How To Do Business With Peru - The Complete Guide (Updated 2015)

Apr 28, 2015 by Patricia Maroday

Do-business-with-Peru.jpgDownload this article as a PDF

1- Peru In A Nutshell

Capital City: Lima
Population: 30,147,935 (est. July 2015 The World Factbook)
Language: Spanish, Quechua, and Aymara
GDP 2013: USD $344 billion
Unemployment Rate 2014: 5.6% (Trading Economics)
Inflation: 3.22% (December 2014)
Currency: Peruvian nuevo sol
Time Zone: CST/GMT-5 (summer) / EST/GMT-4 (winter)
Telephone Code: +51
Internet Domain: .pe
Electricity Voltage: 220v
President: Ollanta Humala 

2- Peru’s Economy

2.1 - GDP Figures (2013)

GDP: $344 billion
GDP growth rate: 5.1%
GDP per capita: $11,100
GDP Composition by sector: Agriculture (6.2%), Industry (37.5%), Services (56.3%) 

2.2 - Economic Outlook 

Peru has faced a surprising economic decline in the past few years due to fewer investments in sectors such as mining, higher costs in foreign financing, and no new reforms to increase productivity and competition. Much of the growth seen in the third quarter of 2014 was largely due to spending by the government rather than improved exports, and growth was hindered in the fourth quarter due to falling mineral prices and a strike. 

The economic growth outlook for 2015 is projected to be closer to growth rates of 2013, roughly 5.5 percent, rather than 2014 levels. In 2016 and the following years, economists predict continued growth due to the opening of a new copper project sponsored by the Chinese which is expected to complete in early 2016. Continued delays by the Chinese are continually affecting the estimated growth rates of 2015; however, for now, 5.5 percent appears to be a realistic estimate considering all aspects of the economy.

2.3 - Trade and Economic Challenges 

Many of the economic and trade challenges of Peru are similar to those of other developing Latin American nations. A few examples include income inequality, high poverty levels, underdeveloped infrastructure, and overdependence upon one sector. Peru is heavily dependent upon minerals at the moment and must diversify to continue economic growth long term. 

Additional challenges include a high importation of food for local consumption and the country is not yet fully taking advantage of the many trade agreements that have been implemented in recent years. However, the Peruvian government is working to resolve many of these issues such as to eradicate poverty, create greater incentives for foreign investment, improve equality in the workforce, and to increase competitiveness. 

3- Trading With Peru

3.1 - Trading Partners 

Peru has recently signed a number of trade agreements with nations throughout the world. These agreements are beginning to and will certainly continue to shape the distribution of their partnerships. At this time, Peru trades closely with China, USA, Switzerland, Canada, Ecuador, and Brasil among others. Minerals are the primary exports of Peru; whereas, vehicles of any type make up a large percentage of imports. The following is the breakdown more specifically: 

Largest Export Partners (2012) 

  • China (17%)
  • US (14%)
  • Switzerland (11%)
  • Canada (7.5%)
  • Japan (5.5%)

Largest Import Partners (2012)

  • US (19%)
  • China (18%)
  • Brasil (6.0%)
  • Ecuador (4.8%)
  • Argentina (4.7%)

3.2 – Import Export Commodities

Peru Imports ExportsLargest Export Commodities (2012)

Examples of additional exports are silver, petroleum products, natural gas, vegetables, fruit, coffee, fish, chemicals, apparel, and more.

  • Largest Import Commodities (2012)
  • Crude Petroleum (8.4%)
  • Refined Petroleum (5.5%)
  • Cars (4.2%)
  • Delivery Trucks (3.7%)
  • Large Construction Vehicles (2.3%)

Examples of additional imports are plastics, telecommunication equipment, iron and steel, medicines, wheat and corn, paper, and more.

Major Airports and Ports

Peru has dozens of airports and ports alike. The infrastructure of such locals varies greatly from some of the most modern in the world to some of the most failing structurally in the world. While several of the airports are international, most are domestic and challenging to reach to do the rough Amazon terrain in the interior of the country. The ports vary to include oil terminals, container terminals, and even several river ports. The following are a few of the primary airports in Peru:


Rodriguez Ballon Airport - Arequipa (AQP)

The Arequipa airport is the second largest in Peru located in the South near the Bolivian and Chilean borders. The airport is one of the most important airports of the South connecting tourists to many popular destinations. The airport has been undergoing renovation and expansion projects in recent years to modernize the facility and to keep up with growing demand. You will find most modern conveniences at this airport.

Alejando Velasco Astete - Cusco (CUZ)

The Cusco airport is another essential airport to the South of Peru. Cusco is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Peru. Cusco is in the middle of the Andes mountains and the airport is located shockingly close to the city center. The airport provides limited amenities due to its close proximity to the city center and its limited operating hours, however a new airport has been proposed to be built in the suburbs.

Coronel FAP Francisco Secada Vignetta - Iquitos (IQT)

Iquitos is one of the primary airport hubs in the Amazon region. This airport does provide basic amenities, and it is an important airport to connect other towns and villages throughout the jungle region. From this airport, many tourists are able to reach their final Amazon destinations.

Jorge Chavez - Lima (LIM)

Lima is the largest and busiest airport in Peru. The Jorge Chavez International Airport is modern and technologically friendly. You will find wifi, shopping, restaurants, emergency medical services, and much more. Lima is the primary airport to connect to most smaller domestic airports as even the international airports in Peru are quite limited in their international services locations.

Padre Aldamiz - Puerto Maldonado (PEM)

Puerto Maldonado is considered the gateway to many of the most notable ecological areas in the Amazon jungle. It is a small and modest airport only providing the most basic of services. It is possible you may have to present your vaccination card for Yellow Fever upon arrival. Check before you schedule your flight.


It is essential to keep in mind that selecting the correct port for your needs will depend upon many aspects such as the type of container you are shipping, the commodity, your final destination, and much more. Ports are unique and each has its own set of limitations and advantages. Some are owned and operated privately; whereas, other ports are owned and operated by state governments. Keep in mind that very few ports in Latin America are able to receive the large Panamax ocean vessels at this time. The following are the primary ports of Peru:

Port of Callao

Callao is considered the most important port of Peru and has been as such since the 1500s. It is a few kilometers from Lima and it handles the most tones per year in the country. The port accepts virtually any type of shipment whether it be containerized or general bulk cargo. You might ship liquid hazardous materials or dry agricultural products to this port. The port is also home to the most technological advances of all Peruvian ports and focuses on efficiency and the environment at the same time. The port also permits Post-Panamax vessels and the port specializes in transshipments to other Latin American countries.

Port of Iquitos

Iquitos is an inland port on the Amazon River. It is a vital port hub for much of the Amazonian residents. The port can only be reached by air or water as the closest road is 100 km away. Ecological protection is at the center of this port to ensure the Amazon Rainforest remains unharmed as much as possible.

Port of Pisco

The port of Pisco, which is roughly 40 minutes from the town Pisco, accepts commercial cargo and cruise ships alike, however no tourist activity exists at the port. This port is one of the most vital ports to Southern Peru. The port will accept a wide variety of cargo such as grains, minerals, and general bulk cargo.

Other notable and important ports:

  • Chimbote
  • Ilo
  • Paita
  • Salverry
  • Pucallpa

3.4 - Time and Cost to Import into Peru

The time and cost to import into Peru will vary greatly. If the exporting country is part of a free trade agreement with Peru and the imported good is subject to the benefits of the agreement, it is likely minimal to no import tariffs or customs fees will apply. If the exporting country is not a member of any bilateral agreement or trade bloc with Peru, goods may be subject to import duties, sales tax, additional fees, excise tax, tariff surcharge, and a municipal tax.

If the goods are shipped into a free trade zone, they can be accepted, repackaged, and exported without having to pay import fees. Do not forget to consider Incoterms before you sign any sales contracts. The transit time to Peru will vary from a few weeks for ocean vessels from Miami to over a month for shipments originating in Asia.

3.5 - Tax Free Zones

Peru has two types of free trade zones. The first, which are referred to as CETICOS, allow for export, industry, trade and services, and transformation. All free trade zones are CETICOS and require no less than 92 percent of all products to be re-exported to qualify for tax-free status. The one exception being Loreto which only requires 80 percent of products to be re-exported.

The second kind of trade zone in Peru is referred to as ZOTAC which is only located at Tacna. This trade zone permits businesses in this zone to pay a significantly reduced customs duty fee of only 8 percent, rather than 12 or 20 percent, and they are exempt from excise, municipal, and sales taxes. The requirement being that the goods must have been unloaded at either the port of Ilo or the port of Matarani. The percentage of re-exportation is irrelevant at ZOTAC in order to qualify for the incentives. The following are the free trade zones in Peru:

  • Zona Franca de Ilo
  • Zona Franca de Loreto
  • Zona Franca Matarani
  • Zona Franca Paita
  • Zona Franca de Tacna

>> View all Tax Free Zones in Latin America

3.6 - Peru Free Trade Agreements

Free Trade Agreements PeruIt is important to note that Peru is an associate member of MERCOSUR. They do not have the same duty free advantages as primary members nor do they have any voting rights, however they do receive some leniency and incentives on all trade agreements between any nation and MERCOSUR including the EU, India, and Israel. In addition to such advantages, Peru also has an Economic Complementation Agreement with all MERCOSUR nations. The following are the trade agreements of Peru:

APEC - Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation

A unique aspect pertaining to APEC is that it is manage by the participating governments and does not require contractual obligation which is quite different than most trade agreements. At this time, 21 countries make up this agreement which is designed to reduce barriers in trade amongst the member countries which includes Chile, Mexico, and Peru.

Canada - Peru Free Trade Agreement

The Canada and Peru FTA is based on improving relations between the nations in trade and in people while also promoting hemispheric integration in economy. This agreement is quite detailed to include numerous areas such as trade, services, job creation, sustainability, protection of economic development and intellectual property rights, provide medicines, permit foreign investments, and much more.

Chile - Peru Free Trade Agreement

The trade agreement between Chile and Peru focuses on economic development and a reduction in poverty through various protections of goods and services. The free trade agreement was an expansion to an economic completion agreement and it is expected that by 2016, all goods will be in exemption.

Colombia and Peru - European Union

Countries include the EU nations, Colombia, and Peru. This agreement concentrates on eliminating trade barriers while protecting human and labor rights in addition to strengthening political relations and democratic support. It also promotes job growth, sustainable development, and investment. Some of the most commonly traded goods are fish, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, beverages, and much more.

EU - Andean Community Regional Association Agreement

Countries include the EU nations, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Even though Bolivia is technically an Andean nation, it is only being considered for the agreement at this time. The agreement includes goods and services, government procurement, foreign investment, reduced import duties, intellectual property rights, sustainable development, and more. Some of the primary goods traded through the agreement are agricultural products, fuels, manufactured goods, mining products, chemicals, and machinery and transport equipment.

Mexico - Peru Economic Integration Agreement

This long-standing agreement is no doubt contributing to the continued economic growth of both countries. The primary focus of this FTA is within the areas of trade in goods and services, foreign investment protection, and dispute settlement. Within these parameters includes tariff eliminations, protection against unfair trade practices, rules of origin, and customs procedures.

Peru - China

This Economic Partnership Agreement is highly essential for both partners. Peru is able to capitalize on the liberalization of goods to diversify their exportation portfolio and China is able to capitalize on Peru’s copper, which is essential to their infrastructure and manufacturing development. Investment leniencies have also been a focus of the agreement as well as overall long-term economic development.

Peru - European Free Trade Association (EFTA)

Countries include EFTA countries and Peru. The focus of this agreement is on foreign investment, government procurement, the protection of intellectual property, sustainable development, and to increase trade in goods which must meet the predetermined rules of origin.

Peru - Japan

Peru and Japan have entered into an agreement in order to strengthen their economies and their political relationships. The idea is to increase trade and investment while creating job opportunities and sustainable development. And, as with many EPAs, focus will be made on environmental protection and conservation.

Peru - Korea

This FTA has a central focus of improving trade and investment in both regions. As with many Peru and Asian agreements, Korea will be benefiting from access to the vast natural resources of Peru which is vital to their own economic prosperity. Peru benefits from investment into their various growing sectors such as agriculture, natural resources, and energy.

Peru - MERCOSUR Economic Complementation Agreement (ACE)

This agreement covers both goods and services for all member nations. The elimination of customs duties has fostered positive trade relations. The agreement also focuses on mutually beneficial development of science and technology, as well as intellectual property rights, exchange of trade information services, and antidumping.

Peru - Singapore

The Peru - Singapore Free Trade Agreement (PeSFTA) is quite expansive. Reducing barriers in trade and services is at the forefront, however many other provisions have been established to enhance trade relations including investment, moving of business people, government procurement, policy in competition, and intellectual property protection.

Peru - Thailand

Under this FTA, the majority of all goods traded between Peru and Thailand are duty free and exempt from tariffs. Services and investment have also been negotiated into the agreement over the years in an effort to further strengthen the relationships between the countries as well as to improve transparency. Several of the most popular trading sectors include forestry, fishery, agriculture, energy, science and technology, and tourism and services.

Peru - USA Trade Promotion Agreement

Countries include the US and Peru. The Peru TPA provides 80% of industrial and consumer goods to be free from tariffs and the entire 100% shall be duty free in 2019. Agricultural products are 90% duty free and expected to be at 100% by 2026. All goods, agricultural and otherwise, must meet the country of origin definition as it is presented in the agreement to be eligible. It also provides additional protection and benefits to suppliers, investors from member countries, services, labor, intellectual property protection, and the environment.

4- Peru’s Business Opportunities

Peru Currency4.1 - Investment Grade

At the moment, Peru has a relatively decent Latin American investment grade from all international credit rating agencies. Standard and Poor’s and Fitchs have given Peru a rating of BBB and Moodys rating is a A3. Recently, Peru is having a difficult time attracting additional investment due to a number of challenges such as the government being slow to implement reforms to bolster investor confidence and to concentrate on commodity diversification. Presently, the government has passed several laws to counteract investor skepticism such as through tax restructuring and business debt forgiveness, however a large number of people feel many of the steps taken to grow the economy will be at the expense of the environment.

Unlike a few other Latin American countries, Peru has been quite friendly to private foreign investment and is more than willing to share investment opportunities to all those nations interested. Minerals remain a large sector for investment opportunities. Additional opportunities exist on a large scale in agribusiness, biofuels, tourism, ecotourism, and others. Infrastructure opportunities also exist in alternative energy and public transportation.

According to the Bloomberg Best for Business in Latin America 2014 report, Peru is ranked at number two in the region. The rankings were based on a number of factors such as the degree of economic integration, the cost of establishing a new business, cost of labor and material, cost of moving goods, and more.

4.2 - Significant Projects

Dozens of projects are ongoing throughout Peru at any given time. These projects vary in terms of financial commitments, public and private investment, and completion dates. Below are just a few of the significant project currently underway in Peru:


As Cusco continues to grow as one of the most popular destinations in Latin America, it was decided a need for a new airport was imminent. The Chinchero suburb will be home to the Cusco Chinero Airport. The initial estimates of investments required will be roughly USD $658 million. The airport is expected to be complete in 2020 and it will replace the current airport in Cusco.

Alternative Energy

Many of the poorest residents in Peru still do not have electricity. The National Photovoltaic Household Electrification Program has been developed to provide an additional two million people with electricity. The project will combine a number of energy sources from solar to hydroelectric and is expected to cost $3 billion once the project is complete leaving 95 percent of the country with electricity which is a significant increase even though it is not yet everyone.

Gas Pipeline

The new natural gas pipeline, which is to be roughly 600 miles long, will service much of Southern Peru and the interior jungle regions in Central Peru down to the South. This massive undertaking is expected to cost up to $7 billion by the time the project is complete.

Lima Subway

The new subway in Lima is expected to connect Callao and Lima and to help reduce the increasingly congested traffic due to improved economic conditions. The target completion date is year 2019 and it is expected to transport 660,000 people a day. The estimated investment capital required to complete the project is $5.7 billion.

4.3 - Infrastructure

Peru is working diligently to improve their infrastructure condition on all accounts from medical facilities to strategic highways. A number of proposed highways are currently seeking investment to connect various Peruvian ports in the North, Central, and South to corresponding ports in Brasil. These projects are seeking up to $2.6 billion to complete. Peru and Brasil believe these roads will be essential in improving the global transportation needs of various markets such as the US and Asia from both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans as well as to improve relations between the neighboring nations.

In addition to various ports and airports receiving much-needed upgrades and expansions, the medical infrastructure is also undergoing significant expansion. In 2012, the Peruvian government announced they would be building 18 new hospitals. Six of these hospitals are projected to be built in Lima to help ease overcrowding and the remaining will be built in smaller cities and more remote regions of the Amazon.

4.4 - Largest Employers

While mining is one of the largest industries possessing many top employers, some of the largest employers are in other industries. Some of such employers are in food and beverage and banking and finance. Below are several of the largest employers in Peru with varying numbers from several hundred to tens of thousands of employees:

The industry sector employment breakdown was as follows in 2011:

  • Agriculture (25.8%)
  • Industry (17.4%)
  • Service (56.8%)

Today, some of the largest employing industries are divided amongst mining, call centers, and financial services. In the coming years, a dramatic shift is expected and experts predict to see job growth in areas such as law, medicine, nutrition, software development, tourism, gastronomy, marketing and communications, construction, and more. It is important to note that Peru consists of both a formal and informal workforce. The informal workforce consists of up to 80 percent of the employment population; whereas, the formal workforce, which requires degrees and qualifications, consists of the remaining 20 percent.

4.5 - General Business Taxes

The general corporate tax rate is 30 percent. Foreign corporations and branches of such entities are only taxed on income sourced in Peru. Any company incorporated within Peru is considered a Peruvian resident company and will be taxed on all worldwide-generated income. It is important to note that any individual, foreign or Peruvian, who spends 183 days or more in Peru during any time during a traditional 12-month calendar year is considered a resident and subject to tax in Peru. Foreign residents are only subject to tax on Peruvian-earned income; whereas, Peruvians will be taxed on all income earned anywhere in the world.

5 – Peru’s Key Industries

5.1 - Largest Industries

The largest industries in Peru are quite diversified, however the percentage of diversification is quite skewed to the mining industry. Peru relies heavily on the mining industry which many economists believe is preventing the economy from growing at a larger rate. Some of the largest industry sectors are as follows:


The agriculture industry over a four-year period from 2010 to 2014 experienced growth of five times the levels of pre-2010. One of the biggest contributing factors was the surge in popularity of the grain quinoa. While quinoa may have encouraged countries such as the US to begin importing more grain from Peru, it also had a direct affect on other produce such as artichokes, avocados, and sugarcane. Overall, some of the biggest agricultural exports are asparagus, bananas, coffee, cocoa, cotton, corn, dry beans, fish, lemons, onion, oranges, palm oil, poultry, and tomatoes.


Despite mineral commodity prices falling, experts predict exports will increase for the minerals copper, iron ore, and zinc throughout Peru. While the administration continues to make mining appealing for outside investment, the industry is not without challenges such as illegal mining and environmental concerns. Regardless of such challenges, the mining industry in Peru is predicted to grow at least 6.5 percent in 2015.


Peru is embracing the growing interest in tourism and working to improve experiences for the culturally hungry travelers. Tourism in Peru grew 15 percent from 2012 to 2013 and the number of visitors continues to grow annually creating jobs and increasingly becoming a greater overall contributing factor to the overall GDP. Because of such results, the government is continually working to develop eco-tourism, maintain existing cultural and historical landmarks, and protect the country’s most cherished treasures.

5.2 – Peru’s Technology and Connectivity

Peru has a much lower than average connectivity rate than much of Latin America, however their technology infrastructure and programs are significantly more advanced than many countries with greater connectivity ratios. In Peru, 11,817,991 people are connected to the Internet which is a connectivity penetration rate of 39.2 percent. Much of populated Peru is located in geographically challenging regions in the Andes and the Amazon. Another large percentage of the population is extremely poor. This combination has greatly affected the penetration rate, however the administration is working to solve these problems.

Generally speaking, Peru is a technologically advanced nation in many regards. Over 50 percent of residents have mobile phones and access to the Internet in rural areas despite a lack of any fiber optic connection. While, in the past, rural connections have often limited and hindered due to inclimate weather conditions, mobile phone giant Ericsson is working with the government to bring 4G technology to the Amazon.

Larger towns and cities are filled with technological modern conveniences such as Wi-Fi in public places, cafes, and shopping centers. The government is heavily investing in the development of science and technology innovation by sponsoring a number of programs such as CienciActiva which has dedicated roughly $77.5 million in educating students and in research and development to catapult Peru as a Latin American leader in science and technology.

5.3 - E-Commerce and Startups

Lima has been the center of the startup community in Peru for several years now; however, the country is now looking to Arequipa, Trujillo, and Chiclayo as the new technology and startup centers of the country. Arequipa is attracting international technology business and has a rapidly growing IT education sector in both undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The government has been a staunch supporter of the startup community for years and has launched Startup Peru and other incubator and entrepreneur-support programs.

E-commerce in Peru is not quite as expansive as other Latin American countries for a number of reasons. A large percentage of the population is still quite poor, the technology and transportation infrastructure makes it quite difficult to reach a large percentage of the population, and the lack of connectivity on a grand scale makes it nearly impossible for many to become regular e-commerce shoppers. With that being said, Peru does host an eCommerce day each year and has done so since 2010. Those who are connected to the Internet with a disposable income are active e-commerce shoppers spending $800 million in 2013. As connectivity penetration rates increase and income equality improves, the e-commerce industry in Peru will be even bigger business.

6 – Visiting Peru

Peru Business Etiquette6.1 - Business and Cultural Etiquette

Like most of Latin America, Peruvians may stand closer to you than you are accustomed. Do not back away as it may be seen as rude or that you are cold. Also like much of Latin America, time is perceived as highly flexible and business attire is more formal than casual and conservative. You might be waiting for up to an hour for a meeting to begin, however you should still be on time. The same can be said for parties or events. It is expected that any guest should not arrive until at least 30 minutes after the proposed party time. You should also bring the host a small gift such as flowers or wine. Be certain to keep the gift small rather than expensive.

Handshakes are most common, however some women will greet with a cheek kiss and it is expected that you greet everyone you encounter with the appropriate good day, such as good morning or good evening, on a daily basis from your taxi driver to shopkeepers. Relationships are also an important part of business. You should also use formal titles and last names during conversations, as it is a hierarchical society. Business lunches are common and will often last a few hours and always schedule meetings in advance rather than appearing without notice. During any dining experience, keep your hands on the table rather than to rest them on your lap.

A few highly important factors are, firstly, not to presume meetings will be conducted in English simply because you might not speak Spanish. You should bring an interpreter as meetings are often conducted in Spanish even if the persons in attendance speak English. Secondly, do not call someone over with your index finger as it is rude in Peruvian culture. Lastly, if you are presenting gifts, avoid any items in odd numbers as it is bad luck and never give a knife as a gift as it symbolizes the ending of a friendship.


Tipping is not overly complicated in Peru. Typically, it is not expected in small restaurants nor taxis. It is expected that you should tip baggage handlers in airports and porters in hotels around 5 Peruvian nuevos soles (S/.). In high-end restaurants, most people tip 10 percent. Guides in museums and cultural sites who provide exceptional service should be tipped roughly S/. 5.00 for each hour to hour and a half. Tour guides who provide exceptional service should be tipped roughly S/. 10 per half a day and the driver of the bus should receive between S/. 5 and S/. 10 per half day. If you have a tour that lasts a few days or more, you should consider the following: Porter S. 40 - S/. 80, Cooks S/. 70 - S/. 100 and per guide S/. 150 - S/. 200. Taxis are not expected to be tipped as all prices are pre-negotiated.


Taxis in Lima are not really regulated nor do they have meters. You must negotiate the price of your trip before you get into the cab and only pay once you safely reach your desired destination as you would in any city anywhere in the world. It is also advisable to carry small bills, again as you would in any city. You can hail taxis from the street, however many taxis will come to you if they see you walking. It is important to note that roughly one third of taxis in Lima are legally registered with the city.

When negotiating the price, be aware most drivers will likely attempt to charge you a foreigner fee. Be aware of standard pricing before you negotiate. Also, make sure you repeat the quote back to the them so you are both in understand and verify before you get in that it is soles and not dollars so the driver does not try to pull a fast one once you go to pay.

Taking a taxi in Lima can be dangerous as many locals and tourists alike have been victims of kidnappings, theft, and attacks over the years. It is recommended to only use taxis officially registered with the city. These taxis will either be yellow, white, or black and have an official Setame sticker in the front windshield, a proper ID hanging from the mirror, and they will have an attached taxi sign on the roof of the vehicle. You should phone a reputable service provider to ensure your safety. Keep in mind the most reputable services are the most expensive.


Cash is the preferred currency in Peru. It is advised to always carry soles and dollars on you at all times, particularly when traveling outside cities as you be simply be unable to cash travelers checks or use credit cards in some villages. To get the best exchange rates, avoid banks and use an ATM or a currency exchange. Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit cards throughout the country.

6.2 - Primary Tourist Attractions


Arequipa is in the South and the second largest city in Peru. The city is often referred to as the white city as throughout the city, many buildings are white based on numerous historical influences such as temples, palaces, convents, and even colonial homes. Whether you choose to explore the aforementioned or the surrounding volcanic region, you will likely enjoy endless blue skies as the city is said to experience roughly 300 days of sun each year.


Cusco Peru TravelCusco is more than simply the stopover before Machu Picchu. While a visit to Machu Picchu is a must when in Cusco whether it be by hiking or by train, exploring this growing city and the surrounding region is also highly recommended. You will be able to explore the cultural treasures of the city and the ancient Incan archeology discoveries scattered throughout the surrounding areas high in the Andes. Keep in mind it is advised to take a day or two to adjust to the altitude if you are not accustomed to such heights as it can make you sick and even cause death in extreme cases. It is also worth noting that Cusco is a great city to explore local traditional cuisines.


Iquitos and the region are for outdoor lovers and eco-travelers. You will be in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest completely surrounded by nature. If you are looking for true adventure, you can choose from a number of jungle resorts and truly become one with the rainforest. You cannot reach Iquitos by road only by air or water. If you prefer a less nature-filled stay, the city itself is filled with numerous cultural activities and explorations without venturing into the Amazon.


The capital city of Lima is located on the Pacific coast in the center of the country. It is the primary logistics point of the country whether you seek to continue on to the Amazon, the Andes, or the North or South. In the city of Lima, you will be able to explore the many gastronomic adventures of Peru, high-end shopping, museums, art, historical landmarks, and much more. It is much more of a cosmopolitan city compared to other larger cities in the region.

Puerto Maldonado

Puerto Maldonado is in the Southeast region near the Bolivian border in the basin of the Amazon. It is often referred to as the garden of eden of Peru seeing as the pristine and untamed ecological tourist attracts often make people feel as though they have traveled back to the beginning of time. The city of Puerto Maldonado and the surrounding region will allow for you to explore the vastly diverse jungles and forests throughout the region which are truly unique and quite different from the Amazon in the North.

Other popular and notable attractions:

  • Callao
  • Chan Chan
  • Desert Oasis in Huacachina
  • Lake Titicaca and Uros Islands
  • Surfing the Northern Beaches

6.3 - Safety

As always, exercise good judgment when you travel, particularly in tourist areas and if you are lost. It is also important to be mindful of your country’s travel warnings pertaining to whichever country you visit and at this particular time in Peru, road travel in certain areas remains a high-level potential threat. The Shining Path terrorist group will attack police presence and kidnap locals and foreigners in remote regions. Check with your local State office for details. Various bandit criminals have been known to set up roadblocks at night and stop tourist buses traveling between cities.

Strikes and political demonstrations are not uncommon and like everywhere in the world, tourists are advised to avoid such demonstrations. Land mines are still in existence on the Peru and Ecuador border and it is highly recommended to stick to official border crossing to avoid any potential threats. Violent crime is a common occurrence in larger Peruvian cities including sexual assault, armed robbery, assault, and carjacking. It is highly recommended to not fight back in order to avoid serious injury during any assault. These criminal activities are also increasing in Cusco and Arequipa in addition to Lima.

Express kidnappings are often common in Lima, as well and women should be highly vigilant in protecting their drinks when at clubs and bars to prevent the drugging of their drinks. Also women traveling alone should avoid isolation in any way at any time as crimes against women have been reported both during the day and the night. It has also been reported that some airport screeners will attempt to steal items such as money and watches from baskets going through x-ray machines. If this occurs, speak with a supervisor immediately to ensure you get your valuables back.

Other scams include people pretending to be tour guides or taxi drivers asking to see passports to steal and thieves have been known to smash passenger-side windows in taxis to steal luggage and bags. Try to keep your bags with you or in the trunk if at all possible, particularly to and from the airport and in downtown Lima. Gangs outside Cusco are also a growing concern; therefore, it is advisable to travel in large groups as much as possible whilst exploring Inca ruins in and around Cusco.

Water is not safe to drink from the tap. You should buy bottled water, which is readily available nearly everywhere. If you are on a budget, rigorously boiling water for one minute at lower altitudes and three minutes at higher altitudes will sufficiently purify your water. You can also use iodine tablets, water filters, and other purification methodologies.

6.4 - Public National Holidays

  • 1 January - New Year’s Day
  • 2 April - Maundy Thursday
  • 3 April - Good Friday
  • 5 April - Easter Day
  • 1 May - Labor / May Day
  • 29 June - St. Peter and St. Paul
  • 28 July - Independence Day
  • 29 July - Independence Day - second day
  • 30 August - Santa Rosa de Lima
  • 8 October - Battle of Angamos
  • 1 November - All Saints’ Day
  • 8 December - Feast of the Immaculate Conception
  • 25 December - Christmas Day

Please note that a number of additional local, regional, bank, and seasonal holidays exist that may interrupt travel plans and business activities.

6.5 - Fun and Interesting Facts

Did you know…

  • Peru is home to 55 types of corn in all different colors.
  • Guinea Pig is a staple in Peruvian cooking, particularly during holidays.
  • Peru is home to 1,625 types of orchids.
  • On New Year’s Eve, it is tradition to give family and friends yellow underpants.
  • More than 90 different microclimates exist in Peru.
  • Chicama is home to the longest left-handed wave in the world and the largest left-handed point break in part making Peru a surfer’s paradise.
  • Cat is eaten in Chincha.
  • The second largest Shaman population is located in Peru. India is number one.

6.6 - The Foodie Scene

Peru Food TravelPeru is a haven for spectacular ingredients. Traditional Peruvian cuisine has become quite popular the world over in the past decade; however, locally, the food and foodie scene is changing course. The country is home to some of the most biodiverse land in the world thus providing Peruvians with an endless array of indigenous ingredients. Locally sourced ingredients are at the heart of the foodie scene in Peru and young chefs and new-comer chefs are keen to use such ingredients with various international techniques and cuisines.

Foraging is also growing in popularity. Again, due to the nearly endless ingredient possibilities, this movement has spread through the gastronomy industry like a wildfire. This is a country passionate about food. It has been said that it is food that unites all Peruvians rather than futbol. Whether you are in search of the truly exotic or classic traditional fare, you will find it in Peru. And, perhaps Peruvians were foodies before anyone else on the planet.

6.7 – The Media

News Sites

  • El Comercio - Lima daily
  • Gestion - Lima daily
  • Ojo - Lima daily
  • El Bocon - Lima daily
  • La Republica - Lima daily
  • Diario Correo - daily, 15 local editions
  • Andina - government-owned
  • Peruvian Times - English-language

Television Channels

  • TV Peru - state-owned
  • America TV - commercial
  • Panamericana - commercial
  • ATV - commercial
  • Frecuencia Latina - commercial

Radio Stations

  • Radio Programas de Peru (RPP) - popular Lima-based news and talk station
  • Radio Panamericana - Lima commercial FM station, music
  • Radio Nacional - state-run

6.8 - Emergency Numbers

Peruvian Police - Tel: 105
Fire - Tel: 116
Tourist Police LIma City Center - Tel: (+511) 425-3005
Free Ambulance (Camos district) - Tel: 106
EsSalud Sistema de Transporte Asistido Emergencia (Public Ambulance) - Tel: 117
Civil Defense - Tel: 115
Earthquake or Natural Disaster - Tel: : 119

6.9 - Primary Hospitals and Medical Facilities In Case of Emergency

The quality of health care in Peru is comparable to that of most developed countries in the Northern Hemisphere. Because of this, the country is becoming a popular medical tourist destination as the quality is high and the cost is low. A slightly different cultural note is that it is expected and encouraged to get the list of fees and charges and pay for them before you can receive treatment in Peru. Below are simply a few examples of possible treatment clinics and hospitals:


Clínica Arequipa - Tel: +51 25 3424 / 25 3416, Address: Bolognesi at Puente Grau. This is the most expensive and premium clinic in Arequipa.

Hogar Clínica San Juan de Dios - Tel: +51 25 1560 / 25 2256, Address: Av Ejército 1020, Cayma. General clinic and should phone in advance for hours.

Hospital Regional Honorio Delgado Espinoza - Tel: +51 21 9702 / 23 3812, Address: Av Daniel Alcides Carrión. Emergency Services are 24-hours a day..

Hospital 'Tony Molleapaza Rojas' PAZ-Holandesa - Tel: 054 432281. Address: Urb.Villa Continental Calle 4 nr.101, Paucarpata. A travel clinic by appointment only. Doctors speak English and Dutch and proceeds provide free medical services for Peruvian children who are underprivileged.


Clinica Prado - Tel: +51 84 240 387, Address: Av. de la Cultura 710, Cusco.

Cusco Medical Assistance - Tel: +51 84 224 016 / 224 178, Address:Urb. El Ovalo, Av. La Paz B-1, Cusco.

Hospital Cusco - Tel: +51 84 234 724, Address: Antiguo Aeropuerto S/N, Cusco.


Clinica Anglo Americana - Tel: (+511) 616-8900, Address: Alfredo Salazar 350,San Isidro, Lima, A private clinic with general care and a staff that mostly speaks English.

Clinica Good Hope - Tel: (+511) 610-7300, Address: Malecon Balta 956, Miraflores, Lima, A private clinic with both emergency and general care.

Emergency Hospital Jose Casimiro - Tel: (+511) 204-0900, Address: Av. Roosevelt 6355 (also referred to as Av. Panama), Miraflores, Lima. A public emergency care and trauma hospital.


















































































Import Peru Business Latam Latin America Travel
About The Author

Patricia Maroday

I’m Mercatrade’s co-founder and enthusiastic team member. I blog, I travel and I love the the combination of marketing, technology and Latin America.

You can also find me on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google +


No comments on this article.

commentary system: Disqus

© Copyright 2015 All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use  Privacy Policy  International Partners


logo footer