Wifi or dial-up? What’s the voltage like? We give you the low-down on charging, using, and taking care of your electronic devices in Peru.
Electricity in Peru is provided at 220V. This is the same as Europe, but very different to the United States (110V). What does this mean to you?
Most laptops, mobile phone chargers, and camera chargers can run on both 110V and 220V, but other appliances, such as hairdryers, are more likely to be limited to one of the two. The voltage will always be written on the appliance and we wouldn’t advise going against what the manufacturer says unless you’re fond of explosions. If you have to take a 110V appliance to Peru, you can buy a converter, but we’d advise doing this before you leave.
There are three different types of wall sockets in Peru, two of which are the same as those found in the United States (A and B). Most establishments will have two different types of outlets, but it is best to come prepared with an adapter for all situations. If you’re coming from Europe or elsewhere, an adapter is a must. As always, buy these before you leave.
Peru is online. Even the smallest towns have internet cafes with adequate connections (although the Spanish keyboards can be a nightmare to type on!), and most hotels offer complimentary Wifi, which is fast enough for Skype video chatting and other data-chewing applications.
For phone calls, major cellular networks Claro and Movistar sell cheap sim-cards which should work with your phone from home. If you want to be online all the time, prepaid data can be loaded onto these sim-cards. Cities and towns have 3G connections, but you’ll have to rely on Edge connections in the countryside, which aren’t that reliable.
There is a chance your smartphone might be locked to your network back home or your laptop modem might not be compatible with the Peruvian sim-card. In these cases you can always use international roaming, which will lock into one of the Peruvian networks when you arrive. If you set this up before you leave for Peru you shouldn’t have to pay too much for data or text messages, but calls will be exorbitant. Or you could just buy a cheap local phone or prepaid ‘wifi dongle’ on arrival.
What to bring
This really depends on your needs: although it is nice to have a laptop with you at all times, for example, it is also a burden and an extra thing to worry about keeping safe. Only you can know whether you’ll make use of an underwater camera or curling tongs while in Peru, but we’d definitely advise against bringing absolutely every gadget you own.
A camera (or perhaps two) should definitely be included, but if you’re just going to be visiting cities and ruins you might consider leaving your telephoto lens behind.
How to keep your technology safe
- You don’t want stuff to get damaged in transit, so make sure you have good quality protective cases for all of your devices.
- Lots of tourists lose cameras and phones by accidentally leaving them on tour buses or in cafes or restaurants – the less stuff you have with you, the slimmer the likelihood of leaving something behind.
- You can insure your possessions, but you can’t insure your photographs or videos. Make sure you back everything up regularly – either onto CD or an external hard-drive (but keep this separate from your camera) or, even better, use a cloud storage provider such as Dropbox.
Nick bought a one way ticket to Sao Paolo on impulse after graduating from college and ended up living and teaching in Mendoza, Argentina for a couple of years. That was just the beginning though: he’s fished his way through Patagonia, visited every province of Bolivia (including 6 months in La Paz and a couple in the jungle) and most of Peru and Chile, in the process racking up more than 20 000 miles in overnight buses. He’s back home now, but his bond with Latin America is stronger than ever.