Educational Foundations and Mathematics Education in Peru
List of handy stuff to know before we go...
Information on packing, money, bargaining, health and safety, etc.
Special Peru Orientation & Information Sessions
We will have a special orientation after the main discussion for anyone going to Peru and anyone who wants to know more about Peru (like your parents) on Saturday, April 18 from 9am to 1pm in the Reeve Ballroom.
Our tour company has a
nice website: HappyTours-Peru.
In any emergency, family/friends can contact Happy Tours's CEO Augusto
Chian and he'll be able to find us wherever we are in Peru. You
can leave your parents, siblings, and significant others this website,
so that if they need to reach you, they have the hotels and web pages.
PUERTO MALDONADO Explorer's Inn http://www.explorersinn.com/
In Lima, we will be staying at a very nice hotel with hairdryers and alarm clocks in each room, along with cable TV, including ESPN. Some of the other hotels may not have all the same amenities, but we do get a nice breakfast every day!
What to be Doing Now
1. Apply through the Office of International Education at http://www.uwosh.edu/oie/abroad/handbook/apply.php
2. Apply for your
passport. You can get passport photos at Kinkos, Walgreens, and
3. Make sure to schedule time to attend the mandatory orientation session on Saturday, April 18 from 9am to 1pm in the Reeve Ballroom..
4. Read up on immunizations and talk to your doctor about any necessary medical precautions. We're all different, so you have to make your own decisions based on your personal health.
5. Read up on Peru and where we are going. Being informed makes the trip more fun.
This guide contains information about Peru and our trip, along with some maps and general recommendations. A great supplemental source is the Lonely Planet Peru. I prefer the Lonely Planet to other guides because it generally contains more factual information (where laundromats and grocery stores are, for example) and caters to cheap tourists like me. One source of information is the Lonely Planet's website. They also have a separate site on Lima. Our tour company in Peru HappyTours-Peru has a nice website. Check out the facts for the visitor section. There's also the Nations On Line page that just contains links to important national and cultural information on countries. Wikipedia is also full of great information.
Peru is about twice the
size of Texas and encompasses geography ranging from Pacific coastal
desert to the Andean mountain highlands. Peruvians speak
Spanish. Peru is bordered on the north by Ecuador and the south
by Chile and Bolivia. More the half the country is made up of
rainforest, in a region known as the Amazon Basin. Unfortunately,
we do not have time to travel to the rainforest, but we will get a
glimpse of what its like at Machu Picchu. Over 26 million people
live in Peru, the majority along the stretch of coastal desert between
the Pacific Ocean and the Andes. Nearly 11 million people live in
and around Lima. Peru will have the same time as the central
region of the US in the summer. They do not observe day-light
savings because they are near the equator; during our summer, they are
the same time as us.
The weather in PeruLima and the Coast: In Lima in May and June, the average daily high ranges from 69 to 72 degrees, and the average daily low temperature is ranges from 57-61 degrees. This time of year, there may be mist and haze. It feels cooler at night, so you will want to make sure you have a sweater. For weather information, click here. Miraflores, where we will stay in Lima, is located on the Pacific Ocean, and there is a beach 5 blocks from the hotel. The beaches are nice and on warm days you might want to work on your tan or play sports ><>(you might want to bring your own American football if you enjoy that sort of thing...guys in the past have missed having one, and they only have soccer balls in Lima.); however we advice against swimming in Lima because of water pollution problems. You can swim further down from Miraflores in Chorillos (one suburb past La Barrranco), although the ocean water is cool in Peru. >During our weekend trip to Ica, we will stay at a hotel with a nice swimming pool, so you may want to pack a swimsuit.
There are also lots of
nice clubs and bars in Miraflores and La Barranco (the suburb south of
Miraflores) for evenings out. I recommend a lightweight coat or
sweater for evenings; alternatively you can buy an alpaca or llama
sweater/jacket in Lima for $6 to $15, which will keep you plenty warm.
What to Pack
As you know, we’ll be
gone three weeks. Half of the trip we will be based in Lima which
is a modern cosmopolitan city. We stay in one of the nicest
districts of the city, called Miraflores. The other half of the trip we
will be traveling throughout the country. This part of the trip
will be more rugged traveling—hiking, climbing, and roughing it.
You want to be prepared for everthing -- from jazz clubs to trekking.
Suggested Packing List
In Peru, there are a lot
of drop-off Laundromats that tend to be reasonably cheap. There's
one directly across the street from our Hotel La Hacidenda that's
Even cheaper is doing
your own limited laundry in the sink of your hotel (socks and
underwear, for example). Most hotels will have a laundry line in
the bathtub that you can stretch across for hanging clothes. You
can buy laundry soap in little packets at the grocery store very
cheaply. This is an especially good idea when we’re traveling and
may not have an entire day or two to wait for laundry to get done.
Also, there are lots of camera places that will download digital photos onto CD's for you, leaving you room to take EVEN MORE pictures! This service usually runs between $2 and $4, depending on the number of photos.
Peru uses the same style plugs as the US (flat two-pronged), so you will not need an plug adaptor. HoweverThe electricity in Peru is 220 Volts (the US is 110 Volts) so electrical appliances from the US will not work in Peru without a voltage converter. A convenient exception is battery chargers, which are usually dual voltage. (Check the label: if it says input 110-220 V, then you're OK). Our hotels usually have hair dryers, so you may wish just to leave yours at home rather than buy a voltage converter.
Peruvian Currency and Getting Money
The Peruvian currency is called the Nuevo Sol, although everyone just it the sol, which is Spanish for sun. The plural is soles (so-lays). There are about 3.2 soles to the dollar. While Peru does not fix its currency to the US dollar, the exchange rate is very stable and everyone knows what it is. You can spend dollars as easily as soles, and sometimes you can pay with a mix. Coins are used for 1 sol, 2 soles, 5 soles, and for cents called centimos. Peru has bills for 10, 20, 50, and 100 soles.
Peru has some problems with counterfeit currency—usually the 1 sol and the 2 sole coins. It’s possible that someone will refuse a coin (particularly taxi drivers who check the coins with magnets). It’s no big deal—give them a different one and pass the bad coin off at another time. Grocery stores and tips in restaurants are good ways to get rid of the bad coins.
You can pay for just about anything with dollars, since everyone knows the exchange rate. However, for small items like taxis, fruit or soda from vendors, etc. you need to have soles in small denominations. Also, you’ll need small soles and exact change when shopping in the handicrafts markets.
If you have a UWO credit union account, you can use ATM machines in Peru six times a month with no fee. All other ATM cards will work in Peru, but the amount you pay varies by bank and type of account. Find out what your situation is before you leave. You can get both soles and dollars out of most ATM’s. Besides ease, another nice thing about ATM’s is that you get the market exchange rate. Before you go, talk to your bank and set the daily limit on your ATM card at the most you think you might want to take out at one time, say between $100 and $200. This will protect you in case your card is lost or stolen, no-one will be able to clean out your bank account.
I do NOT recommend using traveler’s checks. These have to be changed at banks in person (and many banks don’t even do this anymore). Peruvian banks are slow, slow, slow, and are not open all that often. This makes exchanging traveler’s checks a real hassle. The banks also charge a fee to do the exchange and you’ll get a poorer exchange rate.
As for credit cards, you can charge some things like dinners in “nice” restaurants or items at the large department stores (Ripley’s). In many cases, you’ll get a better deal with cash, since both the store and the credit card company will assess a surcharge (sometimes up to 8%). One good place to use your credit card is at the grocery store—they’re used to it and it’s easy. Both the San Isabel Market by the hotel and the big Wong in Miraflores take credit cards for usual grocery store items and water. They also have a cafeteria and lots of take-out food including sandwiches, roasted chicken and french fries, pizza, empanadas, desserts, etc.
What to Plan to Spend
Like health issues,
packing, etc., what you might spend is an individual kind of
thing. You are responsible for your own lunches and dinners most
days--We'll be gone about 21 days, so at $10/day for food, you might
budget $250. If you're super cheap, you can probably bring that
amount down a little, but that's basically the minimum. If you
like the occasional "nice" or fast food restaurant, plan to drink or go
out to clubs a lot, you'll want to budget (significantly) more. In addition, you are
responsible for your own taxi money. If you share taxis with
folks on the trip, we'd recommend budgeting about $30. Last
there's shopping--see below. Students have suggested souvenir
budgets of $100 to $200. There’s lots of stuff to shop for, so
We get breakfast at the hotel
everyday. Most days in Lima, we'll have lunch at the university,
which costs about $1 to $2, depending on what you pick. So,
really, you're big responsibility is dinner. We'll show you some
good spots near the hotel for food; there's lots of options for
different tastes. My favorite is a salad/sandwich shop called San
Antono's, with great ice creams.
Tipping, Shopping, and Bargaining
Generally, tips are not included on restaurant tabs, and most people do not tip waiters in the cheapest restaurants. Waitpersons in these restaurants are usually family members of the owner. If you want to tip, up to 5% is acceptable, or just round up to the nearest convenient figure. In the nicer restaurants and tourist restaurants, you may find that service charge has already been added in to the bill. You can tip bellhops—usually about 50 cents a bag (1 or 2 soles). Women especially will find lots of people available to carry their luggage. You should not tip taxi drivers (see the section on taking taxis below). You do not need to tip any of our tour guides.
Shopping can get addictive in Peru, since there’s so much opportunity to do it. Native woven handicrafts are the most popular and include alpaca and llama sweaters, hats, gloves, pullovers, jackets, blankets, and rugs ( $2 to $15, or as high as $100 depending on quality and originality). In addition, Peru is also known for pottery, silver jewelry, and wooden items. The best cheap souvenirs are found in the Indian Market in Miraflores and Cusco. The large market in Cusco is by far the cheapest place I've found to shop and their selection is huge. For “nice” things, the San Blas district of Cusco is probably the best place to shop. They have paintings in the Cusco style, lots of wood carving, lots of alpaca sweaters ($35 to $40 in shops, and they feel like silk), dolls, religious items like nativity sets, as well as pottery and jewelry.
Bargaining is expected in markets. Usually, if you bargain well, you can expect to get about 30-50% off the asking price for handicrafts. You can also get discounts easier if you buy several items at once. In nice stores selling Peruvian items, you can also ask for a discount for multiple items. So, there’s an advantage to shopping with friends. When it comes to shopping for items there’s a couple of things to remember:
Health & Safety Precautions
Always carry some form of identification with you. A driver’s license is a good choice. It’s official and has all your information, but is not as important as your passport. You'll also want to carry around your student ID. In addition, (I know this sounds obvious) always know the name and street address of your hotel. Take the the hotel business card from the front desk with you. It's handy to be able to show this card to a taxi driver. Leave your passport and extra money in the hotel. You can leave this with the hotel desk, and they will put them in the safe. Or, hide them in your suitcase. You might want to memorize your passport number since you will probably need to write it down on things (hotel reservations, credit card transactions, etc.)
There's useful health and safety information on the web sites below--especially the MD Travel Health site. This includes advice on what to eat and what to avoid, clothing, and crime prevention. Don't be too put off about the crime reports. If you're reasonably sensible, there's many better targets in Lima and around Peru than a student.
Food and Water
Never, ever, ever drink the water. Drink only bottled water and even brush your teeth with bottled water. The Peruvians don’t know what’s in the water, and they don’t drink it either. You can buy a liter of bottled water at the grocery store for less than 40 cents. Dehydration will ruin your trip, so drink up. Be especially careful to really drink a lot of water before we head to the Andes. Altitude takes its toll, and being well hydrated will make you feel better.
When eating in restaurants you have to use varying degrees of caution, depending on the quality of the establishment. For really cheap non-fast-food restaurants only eat cooked foods, and avoid salad and ice. There’s nothing wrong with these cheap restaurants—usually chicken places or Chifas (chinese) —just exercise caution. If you’re eating at a fast-food restaurant like Bembos or a nicer “tourist” restaurant you can feel comfortable eating the salad and using their ice cubes. Don’t drink soda out of the bottle/can in restaurants. They often keep it cool using ice made from tap water, so the top isn’t clean. Use a glass, no ice.
Watch out for fruit juice. The juice in the hotels with breakfast is fine. They make it with bottled water. Juice in restaurants and on the street should be treated with suspicion. Also, be careful eating from street vendors—it can be very cheap and filling, but check out that the stand is frequented by locals, that the cook looks healthy and clean, and that the cooking facilities are clean. If you buy fruit, buy either fruit that you can peel, or wash it carefully with bottled water. The fruit in Peru is very good, so don’t let this scare you off. Similarly, Peruvians love seafood in different degrees of being cooked. In the food section below, there’s some recommendations for good seafood restaurants (still cheap) where you can feel comfortable eating anything off the menu.
Another handy recommendation that I have received—and I think really works—eat a chewable Pepto Bismoll after each meal. Apparently they contain something like a mild antibiotic, which kills about 90% of the stuff that will make you sick.
Vaccinations, Medicine, etc.
No vaccinations are required by law to enter Peru, however a number are
recommended. In 2004, 6 US tourists got typhoid in Cusco from
drinking the local water. A student on from UWO on a January 2005 trip got
hepatitis from contaminated water and missed an entire semester of
school. So, it's good to be careful. The US Center for
Disease Control (CDC) recommends a yellow fever vaccine for all people
traveling to the rainforest in Peru, as does the World Health Organization (WHO).
Yellow fever vaccines are good for 10 years,
so if you plan to travel more, it’s a good investment. This
is a decision best made by you and your doctor; if your health
insurance covers lots of vaccines, load up. They last a long
time. In addition, if you’re going to get vaccines, you want to
do so soon. Most take several weeks to be really effective.
Everyone should consult with their doctor or someone at the campus health center to determine what vaccinations they should get before going to Peru. You should also ask your parents about your vaccination record to see if you need any updates (like tetanus) and find out if any are covered by insurance. The information provided here is to help you make the best decision for you and none of it should be taken as definitive. Also, feel free to come by and see me and ask questions.
World Health Organization Recommendations Probably the foremost authority on international diseases. The WHO recommends a Yellow Fever Vaccine and warns against Malaria for travellers going to the rainforest (like we are).
Center for Disease Control (CDC) This the the site operated by the US government. Sometimes they can come across as alarmist. Read their pages carefully, paying close attention to where we'll be going and what we'll be doing. They have a lot of excellent advice for traveling and staying healthy while traveling. They also strongly recommend the Yellow Fever Vaccine.
MDTravelHealth.Com A site for doctors to use in determining what medicine and vaccines are necessary for their patients traveling abroad. They lots of good advice on staying healthy. They also seem to give more geographically specific information than the CDC web site.
Malaria medicine does not actually prevent Malaria, it only means that you're being treated in case you get it. Many of the medicines have side effects (some fun, like getting a purple tongue, and some not so fun, like hallucinogenic dreams), so its best to think carefully about whether or not you want to take the drugs.
Other diseases that exist
in Peru include cholera, typhoid, and hepatitis. You can get vaccinated
for Typhoid, which you could get by drinking infected water.
It is best to drink bottled water and be cautious about
food. It is a good idea to get your tetanus and diphtheria
vaccinations updated if you didn’t when you went to college. In
addition, it is probably not necessary to be vaccinated for rabies—just don’t
pet the local animals.
You should bring your own supply of prescription drugs. However, it’s also handy to have the chemical name, since Peruvian pharmacies allow many more drugs to be purchased over the counter. Also good ideas are aspirin or ibuprofin, Imodium, antiseptics, band-aids, and cold and allergy medicine. Bring your own birth-control/protection.
Altitude sickness is a real concern. Don’t take this lightly; altitude sickness can level you and will make your trip to Machu Picchu miserable. Altitude sickness usually includes things such as a headache, achy muscles, difficulty catching your breath, and in extreme forms fainting and nausea. The best way to avoid altitude sickness is to (a) stay super hydrated, (b) try the local coca tea, (c) avoid alcohol and cigarettes before and during being in high altitude, and (d) eat lightly—soups are highly recommended. In addition, just moving around slowly tends to minimize the effects.
And don't stand at the edge of cliffs ... watch out Professor Haley! Stay a safe distance back like Laurie (or, even better, like Marianne who's taking this picture).
Peruvian toilets are nothing to write home about. Most suffer from plumbing problems, except in nice hotels and restaurants. Most Peruvians avoid problems by not placing toilet paper in the toilet—use the small receptacle provided instead. I know this doesn’t seem very sanitary, but they are careful to empty the wastepaper bins everyday, and it is much better than having an overflowing toilet. Public toilets tend to be rare and not very nice. If using them (at bus stations, gas stations, etc.) be brave, bring your own kleenex, and don’t touch anything.
The students who accompanied us previously reported that they didn’t have much trouble with guys or harassment. They do recommend not going out at night alone, but you wouldn’t do that in Milwaukee either. You’ll be more comfortable generally if you always take someone with you when you go out. The students noticed a lot of guys would come up and try to talk to them in Lima, but found if you just ignored them, they went away. On the other hand, they thought it was good for the ego. If you don’t like being approached by strangers, take a guy with you.
Here are a few things to keep in mind about dating in Peru; interpret them as the situation warrants it and you see fit. Always use your common sense.
The US State Department and all guidebooks on Peru will include warnings about theft. There’s good news—there’s very little violence, and if you take a few simple precautions becoming a victim of theft is unlikely.
Stay very, very, very far away from drugs of all kinds in Peru. Don’t even talk to people about drugs. Their eradication program is draconian, as are the prisons. Don’t think they’ll let you off or let you out because you’re an American. Don't expect the US embassy to be any help. The authorities are more likely to want to make an example of you; minimum drug sentences are years in prison. Peruvian prisons are not nice.
For many people, street vending is a legitimate business—especially with an actual cart and variety of beverages, snacks, and fruits. You’ll also see people selling all sorts of things on and in the road. I find these much more convienent than finding a store with what I want.
Watch out for people who approach you, trying to sell you items, as well as shoe-shine boys and candy girls. They’ll take you for whatever they can get, and they are very hard to get rid of once you give them money. The street vendors and restaurant hawkers are especially aggressive in Cuzco. Your best strategy is a firm “No” and no eye contact. If you seem remotely interested in whatever they have, you’ll be pestered for blocks.
Staying in Touch
The country code for calling Peru is 51. If you want to keep in touch with family or friends, it may be best to have them call you. We will provide you with hotel numbers at many of the places we’re staying. You can buy international calling cards (in stores and on the street). One student reported that the card she bought on the street didn’t seem to last as long as she thought it should. You can also buy international calling cards at Target (and probably Walmart) before you leave. If you do this, you’ll need to call before you leave the US to get the number to call once you’re in Peru. You also won’t be able to recharge the card once you’re in Peru. If you plan on doing a lot of calling home, you might want to look into a Sprint or AT&T card. As for local cards, Incatel Prepago de Larga Distancia gets a recommendation. It costs 20 soles (about $6) for 35 to 40 minutes of calling to the US. The Peruvian cards work the same way as US cards.
There are tons of internet places around the hotel. The places behind the San Isabel Market charge a dollar per half hour. These places seem a little slow. We are trying to arrange email accounts/access at the university. This time will be limited, but there is internet at the copy shop next to the university.
The company that runs Peruvian mail is called SerPost and mail in general is correro. You can buy stamps (una stampia) to the Estados Unidos (US) for $2. You can also get stamps at a lot of hotels, which will also mail postcards for you.Taking Taxis
For the most part, taking taxis is a safe and cheap method of transportation if you follow a couple of guidelines. Taxis do not run on meters, so when you first flag down a taxi DO NOT GET IN. Yell into the window where you want to go—first the city or suburb then the place. Next ask the taxi driver CUANTOS or how much? If you Spanish is not very good, use fingers. NEVER get into a taxi until you have both agreed to a fare. If you cannot agree to a price, flag down another taxi—this is a great example of perfect competition. Taxis will allow you to fit as many as 5 people in. If you’re going for 5, flag down a bigger taxi. They key is confidence and you’ll get a good rate.
Since the taxis do not run on meters, they all have their own opinions of the fastest routes and shortcuts. If you go to the university 10 times, you’ll likely take 10 different routes. Relax—believe it or not, they know what they’re doing.
Peruvians eat their main meal during the day—usually at about 2pm—and then have a light dinner. You’ll fare better if you can make the same adjustment. You’ll also save money, since a big lunch is cheaper than a small dinner. During the week, we can eat at the university in either the first floor or the sixth floor cafeterias. This is a great deal—a full lunch (there’s usually three choices per day including a vegetarian option) for 5.50 soles, or less than $2. You can also opt for the “faculty” lunch, which includes dessert and coffee for a little more. In addition, the university has sandwiches, hamburgers, pizza, fruit, ice cream etc. There are also a handful of restaurants near the University (Quinze, for example) and a couple of snack stands. Just ask directions or the students there to recommend something.
Included meals: We will get breakfast everyday with our hotel. Eat up, have the eggs, and take a piece of fruit to go. A few lunches are included in the trip cost. But, you pretty much get to choose where to eat lunch and dinner everyday. Here's some suggestions.
Eating in Miraflores
For cheap food, try Bembos (Peru’s McDonald’s), the upstairs cafeteria at 24-hour San Isabel Market in Miraflores, and Chifas—Peruvian-style Chinese restaurants. At San Isabel, you can get half a roast chicken, French fries, and a beer for $3 to $4 to go. They also have a fruit and salad bar and lots of hot items, dessert, and beverages.
One nice place for non-Peruvian food is San Antonios--a very nice and affordable sandwich and salad cafe (you can eat the salads here) that also does incredible coffees and desserts. Ask the hotel desk for directions (or just go down 28th of Julio; San Antonios is next to the Blockbuster Video). This is by far my favorite place.
A student favorite was the Corner Bar. This is a sports bar located on Avenida Larco (the big street that goes near our hotel). Once on Larco go toward the ocean. About 4 blocks from the hotel (half way to the ocean) is the Corner Bar, on the corner. They have satellite that gets American sports. This may be important for those of you following baseball. Keep going down Larco until the ocean to find Larco Mar -- shopping, movie theatres, and restaurants and bars.
Otherwise, look for a clean restaurant with lots of locals in it. A good bet is any roast chicken place—Pollos a la Brasa. For light dinners, there are some nice places on the main square in Miraflores (Parque Central again) and in La Barranca. Pizza and any ethnic restaurant (except Chinese) will be a little more expensive. Also, pizzas are usually individual sized, unless you’re ordering out Telepizza. The hotel desk will do that for you, if you ask nicely. If you’re trying to each cheap, avoid American fast-food restaurants and restaurants around the Parque Central and Parque Kennedy in Miraflores. For cheap food, look for restaurants that cater to the locals—they’re often spartan inside and don’t have heat, but the food is good and cheap. Look for fixed menus (el menu del dia) that usually include soup or salad, an entrée with potatoes/rice, a dessert (postre) and a drink (bebida).
There are a lot of restaurants if you walk up Avenida La Paz. There are both tourist restaurants and less expensive local restaurants. The Italian Place a couple of blocks up is pretty good and cheap. Also on La Paz (second floor in a historic complex) is the Lamborgini Bar with a very nice waiter named Luciano. Other bars/clubs in Miraflores that are recommended include Traffic on Avenida Larco and Diez Canseco. Wednesday is ladies night. There is also Larcomar, Aura, and Mama Batata in the commercial center on Avenida Larco. In general, Peruvians go out around midnight.
Good seafood restaurants recommended by Pacifico students include Punta Sal (Malecon Cisneros Cuadra 3), Mar de Copas (Avenida 2 de Mayo 508), and Segundo Muelle (Malecon Cisneros 156).
For a night out, try Barranco. I go on a Monday, since that’s a good night for La Noche—the famous jazz bar. Barranco also has a spectacular walk down to a cliff view of the ocean and Lima. But be careful and go in a group! Past program participants have been robbed here. Barranco is one suburb south of Miraflores and about a 5 or 6 soles taxi ride. You can just ask the taxi driver for La Noche in Barranco -- they all know it. Once there, walk down the pedestrian way to the main park/plaza. There are some restaurants—the pizza place on the Parque Central is good and not too expensive—but it’s mostly bars and nightclubs. At the pizza place, stick with beer or soda, as the other drinks are pretty bad. Go through the park and down the steps, and down to the left for ocean views.
When we’re traveling, we will be in tourist areas that have more expensive restaurants. I’ve recommended some cheaper options below, but your best bet is to walk away from the tourist area into the “real” part of the city and pick something that looks good. Of course, you’ll want to get good with Spanish food words, because cheaper restaurants will only have Spanish menus.
Andean food tends to be heavy, with lots of meat and potatoes. This is your big chance to try alpaca or cuy (guinea pig). I like the pizza in Peru, since its usually baked on stones in a wood-burning oven. Here are our recommendations. In Cusco: Kusikuy for authentic Andean food or Pizza Maggy for cheap pizza. These are both located on the restaurant strip—stand in the middle of the park with your back to the Cathedral. Take the right-side street out of the park (a hard right). My favorite place in Cusco is El Ayllu Café, a small un-fancy café right next to the Cathedral that serves good sandwiches, pancakes with all sorts of toppings, and excellent hot chocolate or coffee--really cheap.
Look for the fixed menus in places -- you can get soup, entree with potatoes or rice, dessert, and a drink for 10 or 15 soles ($3 to $5). Usually the meals are quite good!
Miraflores and Lima
We will be spending a lot of time in Lima and our neighborhood of Miraflores. There are some wonderful things to see in Lima, including the National Museum, Plaza des Armas, the San Francisco Monastery, the Gold Museum, and my personal favorite, the Rafael Larco Herrera Ceramics Museum.
Our Hotel in Miraflores
Peruvian universities do not have dormitories, so instead we will be staying at a university-affiliated hotel. Most everyone will be in a shared double room that includes two double beds, a private bathroom, a TV, a closet (of varying sizes), and usually a small table or desk.
Each morning we get a continental breakfast in the hotel cafeteria, which includes coffee, juice, a roll with jam, sliced cheese and meat, and a scrambled egg (if you ask for a huevo—pronounced phonetically “wave-oh”). Sometimes there's fruit. In addition most of the hotel staff speaks some English and they can answer questions for you. They also provide maps of the area, give directions, help make phone calls, and order taxis.
The Neighborhood of Miraflores
We will be staying one of the nicest and safest suburbs of Lima called Miraflores. The Universidad del Pacifico is in the neighboring suburb of San Isidro. You can feel comfortable walking around these neighborhoods even at night—one thing you’ll notice is the large police presence in the area. The advantage of the area is its safety; the disadvantage is that being an upscale area, it can be more expensive.
You want to be able to find your way from the hotel to the Parque Central and back again easily. Most entertainment, nice restaurants, Bembos, and the ice cream palace are on the park, along with a small night crafts market and the usual shopping stores. In addition, at the top end of the park (opposite end of the church) is a small shopping mall with a move theatre showing American movies in English with Spanish subtitles. Movies run about $6.
There are tons of cultural things to do. When we arrive, we will get a Lima Guide with the events of the month—theatre, Spanish movies, sporting events (soccer), concerts, etc. These are great ways to get into Peruvian culture and most aren’t very expensive. There will also be activities and events at the Universidad del Pacifico. There are also lots of museums—something for everyone. I like museums, we can arrange going to some of them as voluntary field trips. The good news is that most admissions are pretty cheap. Maybe after the first day of class, we’ll go to the Plaza de Armas—downtown Lima to see the Cathedral ($1 for students) and San Francisco Monastery ($2). Inside tours optional. We’ll also have an optional trip to the National Museum ($1) one afternoon. That’s a great museum with displays on all the different Peruvian cultures, geography and geology—everything! A great free thing to do is to hang out in the Parque Central in Miraflores, walk around, see the sights, window shop, and enjoy the people.
During the day, you can also go hang out by the beach. Even if it is cool, people will be down there surfing, playing soccer, running, etc. It’s a great place to hang out and walk around, but you probably want to come home before dark. The beach under Miraflores is pretty rocky. You can take taxis to nicer, sandy beaches (la playa). Ask for Chorillo Beach, Playa Agua Dulce, or Los Yoyos.
In the evening, the place to be is La Barranco--a lovely district near Miraflores. Ask to be left off at La Noche Jazz Club, but make sure to walk to the central park (down the pedestrian way) and down to the beach overlook from there.
Universidad del Pacifico
The university is located in San Isidro. All taxi drivers should know where it is (its at the corner of Salaverry and Prescott). Pacifico is a private university with about 2000 students. It is located primarily on one large city block, the buildings surrounding a central quad. See the photos on the website. The university has a library with English publications as well as Spanish, including national newspapers. There is also a computer lab, email stations, a bank with an ATM, a bookstore, and a gym/basketball court. There are cafeterias for eating and studying on the first floor and the sixth floor. I plan on eating at the university everyday. We recommend using the bank at the university and the ATM because of the security provided inside the university. In this other area is also the student center with art displays, mini-classes, and a small gym. You will get a tour on the first day. Please be extra nice to the security guard and policemen who work at the university, and be courteous to the students and faculty at the university. We are their guests.