How to stay safe while traveling in Peru
So you’ve arrived to Peru! For sure you are already impressed by the beauty of this country and by the friendliness of the Peruvian people. Here are some tips to help you stay safe and enjoy the culture while you’re traveling in Peru.
Be carefull on the streets
When out in the streets of Lima, Cusco or any other city in Peru, be very careful and look both ways before crossing the street. Policia do not heavily enforce traffic rules in Peru. You should be patient because many vehicles here follow their own rules and don’t always stop for red lights.
Money in Peru
Small change in Peru is essential no matter what your specific location. Larger denominations can’t be accepted sometimes. With some markets or vendors, they will walk around town in search of someone capable of breaking the sol note leaving you waiting. There are many locations around town capable of breaking change or exchanging foreign currency. Additionally, hold on to your wallet especially when visiting the black markets like El Molino or el Baratillo, in Cusco.
Bargain for deals
This common practice is expected and earns respect. Along with great deals it also gives you the opportunity to practice your Spanish. Some say starting at half the price and finding a compromise is best. As it may seem you’re already getting a great deal, it’s possible to save even more. If you are interested in learning more Spanish, there is a special course Spanish for Travelers at AMAUTA Spanish School in Cusco.
Ceviche is just one example of a great and delicious Peruvian dish, with fresh seafood and lime typically served with corn and papas (potatoes). For the more adventurous consumer cuy or guinea pig or alpaca burgers are just as delicious. With all that being said; food safety is important for all foreign travelers. Avoid vegetables that have not been peeled or cooked. Make sure any water consumed has been boiled or is bottled; be careful with ice as well. If you don’t know the handling of a specific item, ask.
Finally, take advantage of this opportunity to enjoy coca tea. Filled with several antioxidants, this mate (herb tea) can help ward off altitude sickness also know as “sorroche”. Contrary to some Western beliefs the tea on it’s own is not harmful but in fact healthy. The coca leaf is not processed and is safe to drink or even chew as some of the locals will do.