Spending Money for Peru Panorama tour

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Spending Money for Peru Panorama tour

Postby dkirkuk » Sat Sep 10, 2011 3:40 am

Can anyone suggest how much spending money I'll need for the Peru Panorama tour? I've read somewhere suggesting the equivalent of $250 for meals not included, but of course there will be water, snacks, tips, souvenirs etc.
I was thinking maybe £350 (about $450)?
Also most places seem to suggest a combination of peruvian sole and US dollars, but what proportion of each would be best?
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Re: Spending Money for Peru Panorama tour

Postby Janice08 » Sat Sep 17, 2011 7:30 pm

I just came back from Peru. On the Peru Panorama trip (not counting my extra days in Lima), I spent about $400 - $500 US. Of that well over $100 is in tips. GAP's guidelines state $40 for Inca Trail guides and support staff, $20 - $25/week for trip leader (total $40 - $50 for the trip), $5 - $10/day for other guides (2 days at Puno/Lake Titicaca, 2 days in the Amazon, 1 day Sacred Valley tour) plus tips at meals, hotel staff, boat and bus drivers, amazon lodge staff, etc. It adds up. Food depends on where you eat. Most breakfasts are included. You can buy some meals at "local" type restaurants for less than $5. Tourist class restaurants are about $10 - $15 per meal. Alcohol is extra. There isn't much opportunity for optional activities that cost money and walking around the various towns is free. There are small entrance fees to many of the ruins and cathedrals. Souveniers vary from person to person. Some people hardly bought anything. Most of my friends are going to end up with el paca scarves or touques which are about $4 - 8 each in the tourist markets. The price is significantly higher if you want high end merchandise.

My extra days in Lima added up but were worth it:
- Sea kayaking south of Lima. We saw more different birds than we could imagine as well as sea lions. The coast was good to see as its not included in the Peru Panorama trip. About $100 (including transportation)
- Bike Tours of Lima - We took the 4 1/2 hour downtown tour (only runs on Sundays, they have other tours on weekdays). We biked past several sites on our way downtown and then had many of the major landmarks pointed out to us in the downtown area. At the end we went to a restaurant for an included snack. The tour ended downtown mid afternoon so we had time to walk around on our own and go to the Cathedral and catacombs before taking a cab back to Miraflores. Cost: $38 plus the cab ride back.
- On our last day we splurged and hired a guide and vehicle to go down the coast further. We took in the Ballestas Island Boat tour, a winery tour, and sandunes/sandboarding at Huacachina Oasis. Cost $465 for 2. GAP offers this for less but we wanted our own vehicle instead of public buses because we had a plane to catch that night.

As for currency, we found that most places prefered Peruvian Soles over US dollars. They are very fussy about the condition of US currency. Don't bring anything bigger than $20 and they must be in new condition or they'll be rejected. For Peruvian Soles you can change your money in many places. There are money changers all over the place as well as banks. Try not to get many large bills (over 20 soles) as they are hard to spend unless you are making a large purchase. Most places don't carry much change. We often ended up paying each other for meals so that someone could break a 100 sole note and combining our tips at resaurants so that we could keep some of the small change. One person had some traveller's cheques that he had to use when he lost his wallet. We were in Cusco and the tourist info told us the only place they could be cashed was the Bank of Nova Scotia. It involved waiting in line, the security guard inpecting him and his passport and his passport being photocopied before they would give him his money. So much for the slogan that they are as easy to use as cash. No one in our group seemed to have any trouble with ATMs.

Have a great trip.
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Re: Spending Money for Peru Panorama tour

Postby graybeard » Sat Sep 17, 2011 11:48 pm

I was on the "Plus" version of this tour in 2009. In addition to the excellent info. provided by Janice08 (nice job!!), I would note using caution at the money exchange places. Our GAP guide would check ahead of time to see who needed to change dollars (in perfect condition ONLY!) for sols and take us to a recommended establishment, then watch the exchanges. My roommate went to one on his own and ended up with counterfeit bills. :o The GAP guide went back with him to the exchange, had a few words and real money was then provided. Evidently, counterfeit money of all currency's is common in places in Central and South America.
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