Below you will find a short list of four important cultural tips that will be very useful for you when you study Spanish in Peru and you’re living in Cusco for a while. Do you have more tips, things you’ve learnt during your Spanish courses in Cusco, or your stay with a Peruvian host family? Please let us know.
Asking for Directions
When trying to find a restaurant, hotel, or a certain street in Cusco it is always best to ask 4 or 5 people. Sometimes Peruvians may give you directions even though they are not exactly sure where your destination lies. They like to help people so they would rather give you an answer than not tell you anything at all. Also, if you ask a Peruvian how much farther until your destination, it is likely they will tell you just a little bit longer when in reality it is still a long ways off. In order to get the most accurate information, it is best to ask more than one person and take the general consensus.
Arriving on Time
The Peruvian culture is more relaxed in a lot of ways and time is one of them. Although generally travel agencies in Cusco try to abide by a stricter time schedule, there still may be some times that they arrive late. If many of your activities begin late, do not worry too much. As for activities that are not directed towards foreigners, these could begin up to 30 minutes to 45 minutes late.
Bargaining in Cusco
When buying from a market in Peru where there are no set prices, bargaining is usually necessary. Many of the venders will try to sell you their products for a much higher amount at the beginning, but if it is not a price you like then you can ask them to go lower. Also, there may be other venders nearby who sell the same product for a lower amount so it is always good to ask around first.
Taxis in Peru
When taking a taxi in Peru the cost is always negotiated. Before getting into the cab, ask the driver how much it would be for him to take you to your destination. He will give you a price and depending on if it is a fair one, you can decide to get in or not. Sometimes nicer cabs charge 1 sol more, and often taxi drivers will try charging a higher price to foreigners. Most taxis in Cusco should cost between 3 to 5 soles to go pretty much anywhere in the city of Cusco. In bigger citites such as Lima or Arequipa, the prices are higher.