Given Peru’s rich historical and ethnic heritage, its culture is diverse and varies from region to region. Peruvians are generally polite and friendly, and strong friendships often go a long way in opening doors and securing opportunities in the business world. Standard business attire is the same as in the US or Europe. Customary greetings are one kiss on the cheek between both women and men and women. Men greet one another with a handshake.
With more than 10m people in Lima, traffic is an issue, especially during rush hour between 7.00am and 9.00am and between 5.00pm and 8.00pm. Expansion of the existing metro and integrated bus system is expected to help reduce this load. In Lima and other urban centres, the most common means of transport other than the metro and the bus are taxis, many of which are informal. Metered taxis are rare, and fares must be agreed beforehand. A standard fare from the airport to the more tourist districts is around PEN35-50 ($10. 59-15.14). Hotels normally provide taxi services, though at higher prices than informal taxis. Apps such as Uber and EasyTaxi work well in Lima.
For travelling around the country, the most common mode is by bus, used by more than 80m people annually for distances varying from three hours between Lima and Paracas, to 24 hours from Lima to Cusco. There are more than 20 airports of significant size, 12 of them with international connections. The airports of Lima, Arequipa and Cusco handle most of the 37.3m-passenger annual airport traffic.
Although Spanish is the official language, Peru is considered a multilingual nation, with a number of indigenous languages spoken across the country. The most common of these, Quechua and Aymara, are predominantly spoken in the highlands and jungle regions. English is spoken mainly in tourist destinations such as Cusco and Lima, but knowing some Spanish will make your stay more pleasant.
Office hours generally last from 9.00am-6.00pm from Monday to Friday. A number of businesses, including banks and currency exchange agencies, are open for part or all of Saturday. A lunch break is common for most businesses.
SIM cards can be purchased at airports or at a variety of retail outlets. Local and international data plans are available, and internet coverage extends to most of the country. A growing number of establishments and businesses offer wireless internet on their premises.
The sol (PEN) is the official currency of Peru, and is currently available in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200. There are also 1-, 2- and 5-sole coins and 10-, 20- and 50-cent coins. US dollars are widely accepted across Peru. Both official and unofficial currency exchange agencies are common, especially in areas with high levels of tourism. It is also not uncommon to find formal and informal cambistas, or street currency exchangers.
To avoid counterfeit bills, formal outlets and cambistas are preferable. ATMs are available predominantly in urban centres and accept most major international cards. It is possible to withdraw either soles or US dollars from most ATMs, though exchange rates are often less favourable. Credit cards are widely accepted. As of June 2019 the exchange rate was $1:PEN3.38, €1:PEN3.78 and £1:PEN4.28.
Citizens from most countries in Europe and the Americas do not currently require a visa to enter Peru. Tourist stamps are issued upon arrival at the country’s airports or land borders, for a period of 30, 90, or if requested, 183 days. Extensions are available only for certain countries, and overstays will result in fines of $1 per day.
The electrical current is 220 V, 60 Hz AC, often with dual-voltage outlets accepting both European- and US-style round- and flat-prong plugs. Adapters are available in urban areas around Peru.
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