Do and don't in Peru


Are you living in Peru? We need you to share your experience of the local customs :)

Is it difficult to adjust to the local customs in Peru?

Could you please share with us a list of the do's and don't's in Peru?

Thanks!

My first reaction to this question stems from two situations in which I was taken as rude / crass:

Do not drop money or other objects on tables when passing them.  You have to place the object, not releasing the object from your hand until it has safely landed on the table.

In most circumstances, do not literally translate "I don't care" to "No me importa."  Usually, you should use "No importa" (it doesn't matter).

If you want to leave a tip, give it directly to the person you wish to tip.

Tips left on tables are susceptible to theft.

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Negotiate the fare with the taxi driver before getting in the taxi.

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Carry sencillo(change/coins), larger bills S/.100 and up are hard to break.

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Carry personal items close to you and preferably hidden from sight.

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DON'T pay police bribes. Take them up on the offer to go to the commissary, more than likely they'll let you go one block before arriving there.

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There's plenty of other Do's and Don'ts, I'll let somebody else fill in the rest.

What TallCan said about dropping money. It's considered very rude to throw or toss anything here, no matter how polite it seems to you.

Also, tone of voice is really important when you say something like 'no me gusta' or 'no importa'.  You MUST speak softly, or even better, find a way not to say it at all.

Try to drop the Yo-ismo, and quit putting Yo into every sentence.

Really, is it so hard to greet everyone for a minute when you enter or leave a shop?

Americans: speaking loudly denotes attentiveness and enthusiasm back home - it's just rude and arrogant to a peruvian.  Lower your voice.

French: don't shrug and make that 'buh' noise.  Or if you do, imagine yourself say 'F*** you, Mother f****er' as you do it, to understand the response you get.

If someone 'invites' you to food or a beer, respond in a way that shows you know it's half their disposible income.  Don't chug a beer from the bottle - it means nobody else can drink it, use a glass.  And don't leave half the food.

When you eat with people you MUST say 'gracias' before you get up from the table.  Even if you said it before.  And especially say 'gracias, con permiso' when you leave.

If you go to a club with a group, you need to leave when they leave, or they'll spend weeks working up the courage to ask you what they did wrong.

etc, etc, etc.  The more you ask around, the more you realise why foreigners seem arrogant in Peru.  So much of what we do is taken as insulting.

I wrote a whole guide for my foreign staff on ways to take your foot out of your mouth in Peru - contact me if you'd like a copy.

Be careful with the taxistas.  They are not trustworthy in general.  I was stupid this past weekend and I ended up with 2 counterfeit 50 soles bills from a taxi driver.  When one asks if you have another bill - always say no.  And believe me, no taxista has change for a 50 soles.  Grrr...
LESSON LEARNED!

Also, just because there is a green walk person on the stoplight doesnŽt actually mean you can walk.  Cars have the right of way here, not peds.  They will hit you and scream at you cuz OBVIOUSLY itŽs your fault. 

DonŽt respond back to people whistling or making kissy noises at you...just keep walking and look straight ahead.

I have been told never to make eye contact and greet strangers on the street (as a midwestern American - we are very accustomed to doing so...)... it calls even more attention to you.

When you buy fruit / vegetables, make you sure you wash them with either boiling water (twice) or with bleach (a tiny bit in a lot of water) for two minutes.  I sure did get sick from not doing that correctly!  :(

Overall, life is nice here - you just need to never let your guard down, or you will get screwed over.

"The green walk person" is a traffic police. You need to pay attention what he or she is doing, that is all. Usually they are there because there is a congestion, so they do not respect the grren or red lights, so you foollow his or her indications, to pass or to stop.

jaja noooo... the green walk person is the little guy on the semaforo that tells you walk or donŽt walk.  when heŽs red, it means you canŽt walk... but really, you canŽt just walk when heŽs green either cuz cars turn right and dont pay any attention to whether or not there are peds in the street!

One that i stumbled upon rather ungraciously
Flatulence is hilarious, especially amongst men,  but belching, regardless of situation or company, is considered almost criminal.
Of course this is from personal experience, i am not condoning flatulence as a highly social activity.
Also regarding the coin tossing and the leaving clubs at the same time as everyone, i was completely unaware of those and i've been here over a year, that explains people assuming i'd gone to nightclubs or other less favourable places when i left early, as opposed to me just being bored and wanting to go home.

Hello there. I don't know if leaving early from a club is usually considered as if you went to "another place" but yes... Usually here people believe that if you go home early and alone is because something went wrong which is absurd... Sometimes you just feel tired. I am a peruvian and I do give credit for this type of "thinking".

Wishing all of you a beautiful holiday season.

Cheers.

hello there
please send me a copy or any other information you may have
i plant to relocate to Lima this year
[email protected]
thanks


Sarsparilla wrote:

What TallCan said about dropping money. It's considered very rude to throw or toss anything here, no matter how polite it seems to you.

Also, tone of voice is really important when you say something like 'no me gusta' or 'no importa'.  You MUST speak softly, or even better, find a way not to say it at all.

Try to drop the Yo-ismo, and quit putting Yo into every sentence.

Really, is it so hard to greet everyone for a minute when you enter or leave a shop?

Americans: speaking loudly denotes attentiveness and enthusiasm back home - it's just rude and arrogant to a peruvian.  Lower your voice.

French: don't shrug and make that 'buh' noise.  Or if you do, imagine yourself say 'F*** you, Mother f****er' as you do it, to understand the response you get.

If someone 'invites' you to food or a beer, respond in a way that shows you know it's half their disposible income.  Don't chug a beer from the bottle - it means nobody else can drink it, use a glass.  And don't leave half the food.

When you eat with people you MUST say 'gracias' before you get up from the table.  Even if you said it before.  And especially say 'gracias, con permiso' when you leave.

If you go to a club with a group, you need to leave when they leave, or they'll spend weeks working up the courage to ask you what they did wrong.

etc, etc, etc.  The more you ask around, the more you realise why foreigners seem arrogant in Peru.  So much of what we do is taken as insulting.

I wrote a whole guide for my foreign staff on ways to take your foot out of your mouth in Peru - contact me if you'd like a copy.

hello there
please send me a copy or any other information you may have
i plant to relocate to Lima this year
[email protected]
thanks


Sarsparilla wrote:

What TallCan said about dropping money. It's considered very rude to throw or toss anything here, no matter how polite it seems to you.

Also, tone of voice is really important when you say something like 'no me gusta' or 'no importa'.  You MUST speak softly, or even better, find a way not to say it at all.

Try to drop the Yo-ismo, and quit putting Yo into every sentence.

Really, is it so hard to greet everyone for a minute when you enter or leave a shop?

Americans: speaking loudly denotes attentiveness and enthusiasm back home - it's just rude and arrogant to a peruvian.  Lower your voice.

French: don't shrug and make that 'buh' noise.  Or if you do, imagine yourself say 'F*** you, Mother f****er' as you do it, to understand the response you get.

If someone 'invites' you to food or a beer, respond in a way that shows you know it's half their disposible income.  Don't chug a beer from the bottle - it means nobody else can drink it, use a glass.  And don't leave half the food.

When you eat with people you MUST say 'gracias' before you get up from the table.  Even if you said it before.  And especially say 'gracias, con permiso' when you leave.

If you go to a club with a group, you need to leave when they leave, or they'll spend weeks working up the courage to ask you what they did wrong.

etc, etc, etc.  The more you ask around, the more you realise why foreigners seem arrogant in Peru.  So much of what we do is taken as insulting.

I wrote a whole guide for my foreign staff on ways to take your foot out of your mouth in Peru - contact me if you'd like a copy.

Somethings i feel worth mentioning,
Be prepared for people to 'call it as they see it'. What i mean by this is, if you are over or underweight for example, people will mention it, people will also comment on your race and ethnicity or perceived ethnicity (for example if you are asian people may refer to you as chinese) try not to take offence to this as this is just how it is here.

Also don't go around leaving huge 100 soles tips ect after a meal or whatever,
It may not seem that much for you but for a lot of peruvians it is, and could lead to feelings of depreciation or something akin to that (i'm not completely sure but thats always been my perception) also on a safety/security side of things people who may have bad intentions could see this as you having plenty of money to be relieved of.

Also regarding language,
Some words or phrases in english may not mean the same translated in spanish, the same goes for how offensive some words are, a certain B word that means a female canine is particularly more offensive in Peru than in England.

You have to be very careful while you're going on road trips keep your bags other assets safely because many robbers are in search of opportunities to rob specifically tourists. When we visited Peru last year we were staying at Llanganuco Mountain Lodge, there the managing department suggested us many safeguards rules and gave us tips on how to deal with them. Though the taxi was been assigned by the lodge still they gave some safety instructions.

When I went to Peru I did not face any type of problems in Peru

uwwgal wrote:

Be careful with the taxistas.  They are not trustworthy in general.  I was stupid this past weekend and I ended up with 2 counterfeit 50 soles bills from a taxi driver.  When one asks if you have another bill - always say no.

Due to the lack of taxi meters in Lima, negotiate the fare with the driver beforehand.  Otherwise, the taxista can stick you with the Gringo price at the end of the ride.  This method is often sufficient to reduce the fare.

It may be best to let the driver quote you a price first, then explain that what you paid for the same route previously was X amount less. 

If you think you are being overcharged in Miraflores, you can avoid entering the taxi, as there will be lots of other drivers available almost anywhere.

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uwwgal wrote:

When you buy fruit / vegetables, make you sure you wash them with either boiling water (twice) or with bleach (a tiny bit in a lot of water) for two minutes.  I sure did get sick from not doing that correctly!

Wrong!

Don't wash fruit and veggies using bleach, not even "a tiny bit" of it.

Follow fruit-and-veggie washing instructions from a reliable source such as the website foodsafety.wisc.edu ...

As the foodsafety. site points out, bleach can be poisonous.

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google... foodsafety.wisc.edu safe handling of fresh fruits and vegetables

fadahunsibaez wrote:

You have to be very careful while you're going on road trips keep your bags other assets safely because many robbers are in search of opportunities to rob specifically tourists.

Savvy bus passengers on long-distance trips know they should not put carry-on items in the rack above.

Valuables should be kept with your person.  Don't plan to sleep on the bus if you have valuable carry-on items.

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I'm not sure what experiences you've had, but I was shocked at the LACK of reaction to my appearance. I'm a 5'11" gringo, fairly muscular and with a shaved head. I know that I stand out like a sore thumb in almost any place in Peru, Columbia, Panama and Ecuador, where I have travelled. I barely even got a glance from anyone! I was treated the same as anyone else and I was shocked (and a little peeved, since I was hoping for at least a couple of stares or second glances... lol).


OP:  Is it difficult to adjust to the local customs in Peru?


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I have spent over a year in total in Lima in the past several years.

The Expat-friendly Miraflores sector where I always stay is a bustling modern city that accommodates international travelers well.

Though I don't claim to be an expert on Peruvian traditions, I can tell you that I felt at home in the Lima culture amidst its diversity, beauty and charm.  I felt no pressure to conform to non-Gringo norms.  Nobody was flashing elevator eyes in my general direction because of my appearance or dress.

I spoke in Spanish to everyone.  Otherwise, I did not feel any pressure to change my patterns.

If you travel beyond Lima and-or into rural Peru .. YMMV.

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