It’s said that the biggest fear one has it that of public peaking. For me, my biggest fear is not having cellular service, and not being able to connect while on the go.

So, how does one connect while in Peru

Some quick tips to staying connected while on the go:
n all towns and villages that are not too small, it is no problem to find public telephones for national and international calls. Usually, you find them in bars or stores. Some of them accept coins, but watch out for stuck coins or dodgy-looking coin receivers as these might make you lose your money. Don’t worry if your 1 Nuevo Sol coins don’t get through at first, just keep trying and it will eventually work. Many public phones can be expensive, and an attractive alternative is a Locutorio, or “call-center”. Typical rates include .2 Nuevo Sol/minute for calls in the country, and .5 Nuevo Sol/minute for most international calls.

Peru Phone photo

Photo by nicolasnova

You also can buy phone cards with a 12 digit secret number on it. Using a phone card, first dial 147. When done so, you will be told how much your card is still valid and be asked (in Spanish, of course) for your secret number. After having typed it, you are asked for the phone number you want to connect to. Type it in. Then you get told how much time you can talk. After that, the connection is tried. For international calls, it is often a good idea to go to an Internet cafe that offers Internet based phone calls. You find them in the cities.

Internet cafes, called in Peru cabinas públicas, grow like mushrooms in Peru and if you are not really on the countryside, it should not be a problem at all to find one. Even in a smaller town like Mancora or Chivay you can still find Internet cafes with 512kbps ADSL. The connection is quite reliable and they are cheap (1.50-3 Soles, US$0.40-0.80 per hour). Just don’t expect most of them to actually sell coffee – or anything at all but computer time or services like printing. It is not uncommon to find cabinas that burn CDs directly from SD, CF or Memory sticks. Many internet cafes have headphones and microphones, for free or for an extra fee. See also Online telephone service for travel.

If you have a smartphone (unlocked if you bring it from home) it can be quite affordable to buy a local SIM card and use the internet from the cellular network (pretty good quality 3G most of the time). You can always use your phone to make a Wi-Fi hotspot and share the connection to your computer (watch carefully how much you use if you don’t want to bust your budget!). Claro seems to have the most extensive coverage. Tourist offices iperú, ? +51 1 574-8000 (iperuiquitos@promperu.gob.pe). This government tourist office has a presence in most cities that are popular with tourists, and is helpful with information. They also keep tabs on businesses and log complaints, so you can check out tour operators, etc before you confirm. Their services are free

Other tips on staying connected while in Peru? Please add your comments and tips.