Tips and tricks to pay less in Peru
In Peru, as everywhere else, as a traveler you can easily pay a high price. Tourism serves to drive the economy, but if you prefer to leave the role of cow to others, here are 10 tips to follow during your next trip to Peru that will save you money :
1. Learn about the local currency. It seems obvious, but it is far from being for all travelers. Yet this is the only way to assess whether the price displayed is honest, but also how far you can bargain. Also, we must know that in Peru, we can negotiate, but only to a certain extent. Generally, we save only a few soles.
2. Take care of your money. Avoid showing all your tickets when you pay. Do not withdraw a lot of money at a time, and keep it at different places on you. Better to avoid pickpockets. When you change your money, choose forex dealers rather than banks. In Lima, for example, you will find them on Larco Street in Miraflores, mainly next to the banks, with a blue vest. They can be found elsewhere in yellow too. Only change money in safe areas.
3. Set the price in advance. Taxis are the perfect example because they do not have a meter. Do not hesitate to lower a few soles (2-3 soles- plus it will be difficult depending on the distance) when the driver offers a price. Do not hesitate to ask a Peruvian for a price estimate before stopping a taxi.
Also valid for hostels: arriving at a train station or a terminus, several hostel representatives come to approach you. This will be an opportunity to negotiate. You have to be sure to set the price and the inclusion of breakfast in advance and very clearly.
4. Use public transit. Buses and combis are really cheap in Peru. Generally, stops are not indicated, ask somebody to know your route. Moreover, in Lima, there is the Metropolitano, which is a fast bus system and that takes you easily between Barranco, Miraflores and the historic center for only a few soles. Watch your pockets, pickpockets are fast!
10. Do not take a ride if you can do it solo! It is possible to do a lot of visits, excursions and solo treks. Ask the locals or your hostel to get the most information, move Colectivo or combi that will cost you a few soles, bring a lunch bought at the market and voila! If you want to take a guided tour, nothing prevents you from taking a guide on site, whose services will cost you much less than a full tour. Not to mention that you can organize the day at your own pace.
There are also several free sites, such as Naupa Iglesia or Pinkulyluna in Ollantaytambo. For paying churches (such as Cusco Cathedral), wait for mass time, you can enter for free.
The little extras: learn the local language, it’s the key to success! People are always more open to discuss and necessarily negotiate when you make efforts to speak Spanish. Same for Quechua in the Andes. Also, your contact will be much less likely to want to rip you off if you take the time to interact with him (ex: a taxi, a merchant). And then, it’s a matter of respect for the locals after all.