Culture & Etiquette
As with any Journeys you are thrust into a different culture, this is just some of the things you should be aware of.
On the whole, Peruvians are tolerant and extremely hospitable. Though most people are religious, they are generally easy-going. Nonetheless, you should try not to affront people’s religious beliefs, especially those of older, more conservative people. Avoid, for example, wearing revealing clothes, kissing and cuddling in public.
How to Dress
Clothes can be a bit tricky for many people here, in such a tourist friendly country, you will see people in all sorts of outfits. Including the indigenous peoples traditional dress. Many Peruvians, especially in rural areas, may be offended by clothes that do not mostly cover parts of the body considered “private”, including both legs and shoulders, especially for women. It is true that most of the younger generation especially in cities wear tank tops and knee-length skirts. But as since you are a visitor of their country, it is always best to dress conservative as you are the foreigner here and you should respect all the people. This does not mean you have to be covered from wrist to ankle, but you should not wear sleeveless shirts, short shorts, or skirts above the knee.
When invited to a home, you normally take your shoes off before entering the reception rooms – follow your host’s lead. It is custom to take a gift like sweet pastries or something small from your home country.
The etiquette in Peru is to tip and your tips are included in the Journey price, except for the bathroom, but as a matter of personal awareness here is a general guide– waiters in restaurants get about 10%, local small restaurants or cafes 1 or 2 soles is a good tip, tour guides 10% is good, porters who load your baggage onto buses or at the airport 2 soles for each bag, (though this service is optional at the airports.) Taxi drivers do not expect a tip, but if they help with your luggage (1 0r 2 soles is nice) Bathroom attendants should be tipped 1 or 2 soles, they usually will tell you.
The water in Peru is not safe to drink anywhere, so to avoid it and drink bottle water, it's up to you, but most travelers don't take chances even when brushing their teeth.
Although the Inca nation flag looks remarkably similar to the LGBTQ rainbow flag, Peru, a predominantly Catholic and socially conservative country, could not be considered among the world’s most progressive in terms of societal freedoms for gays and lesbians. It remains a male-dominated, macho society where homosexuality is considered deviant. Across Peru, there is still considerable prejudice exhibited toward gays and lesbians who are out. In the larger cities, especially Lima and Cusco, there are a number of establishments—bars, discos, hotels, and restaurants—that are either gay-friendly or predominantly gay. Outside those areas, and in the small towns and villages of rural Peru, openly gay behavior is unlikely to be tolerated by the general population.
Pictures of People
Many people do not want their picture taken in Peru, especially the indigenous people, part of this is because cultural and religious reasons. Always ask first, or be discreet about your picture taking. Children on the other hand generally like having their picture taken.
Since Peru is a developing country sometimes the toilets may have no seat or are squatters, maneuvering these toilets can be a interesting experience and may take practice without incident. Some women wear dresses or long skirts to hike up, and others have no issues with wearing pants. In any case if you have never used them before you will have to get used to them at one point.
ALWAYS bring tissue packets with you as many times you may not have toilet paper available.
A small bottle of sanitizer or wet-wipes is also a good idea as well, since soap isn't always available either.
You are inevitably bound to have stomach issues sometime on your Journey. This could be one of several factors, from spicy, oily or fried foods, sweets, or the local bacteria that your body is not used to, be prepared and take meds to sooth issues, and don't hesitate to tell your Hosts, so that the situation can be accommodated.