Peru is a country in South America, situated on the western side of that continent, facing the South Pacific Ocean and straddling part of the Andes mountain range that runs the length of South America. Peru is bordered by Ecuador and Colombia to the north, Brazil and Bolivia to the east, and Chile to the south. Peru is a country that has a diversity and wealth not common in the world. The main attractions are their archaeological patrimony of pre-Columbian cultures and the hub of the Inca’s empire, their gastronomy, their colonial architecture (it has imposing colonial constructions) and their natural resources (a paradise for ecological tourism).
Although Peru has rich natural resources and many great places to visit, the poverty scale reaches 25.8% of the population. The rich, consisting mostly of a Hispanic (or “Criollo”) elite, live in the cities. Nevertheless, most Peruvians are great nationalists and love their country with pride (largely stemming from Peru’s history as the hub of both the Inca empire and Spain’s South American empire). Also, many Peruvians separate the state of Peru and its government in their minds. Many of them distrust their government and police, and people are used to fighting corruption and embezzlement scandals, as in many countries.
The Peruvian economy is healthy and quite strong, however inequality is still common. It is indebted and dependent on industrial nations, especially China, Russia and United States. The US foreign policy decisions in recent years has contributed to a widely held negative view about the US government in Peru, but not against individual citizens.
Tourists from North America, Australia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and the European Union (and many others, check with the nearest Peruvian Embassy or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs] for most updated information, although in Spanish) receive a visa upon arrival for up to 183 days.
When entering the country, you need to pass the immigration office (inmigración). There you get a stamp in your passport that states the number of days you are allowed to stay (usually 183 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 183 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 183 days or simply overstay and pay the fine when you exit. The overstay fine is only USD 1 per day overage, so if you stay 30 days longer it’s USD 30. Many people do this, since it’s much cheaper than leaving the country and returning.
You will receive an extra official paper to be kept in the passport (make sure you don’t lose it!). When leaving, you need to visit the emigration office (migracion), where you get the exit stamp. Imigracion and migracion are found on all border crossing-points. Travelling to and from neighbouring countries by land is no problem.
How to go
The capital city of Lima has the Jorge Chávez International Airport with frequent flights all over the world. Main airlines are American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, Lan, Lan Peru, United, Iberia, Copa, Taca and others. There are non-stop flights to Lima from Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, 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 travellers usually connect through Los Angeles (non-US citizens have to pass immigration even for transfer, consuming 1-2 hours – so ensure your stop-over is long enough!) or through Santiago de Chile.
There is an internal flight tax, around USD6, same conditions as the international one.
When booking domestic flights, there are several Peruvian travel agencies that can get you your plane tickets for the “Peruvian price” for a fee of about USD20, you’ll notice that the prices can vary by several hundred dollars for the SAME flights when looking at LAN’s Peruvian site and the LAN.com site. You’ll find that if you try to book the cheaper flights from the Peruvian site, they won’t accept payment from American bank accounts (this is why you do it through a Peruvian travel agency).
The city of Iquitos has flights to Leticia, Colombia with AviaSelva. They have a USD10 departure tax.
Although Ecuador borders Peru, it is hard to find cheap flights connecting anything but the capitals. In particular, flying from Ecuador to Iquitos is not possible directly, nor can you travel directly from other large towns across the border.
The city of Iquitos in the Amazonas region has connections by boat to Leticia in Colombia and Tabatinga in Brazil (about 10 hours).
Hostels in Peru
Aguas Calientes Arequipa Cabanaconde Caral Chachapoyas Chanchamayo Chiclayo Colan Colca Canyon Cotahuasi Cusco Huacachina Huancayo Huanchaco Huaraz Huarmey Ica Iquitos Isla Uros Juliaca Lamas Lima Lobitos Los Organos Machu Picchu Madre de Dios Mancora Nazca Ollantaytambo Paracas Pilcopata Pisac Pisco Piura Puerto Malabrigo Chicama Puerto Maldonado Puno Punta Hermosa Tacna Tarapoto Tarma Trujillo Tumbes Urubamba Valle Sagrado Zorritos
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