Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   South America (
-   -   A few last minute questions for Peru trip (

cactexas Sep 27th, 2009 03:13 PM

A few last minute questions for Peru trip
We are headed to Peru for the first time in October. I have a few questions as we've not been to Peru before.

How much is the exit tax we need to pay leaving Lima? Does it need to be in Soles or US $ or either?

Is the best place to change USD to Soles at the airport? Are there money changers in Arequipa, Cuzco, Agua Calientes, Puno? If we have Soles left over at the end of the trip, is the best place to change them back at the airport?

I know we should not drink unbottled water or drinks with ice. What about the coffee? Has anyone had problems with coffee since it's not known whether the water is boiled or not?

We're trying to decide how much cash to take. Does anyone have a feel for cost per day for food? We're not extravagant, but do like beer and wine. I know that breakfasts are included in most of our hotel stays. This may be hard for you to estimate, but I thought I would ask.

If you have any other tips for first time Peru travellers, all input is welcome and will be most appreciated! Thanks for taking time to reply!

Jeff_Costa_Rica Sep 27th, 2009 04:27 PM

You can pay the airport tax in dollars or soles. It's a fixed amount in soles or that day's equivalent in dollars, so if you pay in U.S. currency, it will be some odd dollars-and-cents amount. It is around $30 for your international flight out. It seems to me the last time I flew out that American had started to include the tax in the price of the ticket. I could be wrong. Many airlines do not.

There's also a domestic departure tax too, so if you're flying around the country, you'll pay that for each flight. That's about $6.

I've received the best rate getting cash at ATMs. There are exchange windows in Lima's airport. In fact, I can picture one in the international baggage claim area. Its rate isn't quite as good as at an ATM, but it's not so different that I'd never use it. If you have soles left at the end of your trip, sure, go ahead and change them back at the airport. Lima is essentially a 24-hour airport because many of the big international flights come and go in the overnight hours, so these places should all be open.

I've never found Peru to be one of those "Everybody takes dollars" places, so you are going to need local currency for many transactions.

crellston Sep 28th, 2009 12:58 AM

Definitely drink bottled water. As for coffee, we drank it without incident (although Coca tea did become our staple whilst there). be aware though that to destroy all the bugs it is nessecary to boil for 20 mins and even that won't do it as the boiling point of water at altitude is considerably below 100c.

During 2 months in Peru we ate mostly in local places or cooked for ourselves after shopping in the local markets and I was ill only once. That was in Aqua Calientes which is renowned for its poor food hygeine standards and belive me I was REALLY ill which somewhat spoiled the trip to Macchu Picchu. Personally, I would buy food in Cusco and take it with me if I visited again.

ATMs are everywhere but do be careful to ensure no one is hanging around watching you withdraw cash as pickpockets are not unheard of!

During our year travelling teh world we found Peru one of the cheaper places to visit but like everywhere costs can vary tremendously. We were backpacking for the most part and eating in local restaurants where, from memory, you could get say grilled chicken and fries or ceviche for maybe 9 soles. A prix fixe evening meal would be around 25 soles in one of the many restarants in San Blas, Cusco. You could pay a lot more in some of the upmarket hotel type restaurants.

As far as I recall beer and wine were relatively inexpensive.

We visited all of teh places you mentioned and belive me, you are in for a fantastic trip!!

Here is a link to some of our photos and maybe a few tips(Entries 68-76 cover Peru)

cactexas Sep 28th, 2009 09:07 AM

Thanks Jeff Costa Rica and Crellston for your's much appreciated!

qwovadis Sep 28th, 2009 02:15 PM Peru good health info Review consular info

Drank the coffee boiled at some point had no problem

Use my Capital One Visa ATM all my soles at best rates

CC also works for most meals $25pppd for moderate food/drink

Consider taking Acetazolamida(Diamox)

to prevent Altitude Illness

#1 cause of bad times at altitude.

Departure tax was $30 gave them all my soles and a few dollars

but some airlines include it so check your ticket.

Have fun,

mlgb Sep 28th, 2009 04:21 PM

I found that $100 per person in cash lasted a few days for food, drink, taxis & small souveniers. You will need to withdraw extra soles for admissions to the various archaelogical sites and museums. You might also want more for shopping.

Casual local restaurants tend to be cash only usually just soles, and they may not be able to make change from a large bill.

I paid between 8-14 soles ($3 to 5) at nicer but still local restaurants in Lima and Cusco at lunch, these were meals that included at least two courses and a drink. If the place looks clean, and is busy and full of locals, I try it. Just follow the normal food precautions that you should at ANY restaurant in Peru. And they were among the better meals that I had. In Cusco try to find Los Toldos chicken (woodfired chicken and pizza) a few long blocks south/east on Ave Del Sol from the Qorikancha plaza. Actually many people were splitting the meal which was the biggest chicken breast I have every seen. (The closer to Plaza de Armas you are, the more you will pay).

If you go to a restaurant that caters to the small percentage of upper income Peruvians and tourists, you can spend 2-3x that or more (my most expensive meal was the $33 buffet just outside MP). But these places will take credit cards.

Diane60030 Sep 29th, 2009 10:46 AM

How much is the exit tax we need to pay leaving Lima? Does it need to be in Soles or US $ or either? - If you are flying American or Delta it is already included in the price of your ticket. They stick the tax sticker on your boarding pass when you check in.

You can change money, but there are also a number of atms. Scotiabank doesn't have a transaction fee (your bank might) and you can withdraw 500 Soles per day. There are multiple ATMS in Cusco and 1 in AC. I kept my 40 soles (13 USD) as a souviener so I don't know about changing it back. If you buy something at the airport you can pay in Soles and count on the price being inflated.

I don't know if you are flying to Cusco. The internal airport tax depends on your departure city. I think Lima was $4.845 USA and Cusco was less than that. I don't have my ticket with me to look.

I drank bottled water, but had tea every day. Without problems.

I think my most expensive meal including a Pisco Sour was $17 USD. Usually is was between 4-8 USD because I had a Coke or Coke Zero.

Other tips.

Take your travel toilet paper. While there are very few places that charge for the bathroom there is no counting on TP.

Take bug repellant. MP has swarms of little gnats. I also sprayed some on my hat to keep them out of my eyes (even if they didn't land they were annoying).

Take a outlet adaptor. Peru seems to be split between rectangle and round prongs. Some tourist hotels will have 110v, but the country standard is 220v.

I brought extra charged batteries for my camera. Good move because my adapter and charger didn't want to work at the first 2 hotels.

One of my best buys was an over the shoulder waterbottle carrier in Cusco for 5 Soles. Used it all over. Cool souviener as well.

If you snack on nuts bring them with you. They were the one item I noticed was rare in the small markets, and if it was there was expensive.

Have a wonderful time.

cactexas Oct 2nd, 2009 07:49 AM

Excellent advice and information all...thanks so much!

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:59 AM.