ACSP Peru 2016 -Travel
The ACSP 2016 Cordillera Blanca expedition is coming up soon! Based on FAQ from past years, we have put together a short overview of travel logistics for getting through Lima and to our meeting point in Huaraz. You can also download this form as a pdf cb_general_logistics_2016.pdf.
Airport: The Lima Airport is fairly straightforward but here are some basic tips for making passage through the airport easier. You will need to fill out a customs form which will be given to you on the plane (pack a pen) that will be requested when you go through immigration and customs. The form will ask if you to indicate if you are on business or traveling to Peru as a tourist. Your answer should be “tourist”. After getting your passport stamped, you will collect your luggage. There is an ATM in the baggage area and you might consider getting some local cash at this point (see the section below on money). Usually it takes a while for the bags to come through, so you may have a few minutes to kill. Once you have your bags, you will get into the line for customs. At the front of the line you may be asked to push a button which will cause either a red light or a green light to turn on. If you hit the red light, your bags will be x-rayed and searched if there is anything they think is unusual. In general, anything that you are bringing into the country for your own use is fine. We recommend bringing not more than one computer, not more than one large camera, and distributing your electronics throughout your bags.
Hotels and Buses: You will need to make arrangements depending on when your flight arrives to either catch a bus directly to Huaraz, or to stay overnight in Lima. Please email your flight information to ACSP [email protected] and we will send around a document with names and travel schedules to make it easier to meet up with other team members traveling at similar times.
You can make your own arrangements for staying over in Lima or have it handled for you. Chris Benway, our logistics manager (La Cima Logistics, Huaraz, Peru, [email protected]), can arrange a hotel in Lima as well as a taxi pickup at the airport upon request. If you arrange for transportation from the airport to your hotel (recommended), there will be a taxi driver holding a sign with your name to meet you outside of customs. If you are making your own way, there is a stand immediately outside the doors from customs where you can hire a taxi. Have the address and phone number of your hotel written down so you can easily communicate it to the driver.
Whether you stay over at a hotel or go directly to Huaraz, you will need to make reservations ahead of time for a bus ride from Lima to Huaraz. The Cruz del Sur (http://www.cruzdelsur.com.pe/) bus station is walking distance to where we stay in Huaraz. Other bus lines that our participants frequently use are Movil Tours (http://www.moviltours.com.pe/) and Oltursa (https://www.oltursa.pe/reservas/detalle). Oltursa drops off near our hotel in Huaraz while Movil Tours is further away and requires a taxi ride to reach the hotel. You can reserve tickets online at all of these bus lines with a credit card. A printed copy of your receipt will make checking in easy. We recommend reserving your ticket early as this will enable you to choose a good seat on the bus (the upstairs front row provide spectacular views, the seats in the back are a little cheaper, and the lower levels sometimes have seats that recline completely for overnight rides). If your total bag weight is more than 20kilos, expect to pay a modest excess luggage fee at the bust station. Whatever line you choose, plan to arrive at the bus station an hour ahead of departure time. If you are staying overnight in Lima, make arrangements at your hotel that night for a taxi to the bus station the next morning.
The bus ride is usually a fairly uneventful 8 to 9 hours. There is a bathroom on board (number 1 only), and there aren’t any stops along the way. If you are prone to getting motion sick, then you may want to take something, especially once you leave the coast road and start going up (the road goes from sea level to 15,000 ft in a few short hours). The bus lines generally play movies of variable ratings on the rides so if you prefer not to enjoy the show, consider taking ear plugs or noise-canceling headphones. Food and beverages are served with a fair amount of ceremony and on Cruz del Sur and you will get to play bingo for a free return ticket. Please send your bus schedule to Chris Benway ([email protected] ) and the ACSP email address ([email protected]). That way, we may be able to arrange for other team members to meet you at the station.
Safety in town: Petty theft is the biggest safety concern, especially in Lima, and in Huaraz as well. There are some basic things you can do minimize the risk of being relieved of your valuables. First, keep an eye (or better a hand) on your belongings at all times. Make a copy and also take a photo of your passport photo page and entry stamp page to carry with you and leave the passport at the hotel. Never carry your wallet in your back pocket or other easily accessible location. Use ATM’s during the day, not after dark. Don’t store all you cash and cards in one place. Use a passport belt or bag (the kind that fit in your shirt are handy) when traveling. Avoid looking like an easy target (i.e., exploring town or outlying areas alone with expensive camera gear or other valuable items in view). Although Huaraz is generally quite safe, we recommend letting other members of the expedition know your planned destination and return time when you go out or exploring town with at least one other person. Also note that when we leave or return to Huaraz for expeditions, it is especially important to keep close track of all team and personal gear. When we load or unload our gear, it is CRITICAL to have at least one person stay with the bags and watch them every moment.
Lodging: We will be staying at the Hostel Familia Meza (Lucar Y Torre #530) operated by Chris Benway’s family. Rooms and bathrooms are shared, there is a kitchen, a convenient common area, and the family is wonderful and friendly. Laundry service is available on the same block as the hotel. Café Andino, our favorite hangout and one of the best cafés in Peru (or anywhere), is adjacent to the hostel. There is wifi available at the hostel and Café Andino. As in the rest of Peru, plan for the internet and phone service to go down regularly and don’t expect fast connections.
Water and food: Peru has outstanding cuisine and there are many great options for food and beverages near our hotel. However, sanitation is a key issue and you need to be careful in your selection and handling of food and water. If the food item is not freshly prepared and hot or comes in sealed package, then cook it, peal it, or avoid it! NEVER drink untreated tap water anywhere in Peru. Avoid using untreated water for tooth brushing or ingesting water in the shower. ALWAYS filter or boil the tap water before using it. You can also buy bottled water although being conscientious of the problem of discarded, unrecycled bottles is appreciated. There are a number of good grocery stores and bakeries near our hotel.
Money: The exchange rate for Soles to Dollars is currently about 3.35:1 (please check for current rates at the time of your trip). In 2016, the approximate exchange rate means that a 20 Soles bill = $6 USD and a 100 Soles bill = $30 USD. You get good exchange rates at ATMs but note that your individual bank may charge additional fees for withdrawals. You can also take dollars and use money changers to get Soles in Huaraz. Please note that only very clean, unfolded, and new USD bill will be accepted. We generally prefer using ATMs to carrying large amounts of cash. Remember to let your bank and any credit card companies know you will be traveling if you plan to use your ATM or credit card abroad.