You’ve decided on the spot for your next vacation – Peru, home of the Andes, the Incas, and plenty of other wonderful sights and rich history. Before you make the trip, here are a few things you need to know about Peru that will make the country that much easier to get used to, and your trip that much more enjoyable.
Most Places Don’t Accept Credit Cards
Peru is a country where very few establishments accept credit cards. While the bigger, international brand hotels will usually accept credit cards, most smaller hotels, and nearly all vendors, do business exclusively in cash. On the plus side, many businesses are perfectly willing to take American currency; if you find you don’t have enough soles on hand, an American $20 will do in a pinch. Just be sure to use the highest quality bills you can get – Peruvians tend to be pickier about the state of their money than Americans, and might reject bills that are torn or overly crinkled.
You Can Haggle With Vendors for Better Prices
In most US stores, the number on the price tag is what you have to pay. When buying from Peruvian shops, however, things work a bit differently. The initial price they offer to sell an item at is often much higher than its actual value, and they expect you to negotiate with them over the price. This may seem strange to American travelers used to fixed prices, but there’s a definite upside to it – you can often get great discounts just by haggling. Start at the lowest price you think is fair, and then work up from there. Haggling usually doesn’t take long – a few minutes, at most – and by playing along, you can end up saving a lot of money.
Bring Plenty of Sunscreen
Peru is a beautiful country, but the UV rays can be absolutely brutal. If you’re not used to the climate, it can be very easy to get a painful sunburn after a day out in the elements. This doesn’t have to be a deal breaker, though. As long as you bring plenty of sunscreen and wear a hat when venturing outside, you can enjoy the warm Peruvian sun without having to worry.
The Dry Season is the Best Time to Visit
Peru’s dry season usually falls between May and October, and is the best time to visit the country. While most foreigners associate Peru with the Andes Mountains and high elevations, it’s worth remembering that a large part of the country also exists in a tropical zone that includes part of the Amazon rainforest. In other words, the rainy season can be very rainy, not to mention overwhelmingly humid. You can still have a good time visiting the country during the rainy season, but the likelihood that you’ll encounter unfavorable weather conditions goes up dramatically if you do. Visiting in the dry season is best option if you want to be sure you’ll get to visit all the places you want to see, and that the weather will stay favorable.
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