Unbelievable Peru Uber Scams and Reliable Peru Currency
Not really sure whether you should use a taxi or Uber in Peru? We let you know what we think is best and the scams you should be on the lookout for.
We also have the breakdown on the best Peru currency to use while traveling. Is it US dollars (or other currency), credit cards, or soles?
Finally, what should I do in Lima? We got some ideas for the adrenaline junkies, the foodies, and those who just like to wing it!
Below is a transcript which has been modified for your reading pleasure.
David Kosloski: 00:00 Hey there, my name is David Kosloski and you’re listening to the Peru Travel Podcast. A show we talk all about Peru travel., Between my cohost Kevin Groh and myself, we have over six years of working experience in the Peru travel industry. We’ve developed a business called Cachi Life that helps push the limits of sustainable tourism and provides help and support to those surrounding communities that otherwise don’t benefit from the travel industry. We are Caci Life and this is the Peru Travel Podcast.
David Kosloski: 00:30 Today we’ve got a pretty interesting show. We’ve actually been getting a ton of emails from everyone listening some that we really can’t answer about credit card payments and how they’re having trouble buying their Machu Picchu tickets. We’ve also gotten some great questions from specific people. I’m going to go ahead and answer those today on the show. So I guess we’re going to call it like the mailbag, even though there’s really no bag of mail cause we’re in 2019 and everything’s via email. But Kevin’s here, he’s had a conversation. Do you want to give a quick little update as to who you talked with and kind of what’s going on?
Kevin Groh: 01:02 Yeah, so we got a lady by the name of Laura Hoffman. She reached out to us. She has a pretty cool podcast called The Midlife Traveler. She’s been over 40 different countries and kind of what she does is when she travels around just kinda records a podcast about the places that she travels to. So she reached out and she wanted to collaborate with us about Peru. So answered some of her questions last week and actually set her up with a David in Peru to record a little bit about, about his life story.
David Kosloski: 01:39 You seem a little bit quieter than me. Yeah, I think so. Yeah. I was looking at the levels like, man, this is not good. And, and I gotta say like, somebody, she spent some time doing like a Soundcloud thing, sent us a question. It was really cool and really awesome that she spent the time to send us something that was really high quality. Did you want to do an update first? Do you wanna go right into it?
Kevin Groh: 02:01 Let’s talk what we got coming up. So right now we’re doing a big push on content for the Inca Trail, which is everything Inca Trail. We got a pretty cool map that we’re going to be coming out with, the elevation profile and basically the sites that you’re seeing on your trail where you’re going to. Additionally, a lot of different blog posts on a comprehensive guy like packing lists for going on the Inca Trail. You know, what to bring, what the weather’s like, basically anything.
David Kosloski: 02:31 Yeah, it’s gonna be great. And on top of that, we’ve got as we’re always putting out content, obviously, keep sending us questions. It helps us kinda establish like what we want to put out. Some of the things, as I said, we can’t answer, right? We don’t work for the Peruvian government. So if you’re reaching out to us about credit card stuff, while your credit card’s not working, you’re probably gonna be a better judge of that than we are. We’re happy to answer, but we’re really, we’re here to take out the legwork for you in booking trips. So you want to book a Machu Picchu trip. You know, we’re going to take the legwork off and we’re going to take care of the payment for you. That being said, another tidbit that I want to throw out there is if we can be getting a lot of these questions.
David Kosloski: 03:05 I know you’re starting to push it out, but if you’re listening to podcasts, you can take a quick second to give us a five star, a little bit of review on what you like about it. Just keep us in the loop as to, as to how we’re doing. We always appreciate that.
Kevin Groh: 03:18 And, you know, if you leave a nice review, we’ll definitely read it on here and feature you a little bit.
David Kosloski: 03:23 That’s right. There’s love right there. We’re gonna get some love. All the feels on this podcast. All right, let’s go ahead and hop into the first question. So what do we got Kev, do you know off the top your head?
Kevin Groh: 03:35 So one of the first questions that Laura had for us was the situation on Uber versus taxi. If it’s worth, which one’s better to do?
David Kosloski: 03:44 Sure. Yeah. And I think this one’s kinda like a little bit controversial to a degree because when we went to Peru, we took a taxi both times that we’ve gone, we’ve taken taxes at first, right out the airport, and we got kind of screwed over each time. The payments were pretty high. They were $50 roughly, which is not right.
Kevin Groh: 04:06 Yeah. $50 to go to Miraflores and from the airport and typically it should be somewhere around 50 soles. So, you know they see a tourist coming up knowing that you’re not going to really know the prices that should be.
David Kosloski: 04:20 Right. So, and then on top of that, we also talked to the local server at a tapas restaurant that we went to. And he was like, I’ll take Uber but do Uber Black because that’s going to be like your typical car in the States or Europe. Uber Blacks kind of like your, Hyundai Sonata. Whereas Uber is like the Crown Vic that got beat up and smoke is flying inside the car in case anybody listening. I used to drive a Crown Vic and it was like a Cheech and Chong episode, there was so much smoke billowing into the car. I finally had to just kick it to the curb. It’s not a very nice car, which, you know, we did an Uber Black we never ran into any issues. We took it a lot of places and the only issue we ran into is we accidentally had the wrong location and we went to the wrong restaurant, which really wasn’t the driver’s fault. However, Kevin did some research and you’ve heard of some issues with Uber?
Kevin Groh: 05:09 Yeah, there are a few different issues. So there’s a couple of different scams out there, and honestly, you could probably do this in the US too. But so one of the scams is, you call for your Uber and they come to pick you up, they pick you up, put you in the car, but they turn they’re, Uber ride off while you’re in the car. So Uber is not tracking it, nothings through Uber. And as you’re going, you don’t realize that the Uber is turned off. So what happens is it gets you to your destination and the Uber started off. The driver wants payment and they’ll just try to charge a super absorbent price.
David Kosloski: 05:53 Yeah, that’s a big word. Absorbent. You gotta get a definition. Is that?
David Kosloski: 06:00 Large? Very, very large.
Kevin Groh: 06:00 Yeah and I mean, here’s the thing though too, when we, before we went to Peru, the first time we read all these different books. Kevin actually read a lot of books or read one book in particular. We read blog posts that were saying taking taxis, it’s been known that somebody could come up to your window, bash the window, and take your purse or your bag. So don’t keep your bag in the back seat with you. But you wanna know what, I feel like you’re going to hear those stories in New York. I feel like you’re going to hear those stories in any city, to be honest. I don’t know if it’s prevalent. We never ran into it.
David Kosloski: 06:28 And if anything, we look like a minority in Peru. We stand out like travelers. So people would know to probably try to take advantage of us. That being said, somebody would say that we’re men. So you know, there’s all these different political, socially acceptable ways of saying this, but at the end of the day, we never ran into any problems. That doesn’t mean that you won’t run into a problem, but I’m gonna put the stamp of approval. If I want to pick anything, I’ll take an Uber because the taxi cabs were really expensive and it’s because they got to pick their own price.
Kevin Groh: 06:57 Exactly yeah, exactly what you’re saying. They can pick their price. And with Uber, if you know where you’re going, Uber price, it’s telling you right up front what it’s going to be right.
David Kosloski: 07:06 And there’s a GPS obviously that’s connected to it.
David Kosloski: 07:09 So if you know the address, type it in. You should be good to go.
Kevin Groh: 07:12 And here’s the thing to kind of prevent that scam, keep your Uber app open. It’ll tell you if the ride is currently going.
David Kosloski: 07:20 Uber tips by Kevin Groh. Kevin Groh, if anybody wants to know, is the tech junkie, the world. He’s always reading blog posts. He’s like information maniac. So if anybody knows anything, I feel like it’s him. He’s just always like, yeah, do you know that you can get Netflix for free with such and such? And I’m like, wait, what? You get a free Spotify account too? I’m like, what is going on? How do you know this stuff man? Life Hacker Bro. Lifehacker, pulling the plugs out. All right. What do we get next? I believe the next one was about the currency. Whether you should carry or switch to soles or if he should use US dollars.
David Kosloski: 07:56 I think we might have a different opinion on this, but what’s your opinion?
Kevin Groh: 07:59 You go first.
David Kosloski: 08:00 So I like using credit cards. Yeah. I don’t like cash. However, we’ve traveled with plenty of friends. We went to Iceland and our buddy Chris who was just like all about the cash. He wanted his cash and I like credit cards. I hit him and cash on me. I just put the credit card on. There’s a foreign transaction fee on some, but if you use Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve is what I use. You don’t get that foreign transaction fee at the same time, it’s got a great exchange rate.
David Kosloski: 08:38 So I’m not a big cash guy. However, there are some instances where you need cash tipping. There is an instance where you need cash for if you’re working with another, some companies require you to pay 50% upfront via electronic, through Paypal, and then some make you pay cash when you get down to Peru. We have our suspicions as to why they do that, but we won’t get into it on the show. So you might need cash in some instances, but we never really ran into that. Go ahead and give me your opinion if you agree or disagree, but I got to point out one thing about that cash issue.
Kevin Groh: 09:12 So basically I, for the most part, agree with David. Use credit cards. Almost everywhere takes credit cards. You’re going to a restaurant, they’re probably going to take a credit card and you’re going to get a pretty good exchange rate.
David Kosloski: 09:25 Right.
Kevin Groh: 09:27 On top of that, if you’re going to be using cash, and I probably recommend carrying some cash because like you said, there’s going to be instances you need it. I think you want to change the soles just because it’s just easier for everyone. If you got US dollars and you’re at a restaurant and you’re trying to figure out the tip or the payments and you’re trying to do the math in your head for yourself in addition to your server. I mean, it makes it so much harder. Just get soles.
David Kosloski: 09:57 And I think on top of that too, just so you know, if you are with a company or booked with a company that requires you to pay money when you get down to Peru, get the cash before you go. Because we had a mistake where we were in Cusco and I think we talked about this before, we’re literally running from ATM to ATM to ATM cause we were hitting their max of what you could pull out. There’s three of us and we’re like, maxing it out. “Can’t pull out any more money. You can’t pull any more money.” And we’re like, what the heck is going on? The ATM just wouldn’t shoot it out because of whatever reason with their max capabilities. So get the money ahead of time
Kevin Groh: 10:34 And that was pretty stressful. I mean, we were, we were pulling cash out of the ATM so we could pay for the second payment on our Inca Trail. We honestly thought we weren’t going to be able to go. Yeah, I remember you saying, “Kevin, you just go. You’re all about backpacking and we’ll stay behind. It can be stressful.
David Kosloski: 10:55 It’s super stressful. That’s why we just do one payment upfront, payment plan, whatever. But like, we do one thing, all electronic. We’re gonna bite the bullet on transfer fees and all that stuff just because it makes it just so much easier for our travelers. Alright. A couple of suggestions for Lima. This is food, activities, anything? Lima is known for parasailing.
Kevin Groh: 11:24 Yeah, there’s a pretty good parasailing culture.
David Kosloski: 11:29 That’d be pretty cool. I personally thought the coolest part about Lima was biking one day. Like our first trip, we rented bikes and we just like biked Lima, Mila Flores. We just biked along the beach. We went through the city. I had a lot of fun doing that.
Kevin Groh: 11:43 I mean, we just kind of winged it. Let’s rent some bikes and we didn’t have a set plan of what we were going to do on that day. And, and you know, remember that’s when we met that physician.
David Kosloski: 11:54 Crazy story. Like, can we go on a tangent? This guy had like a crazy autoimmune disease, right? He’s a physician, moved down in Mira Flores and he was like doing like pullouts on the, on P bars. There’s like these workout places along the beach. And he was doing this crazy gymnastic stuff. And I’m thinking in my head like this old man. I mean, he didn’t look young.
Kevin Groh: 12:16 Well, you went up to him and you asked him if he was a patient cause he had his wrist band on.
David Kosloski: 12:21 And he said he was, but he was also a doctor and he has this rare autoimmune disease. He’s down in Mira Flores. What was his story again? You kind of knew more about it, he’s probably not going to get a cure.
Kevin Groh: 12:33 He’s kind of stuck. So he basically needs to say that he can’t go back to the US because if his body attacks himself while he’s on the flight, I mean, he dies. So he bought an apartment down there and I think he was on vacation when it first happened, wasn’t it?
David Kosloski: 12:50 Yeah, I think so. He says he loves it. Loves Peru. Obviously Mira Flores is obviously very, it’s now becoming the fastest growing city in South America. So there’s a lot of similarities, similar amenities if you will, to the States. So for him, it was a very easy transition. I think he had a wife and I’m mistaken too, that moved down. So really cool story, actually just meeting that random guy. A tendency to meet a lot of interesting people in our travels. Not afraid of just walking up to someone and asking them what their story is.
David Kosloski: 13:17 And then I think too, another thing that I really loved about Lima… Do you remember the brunch restaurant we went to?
Kevin Groh: 13:25 Yeah. That was that was amazing.
David Kosloski: 13:27 Do you know what the name of it by chance? Maybe we’ll toss it in the show notes. If we can figure it out. There’s a really great restaurant that doesn’t help anybody listening. But there was a really cool a brunch spot that we went to. There’s a lot of great food places.
Kevin Groh: 13:41 To piggyback off that. I mean, you know, Lima is a foodie place. Some of the cuisine capitals of the world.
David Kosloski: 13:50 We should probably do a blog post about like some really cool restaurants to check out. I mean we went to a tapas place one night. We went to obviously Central, which is another great restaurant for the experience.
David Kosloski: 14:00 I’m not a big foodie. Kevin loved the food there. I think and I like food. I just, some of the food was just so unique. And then the museum. Museo Larco, that was a very interesting and it was a pretty cool experience. Basically a lot of penasias as a plural for, for penis and it’s a sex museum basically. That’s what it seemed like a lot of… one section of it. A big section of it. Okay. We’re talking about a section, it’s a very large section. It is very sexual related. What else do we get? I mean I would go to Ica, which obviously is near Lima. I think just walk around the town, get to experience, there are casinos we went gambling one night.
David Kosloski: 14:54 And that was a horrible mistake.
Kevin Groh: 14:57 What we were out in like about 10 minutes or so?
David Kosloski: 15:00 Yeah, it was fast. Yeah. Food’s great. People are great.
Kevin Groh: 15:04 Just one of the biggest recommendations that I have for Lima is just take your time and just kind of wing it. Just wing it one day.
David Kosloski: 15:14 Open it up and just kind of have fun, walk around and get to know the good drinks and ceviche. And it was weird cause like I feel like we picked these random little city pockets around Mira Flores that we stopped into and we got some ceviche at one place. They were having like this little park festival on the weekend and we just walked around and looked at people and just watch them enjoy their day.
Kevin Groh: 15:36 And I’ve had a fair amount of ceviche, and honestly that was the best ceviche I’ve ever had in my life.
David Kosloski: 15:40 I had some ceviche, I was traveling for work, I had it in Vegas at a Peruvian/Japanese fusion restaurant. The guy in front of me, Josh said he loved it. It was not that good. I was like, you need to go to Peru bud. Get those tastes buds open. But he’s also been in Japan and loves Japanese cuisine. So needless to say I’ve had a lot of ceviche as well. Best I’ve ever had has been in Lima. So I recommend getting that as much as you can. Get to where you’re sick, you’re just like, “I don’t want any, any more ceviche. So hopefully I answered all your questions. I don’t really have anything else. I mean, we’re at 15-16 minutes. So what do you think?
Kevin Groh: 16:16 Yeah, I mean, I really don’t get much else.