Pre-departure Information for Volunteers Introduction With only a short while until your arrival, we thought we would send you some light reading in preparation for your trip to Peru. Some of this is taken off the website, and some might seem obvious but we thought it was worth repeating. Also your friends and families might be interested in your travel plans, so you might want to circulate this amongst them. Basic information about Peru Area: 1,285,220 sq km (496,225 sq miles) Population: 27.48 million (July 2001 estimate) Capital City: Lima (population: 8.27 million in metropolitan area) People: Indigenous (45%), Mestizo (37%), European/White (15%), African, Japanese, Chinese, and other 3% Languages: Spanish (official), Quechua (official), Aymara and a number of minor Amazonian languages. Outside Lima and Cusco, very few people speak English, and in some parts of the Andes people do not speak Spanish. Religion: Roman Catholic (90%) Currency: Nuevo sol (Sol). 1 Sol = 100 centimos Major political parties: Peru Posible, APRA, Somos Peru, FIM, Unidad Nacional Government: Constitutional system of Presidential democracy. The 1993 constitution, approved by referendum, provides for an executive for five years. The principal executive body is the Council of Ministers, headed by the Prime Minister, appointed by the President. A unicameral 120-member Congress is elected at the same time as the President and also sits for five years. It is the main legislative branch of government with the President holding a veto. A 16 member Supreme Court based in Lima heads the judicial branch. Head of State: President Alan Garcia International Dialling code: +51 History At the time of the first Spanish landings in 1531, the advanced indigenous Inca civilisation flourished. With its capital in Cuzco, the Inca Empire stretched from northern Ecuador to central Chile. Led by gold-hungry explorer Francisco Pizarro, the Spanish captured Cuzco in 1533. Pizarro founded the capital city of Lima in 1535 and by 1542 consolidated control throughout the country. Gold and silver from Peru became the foundation of colonial Spanish wealth and power in South America. Jose de San Martin of Argentina and Simon Bolivar of Venezuela were influential figures in Peru's 19th century independence movement. San Martin proclaimed Peruvian independence on July 28, 1821 but it was not until December 1824 that, following a long-struggle, forces led by General Antonio Jose de Sucre finally defeated the Spanish at Ayacucho. After unsuccessful attempts to regain her former colony, Spain finally recognised Peru's independence in 1879. Geography Peru is located in Western South America bordering the Pacific Ocean between Chile and Ecuador. Bolivia (a 900km border), Brazil (1,560km) and Chile (160km) border it to the south and east and Ecuador (1,420km) and Colombia (1,496km) to the north. The whole of the western seaboard is desert on which rain seldom falls. From this coastal shelf, the Andes rise steeply to a high Sierra, which is studded with groups of mountains and deep canyons. East of these mountains lies the vast jungle of the Amazon basin. The capital, Lima, to the west is the sprawling hub of the country. Lima Peru´s capital city contains a third of the total population. Nearly everything can be bought here, prices are often quoted in US$. Dialing code: 01 Lima Airport Aeropuerto Internacional Jorge Chavez is named after the first man to fly across the Peruvian Alps way back in 1910. The airport is six miles (10 km) west of the center of Lima. The Jorge Chavez International Airport (Jorge Chavez Aeropuerto) offers most modern airport amenities, with local banks and money exchanges to handle foreign money and dispense "Nuevo Sol" (the local currency) in ATM's. Sometimes bi-lingual personnel are on duty in two Information Booths about the terminals to answer any questions. Departure tax (100 soles) has to be paid when leaving the country on international flights. For all internal flights passengers need to pay $4. The airport tax counter is normally signposted in the airports, or can be easily pointed out to you by officials. Taxis There will be a lot of people offering taxi rides to you when you exit the airport terminal. There are two types of taxis in Lima, registered and unregistered (unregistered taxis are also known as "street" taxis). The registered taxis have a sticker with a number you can write down, in the windshield. Unregistered taxis are driven by people needing to pick up some extra cash, and can't be traced, should you leave something in the cab. If you are in doubt, use only registered taxis awaiting you at stands in front of the terminal. There are no meters, so negotiate the fare before departing the airport. The fare should be around 30 to 37 soles ($8 to $10), and the ride will take about 30 minutes to the city center. Street taxis can be hailed outside the airport, and are less expensive than registered taxis. Although city buses to Miraflores and other destinations can also be caught from outside the terminal (the names of all major roads and destinations are marked on the buses), they can become very full, and are not recommended if you are traveling with any significant amount of luggage. If you are staying in one of the hostels or hotels in Lima, they may charge less for airport collection, but you should arrange this prior to your arrival. Accommodation in Lima The following are tried and tested by the team: Youth Hostel Malka Address: Los Lirios 165, Lima (San Isidro), Peru Website: www.youthhostelperu.com Telephone: (+51 1) 442-0162 Fax: (+51 1) 222-5589 Price: Price per bed from US$6.00, student discounts available They can arrange a pick up from the airport for a fee. Hostal Olimpus*** Address: Calle Diego Ferré 365, Miraflores, Lima 18 Telephone: (51-1) 242 6077 Telefax: (51-1) 242-4594 Price: From $10.00 for a shared room with bathroom. Breakfast included. They have their own taxi/airport pickup service. More information about the services they offer and their location can be found on their website www.olimpusperu.com Obviously, there are many more options at a variety of price ranges – check out a guide book or websites such as www.go2peru.com or www.enjoyperu.com/ These websites also include a whole host of other information about traveling in and around Peru. Otherwise ask the South American Explorer´s Club: Clubhouse Address: Calle Piura 135, Miraflores, Lima Peru Mailing Address: Casilla 3714, Lima 100, Peru Telephone (Fax): (51-1) 445-3306 Email: email@example.com Visas Visa requirements to enter Peru Only a valid passport is needed by the citizens of the following countries, no visa needs to be obtained before hand: AMERICA: All the citizens of countries of America. Except Cuba. EUROPE: All the citizens of countries of the European Union ASIA: South Korea Philippines Hong Kong Indonesia Malaysia Singapore Thailand Taiwan (Taipei) OCEANIA: Australia Upon arrival in Lima, most visitors will be given the maximum 90 day tourist Visa, which is what will be needed for participation during the phase. Please check to make sure that this is the case, if you have been given less, please ask them to amend it to 90 days - Customs officials can sometimes be tricky, so it is best to be polite and deferring. If planning on extending your Visa, upon expiry of your initial 90 days it is possible to pay for an extension. If necessary you can extend your Visa by further 90 days at $20 a month plus an administration fee of about S/24. This can be done fairly easily from the immigration offices in Puerto Maldonado or Cusco. After staying 180 days in the country, normally one needs to leave the country. The closest border to Puerto Maldonado is Brazil, about 6 hours away. However, upon re-entry, this border post will only ever give 30 days unless you have exceptional powers of persuasion. Should you wish to leave the country and reenter for a further 90 days, the best option is to go to Bolivia from Cusco, a days journey. Citizens of the United States need a visa to enter Brazil. Embassy Details in Lima Great Britain Embassy Natalio Sánchez 125, 12th Floor, Cercado de Lima Phone: 433-5032 United States of America Embassy Av. La Encalada s/n cdra. 17, Santiago de Surco Phone: 434-3000 EEC Embassy Manuel González Olaechea 247, San Isidro Phone: 422-1721 For other countries, please check your own embassy’s website. Money and Exchange Rates Street rate of exchange around most of Peru as of 1 Jan 2009: 1 US$ = 3.06 Soles Moneychangers and vendors will only change dollar notes that are in good condition. This means NO tears, tatty notes or those with a lot of markings such as writing or ink spills A range of facilities exist where you can change or buy dollars, including pharmacies or Boticas – look for “Cambio Dolares” sign in windows. Banks can charge a commission, and the money exchange booths in the airports generally give a lower rate. Try and avoid street changers in Lima and Cusco, they do not offer a better rate, and there is more chance of being swindled. In Puerto Maldonado, street changers are reliable and more usually used for changing your dollars into soles. Visa and MasterCard can be used in most major Peru cities, although in Puerto Maldonado MasterCard is NOT accepted at the local ATM. Most ATM’s that accept international cards, will be able to dispense US dollars or soles Traveler’s cheques have also proven hard to change on occasions in Puerto Maldonado, and we would advice you change the amount you think you will need in Cusco or Lima before your arrival (if bringing to Puerto, make sure they are American Express TC’s). Traveler checks are not easily accepted in shops, restaurants, hostels, etc., however exchanging them is not a problem in Lima. At official kiosks you should be able to change traveler cheques of most major international currencies. A 7% commission fee will be charged at the airport, 2% to 6% at banks in the city, while only 2% will be charged in exchange bureaus For security purposes and in the event you lose bankcards or traveler’s cheques, please keep a separate note of all important card numbers and emergency contact information. This also applies to passports and other official documentation such as driver’s license, plane tickets and insurance policies. Keeping a scanned copy in your email account can be a useful idea. Electricity Peru electricity is supplied at 220 volts and 60 cycles. Take the caution of verifying the voltage of hair dryer, razors, sound systems, loaders of batteries of notebook computers, video camera recording, etc. Health and Safety Be careful, Lima has a bad reputation for crime, although it is probably not much worse than any other major city. Stay alert, don-t leave any valuables (cameras, watches, jewellery) exposed that could be snatched or make you a target. You should carry identification with you at all times. It is permissible to carry photocopies of the relevant pages of passports to avoid losing the original, which should be kept in a safe place. Use the local Tourist Protection Service, whose operators can handle calls in English. They can be contacted 24 hours per day on +51 1 224 7888. Don't take photographs of anything of a military nature. Don't get invloved with drugs. Drug trafficking is a serious crime and smugglers face severe penalties in arduous conditions if caught. Don't carry anthing through Customs for anybody else. Do pack your bags yourself and keep them with you at all times. Don't take any valuable artefacts from Peru without proper authority Any participants who are found taking prohibited drugs during the project will be asked to leave immediately without recompense! Insurance Do NOT forget to take out a comprehensive insurance policy! Although there are hospitals in all the major towns, and Health Centres (Puesto de Salud) in every community, the general standard of health care is lower than that you would find at home, and emergencies or serious conditions would best be treated in your country of residence. Many medicines, including antibiotics, are cheap and can be bought over the counter without a prescription. Vaccinations Yellow Fever Should you at any stage be wishing to travel to Brazil, which is the closest border option to renew expired Visas, you will need to present a Yellow Fever vaccination certificate. If travelling through a town in Peru where a Yellow Fever outbreak is occurring, all travellers will be given the vaccination if they are unable to present their certificate. Further vaccination advice should be obtained from your doctor. Malaria According to the WHO, Puerto Maldonado falls into an area affected by Malaria. However, noone we know takes prophylactics, and we do not know of any confirmed cases from the last few years. Rabies Rabies is known to be carried by bats in this area. However, we will not be aiming to handle these animals. Pre-exposure injections are available in your home country at travel clinics, however they are expensive. In the unlikely event of exposure to suspected rabid animals, treatment is available in Puerto Maldonado and Cusco. Puerto Maldonado General information: Capital of the Madre-de-Dios province, and Peru´s capital of Biodiversity. Main Resources: rice, yuca, coconut, rubber, wood, gold. Madre-de-Dios Population: 76,000 inhabitants. Puerto Maldonado: 46,732 inhabitants. Ethnic Groups: machiguengas, mashcos, ese-eja Typical foods: pataraschca, sopa de motelo, timbuche, masato, tacacho. Local Dialing Code: 082 Puerto Maldonado Airport Daily flights with LAN depart from Lima, via Cusco, to Puerto Maldonado's Padre Aldamiz International Airport, the trip lasting approximately one hour and 45 minutes, including stopover at Cusco. Cusco to Puerto Maldonado is 30 minutes. Internal flight departure taxes of $4 also need to be paid here when you leave the city. Local Transport A trip from the airport to Puerto Maldonado center by MotoTaxis (3-wheeler motorbikes) costs 7 soles. Trips within town cost 2 soles. A minibus departs from just outside the airport gate and travels to the Town Center. This trip costs 1 sol, partial journeys on this “colectivo” cost 60 centimos. Most motorbikes in Puerto Maldonado are taxis, and will take you anywhere in town for 1 sol, with prices higher in the evening. Always check the price if you are unsure, especially if your journey is outside the town center. However, you need to be aware that there are no crash helmets provided and the roads and driving standards leave a lot to be desired. Addresses in Puerto Maldonado Hotel Amarumayo (Hotel Libertador) Jr. Libertad No. 433 +51 084 573860 084 573730 Hospital Santa Rosa Jr. Cajamarca 171 (082) 57-1019/57-1046 Open 24 hours (sometimes) Instituto Nacional De Recursos Naturales (INRENA) Dirección Sub-regional Agraria Madre de Dios. Av. 28 de julio 482, Puerto Maldonado Police Polícia Nacional del Perú Sub-región de Madre de Dios Jr. Daniel Alcides carrion (082) 57-1022/57-1077/57-2706 Open 24 horas Post Office Av. León Velarde 675, Puerto Maldonado Tel: (082) 57-1088 Monday - Saturday, 8am - 8pm, closed between 1 and 4pm Sundays, 8am - 3pm Field Equipment List Recommended Clothing list Wet Season (Nov-April): It is hard to dry clothes in the wet season so you need more. Dry Season (May – October): Things will dry more regularly, but you still get regular rains and you should have good long-sleeved tops and pants to protect against biting insects. In the dry-season we also get cold fronts, known locally as Friajes, coming through where the temperature drops to a humid 10 degrees Celsius. So bring at least one sweatshirt and a pair of jeans or a warm pair of trousers. Please do not bring overly expensive clothing, clothes can get lost, grow fungus or become damaged. 1) Long sleeved shirts* which are quick drying (T-shirts are very popular for this, but button downs work too, for wet season long sleeved shirts are a must). 2) Quick drying long pants 3) Short sleeved T-shirts* for use in lodge during day and under button down shirts and 1 or 2 pairs of shorts 4) Underwear 5) One warmer outfit* (Sweatshirt and heavy cotton pants or jeans for cold fronts in the dry season only) 6) Towel* - 2 small fast drying ones is a good idea. 7) Socks (quick drying are better but cotton are ok) 8) Sandals – cheap flip-flops are available on the market, but trekker type sandals are not easy to come by 9) Light hikers not leather (dry season only June-October, not very useful in wet season) – we tend to wear rubber rain boots when out on the forest trails 10) High rubber boots* (all seasons, but especially important during the wet season when you live in them, sizes up to Men’s 10 USA or 41 are cheap and good in Maldonado. If you have big feet bring your own) 11) Rain poncho*. Rain suits are also good, but a poncho is key to put over you during observations and keeping your daysack dry. 12) 2 sets of respectable long sleeved tops / long pants* for use in the lodges. 13) Head net and Broad brimmed hat for use with head net (optional) 14) Bandanas or handkerchiefs. This are very useful for nightwalks as mosquitoes and small bugs get attracted to your light, entering nose and mouth. One bandana is recommended to cover the main mosquito target - the forehead, and another for the nose and mouth. 15) Swim wear (optional). Other Equipment 16) Camera and memory cards 17) Flashlight*, with extra bulbs. Essential. 18) Batteries* for torches - essential 19) Day sack* (20 or 25L should be okay) - needed for carrying equipment whilst out on observations. Essential 20) Binoculars* - 8x40 is the recommendation for the low light conditions in the forest. Essential. 21) Insect repellent (Those containing Deet work best) – essential! 22) Sunscreen* 23) Field guides on birds/mammals - optional 24) Personal first aid kit. Essential. a. Advil or equivalent painkiller b. Band-Aids c. Topical antibiotic cream d. Cipro or equivalent anitbiotic against stomach problems e. Anti-fungal cream and powder f. Anti-irritant cream (for insect bites) g. Benadril or Antihistamine tablets h. Earplugs – highly recommended (walls are thin, people talk and snore!) 25) Anti-bacterial soap* (great to make sure that little scratches heal well) 26) Shampoo* 27) Dessicant like Drierite for use in airtight containers that contain any precious belongings. 28) Airtight container to hold your camera, binoculars, etc. If you really like your gear you should invest in a good container e.g. Pelican brand cases. Almost airtight are Sea Line bags (not the clear ones) and ziplock bags if you have enough to replace them regularly. Non airtight things include, other plastic bags, Tupperware containers, other plastic boxes. 29) Venom extractor 30) Books (good novels are always appreciated) 31) Digital Watch. Essential. 32) Alarm clock* that is loud enough to wake you up in the early hours of the morning! 33) Zip-lock bags 34) Contact lenses (they are ok but can lead to eye infections so always bring your glasses) 35) Eyeglasses (extra pair is a good idea) 36) Compass. Essential 37) Notebook and pen or pencils* 38) Pocket Knife* - optional 39) Waterbottle* 41) Plastic sandwich box* for carrying breakfast into the forest on days with early starts 42) Tent*, Sleeping Bag, Liner and rollmat/thermorest. Accommodation will be in the form of lodge beds mainly, and bedding will be provided. However, we will possibly be camping on a few occasions. We do have some tents on the project but this will mean sharing with other volunteers. You may find it more comfortable to bring your own tent if you have one. Items marked with an * can generally be obtained relatively easily here in Puerto Maldonado although likely to be of an inferior quality to goods purchased overseas.