Don’t eat ceviche in the afternoon. Fish isn’t flown in from Chile or purchased from some massive wholesaler. It comes in that morning directly from the boats, still flopping, and by the time it’s broken down, chopped up, briefly marinated, and served up to locals for breakfast or lunch, rigor mortis has barely had a chance to set in. When expensive tourist-friendly restaurants in Lima began serving ceviche after the sun went down, quite a few Peruvian heads shook at the sad state of affairs. Heed their disdain: If you’re eating ceviche at night, you’re probably paying twice as much for something half as delicious.
Holster the plastic. Everywhere you turn in the country, hotels, restaurants and tourist agencies will charge you between 6 and 10% for the privilege of using your credit card. “We don’t make up the fee, the credit card companies do,” is the common explanation, but it explains very little. Either way, the math is easy: Those same credit card companies these days charge 2 to 3% to take out cash from an ATM. Keeping the plastic in your wallet could save you a few hundred bucks during your trip.
Beware the clandestine cabbies. Everyone with wheels is a potential taxi driver in Peru. Market vendors sell plastic TAXI signs that any dude looking to make a few extra soles can strap to the top of his car. Unfortunately, most of the guys with the fake signs make De Niro’s character in Taxi Driver look downright cuddly; they’re not beyond driving you out to the lawless reaches of Lima, robbing you, then leaving you on the side of the road. Unfortunately, Matt has had some experience with this in past trips to Peru. Look for the cabs with the boxy taxi signs that light up and with some form of registration in the window or on the dashboard. Trust us, it’s worth the extra 50 cents.