With approximately 30 million inhabitants and an area of 1,285,216 square kilometers, Peru contains some of the most varied geography in South America, consisting of three distinct regions: the dry coastal desert, the Andean highlands and the Amazon Basin. The capital city is Lima, located 12º south of the equator on the Pacific coast. The time zone in the whole country coincides with Eastern Standard time in the U.S. and is five hours behind GMT. Peru has two official languages: Spanish and Quechua, the language of the Inca Empire. English is spoken by some people, mostly in the major tourist areas.
The Coast: From December to April, temperatures reach 27ºC; from May to November, temperatures may fall to a mild 12ºC with high humidity.
The Highlands: From May to November, days are sunny, nights cold and rain scarce, creating the perfect weather for a visit. Rainfall is abundant from December to April. In a single day, temperatures may fluctuate from 20ºC to 5ºC.
The Amazon Forest: From May to October is the dry season with sunny days that heat up to 30ºC. During the rainy season, rivers swell.
28th of July (28 de Julio)
If you plan to visit Peru at the end of July, during the national holiday, be sure to arrange transport and lodging in advance because of the high demand.
CURRENCY AND MONEY EXCHANGE
The Peruvian currency is the Nuevo Sol (S/.). It circulates in coins of 10, 20 and 50 centavos and 1, 2 and 5 Nuevos Soles, and in bills of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 Nuevos Soles. Generally, the banks and currency exchange offices will change most foreign currency. Major credit cards are widely accepted and even required to rent a car and register at hotels. The most common credit cards are: Diner’s Club, Visa, MasterCard and American Express. Travelers checks in American dollars are not always accepted at hotels, businesses and restaurants (specially in areas far from big cities), so it is always good to carry another form of payment. It is better to have bills in good condition, since torn ones may not be accepted.