Peru & Bolivia Faqs


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1. When is the best time to travel to Peru and Bolivia?

The best time to travel to Peru and Bolivia largely depends on your preferences and the specific experiences you're seeking. Generally, the dry season, spanning from May to September, is considered the optimal time for travel in both countries. During this period, you can expect clear skies, minimal rainfall, and comfortable temperatures, making it ideal for exploring popular destinations such as Machu Picchu in Peru and the Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia.

However, it's worth noting that certain regions may have slightly different climate patterns. For instance, in Peru, the coastal areas, including Lima, experience mild temperatures and little rainfall throughout the year, while the Andean highlands have distinct dry and wet seasons. In Bolivia, the Altiplano region, where the Uyuni Salt Flats are located, can be extremely cold during the dry season due to high altitude, so travelers should come prepared for chilly nights.

If you're interested in experiencing local festivals or avoiding crowds, it's worth researching specific events and considering shoulder seasons. Keep in mind that the wet season, typically from November to March, brings lush landscapes and fewer tourists but also increased rainfall and potential travel disruptions in certain areas.

Ultimately, the best time to visit Peru and Bolivia depends on your priorities, whether it's weather, crowds, or cultural experiences, so be sure to plan accordingly based on your preferences.

2. What I should I pack for Peru and Bolivia?

It really depends on what activities you will be participating and what regions you will visit. Here is sample list:

  • Original passport
  • Backpack
  • Rain jacket or poncho
  • Trekking shoes
  • T-shirts
  • Trekking pants
  • Sleeping bag
  • Thermal sleeping clothes
  • Cotton pants
  • Wool gloves
  • Scarf
  • Wool socks for sleeping
  • Warm clothes (jacket, fleece and sweaters)
  • Water bottle
  • Head or hand lantern
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Hat or cap to protect you from the sun, rain or cold
  • Sunblock, sun glasses and insect repellent
  • Towel
  • Snacks: biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, etc

Additional if you are traveling to the Amazon Area of Peru:

  • Long pants and long sleeve shirt and T-shirts made from light, breathable, quick-dry Material –
  • Good water-resistant trekking shoes - Raingear (back-up gear is a good idea) –
  • Binoculars
  • Canteen
  • Sun Block, sun hat, sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • A converter (voltage is 220)
  • The hotel has a limited number of converters available
  • Contact lens solution and an extra set of contact lenses or glasses
  • Don’t forget your camera and/or video camera (we recommend a waterproof case), and, if it is not digital, bring plenty of film! -
  • Extra batteries. Thank you for considering that Peru does not have a battery recycling project. Please take your used batteries with you, or leave them at the Ecocenter

3. What are the tipping policies in Bolivia and Peru?

Tipping customs can vary between countries and regions, but in both Peru and Bolivia, tipping guides and drivers is generally appreciated for their services. Here are some tipping guidelines for both countries:


Guides: For guided tours in Peru, it's customary to tip your guide around $5 to $10 USD per person per day for their services. If you're on a multi-day tour, you can tip at the end of the tour based on the overall quality of the guiding.

Drivers: If you've hired a driver for transportation, a tip of around $3 to $5 USD per person per day is appropriate. Again, you can adjust this amount based on the length and quality of the service provided.


Guides: Similar to Peru, tipping guides in Bolivia is appreciated. A tip of around $5 to $10 USD per person per day is customary for guided tours.

Drivers: For drivers in Bolivia, a tip of around $2 to $5 USD per person per day is considered appropriate for their services.

Keep in mind that these are just guidelines, and tipping amounts can vary based on factors such as the level of service provided, the length of the tour, and your satisfaction with the experience. Additionally, it's always a good idea to carry small bills in the local currency (Peruvian Sol in Peru and Bolivian Boliviano in Bolivia) to facilitate tipping. If you're unsure about tipping customs or amounts, feel free to ask your tour operator or guide for guidance.

4. What immunizations do I need for Peru?

It is important to consult with your doctor for the most up-to-date information and advice on vaccinations and anti-malarial medication for your specific travel plans in Peru.

  • Recommended vaccinations for Peru include: diphtheria, tetanus, polio, typhus, hepatitis A/B, and rabies.
  • A yellow fever vaccine is strongly recommended for trips to the Amazon (Puerto Maldonado or Iquitos) and required for travelers arriving from yellow fever-infected countries in Africa or Latin America.
  • The yellow fever certificate is valid 10 days after vaccination and remains valid for a period of 10 years.
  • The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends taking anti-malarial drugs if traveling to the northern parts of Peru and Iquitos in the Amazon.

5. What currency is used in Peru?

The official currency of Peru is the Peruvian Sol, abbreviated as PEN. The symbol for the Peruvian Sol is S/. One Sol is subdivided into 100 céntimos. Banknotes and coins are issued in various denominations, including 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 Soles notes, as well as coins in denominations of 5, 10, 20, and 50 céntimos, and 1, 2, and 5 Soles. It's advisable to carry local currency when traveling in Peru, as it is widely accepted for transactions, especially in smaller establishments and markets.

  • It is recommended to carry USD cash for the initial days, including some 1 USD bills for tips at restaurants, drivers, or at luxury hotels where assistance with your luggage is provided.
  • US dollars are widely accepted in many hotels, shops, restaurants, and bars in Peru. Some establishments may also accept Euros.
  • While street money-changers, known as 'Cambistas,' may offer fair rates, caution is advised to avoid receiving counterfeit bills. It is recommended to ask your guide for assistance.
  • For a more secure environment, we recommend going to a 'Casas de cambio' (exchange houses).
  • An alternative to obtain cash are ATM or so called 'cajeros' that can be found in most cities (but not in smaller towns)
  • Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted, while American Express and Diners Club may be less commonly accepted.

6. What are the visiting rules and restrictions for Machu Picchu?


  • At the entrance, every visitor must show their ticket and passport.
  • Visit duration is generally limited to a maximum of 2,5 hours.
  • The only exceptions are tickets for the surrounding mountain peaks Wayna Picchu, Machu Picchu Mountain, and Huchuy Picchu, which allow for a longer entry.
  • The entry ticket entitles you to a single entry. It is not possible to leave and re-enter the citadel with the same ticket (exception: ticket for Machu Picchu Mountain for visiting Route 3).
  • One tour guide must accompany the group for every 10 guests (larger groups are not allowed).


  • You may not take large bags, groceries, and disposable bottles into the citadel.
  • You can only carry one small bag with you.
  • Walking sticks are only allowed for physically challenged and elderly visitors.

7. What is the Inca Trail and how long does it take?

The Inca Trail is a famous trekking route in Peru that leads to the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. It's considered one of the most iconic and scenic trekking experiences in the world, attracting thousands of travelers each year. The trail traverses a variety of terrain, including lush cloud forests, high mountain passes, and ancient Inca ruins, offering stunning views of the Andes Mountains along the way.

The classic Inca Trail route typically spans about 26 miles (approximately 43 kilometers) and takes four days to complete, although there are shorter and alternative routes available for those with less time or seeking different experiences. Along the trail, trekkers pass through several archaeological sites, including the impressive Inca ruins of Wiñay Wayna and Intipata, before reaching the Sun Gate (Inti Punku), which offers the first panoramic view of Machu Picchu.

Trekking the Inca Trail requires a permit, and access is limited to a certain number of visitors each day to help preserve the environment and maintain the integrity of the trail. Permits must be obtained through licensed tour operators, and it's advisable to book well in advance, especially during the peak tourist season (from May to September).

The Inca Trail offers not only breathtaking natural beauty but also a profound cultural and historical experience, allowing trekkers to follow in the footsteps of the ancient Incas and culminating in the awe-inspiring sight of Machu Picchu, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

8. What are the rules for the Inca Trail

The Inca Trail entrances have a daily limit of 500 visitors, including 200 tourists and 300 trekking staff and it has the following rules:

  • Reservations should be made well in advance, preferably 3-4 months before the desired trekking date.
  • The permit allocation follows a first-come, first-served basis, so early booking is essential.
  • The 4-day/3-night trek is the most popular option and tends to sell out rapidly.
  • Peak season for the Inca Trail is during the dry season from May to September.
  • The entrance fee is personal and non-transferable to prevent black market activities.
  • Changes in names or passport numbers are not accepted by the authorities in Cusco.
  • If a new passport has been obtained, presenting the old passport or a notarized copy is necessary at the trail's access control station.
  • The Inca Trail is closed for maintenance and during the rainy season in February.

9. Do I need to buy the entrance to Machu Picchu in Advance?

Yes, it is strongly advised to buy your Machu Picchu ticket beforehand to guarantee entry, particularly if you plan to visit during peak tourist periods. For further details, please consult your travel agent.

10. What are the typical foods and drinks of Peru that I should try

Peruvian cuisine is renowned for its diverse flavors, fresh ingredients, and unique culinary traditions influenced by indigenous, Spanish, African, and Asian cultures. Here are some typical foods and drinks of Peru that you should definitely try:

  • Ceviche: Considered Peru's national dish, ceviche is made with fresh raw fish or seafood marinated in lime juice, mixed with onions, chili peppers, and cilantro. It's typically served with sweet potato, corn, and/or plantain.
  • Lomo Saltado: A popular Peruvian stir-fry dish made with marinated strips of beef (or other meat), onions, tomatoes, and peppers, seasoned with soy sauce and vinegar. It's usually served with rice and french fries.
  • Anticuchos: Grilled skewers of marinated meat, often beef heart (though other meats can also be used), served with boiled potatoes and a spicy sauce called aji amarillo.
  • Aji de Gallina: A creamy chicken dish made with shredded chicken cooked in a sauce made from aji amarillo peppers, bread, walnuts, and cheese, served with boiled potatoes, rice, and hard-boiled eggs.
  • Pisco Sour: Peru's national cocktail, made with Pisco (a grape brandy), lime juice, simple syrup, egg white, and Angostura bitters. It's a refreshing and tangy cocktail that's perfect for sipping on a hot day.
  • Causa: A layered cold potato dish made with mashed yellow potatoes seasoned with lime and aji amarillo, layered with fillings such as chicken, tuna, avocado, or shrimp, and topped with mayonnaise, olives, and hard-boiled eggs.
  • Rocoto Relleno: A spicy dish originating from Arequipa, rocoto relleno consists of large chili peppers stuffed with a mixture of ground beef or pork, onions, garlic, and spices, topped with melted cheese and baked.
  • Inca Kola: A popular Peruvian soft drink known for its bright yellow color and sweet, fruity flavor reminiscent of bubblegum. It's often referred to as the "golden cola" and is a beloved beverage throughout Peru.
  • Cuy (Guinea Pig): A traditional Andean dish, cuy is roasted or fried guinea pig, often served whole and accompanied by potatoes and aji sauce. While it may be considered unusual for some, trying cuy is a cultural experience for many visitors to Peru.

These are just a few examples of the delicious foods and drinks that Peru has to offer. Exploring the local cuisine is an essential part of experiencing Peruvian culture and traditions during your visit.

You can find more information in the following blog:

11. What is SIC (Seat-In-Coach), and how safe and comfortable is it to take long-distance buses in Peru?

SIC, or Seat-In-Coach, refers to a type of bus service where passengers book individual seats rather than hiring an entire coach. In Peru, taking long-distance buses, whether SIC or otherwise, is a common and generally safe mode of transportation. However, the safety and comfort level can vary depending on the bus company and the type of bus.

Most long-distance buses used for tourism purposes in Peru are equipped with modern amenities and prioritize safety and comfort. These touristic buses often feature reclining seats, onboard restrooms, air conditioning, and entertainment systems. Additionally, reputable bus companies adhere to strict safety standards and employ experienced drivers who are well-trained in long-distance travel.

Overall, taking long-distance buses in Peru, particularly on touristic routes, can provide a safe and enjoyable travel experience, allowing passengers to relax and admire the scenic landscapes while journeying through this diverse and beautiful country.


1. What currency is used in Bolivia?

Bolivia's official currency is the Boliviano.

  • It is advisable to carry some USD cash, including small denominations like 1 USD bills, for tipping at restaurants, drivers, or for assistance with luggage at luxury hotels.
  • USD is widely accepted in many hotels, shops, restaurants, and bars throughout the country, however, in small shops where you buy a bottle of water or other small items, you will be asked to pay in local currency. Entrance fees to museums and national parks can only be paid in local currency.
  • For a secure currency exchange, we recommend visiting 'Casas de cambio' or exchange houses. These establishments provide a reliable and regulated environment for exchanging currencies.
  • Another option for obtaining cash is to use ATMs that can be found in major cities like La Paz, Santa Cruz, Uyuni, Copacabana and Sucre (may not be readily available in smaller towns).
  • Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted in Bolivia.

2. What immunizations do I need for Bolivia?

  • Recommended vaccinations for most travelers include hepatitis A, typhus, and tetanus.
  • Malaria is not a risk in the high plateau region of Bolivia due to its altitude.
  • Yellow fever vaccination is mandatory for travelers to the Bolivian Amazon: Madidi Park, Noel Kempff Park, Department of Beni, Department of Pando, and some regions of Santa Cruz.
  • This information should be verified with your doctor, for your specific travel destinations and dates.

3. When is the best time to see the mirror effect at the Salar de Uyuni?

The mirror effect, also known as the "mirror salt flats," occurs during the rainy season in the Salar de Uyuni, typically between the months of December and April. This phenomenon happens when a thin layer of water covers the salt flats, creating a reflective surface that mirrors the sky above. The result is a breathtaking optical illusion where the horizon seems to disappear, and the sky blends seamlessly with the ground, creating stunning photographic opportunities.

During the dry season, from May to November, the salt flats are mostly dry and the mirror effect is less likely to occur. However, even outside of the rainy season, the vast expanse of salt flats still offers incredible landscapes and unique experiences for visitors. It's essential to plan your visit to the Salar de Uyuni based on your preferences and priorities, whether you're aiming to witness the mirror effect or explore the surreal beauty of the salt flats in different conditions.

4. What other places would you recommend me to add to my visit to Bolivia?

Bolivia is a country rich in cultural, historical, and natural attractions. Besides the famous Salar de Uyuni, here are some other popular tourist destinations in Bolivia:

  • La Paz: Bolivia's administrative capital and the highest capital city in the world, La Paz is known for its stunning location in a deep valley surrounded by the Andes Mountains. Visitors can explore the vibrant markets, historic landmarks, and unique cultural attractions, such as the Witches' Market (Mercado de las Brujas) and the Valley of the Moon (Valle de la Luna).
  • Lake Titicaca: Shared with Peru, Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world and holds immense cultural significance for the indigenous peoples of the region. Visitors can explore the lake's islands, including Isla del Sol and Isla de la Luna, and learn about the traditional way of life of the local communities.
  • Sucre: Bolivia's constitutional capital, Sucre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its well-preserved colonial architecture and rich history. Visitors can explore the city's historic center, visit museums and churches, and enjoy the pleasant climate and relaxed atmosphere.
  • Potosí: Once one of the wealthiest cities in the world due to its silver mines, Potosí is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its colonial architecture and mining history. Visitors can tour the historic Cerro Rico mines, explore colonial-era churches and buildings, and learn about the city's fascinating past.
  • Samaipata: Located in the eastern foothills of the Andes, Samaipata is known for its picturesque scenery, pre-Columbian ruins, and lush cloud forests. The nearby El Fuerte archaeological site, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, features intricate stone carvings and is believed to have been a ceremonial center for several ancient cultures.

These are just a few examples of the many captivating destinations that Bolivia has to offer, each showcasing the country's diverse landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and unique attractions. If you would like more options or ideas feel free to ask your travel advisor for this.

5. Do I need to take precautions against altitude sickness?

Altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS), can occur when traveling to high-altitude destinations like Bolivia, especially in cities such as La Paz and Potosí, which are situated at elevations well above sea level. To mitigate the effects of altitude sickness and ensure a more comfortable experience, travelers can take several precautions:

Acclimatize gradually: If possible, spend a few days at lower elevations before ascending to higher altitudes. This allows your body to gradually adjust to the decrease in oxygen levels.

Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, as dehydration can exacerbate symptoms of altitude sickness. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, as they can contribute to dehydration.

Eat light meals: Stick to light, easily digestible meals to minimize the strain on your body at high altitudes. Avoid heavy, greasy foods that can make you feel more sluggish.

Rest and take it easy: Avoid strenuous physical activity during the first day or two at high altitudes. Allow your body time to adjust and rest as needed.

Consider medication: Some travelers may benefit from taking medication to prevent or alleviate symptoms of altitude sickness. Consult with a healthcare professional before your trip to discuss options such as acetazolamide (Diamox) or ibuprofen.

Monitor symptoms: Be aware of the signs of altitude sickness, which can include headache, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and shortness of breath. If you experience severe or worsening symptoms, descend to a lower altitude and seek medical attention if necessary.

Coca tea is a traditional remedy often used in the Andean regions, including Bolivia, to alleviate symptoms of altitude sickness. Coca tea is made from the leaves of the coca plant, which contains natural compounds that can help increase oxygenation in the blood and alleviate symptoms such as headache and fatigue.

6. What are the typical food and drinks of Bolivia that I should try?

Bolivia offers a diverse culinary landscape influenced by its indigenous cultures, colonial heritage, and regional ingredients. Here are some typical Bolivian foods and drinks that you should try during your visit:

  • Salteñas: These savory pastries are similar to empanadas but are filled with a juicy mixture of meat (beef, chicken, or pork), potatoes, peas, and sometimes boiled eggs, all seasoned with spices and a slightly sweet sauce.
  • Llama meat: Llama is a traditional Andean meat that is lean and flavorful. It's commonly served grilled (anticuchos de llama) or in stews (such as fricase), providing a taste of Bolivia's indigenous culinary heritage.
  • Silpancho: This hearty dish features a breaded and fried beef cutlet served over a bed of rice and topped with fried eggs, sliced tomatoes, and onions. It's often accompanied by a side of potatoes and llajua, a spicy Bolivian salsa.
  • Saltena Juice (Jugo de Salteña): A refreshing and unique beverage made from blending various fruits, typically including orange, pineapple, and banana. It's a popular choice to accompany meals or to enjoy as a refreshing drink on a hot day.
  • Api: A warm, thick drink made from purple corn, sugar, and spices like cinnamon and cloves. It's commonly enjoyed for breakfast or as an afternoon snack, especially during colder months.
  • Chuño: Freeze-dried potatoes that have been a staple food in the Andean diet for centuries. Chuño can be rehydrated and used in soups, stews, or as a side dish, providing sustenance and nutrients in high-altitude regions.
  • Chicha: A fermented corn-based drink that has been enjoyed by indigenous communities in Bolivia for centuries. There are different variations of chicha, including chicha de jora (made from fermented maize) and chicha morada (made from purple corn and spices), each with its own unique flavor profile.
  • Tarija wine: Bolivia's wine region, Tarija, produces a variety of high-quality wines, including reds, whites, and sparkling wines. Visitors can enjoy wine tasting tours and sample the region's diverse offerings.

These are just a few examples of the delicious and diverse foods and drinks that Bolivia has to offer. Exploring the local cuisine is an essential part of experiencing Bolivian culture and traditions during your visit.