Huanchaco, North Coast of Peru

Preparation

WEATHER

Bring some warm clothes for in the field, evenings, and nights as well as summer clothes (shorts, t-shirts, and a swim suit for the beach). Layers are good for fieldwork, since temps and wind conditions may vary from sunny and 75 degrees to windy, overcast, and 60 degrees.  Huanchaco can be cool and damp in the summer or warm and sunny.  Overnight temps maybe as low as the mid 50s.  No rain gear is needed.  

WHAT TO BRING

We have composed a list of essential items for students. Trust us, these are all essential! In addition, be sure to think through your own personal needs, including medicines. Know that you will be living with roommates and you will be working and living with many other students. Please plan accordingly.

  • Bring enough cloths so that you can go one week without washing any clothes.
  • Lightweight cotton clothing is best for the coast. You should bring pants and shorts (or dresses), long sleeve and short sleeve shirts, and a sweater or light jacket for mornings and evenings. Raincoats are not needed. Temperatures range from about 55 to 75 degrees. Remember to bring some warm clothes. The ocean water is rather cold in the summer, too cold really for swimming, but you may want to bring a swimsuit to layout on the beach.
  • Two towels, so that you always have one clean, while the other is at the laundry.
  • Two 1-quart or two 1-liter water bottles. These are for carrying your drinking water to the site and on site tours.
  • Daypack to carry your water and other stuff to the site.
  • Lightweight shoes for digging. Hiking boots tear up the floors that we excavate.
  • Lightweight hiking shoes or boots for tours.
  • Flop-flops or sandals.  
  • A money belt. Either one that goes around the waist, neck, or under the shoulder. This is the safest way to carry your money, plane ticket, credit cards, ATM card, and passport. Carrying money in your backpack or pockets is an invitation to theft.
  • The usual toiletries. Soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, razors, etc. can be purchased in Peru, of course, but it’s more convenient to bring enough for the month. If you forget something, you can buy these items in Huanchaco or at the mall in Trujillo.
  • Hat
  • Bandanas
  • Sunscreen, 15 or higher is recommended.
  • Sunglasses.
  • Hand sanitizer. Also available in Peru.

OTHER ITEMS TO CONSIDER

  • Smart phone, Kindle/Nook, or tablet
  • Travel alarm clock
  • Flashlight, if the power goes out
  • Books for free time
  • Music
  • Peruvian electric current is 220 volts, not the US 110. You’ll need to buy a transformer (available at Best Buy) to run any electrical gadgets you bring down. Batteries are readily available in Peru.
  • Camera or smartphone. When you fly, carry your camera onto the plane with you. I know several people who have had cameras or other valuables stolen out of checked luggage.
  • It’s best NOT to bring expensive jewelry to Peru, because of the possibility of theft. If you do bring jewelry or other valuables, it is best to carry them with you onto the plane.
  • If you wear glasses, bring a spare pair with you. Glasses are very cheap in Peru (around 30 bucks for frames and lenses) so you might want to get a spare pair made in Trujillo
  • We recommend carrying a copy of your vaccination records. Ideally, your vaccinations should be recorded in an International Health Certificate, which should be available at a doctor’s office or a public health office. You can request one when you receive your immunizations.

ABOUT BRINGING MONEY

You will need enough money for meals on Sundays and your personal expenses. Buying your Sunday meals at a restaurant can cost from $5 to $25 dollars a day depending on where you go. Personal expenses include such things as soft drinks, laundry, city buses, taxis, and souvenirs. Crafts goods such as jewelry, weavings, replicas of prehistoric pottery as inexpensive and readily available.  Your field school fees cover all lodging, meals 6 days a week, Cajamarca trip, and entrance fees to all museums and sites.

The local currency is the Nuevo Sol, but US dollars are easy to use in Lima or Trujillo.

You should bring enough US dollars in cash for the airport and for the first few days in Huanchaco. You can change them at the official kiosk in the bottom floor of the Lima airport just outside of the international arrivals gate. The rates at this kiosk are higher than almost anywhere else in the country, so only change a small amount. We will help you change money in Trujillo.

Bring only nice new bills with no tears. Moneychangers will refuse old (before 2006) and ripped bills.

Upon arrival to Huanchaco, we will give you more information regarding money withdrawals and safety (orientation and tours of Huanchaco and Trujillo).

ATMs are the easiest way to access funds.  They are found throughout Peru and they are very convenient. There are two in Huanchaco. The machines pay in Soles or dollars and they offer the option of doing the transaction in English. Just like in the US, ATMs charge a fee for withdrawals. Check with your bank to see if they have a Peruvian partner bank that doesn’t charge ATM fees. Scotiabank ATMs in Peru that partners with don’t charge a fee for cash withdrawals from Bank of America checking accounts.

Credit cards are widely accepted at hotels, restaurants, and many gifts shops in Peru. Visa is much more widely accepted than MasterCard. We recommend that you take a credit card to Peru for emergencies. I keep my account number and customer service phone number separate from the card in case the card is lost or stolen.