Peru shares the Eastern Standard time zone with new York and Miami when the U.S. East Coast is not on Daylight Savings time. So when It's noon in Lima it will be 11am in Dallas and 9 am in Los Angeles.
Seasons flip in the southern hemisphere, but this close to the equator, "summer" and "winter" mean little. Think instead of "dry" and "Rayni" seasons. Also the climates of the Costa (coast) the Sierra (mountains) and the Selva (jungle) are different.
Peru's tourist season runs from May through September the dry season in the Sierra and Selva. The best time to visit is May through July when the cool, misty weather is on the Costa, and the highlands are dressed in bright green under blue skies.
When It's dry in the Sierra and the Selva, It's wet on the Costa and vice versa. (But the coast doesn't get much rain any time of year).
It never rains in the coastal desert, buy a dank heavy fog called the garua coast Lima from June through December. Outside Lima coastal weather is clearer and warm.
Peru is safer than it has been in years, buy standard travel precautions apply. Remember you represent enormous wealth to the typical person here; the budget for your trip might exceed what many Peruvians earn in a year. Conceal you valuables, watch your things, avoid deserted locales, walk puposefully take taxis at night and be vigilant around scenes of commotion that may be engineered to distract you.
In terms of health and sanitation few visitors experience anything worse than a bout of traveler's diarrhea. If you stick to upscale eateries in well-trodden destinations you may minimeze even those problems. Be wary of raw foods (pell you fruitl) and avoid drinking tap water entirely (and ice cubes). Check with your local public health department about any pre-travel immunizations or precautions (hepatitis, tyhoid, malaria) recommended for Peru, and give yourself several weeks, since some procedures may require multiple injections.
Peru's lofty hieghts presente you with both majesty and menace. The Andes the country's signature geographic feature, provide a glorious backdrop. The 6,768 meter (22,204-feet) Huascaran tops Peru's peaks, and much of the center norh-south band the country sits at 3,000 - 4,000 meters (9,800-13,000 feet) altitude.
Treat that altitude with respect Its consequences, locally known as soroche, affect visitors. For most, it's little more than a shortness of breath which can be minimized by taking it easy the first couple of days and a good intake of nonalcoholic liquid. It occasionally requires inmmediate descent to lower altitudes. Peruvian swear by tea brewed from coca leaves a completely legal way (legal here, at least) to prevent symptoms. We recommend a pre-trip check with your docto to see if any underlying conditions (hypertension, heart problems, pregnancy) might preclude travel here.
Fireworks and precessions honor the Virgen de la Candelaria (February 2) in Puno and the Highlands, with the faithful following imagesof the Virgin Mary through the streets. Dancers depict the struggle between good and evil. (The demons always lose).
Semana santa (march or April) brings elaborate Holy Week precessions contry-wide. Ayacucho portrays the week's agony and triumph with orante porter-borne floats emerging from palls of incense to the accompaniment of clanging bells.
Cusco's spectacular Inti Raymi (June 24) marks the winter solstice and reenacts age-old inca pageantry that beseeches the sun to return. The fortress ruins of Sacsayhuaman form the stage for that proverbial casi of thousands.
Pre-dawn firecrackers rouse you out of bed. Not to worry the revolution has not started. It's the kick-off to Peru's two day Independece Day (July 28-29) parades, Independence was won in 1821.
Lima and the Central Higlands revere the Señor de los Milagros (October 18-28), a colonial-era image of a dark-skinned Christ that survived a 1655 earthquake that destroyed much of the capital. The devout, clad in purple robes and wihile sashes, carry heavy statues of christ thorugh the streets.
A 10% tip suffices in most restaurants unless the service is exceptional. Porters in Hotels and airports expect S/ 2 - s/3 per bag. There's no need to tip taxi divers, allthough many people round up the fare. At bars, tip about 50 centimos for a beer, more for a mixed drink, Bathroom attendants get 20 centimos; gas-station attendedants get 50 centimos for extra services such ad adding air to your tires. Tour guides and tour bus drivers should get s/5 - s/ 10 each per day.
Build downtime into your itinerary. Don'nt let the churches, temples, convents palaces and ruins blur together. Consider an overnight flight to lima that arrives in the predawn hours and lests you catch the first domestic flight to your final destinations.
Postpone that diet "Amazing" is the only way to describe what w think is the hemisphere's best cuisine.
Learn a few words of spanish outside the tourist industry few people speak much english (And spanish isa second language for many peruvians, too). Pack reserves of patience . Peru offers a polished tourism product, but shedules occasionally go awry