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Pisco is a city in the Ica region in Peru and is the capital of the province with the same name. It has approximately 120,000 inhabitants and is probably most famous because of the Peruvian grape liquor called Pisco, a local favorite. The nearby vineyards still produce for this liquor, but not exclusively anymore. The Quechua word Pisco means 'bird'. Sadly Pisco was rocked by a major earthquake in 2006 destroying most of the city. To this day the city is considered a disaster area and it is advised not to travel around the city after dark unless in large groups.
Pisco Sin Fronteras is a fascinating community service project based in urban Pisco. Many of the larger international aid efforts have left Pisco since the earthquake in 2006 but this grassroots group has stayed. They build basic concrete block houses or housing complex's for local residents. They also repair home for people that are still living in emergency tents. This is a great place to help the people of Peru, meet other travellers and just have fun while carrying a concrete bucket. It also provides a wonderful opportunity to interact with locals.
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Pisco has a great climate and temperatures rarely rise to extremes, thanks to the colder Humboldt current which affects most of the coast of northern Chile and the southern half of Peru. January to April is summer while temperatures are still around 20 °C or more during the colder wintermonths from June to September. Rain is scarce and mainly falls during the warmer summermonths.
The nearest major airport is the Lima Jorge Chávez International Airport, 235 kilometres to the north. There are numerous airlines serving Lima from other countries in South America and further away towards North America and Europe.
Pisco is located off of the Pan American Highway.
Pisco is a 4-hour bus ride from Lima and also 4 hours for Nazca. Remember that buses without the final stop in Pisco stop at the junction located on the Pan American Highway, so it pays to have some money for a taxi into town. There are also buses to Ica (1.5-2 hours) and Arequipa (12-15 hours).
Taxi's exist but the motos are much more common and cheaper. Although after dark one should avoid them because the moto's have been known to rob solo people in the past.
The bus system was destroyed like most of the public services during the earthquake.
Walking is possible but the roads are pretty destroyed and watch out for large pits meant for new sewer lines.
|Hotel Miramar Pisco||Avenida Genaro Medrano 120 San Andrés||Hotel||80|
|Hostal Tambo Colorado||Av. Bolognesi 159 Ica||GUESTHOUSE||85|
|Posada Hispana||Av. Bolognesi # 222||HOTEL||-|
|Hostal La Terraza Pisco||Av San Martin 701 San Andres, Pisco||Hostel||90|
|Yuppie Hospedaje||San Clemente Street 103-1||HOSTEL||-|
More and more hotels, resorts, airports, cafes, and retailers are going Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity), becoming "hotspots" that offer free high-speed Wi-Fi access or charge a small fee for usage. In Peru, by far the easiest way to check your e-mail and surf the Web is to drop in at the Internet cabinas (booths) that can be found in virtually every city and even small towns. Connections are usually fast, and the service is as little as S/2 per hour.
Aside from formal cybercafes, most youth hostels and many hotels nowadays have at least one computer with Internet access.
See also International Telephone Calls
Peru's country code is +51. Emergency numbers include 105 (Police), 117 (Ambulance) and 116 (Fire).
In all towns and villages that are not too small, it is no problem to find public telephones for national and international calls. 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. Phone cards are cheap and easily available from shops or vendors who hang around pay phones. You'll often see people with a bundle of mobile phones who act as pay phones, they'll be shouting 'llamadas'. Telephone booths are primarily used for making local calls. Calling to other countries from Peru is expensive.
If you have an unlocked cell phone you can buy local SIM cards. Movistar and Claro are two of the phone companies in Peru. You can buy your sim card from these companies and buy a phone card also.
Your best, cheapest bet for making international calls from Peru is to head to any Internet cafe with an international calling option. These cafes have connections to Skype, Net2Phone, or some other VoIP service. International calls made this way can range anywhere from 5¢ to $1 per minute -- much cheaper than making direct international calls or using a phone card. If you have your own Skype or similar account, you just need to find an Internet cafe that provides a computer with a headset.
Check the Serpost website, the national postal service (a private company), for more information about prices and options regarding the sending of postcards, letters and parcels. The post service is relatively efficient and post offices can be found in most cities and (larger) towns. Post offices generally are open from 8:00am to 8:00pm Monday to Saturday and some are open on Sundays from 9:00am to 1:00pm. Postcards are available from street vendors and shops at any touristy area, and stamps are generally available as well, though sometimes only at the post office itself. It takes at least 10 days to send a postcard to North America and prices start at S/5.5. To Europe it is S/7.8 and it takes even a bit longer, around 2 weeks. For little extra money, you can choose 'expresso' services. For large parcels and quantities, you can use both Serpost or companies like DHL, UPS, TNT or FedEx, which are faster and offers the same prices, though it is still relatively expensive.
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