Useful information & tips for your trip to South America
What do I need to bring? Where can I get cash? Here you will find answers to all your questions, information about how we work and about what is expecting you in South America.
Feel free to contact us if this doesn’t answer all your questions (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Step 1: Contact us
E-Mail us, call us or fill out one of our Online Form. We will pair you with your personal Travel Advisor and get back to you as soon as possible.
Step 2: Perfecting your trip
Any wishes you might have regarding your travel to Peru, your personal Travel Advisor will customize for you, just let him know your desires and ideas. Trips, hostels, bus/train tickets or other services you need, will be attended personally. You get an offer and you decide if it suits you or if you would like to make any modificaions.
Step 3: Booking and payment
Once you have settled the tour/service of your preference, we book it completely as you want. You confirm your trip with a 50% of the cost of the tour/service, as a down payment. We need some of your documents (passport, student card, etc.), to ensure all the services you have chosen.
Step 4: Confirmation
After receiving your deposit, and we will send you a booking confirmation. After this stage, any changes or cancellations will result in an extra fee. Additions, however, are welcomed and do not have any penalty charge. We will be coordinating everything from planes, trains, buses, hotels, and tours for you in South America.
NOTE: About Your flights
Our tours do not include the flights to / from South America from / to your country of origin.
Also we do not include the domestic flights in South America, but if you prefer we can book it for you at the current cost of the Airline of your choice.
It is your responsibility to book the flights in time according to your travel dates and inform us about your flight dates and hours, so that we can organize and adjust your itinerary accordingly.
Please be aware that there can be flight changes due to unforeseen events. By using your flight number we’ll keep track of your flight hours and our team keeps notes of airline changes for you so you can count on our representatives to be waiting for you.
Step 5: We are always in touch
Your Travel Advisor in Peru will be at your service before, during and after your trip. You can contact and stay in touch with him or her via e-mail, Facebook, Skype, telephone or, f you are near to one of our offices, personally.
Step 6: Full Payment
We accept all major credit and debit cards via Pay Pal, money transfer via Western Union, Money Gram, bank transfers or cash if you come directly to our office in Cusco. Please note that we don’t have a credit card machine at our office.
Step 7: Arrival in South America
If you book a private tour or choose to be picked up from the Airport in any destination of Peru, there will be a COCA TOURS representative waiting for you at the airport and transfer you to your chosen Hostel/Hotel.
Currencies and exchange rates in Peru and Bolivia
Currency: Nuevo Sol (PEN, S/.)
1 USD = ca. 3.20 PEN
1 € = ca. 3.20 PEN
Currency: Boliviano (BOB, Bs.)
1 USD = ca. 6.90 BOB
1 EUR = ca. 7.70 BOB
Where to change currency
We suggest you to change your cash in Peru, as in most places they will accept US$, but for more remote areas and small shops it is better to always have local currency with you. The exchange rate should be better in South America than in the US or Europe.
You can easily change dollars and Euros in every city at so called “casas de cambio” (exchange offices) or local banks. We advise you to change as much as you need until you get to your next destination where there are money exchange facilities. At the beginning of your trip you can pay with US$ as in most of the places they are easily accepted, until you manage to change your money. You could change some money at the airport you are arriving at (Lima, Sucre etc.). You can also use ATMs to withdraw money in most of the cities.
What do I need to bring with me?
This will depend very much upon which area you are visiting and what kind of travel option you chose. The secret is layering. Peel off during the warm day and layer on for cold nights. Here is a rough guide to help you decide:
Trekking (e.g. Inca Trail, Salkantay Trek etc)
- Walking pole, with plastic or rubber bottoms only
- Hiking boots
- Rain Poncho or waterproof jacket
- Warm jacket
- Warm clothes (long trousers, pullovers)
- hat, scarf and gloves
- Loose long sleeves / T-shirts for the day
- Bathing suit / trunks
- Sun hat
- Small towel
- Sleeping bag (can be borrowed from us)
- Water purification pills, if desired
- Toilet paper
- Sandals (you’ll be given rubber boots at the lodge)
- Comfortable walking shoes / hiking boots (nothing that you wouldn’t want to get muddy!)
- Loose long sleeved tops and long pants
- Hat with netting
- Rain Poncho
- Insect repellant
- Original Passport
- International Student Card, if applicable
Recommended Travel Accessories
- Camera & binoculars
- Sun block
- Mosquito Repellant
- Personal Medication
If I pack light, can I buy clothes in South America?
Definitely, this is the smartest way to go: you get essential clothing & souvenirs in one. There will be for example t-shirts or pullovers with typical prints and you can also negotiate the prices.
Are we likely to encounter a dress code anywhere we visit on our tour?
No dress codes, nobody will get offended. Peruvians are very open minded and used to people coming from all parts of the world having different types of fashion. You can, by all means, wear what you’re used to.
What voltage do the sockets have – 110 or 220 V? And what kind of plugs is standard?
Voltage in Peru and Bolivia is 220 V. Depending on the country, there are different plugs used and you might need to get an adaptor. Usually, your hotels / hostels should be able to lend you adaptors or you can buy an adaptor at the respective countries’ markets.
What are the conditions for personal safety?
Regarding your safely, you simply have to avoid wearing flashy jewelry and always keep your belongings close to you. Since you will always be traveling with us, you can feel safe with our tour guides who will take good care of you. Traveling in a group or with our guide, you can always feel secure.
Any shots we need?
Any vaccination is mandatory unless you are coming from an infected area. If you are going to the rain forest we recommend getting a Yellow Fever vaccination and a certificate for this. For the jungle we strongly recommend taking anti-malarial. We suggest also vaccination against Hepatitis A, Tetanus and Typhoid before departure. The best thing to do would be to consult your doctor or vaccination centre for any doubt you can have.
If you suffer asthma or blood circulation problems, we recommend consulting your doctor before traveling, especially if you are visiting a city at high altitude such as Cuzco or Puno.
Should we take some precautions while in South America, such as drinking only bottled water and buying food such as fruit?
You should only drink bottled water. You’ll find many brands in supermarkets or in little stores and they are all good. There are 2 types of water you can buy: “Sin gas”, meaning un-carbonated water, and “con gas”, which is carbonated. We are working with good hotels and restaurants where food is of good quality. Make sure to eat in good restaurants and buy fruits from supermarkets that you clean or wash before eating.
Altitude sickness: Recommendations
When travelling to high regions such as Cusco (3,326m / 10,975ft), Puno (3,809m / 12,496ft) or La Paz (4,058m / 13,313 ft), some travelers suffer from altitude sickness that commonly occurs above 2,400m. Symptoms include headache, fatigue, stomach illness, dizziness, and sleep disturbance. It is hard to determine who will be affected by altitude sickness, as there are no specific factors that correlate with a susceptibility to altitude sickness.
Prevention is the best treatment: Before travelling to high located destinations, don’t eat too much. Avoid fatty food opting for anything easy to digest instead & keep on drinking a lot of water. Once you’re there, take “baby steps” as your body gets used to the altitude.
Please don’t forget to ask your doctor’s advice before taking any medications for altitude sickness. Once arriving in South America, a lot of people will be offering or recommending you Coca Tea, a natural helper to open up your lungs that will make you feel better.