Tips and Useful Information
Money & Payments
Changing money on the street is risky and in the banks can be pricey, but you'll find money- changing houses throughout city centers where you can exchange money. Try to get smaller bills and coins as often as possible, as you'll find that for many goods and services vendors prefer not having to change money.
Travelers to higher-altitude such as Cusco, Puno, and La Paz can feel short of breath or ill due to the sudden change in altitude. The favored local remedy is coca tea and a restful first day with lots of liquid and little exertion. In more extreme cases, pharmacies carry pills for altitude sickness (soroche) as well as mini oxygen tanks.
When taxing taxis from airports and bus terminals, those waiting inside the parking area may cost more than those just outside, but you have the security of knowing these are registered. Taking unregistered taxis can be quite dangerous in both Peru and Bolivia. Taxis don't run on meters, so negotiate your price before entering the taxi.
It's easy to get ill eating food from street vendors if you're not careful. It's actually the uncooked items- fruits and vegetables- that are the most likely to affect you. Remember that faucet water must be purified by boiling or tablets in order to be safe to drink.
Travelers planning on embarking in tours in the Amazon region should prepare by receiving their Yellow Fever and Malaria vaccinations and bringing that documentation with you. Those planning on treks in the Andes could do well with a pre-trip check-up.
The main problem in Peru and Bolivia is not violence but petty thievery. At-risk items are purses and wallets as well as small electronics, especially cameras, cell phones, and MP3s. Distribute money, credit cards and documents in different pockets, keep an eye on bags, and as an extra precaution let friends and family know your itinerary and whereabouts.
What makes packing for a trip through Peru and Bolivia more complicated is the great variety of climates from coastal desert to snowy Andean peaks to tropical rainforest. Don't forget your sunblock and sunglasses, light and warm layers to adjust to changing temperatures, and for the November through March rainy season your raincoat or poncho.