,  – Culto Central : 11:15 p.m.

 

Russell was ferocious in haggling for a taxi.  This was maybe the 6th one in a row.

 

This is a crowd of people hoping to catch a glimpse of Rod Stewart.  His hotel name and address were published in the local newspapers.  There was an equally big crowd across the street.

 

This is a view of the beach from Larcomar, a beach mall in Miraflores (the not-very-Peruvian district of Lima). If you visit Perú and only stay in this neighborhood, it is like staying in Beverly Hills and expecting that to represent the US.  It is nice, but please understand that most Peruvians view this area as the snobby area and never, ever go there.

 

This was a weird park with exercise equipment in it.

 

Here we are in front of the famous kissing statue in El Parque del Amor.

 

 

The rocks were big and very difficult to walk on.  I would recommed hiking boots.  This is not a beach for sun bathing or getting in the water.

 

What country was this picture taken in?  The driveway is made of a brick that is popular there.  They are shaped like tic-tac-toe signs and grass grows through the holes but they still supply a great support for cars.  I like them.

 

We took a night tour.  It was freezing cold and the pictures weren’t worth much of anything, but it was a great time and I enjoyed it a lot.  I think it was around 50$ for the both of us and included a very light “meal” in a hotel restaurant and over 2 hours of cruising all over Miraflores and downtown Lima.

 

Here I am in Perú next to a display advertising Mexican beer. I had to laugh.  Was this to entice Mexicans or Americans?

 

 

There were more than 20 taxis at this gas station.  It was like some wild gathering.

 

Look!  It’s Ponch and Jon from CHiPs!

 

My First Trip to South America

 

I began studying Spanish off and on many years ago.  I formally took Spanish classes twice, once in high school and again in college.  The only thing I learned that was actually useful from these two years was how to conjugate verbs only in the present tense.  The typical class is with the instructor talking to the class in English about Spanish with little to no actual practice resulting in the typical student who can’t find his way out of a paper bag using a foreign language.  


I began studying on my own here and there and got sort of serious 3 years ago.  I dated a native Spanish speaking man that squashed my efforts with constant belittling and hateful criticisms and that killed my desire to improve for almost a year.  BTW–He didn’t speak Spanish all that well, either.  Think of the contrast between Ebonics and English.  Yeah.  People had to ask him to repeat himself all the time.  Once he was out of my life and out of my system, I began studying again.  I began using a language learning website, http://www.sharedtalk.com/ , and there I met some great folks who had the same mind to study and improve their 2nd language skills.  Oh sure, there were some typical perverted creepos, so I made a profile stating that I was elderly and covered in warts and that I owned 42 cats and had many grandchildren.  


Carlos read my profile and was curious about an elderly lady learning Spanish.  He felt inspired because if I could do it past 80, then he certainly could do it in his 30’s.  We began chatting.  After a short while, I let him know that I was really not a granny and we enjoyed out conversations via Skype.  I made a plan to try some intensive study by traveling to a foreign country and immersing myself completely.  The shyness that I had with Spanish is typical and simply must be faced head-on and this trip was gonna get me past that roadblock.  I made plans to visit a friend in Ecuador, Fabricio, for a week and then on to Perú for 4 weeks more.  


Carlos and I chatted more and more and the conversations became romantic at times.  We elected to take a wait-and-see stance and when I saw him, WOW!  In the airport, everyone else disappeared like some schmarmy movie.  


Eight days later, we were sitting together at his computer when he began humming the wedding song.  He hums all the time and usually it is Christmas music.  Naturally, at the idea of marrying, I completely freaked out and tried to pretend I didn’t hear it.  I thought about it all day and that evening, I was sure that, yes, he was exactly what I wanted and I asked him to come home to the US with me.  


Here are the pictures from that trip.  

🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was in the zoo.  I really love this place.  It is not popular amongst the tourists and I have no idea why.  Included is: the zoo, an archeology site, two lakes for boat rentals, a big playground, an aquarium area, a big picnic area, a tour train, and more.  It is a lot of bang for your buck and there are displays and animals like you don’t see in Texas.  Take sunblock and a hat.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g294316-d523600-Reviews-Parque_de_las_Leyendas_Zoo-Lima_Lima_Region.html

These were taken in Parque de las Leyendas.  I’d recommend that to everybody.  Lots and lots to do and see.

 

 

 

 

Surprise kiss!  See how he is leaning in and enjoying it.  HA!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This KFC has hot wings with no hot or sauce or any idea of what a hot wing is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the museum in Nazca–I reccomend it wholeheartedly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Stray” dogs are everywhere in Perú.  They seem to have their own doggy subculture.  I never saw dogs fighting.  Most of them seemed to be roaming around or snoozing.  Some were friendly, some were expert beggars, but most simply ignored all humans except to check out what we were eating.  Several times, dogs refused what I offered them–crackers, cake, whatever snack-ish thing I had that my dog here in Houston would have been delighted to gobble up

 

The water was on full blast (@ El Caminante Class).

I’d recommend looking elsewhere for lodging.  The location was great, but that was the only thing great.  The bar downstais blasted all night the first night and the second night, we were moved to another room that was worse.  We walked out with our luggage to look for any other place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To me, the reeds tasted sort of like celery.  I have seen lots of warnings on websites to never taste these because you will get sick.  None of us did.  I would expect that if everyone was getting sick that this would not be good for tourism to continue offering a taste.

 

Several of the folks in our tour group wanted to try on the clothes of these friendly people for photos.  Honestly, I felt a little weird trying on the hat.  It seemed so invasive to me to be touching and handling the private belongings in their homes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A magnifying glass is always a good idea when visiting museums.

 

 

 

 

 

We bought tickets to travel back to Lima for a steal the day before leaving Cuzco.  The bus trip is a full day.  The flight took us 3 or 4 hours total including airport time.

 

 

 

This is a famous place to take pictures in Cuzco.  Almost every traveler has this same picture.  🙂

 

 

Aguas Calientes.

 

We watched the guy making tortillas here while waiting for out tickets.  I got the impression that this guy had never actually eaten a tortilla in his life.

 

It POURED rain!  These little ponchos allowed our clothes to evaporate while keeping more rain off us.  A great deal for one Sol (about 40cents).

 

I was surprised to see that this little guy was exactly the same as the ones in my own garden.  Apparently, there isn’t much racial profiling to be had earthworms.

 

 

 

This is what it looks like when you are looking down at Machu Picchu.

 

Everybody has this same picture, too.  🙂

 

See the steps here?  If you are not so stable on your feet, you may want to reconsider visiting MP.  Walking around can be tricky.  Whatever you do, don’t go in sandals or crappy sneakers.  This is has got to be one of the least pleasant places to be carried out of with a fractured bone.

 

 

That kid behind me was mad because she wanted some Pringles. hahaha

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is what it looks like when you are looking up at Machu Picchu.

 

 

This was a cool plant near the entrance to Machu Picchu.  I like the patterns that were formed on it as it grew.

 

Hahaha.  When did I become Brazilian?

 

 

 

This was on my last day in Lima in March, 2011. That’s the Pacific ocean.

I always like to go and buy one of everything I don’t recognize or haven’t tasted to try.

 

2 thoughts on “Perú: Emily’s Travel Tips and general handy information

  1. Loved all the info and pictures! Going to Peru in November and so looking forward to it. What sort of converter should I take to be able to charge my kindle and use my curling iron? Thanks

  2. I am so excited for you! I went at the end of October a few years ago and it was the perfect time. For our Kindles, we had no problem using either a usb to charge them or just the normal wall socket. My husband is there now and using his Kindle without any issues.
    As far as the curling iron, I can’t say. This topic does get touched a lot on Trip Advisor so you might find the answer there.

    When you get back, please update with your experiences with each item.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *