Sleeping

Accommodation is plentiful throughout the price ranges and finding a hotel room to suit your budget should not present any problems, especially in the main tourist areas and larger towns and cities. The exception to this is during the Christmas and Easter holiday periods, Carnival, Cuzco in June and Independence celebrations at the end of July, when all hotels seem to be crowded. It's advisable to book in advance at these times and during school holidays and local festivals.

Hotels, hostales, pensiones and hospedajes

There are many top-class hotels in Lima and Cuzco and in the main tourist centres, such as Arequipa, Iquitos and Trujillo. In less-visited places the choice of better-class hotels is more limited. Accommodation is more expensive in Lima, where good budget hotels tend to be busy. The best-value accommodation can be found in the busiest tourist centres, especially Cuzco, which is full of excellent-value hotels throughout the range. Accommodation also tends to be more expensive in jungle towns such as Iquitos and Puerto Maldonado and in the north compared with the south, especially on the coast. If you want a room with air conditioning expect to pay around 30% extra.

All hotels in the upper price brackets charge 19% general sales tax (IGV) and 10% service on top of prices (foreigners should not have to pay the sales tax on hotel rooms; neither tax is included in prices given in the accommodation listings, unless specified). The more expensive hotels also charge in dollars according to the parallel rate of exchange at midnight.

By law all places that offer accommodation now have a plaque outside bearing the letters
H
(Hotel),
Hs
(Hostal),
HR
(Hotel Residencial) or
P
(Pensión) according to type. A hotel has 51 rooms or more, a hostal 50 or fewer, but the categories do not describe quality or facilities. Generally speaking, though, a
pensión
or
hospedaje
will be cheaper than a hotel or
hostal
. Most mid-range hotels have their own restaurants serving lunch and dinner, as well as breakfast. Many budget places serve breakfast - almost invariably continental breakfast. Most places are friendly and helpful, irrespective of the price, particularly smaller
pensiones
and
hospedajes
, which are often family-run and will treat you as another member of the family.

The cheapest (and often the nastiest) hotels can be found around bus and train stations. If you're just passing through and need a bed for the night, then they may be acceptable. The better-value accommodation is generally found on and around the main plaza (though not always).

The electric showers used in many hotels (basic up to mid-range) are a health and safety nightmare. Avoid touching any part of the shower while it is producing hot water and always get out before you switch it off.

Youth hostels

The office of the Youth Hostel Association of Peru (Asociación Peruana de Albergues Turísticos Juveniles and Administradora Peruana Hostelling International), www.hostellingperu.com.pe, has information about youth hostels.

Camping

This normally presents no problems in Peru. There can, however, be problems with robbery when camping close to a small village. Avoid such a location, or ask permission to camp in a backyard or chacra (farmland). Most Peruvians are used to campers, but in some remote places, people have never seen a tent. Be casual about it, do not unpack all your gear, leave it inside your tent (especially at night) and never leave a tent unattended.

Obey the following rules for 'wild' camping: arrive in daylight and pitch your tent as it gets dark; ask permission to camp from the parish priest, the fire chief or the police, or a farmer regarding his own property; never ask a group of people - especially young people. If you can't get information from anyone, camp in a spot where you can't be seen from the nearest inhabited place, or road, and make sure no one saw you go there.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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