There are two official languages, Spanish and Quechua, but many different dialects are spoken throughout Peru. You’ll only find English-speakers in major tourist centers and hotels.

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Peru’s official currency is the Nuevo Sol, which breaks down into 100 centimos. Many establishments in Lima accept credit cards, Visa being the most widely accepted, but outside the city the options dwindle. You’ll have a hard time exchanging traveler’s checks in small towns and villages, and it’s a good idea to keep cash on hand. Many restaurants, shops and hotels accept US dollars, which are also the easiest currency to exchange. You’ll get the best rates in the exchange bureaus, but can also exchange at hotels and banks in any tourist-oriented town. Main cities usually have ATMs.

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Peru’s country code is 51. To call another country from Peru, dial 00 followed by the appropriate country code. There are many ways to connect to the Internet. Kiosks called cabinas publica can be found on street corners in most cities and towns.

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If you see the words “propina” or “servicio” at the bottom of your bill, a service charge has been added to your bill, usually at a rate of 5 to 10 percent. It’s customary to add another 10 percent for the waiter if the service was exceptional. You don’t need to tip taxi drivers, but tour guides are usually tipped.

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There are a lot of thieves operating in Peru, so be careful in crowded areas, on public transportation, in stations and in central Lima, especially at night. Be especially careful in Lima and Cuzco, which have high levels of street and violent crime. Women should be safe and use only the taxis they’ve booked through a hotel or reputable company.

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If you’re coming from an area infected with yellow fever, you’ll need a yellow fever vaccination certificate. A vaccination is wise anyway, since there have been outbreaks of yellow fever. Consult your doctor about getting vaccinations against typhoid, cholera, rabies and hepatitis A and B, especially if you’re heading to the country’s jungle regions. Malaria and dengue fever are also a risk. Altitude sickness and diarrhea are the most common visitor complaints. Stick to bottled water, beware of street food and don’t get ice in your drinks. Make sure you have health insurance coverage.

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Peru’s electrical current is 220 volts, 60Hz and uses two-pinned, flat blade and round plugs.

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Melisse Hinkle
A New England native but explorer at heart, Melisse has lived in four U.S. cities, spent a summer in Hawaii, made her way through wine-producing regions in Australia and New Zealand, and traveled around Europe while studying abroad in London. She is the Content Manager for the U.S. and Canada at Cheapflights.
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