WHAT ARE THE VISA REQUIREMENTS FOR TRAVELING TO PERU?
There is no visa requirement to enter Peru, and all airport taxes are usually included in the cost of your ﬂight. You must have a passport that is valid for the length of your stay, PLUS SIX MONTHS PAST THE ENTRY DATE. Upon entry into Peru you will go through customs, where you will receive a tourist visa stamp that is valid for 30-183 days. If you will be staying for longer than 30 days it is a good idea to ask for the amount of time you need.
WHAT SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT MONEY?
There are two ATMs in Calca. There are also several places that exchange money from dollars into soles. Most ATMs have a S./400 per withdrawal limit, and a limit of S./800 per day- though this may be higher in the larger cities.
There are no ATMs in the communities, so money should be withdrawn prior to travel. Your team lead will advise you if there will be textiles available for purchase, or any other reason to bring money. The current exchange rate is approximately US$1.00=PEN 3.3
Be sure to check with your bank about ATM/credit card fees, and alerting them to your travel plans. Note that Calca and area communities are almost entirely cash-based economies so don’t plan on using a card (besides at the two ATMs available in Calca). Dollars can be exchanged for soles at the airport, but usually at a poor rate. Depending on your bank, it might be best to get soles from an ATM at the Lima airport (if going through there). We recommend (but are in no way affiliated with) Charles Schwab for debit cards, since there are no ATM fees.
WHAT VACCINATIONS SHOULD I GET BEFORE COMING TO PERU?
Because of the high altitude, Calca does not have problems with mosquitos or mosquito-borne illnesses. The CDC suggests that travelers to all parts of Peru make sure they are up to date on routine vaccines, as well as Hepatitis A and Typhoid, as these can be contracted through contaminated water or food. The AASD recommends that you consult a travel doctor 4-6 weeks prior to your trip to learn what vaccines or other precautions are recommended for this area.
To avoid waterborne illness you can bring a water ﬁltration system (water pump, Steripen, or drops).
The AASD will have ﬁltered water available at the oﬃce and homestay locations, and will bring a water ﬁlter on longer community visits. Bottled water is also available for purchase.
WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE?
The rainy season in Peru is from November- Mid April. During this time expect dry mornings and heavy precipitation in the afternoons. January and February are especially wet times of the year.
Temperatures are usually mild, hovering around the 60s, with a small dip in temperature at night.
During the dry season (Mid April- October), days are hot and dry, with an extreme dip in temperature at night, usually to just above freezing.
In the mountains, weather is very ﬁckle and can change suddenly and often. It is a good idea to leave the house prepared for anything, regardless of how it looks outside. At all times of the year, sunscreen and rain gear are recommended.
WHAT SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT DRESSING IN PERU?
While there is no speciﬁc dress code, modest attire is recommended. The communities are fairly conservative in the way they dress, and we recommend following their model when staying there.
While the crime rate in Calca is extremely low, wearing lots of jewelry can signify that you possess wealth and mark you as a target of opportunity. Generally, leaving expensive jewelry at home is safer to prevent losing or damaging it.
Most of our programs require a signiﬁcant amount of hiking and working outside. Dress comfortably for physical exertion, and wear layers. We cannot stress enough how important it is to bring good rain gear, especially if you will be working in the communities, where it tends to rain more.
HOW DO I GET TO CALCA FROM THE AIRPORT?
For the majority of our programs someone will meet you at the airport. However, in case you are coming on your own, the trip is fairly easy to make and inexpensive. From the airport, take a taxi to Calle Puputi, where you can catch a combi to Calca (there will be several combis with drivers yelling “Calca” to signify where they are going). The price of the taxi depends on where you get it- from inside the airport it generally costs S./15-30, if you walk outside the airport you can usually catch one for S./6-10. The combi should cost S./4-6. Once you arrive in Calca, the Combis usually drop oﬀ either in the central Plaza, or at the bus terminal.
Another option is to take a taxi from the airport all the way to Calca. From outside the airport, this will usually cost S./50-70 depending on the time of day.
WILL MY PHONE WORK IN PERU?
Some cell phones do have international plans, and many program participants avail themselves of these plans for staying in contact with home. Check with your provider for costs before coming to Peru, and if you do not intend to use an international plan be sure you turn oﬀ your data usage option upon arrival to avoid incurring charges.
If having a phone is important to you, Peruvian SIM cards can be purchased for most unlocked phones. We recommend checking out this page for more information on using your phone abroad.
CAN I SEND AND RECEIVE MAIL?
Sending and receiving mail is expensive and unreliable, so we do not recommend doing so if it is at all avoidable. There is a post oﬃce in Calca for sending postcards. An international stamp for a postcard currently costs S./6.50.
WILL I HAVE INTERNET ACCESS?
There are many internet cafes around Calca and nearby towns, however, most homes do not have wiﬁ. The AASD oﬃce has internet during oﬃce hours. Please note that we discourage using the oﬃce internet for purposes other than work, as it is low bandwidth and the more people use it the slower it is.
DO I NEED AN ELECTRICAL CONVERTER?
Two-pronged cords work in most outlets in Peru, however, very few electrical outlets have a spot for a ground. Three to two prong converters are cheap to purchase at most hardware stores. The electrical current in Peru is 220v, but we have not found this to be a problem with American electronics, which use 110v.
WHAT IS THE FOOD LIKE, AND CAN YOU ACCOMMODATE DIETARY RESTRICTIONS?
Please inform the AASD prior to your arrival of any dietary restrictions. These can usually be accommodated, though this may limit the diversity of your meals. Food in Peru usually consists of various grains (often rice or corn), meat, potatoes, and vegetables.
At restaurants, most Peruvians order the set menu of the day, which consists of a soup, main course with meat and a starch, and sometimes dessert and a drink. For vegetarians, the main dish can usually be substituted for rice, egg, and tomatoes. Be prepared to eat this meal frequently.
Many vegetarians like to bring granola bars, nut butter, or other dietary supplements to create more variety in their diet. Food can also be brought to the communities to have prepared if you have a speciﬁc dietary need or desire while traveling.
For the majority of our programs, three meals a day will be provided Monday through Friday. For the weekends we usually do not provide food, as many participants travel on the weekends. We encourage you to try diﬀerent restaurants, or even try your hand at cooking food from the market or the farm. Preparing group meals can be a fun way to spend time together and enjoy great food!
Water in Peru is not potable. Only drink water that has been ﬁltered or boiled. All vegetables served in program meals have been washed in safe water. This is not always the case in restaurants, so until your body has begun to adjust to the food, it is a good idea to avoid fresh leafy greens in restaurants. Always avoid the mayonnaise that is left on the tables in some restaurants.
WHAT ARE THE PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS?
Many of our programs require a high degree of physical work- either agricultural work or hiking in the communities. Information speciﬁc to your program should be available in the program materials, or through communication with the program lead. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions relevant to your program.