Modern times require us to be permanently in touch, not to mention that, for safety reasons, it’s a good idea to communicate on a regular basis with our families or business partners.
Skype should be an inexpensive way to call home, but too many internet cafes in Peru do not have Skype installed in their computers, and it is likely that, if by chance they have it, they won’t have proper headphones, not to mention webcams.
In addition to the many cabinas de internet (extremely cheap cibercafes) and locutorios (cibercafes offering international calls) that you will find on the road, its probably a good idea to buy a SIM card for your cell phone in Peru.
You can buy these SIM card at many points of sale in Lima, and the easiest way is going to any big supermarket and look for the local carrier companies (Movistar, Claro) stalls. Search for a big logo…
Most of the clerks have some knowledge of basic English, and we suppose you know some basic Spanich, so this purchase should not be a difficult task; all you need is to provide your full name and passport number. Tell the clerk that you need to buy ‘un chip suelto’ and a prepaid card plan. You can dial the number printed on the prepaid card and enter its code to receive the minutes, or ask the clerk to do it for you.
Buying a SIM card to use it in your own cell phone will enable you to make inexpensive local calls and receive international calls and SMS for free; however, you need an unblocked GSM phone. In order to c heck this out, put friend’s SIM card into your phone to see if it functions.
But don’t be sad if it doesn’t. Odds are that you will find many places nearby that will offer you the service of unblocking it, paying some 30 soles. We are not sure if the latter is legal, but it does work… and hasn’t damaged my own phone up to now.